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Document Details :
Title: De tijd van de vriendschap
Subtitle: Vriendschap, broederschap en democratie bij Derrida
Author(s): BERNS, Gido
Journal: Tijdschrift voor Filosofie
Volume: 75 Issue: 2 Date: 2013
In The Politics of Friendship (London, Verso, 1997) Jacques Derrida treats a set of canonical texts on friendship. The history of the term 'friendship', as he depicts, seemingly cannot be interpreted as a linear development, nor as an intermittent development. Rather, we should see it as the grafting of new elements onto older elements. Some characteristics of friendship seem to be typical of certain periods while others appear to be constant throughout large parts or even the totality of the philosophical history of this notion. This is especially the case for the linking of friendship with politics in the form of fraternity. On an even more fundamental level, this also holds for the testamentary character of friendship. The friend is that person who will remember me if he survives me or whom I shall remember when I survive him. This characteristic shows that friendship presupposes a relation to time, a time that detaches itself from time within time. In light of this temporality, friendship should be understood, according to Derrida, as aimance, translated in English as lovence. Using this not commonly used word in French, in which the present participle aimant is substantivized, Derrida aims to transcend the opposition between love and friendship and between the active loving and passive being loved, as can be found in Aristotle. It is this time of friendship as aimance that makes friendship intrinsically allied with democracy. And it is this political implication of friendship that makes the linking of friendship with fraternity, according to Derrida, problematic insofar that this link excludes the friendship with and between women and connects politics with autochthony. Derrida searches for a concept of politics and democracy that transcends the principle of fraternity with all its connotations of autochthony and masculinity.