Philosophy of Exaggeration by Alexander García Düttmann

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By Alexander García Düttmann

'Thought continuously exaggerates' Hannah Arendt writes. The query of exaggeration turns into a philosophical query whilst proposal endeavours to explain the ways that it pertains to limits. If its disclosing strength relies on exaggeration, so does the confusion to which it can fall prey. This booklet analyses thoughts akin to fact and belief, practices resembling politics and artwork, stories similar to the formation of a lifestyles line and its erasure, from the perspective of exaggeration.


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In his essay 'Opinion Delusion Society', written in the early 1960s, Adorno claims that no thought exhausts itself in its adequation to anything given, to facts or data, and that, as a consequence, exaggeration must be considered a constitutive moment of thinking. 7 The relation of thought to truth, which is at stake here, is already conspicuous in a question Adorno raises in the introduction to his metacritique of epistemology. 9 Only in exaggeration and its refractoriness with regard to justification does thought become thought and fit for truth.

Precisely because it can never be decided whether a thought is, in fact, a true thought, exaggeration can never be justified. This impossibility, of course, does not result in a relativistic vacillation. No thought is reconcilable with another thought to the extent that, as thought, it presses its claim that the world be understood according to the way in which it opens it up and discloses it. That the idea of an opening, of a disclosure, of a world can be deconstructed, is irrelevant here. The irreconcilable claim of a thought withdraws itself from justification, since the exaggeration that in its disclosure and opening up makes it possible for its thought to press a claim at all cannot be justified.

24 In the end, the necessity of a faith or trust, of an abandonment of the incredulous questioning with which thinking furnishes a minimum or preliminary engagement, can be interpreted as a delimitation of delusion and semblance. Thus, it is a matter of not playing with certain thoughts and of not drawing certain doubts into consideration, if one wants to be in the position to think rationally. By means of the exclusion of certain thoughts and doubts, by means of such negativity that also in this case is turned against negativity, the individual who thinks, whom one regards as responsible, is distinguishable from the Trust Me 35 insane.

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