Essai d’une cartographie de la notion d’ « événement » dans la phénoménologie française contemporaine

The present paper aims at contributing to the historiography of contemporary phenomenology: the main focus being the vicissitudes of the notion of “event” in contemporary French phenomenology. On the one hand, we show how the notion of “event” has to undergo some kind of transformation in order to adapt, and thus play a strategic role in a phenomenological context; on the other hand, I show to what extent phenomenology itself is affected by this introduction of the notion of event. In order to do so, the paper starts off with an analysis of the Neue Phänomenologie in Frankreich, whose claim is that the origin of such phenomenological transformations has its roots back in the assimilation of the Heideggerian concept of Ereignis. The present paper strives to provide an alternative thesis: we advance the claim that, perhaps, what is called “event” in contemporary phenomenology is closer to Geschehen than Ereignis. Moreover, a sharp distinction is made between Heidegger’s ontological project (Sein as no-thing, hence never present) from what we can call the “need” of phenomenology, i.e., the need for a direct access to Sein (which characterizes the “phenomenology of the inapparent”). The latter distinction explains why so many authors reject the Heideggerian ontological implications while still agreeing with his critical perspective on Husserl’s phenomenology, and de facto accepting the “phenomenology of the inapparent”. I also try to take into account other influences in order to understand the French phenomenological way, and its transformations, as a sort of dynamics immanent to the history of French philosophy, rather than as something determined by external factors. In this sense, I take the relation between the Bergsonian, the Structuralist, and Post-Structuralist influences, as well as the French reception of Heidegger’s “phenomenology of the inapparent”, to be a crucial pattern. In conclusion, I try to also offer an analysis of some specific authors, such as E. Levinas, J. Derrida, J.-L. Marion and C. Romano. These investigations lead us to outline a cartography of the different applications of the notion of “event” in contemporary French phenomenology, and its theoretical implications.