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A Theory of Tragedy in Cornelius Castoriadis

María Cecilia Padilla


Towards the end of his philosophical and political theorizations, the Greek-born French philosopher and thinker Cornelius Castoriadis (1922-1997) turned his attention to artistic representation, in particular to Greek, or to use a term he preferred, “Athenian” tragedy. The aim of this article is to analyze the role played by his interpretation of tragedy in his understanding of democracy as a tragic regime. In order to address this interrogation, the article will be divided in three parts. The first part is devoted to what Castoriadis deems the “Greek creation”. The second part offers an interpretation of Castoriadis’ formulation of tragedy as both a public institution and a “window to chaos”, emphasizing its connection to democracy, autonomy and judgement. In the final remarks, we critically assess his original conception of tragedy and its political implications for Castoriadis’ idea of democracy.


Tragedy, Democracy, Tragic Regime

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