By Don Crewe
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Extra info for Existentialist Criminology
We are not in a position to use the word ‘being’ in our question since it is the very term at issue and therefore we cannot know to what the term refers (axiomatically). We can have no presuppositionless origin for our question, we must supply some more or less – we hope less – arbitrary referent from which to begin our enquiry, and then own responsibility for it. Thus Heidegger adopts the term Dasein as the object of his enquiry. In everyday German, Dasein means the ‘everyday essence of human existence’ or ‘human being’.
That is not to say, however, that we can posit any individual who makes decisions for us. On the contrary, we may be able to trace the origin of certain beliefs or practices, but ultimately no one can be responsible for their cultural dominance, just as I cannot ultimately (or originally) be responsible for my choices, even my choice to commit crimes. By organising our world, conformity provides the foundation upon which we make important decisions (however grounded in the presence of others they may be).
For Rousseau, writing is a supplement to speech. Derrida has already (in a section of Of Grammatology that I do not discuss here) revealed the ‘classical’ distinction between pure and innocent nature, and the impure imposition of culture present in the work of Levi-Strauss,62 where Strauss equates the imposition of culture with the deleterious effects of the imposition of writing over the pure nature of speech:63 ‘Thus we are led back to Rousseau. ’64 In Rousseau, however, writing is not merely violence, but necessary: it is a necessary supplement.
Existentialist Criminology by Don Crewe