• Vivaldi Jean-Marie


Améry’s readership tends to draw the conclusion that he is bound to stubborn despair and unredeemable alienation from his reflections in At the Mind’s Limits. The visceral undertone of the text may indeed be complicit in instilling this outlook upon his discourse. After reading At the Mind’s Limits, his contemporary, Primo Levi, who like Améry had joined the anti-fascist resistance and was confined to Auschwitz, concluded that he was a lonely cantankerous philosopher. Levi was insightful enough to appreciate the philosophical prowess of Améry’s account and that it was not merely a Holocaust memoir. And for Améry, Levi incarnated the ‘forgiver’—a depiction which suggests an ambivalent outlook tinged with both admiration and jealousy. Améry confessed his weakness to transcend his resentment and failure to achieve the privileged position of Primo Levi as a forgiver. Despite Levi’s accurate depiction of the philosophical project inherent in At the Mind’s Limits, he was more susceptible to the viscerality of Améry’s classic text and did not capture a philosopher who is actively engaged in securing his legacy in the twentieth-century continental philosophical tradition. One of the expectations of this project is to expand the prevailing outlook upon At the Mind’s Limits as a memoir to a philosophical discourse, which methodically and viscerally engages with canonical philosophers in order to secure its turf in the philosophical tradition. And Améry proceeds in the usual fashion that this process is carried out, namely by delineating the limits of philosophy and prescribing what it should undertake to be more thorough.

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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vivaldi Jean-Marie
    • 1
  1. 1.City University of New YorkNew YorkUSA

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