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Killing TimesThe Temporal Technology of the Death Penalty$
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David Wills

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780823283521

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823283521.001.0001

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Spirit Wind

Spirit Wind

(p.119) Chapter 4 Spirit Wind
Killing Times

David Wills

Fordham University Press

The death penalty’s appropriation of the concept of a painless instant is compared with the absolute possession of a simultaneity of crime and (self)-punishment by the suicide bomber, who robs the state of the capacity to impose a punishment. Being outside the law in this way, suicide terrorist action nevertheless reflects the simple logic of a punishment to fit the crime that motivates capital punishment advocates. This chapter’s examination of those ideas begins with a series of suicide effects that persist in the operation of the death penalty; it then works through Malraux’s Condition humaine and a history of terrorism tied to the French Revolution’s reign of Terror and Blanchot’s analysis of that absolute revolutionary moment, which is put into contrast with his Instant of My Death.

Keywords:   absolutization, impossibilization, Kamikaze, Malraux, Montaigne, Sade, suicide bomber, terrorism

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