Auteur: John McCumber

John McCumber a reçu un doctorat en philosophie et grec de l’université de Toronto. Il a publié de nombreux ouvrages et articles sur la philosophie continentale et a enseigné à l’université de Michigan--Dearborn, Graduate Faculty of the New School University, Northwestern University, et UCLA où il est actuellement professeur de langues germaniques.

Philosophy vs. Theory: Reshaping the Debate

I. A “Debate” or a “Squabble”?

Calling the by-play which occasionally surfaces between philosophy and theory a “debate” is perhaps doing it too much honor. What I have in mind is what François Cusset has called the “dialogue des sourds” between those, from Habermas across to Quine, who uphold what one group of philosophical notables once listed as the values of “reason, truth, and scholarship,” and those, from Nietzsche to Derrida, who question or even mock those values. (1)

This may seem to conceptualize both combatants in an unduly narrow fashion, for philosophy can be said to include all the “theoreticians” I will discuss here, while “theory” covers many discourses which are not philosophical and do not engage philosophers; I will return to these issues. At the moment, it is clear that no “debate” is possible between two positions such as I have characterized. For theoreticians, to argue “rationally” with philosophers would be to give up in advance. For philosophers, to use reason against theoreticians would be to expose themselves, not to arguments but to questions, and even to mockery-as John Searle found out most spectacularly. (2) So, instead of a debate, we get clashes in which the theoreticians indulge in mordant badinage, while the philosophers take refuge in stony silence. The Searle/Derrida encounter is only one of these. It and its like, I am afraid, generally resemble nothing so much as the penultimate scene of “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” in which John Cleese, playing a Frenchman, prances about on Castle Doune while hurling recondite insults at Graham Chapman’s utterly flummoxed King Arthur.

Getting beyond this, it seems, requires not so much “reshaping a debate” as reshaping a debacle into a debate. But how to do so? I think we can make some early headway by thinking about the word “theory.”

Theôria in Greek, is compounded of the words theia, “divine things,” and horaô, “to see.” It originally meant to witness divine things and was the activity of a theoros, one who consulted an oracle. (3) Because divine things are on a higher level than we humans we cannot change them, and “theoretical” knowledge came to mean knowledge which, in contrast to “practical” knowledge, is not geared to changing its object.

The Greek gods cannot be changed, at least not fundamentally, because they are immortal and so exempt from the ravages of time. As Sophocles put it,

monoi ou gignetai

theoisi gêras oude kat’thanein pote.

Ta d’alla sugkhei panth’ ho pagkratês khronos

Oedipus at Colonus 685-688

In my translation:

Only for the immortal gods

Do old age and never dying not come-to-pass.

All other things are obliterated by all-ruling time.

The term “theory,” then, is not merely an empty sound which we may take up and apply to things without consequences. With respect to the current debate (debacle), it does two things:

      (1). It epistemologizes the debate-leads us to see it as a debate about things like reason and truth (and “scholarship”);

      (2). It pushes us to see “theory” as involving the cognition of things which are, or are taken to be, outside of time-a view which runs counter to every basic impulse, I would think, of what today is called “theory.”

I will come back to (2), but for the moment, I am more concerned with (1). What if epistemological construals of the squabbling between theory and philosophy were red herrings? What if the issues between the two camps were too deep to be stated in epistemological terms? What terms would then be appropriate? With that question in mind, I advance two candidates for such deeper construals, one prepared by philosophy and the other congenial to theory.

 
 
II. Two Ways of Reshaping the “Debate”

Deeper than epistemology, if I may dare to generalize, is ontology; for epistemology, as the attempt to determine in general terms whether and how far knowledge is possible, becomes pressing with the adoption of a certain sort of ontology (see Appendix below). This is, broadly, an ontology which sees knowers as radically different in kind from knowns. So from a philosophical point of view, the debate between philosophy and theory may be intractable because both sides are presupposing different ontologies, with philosophers thinking that the things we know are more like us than the theoreticians are willing to allow. If we accept this construal of the debate, two further steps will be called for: we must articulate the ontologies underlying the two positions, and we must attempt to decide between those ontologies. From the philosophical side this is an old and complex story, and I will not retell it here; the main effort at articulating a “postmodern” or “theoretical” ontology is that of Gilles Deleuze, and I will not rehearse that either. The process of decision has not begun.

Recent history suggests another construal, one more congenial to theory. The last four decades have seen a vast movement by the oppressed of this earth to shake off their oppression. Beginning with Rosa Parks on a Birmingham bus and continuing into (and past) the election of Barack Obama as President of the United States, this “Great Liberation” (as I will call it) has embraced diverse struggles by racial, religious, and ethnic minorities, women, gays, and formerly colonized peoples-among others. At its abstract end, it has been seen in epistemological terms as a struggle against “presence” (Derrida), “unity” as an historical category (Foucault), and “representation” (Deleuze)-underlying concepts which are held to validate those of “reason, truth, and scholarship” which Habermas, Quine, et al., seek to defend. “Theory” as I define it here thus signifies (as I suggested in the first paragraph) only one part, the abstract part, of a much larger enterprise-“theory” in the various forms of cultural, literary, political theory, and so on. From this point of view, philosophers are to be judged politically-and negatively-in terms of their stubborn adherence to “reactionary” positions.

Neither of these two candidates for a deeper construal of the philosophy-theory debate will work. The philosophical response, for its part, places us back in the safely philosophical domain of abstract argument, thereby cutting all connections to recent history. That abstract domain is congenial, to philosophers anyway, but it has its dangers. For even philosophers gain legitimacy from their relation to history. Analytical philosophy, for example, is often accused of being thoroughly ahistorical. But it developed in this country as an attempt to understand and appropriate the single most important historical process of the three and half centuries up to 1950-the rise of science, which made possible capitalism, the nation-state, bourgeois social institutions, and the various colonial systems. (It is no accident at all that one of the most important books of this tradition is entitled “The Rise of Scientific Philosophy.”) (4) The Great Liberation, which began at almost the moment when Cold War funding and the aporias of the Quantum Theory ended Great Science and left us mainly with Big Science, deserves equally intense philosophical reflection today. But recent history seems to teach us that philosophers cannot engage in such reflection without questioning the very things on which they trade, concepts such as those of truth and reason.

This leads to the second construal, more congenial to theory, and to a different problem. For when the basic concepts of reason and truth are identified as oppressive, we undermine discourse itself. And this, too, leads us to abrogate something: the Delphic imperative gnôthe seauton, know thyself-interpreted by Plato, following Socrates, as the demand to logon didonai, to give an account to others of what you are doing. This imperative is not merely an artifact of the Western project of reason; as Judith Butler has shown, recognizing the legitimacy of the other’s demand that we give an account of ourselves is the beginning of all ethics. (5) More pragmatically, if we cannot explain ourselves to others, no mutual understanding is impossible-and no common action. An approach which situates itself at the abstract end of a movement of liberation, but denies ethics and undercuts the possibility of common action to achieve that liberation, is (as Hegel would say) merkwürdig indeed. So theoreticians need to give accounts of themselves. But none of what I will call the Three Wise Men of postmodern theory-Derrida, Foucault, and Deleuze-has effectively done so. (6) My suggestion is that they all have this problem because one strand of their thought undermines truth and reason to such an extent that they cannot didonai logon-cannot give to others accounts of their own discourses. It is as if the recognition of true otherness silences them-and forces them, paradoxically, to turn away.

The reason why Derrida, Deleuze and Foucault find themselves tempted to undermine truth and reason in this way is, I think, because they are all following Heidegger in his fateful conflation of ousia and parousia-of being and presence. (7) Presence-parousia-is a condition for truth and reference, and these in turn are general conditions for thought, language, and common action. Ousia, by contrast, is both more specific and more sinister, as I will argue below.

 
 
III. Ontology and Liberation

Construing the philosophy/ theory debate as about ontology separates us from history; construing it in terms of the “Great Liberation” separates us from mutual understanding, and so from ethical responsibility and common action. This pair of problems invites us to ask if the two construals themselves need to be separate, or if there is some important connection between ontology and liberation. If there is, then arguing about ontology would not chase us from our historical situation. It would be a way of clarifying it.

I have argued elsewhere (8) that the main version of ontology in the Western world, which I will call “ousia ontology”, is intrinsically allied to oppression, for it writes domination into the nature of being itself. According to it, something is a “being” in the plenary sense if:

      1. It is securely and determinately bounded;

      2. One unitary component within its boundaries-what Aristotle calls the “form”-generates and/or orders everything else within those boundaries.

      3. Only that governing unit affects the world outside those boundaries.

I call these traits “boundary,” “disposition,” and “initiative” respectively. They suffice, I suggest, as a very general characterization of what the world’s oppressed are fighting. They are appealed to, under different names, in Valentin Mudimbe’s characterization of “the colonial project,” in Frederick Douglass’s account of the slave plantation where he was the property of Colonel Lloyd, and in Simone de Beauvoir’s account of bourgeois household and marriage. They are also at play in Marx’s account of capitalist production and in Freud’s account of the structure of the human mind. (9)

But they have nothing to do with concepts such as those of reason and truth. Those arise, as Aristotle’s Categories shows us, from the basic activity of predication; and (as he also shows us) the ontology they presuppose is one in which the unity of a being is established, not by a bounding, disposing, and initiating form, but by an inert substrate. I call this ontology the “substance ontology;” and where ousiai are intrinsically oppressive, substances are merely boring. (10)

Thus: discussing ontology does not necessarily take us away from history. Ousia ontology, in particular, is relevant to today’s liberation struggles because it articulates the very structures from which modern liberation movements seek to free us all. At its most general level, the Great Liberation needs a critique of the ousia ontology, of those other ontologies which write domination into the nature of being itself, and of the many “theoretical practices” which trade upon that inscription. What theory should be questioning, then, is not presence, but the dominance of presence; not unity, but the dominance of the category of unity over historical practice; not representation, but the dominance of representation. And to conduct that questioning, theory as I have characterized it can make free use of most, if not all, of the techniques of argument and truth philosophers have advanced over the centuries: it can become philosophical.

But showing how that battle can be fought requires some reshaping of philosophy itself, in the sense of a bringing-together of strands within philosophy that have been kept too far apart for far too long.

 

IV: Reshaping Philosophy (11)

 We can begin putting them back together by noting that “truth,” in most of its forms, is an affair of the present tense. It is a plain fact that to inquire whether a sentence is true is not to inquire about its Before and After-about its relation to events earlier or later than itself. Such in­forma­tion is sometimes extremely important; but to ask about it is not to ask after truth. (12) If I ask you if it is true that the cat is on the mat, I am not ask­ing how the sentence “the cat is on the mat” came to be produced on this occasion, or what effects its production will have. Rather, I am asking for evidence or testimony to be produced now that will verify the sentence: the mat with the cat on it, or an argument, or a nod of your head. And if I ask you whether it is true that the cat was on the mat last Thursday, or that Caesar crossed the Rubicon on January 10, 49 B.C. E., I am also asking for evi­dence, argument, or testimony to be produced now that will verify or falsify that statement. Similarly if I ask you whether Hillary Clinton will be elected President in 2016; your answer, whether Yes or No, must be based on, or be, evidence available now. In all cases, the evidence, argument, or testimony must be produced now. For with­out some sort of simul­taneous availability of sentence and evidence, the notion of verifi­ca­tion makes no sense. And without the possibility of veri­fi­ca­tion, the notion of truth makes, as far as I can see, no sense.

When we restrict inquiry to asking after the truth of sentences alone, our inquiry remains in the present tense; we are exemplifying one form of what can be called the “dominance of presence.” Worse, we are (as Sophocles would say) deifying those sentences: by presupposing that their Before’s and After’s are not relevant to our investigation, we are taking them out of the temporal flow, exempting them from time itself (this was the second of my complaints about the word “theory” above). But how can we do otherwise? How can we talk about the past without uttering true sentences about it?

 
 
V. Philosophical Narrative and the Untrue Past: Hegel

Hegel gives us an answer. His philosophy is a giant ration­ali­zation of history. It can be viewed, and I would argue is best viewed, as making no standard truth claim at all. (13) What it does claim is twofold: it claims to be comprehensive, and it claims to be ordered. In general, we can say, a narrative of the type Hegel offers, or what I will call a “philosophical” narrative, is better the more materials it links together, and the greater the rational transparency with which it links them. The final stage of such a narrative, as for Hegel, is ourselves-our present situation. A philosophical narrative, like certain other types of historical narrative, thus enables us to see ourselves and our surroundings-or ourselves-in-our-surroundings-as the outcome of a past.

All the stages in such a narrative must, of course, be truthfully reported. In constructing a philosophical narrative, we try, in all the traditional ways, to describe the Before of what we are talking about accurately, to “get the facts right.” But we do not stop there, for historical narratives, whether philosophical or not, may include only true statements but fail to be comprehensive. On this view, it was not, strictly speaking, false for such classic historians of the American West as Eugene C. Barker, T. R. Fehrenbach, and Walter Prescott Webb to focus exclusively on characters and situations who were not African Americans; they may have described their selected historical objects accurately enough. But the resulting narrative failed comprehensiveness in morally repugnant ways. (14)

Hegel has an account of rational transparency as well as of comprehensiveness. It lies in his view of what he calls “determinate negation.” To “negate” for Hegel means, very generally, to move on from a thing. (15) In determinate negation, just one feature of a thing is moved on from at a time (hence, I prefer to call it “minimal negation”). (16) For an historical development to be “transparent” is just for it to be reconstructible as a series of minimal negations-the fewer, of course, the better. Such negations are not explanatory factors (and dialectics does not explain anything). They are merely a certain way of organizing data. (17)

When the transparency is “rational,” as I use that term, each such change can be seen to solve a problem in the preceding stage (typically, for Hegel, a contradiction). Hegelian philosophical narrative is thus a way of reconstructing the past as a cumulative series of solutions. So we can talk about the past without just saying true things about it, by using Hegelian narrative strategies.

As to the future, we can take some cues from Heidegger.

 
 
VI. Philosophical Demarcation and the Untrue Future: Heidegger

The future as we experience it, Heidegger argues in Being and Time, is not just a set of facts that have not yet come to pass, but has two other characteristics: it is essentially unknowable and it is coming at us. (18) True, it is not coming at us with a determinate and cognizable form: the future is not something we know. Rather, it shows up in our present experience as an emptiness. This emptiness, however, this place in our experience where there is nothing to be known, is not a “gap” in the usual sense. It is not what the ancients would have called a kenon, a void. For it is a gap into which we are constantly being pulled, a dynamic gap which shapes our lives. It is what I call a diakenon-an emptiness which, like our death, gathers a being or beings around itself. (19)

Diakena are by no means shadowy or mysterious; they are all around us. Sofia Coppola’s 2003 movie Lost in Translation, for example, is entirely centered on the final words of its dialogue-words which we, the audience, cannot hear. They function as a diakenic emptiness active at the heart of the entire picture. You cannot understand anything in the movie without knowing how it is helping the rest of the movie prepare for those words-and yet they are unknown, lost.

An architectural example is the renovation of Soldier Field in Chicago, which was described by Ned Cramer, curator of the Chicago Architecture Foundation, in these “diakenic” terms:

You have this beautiful, static, stately, white classical building, and through that passes this incredibly dynamic and fluid contemporary expression of architecture. I think people are still in shock at the difference.’ (20)

That a set of beings, or of aspects of one being, is diakenically structured is evident when:

          A. None of them is adequately understood apart from the others;

          B. None grounds or explains the others;

          C. No yet more basic phenomenon can ground, i.e. explain, all of them together.

For anything to have what I will call an “essential future” is for it to exhibit this sort of structure. The activity of aiding this sort of exhibition is what I call “demarcation,” and it comprises the other half of what I call “situating reason;” the half which opens philosophy and theory up to the unknown-but-impending future.

Since we will never know anything fully, our encounters with things are always incomplete and underway towards further encounters; everything we experience has diakenic aspects. The various techniques and gestures of demarcation, like those of narrative, can thus apply to anything whatsoever. From the present point of view, they apply most particularly to the dialectical continuities established in Hegelian narrative-a crucial move that Hegel himself never makes, and which I call “demarcation.”

Demarcation does not “refer” to diakena or point them, out, but allows them to happen. For we can always cover them up-as when we form our best conjecture for the final words of Lost in Translation and go on to “understand” the movie in terms of that conjecture. Demarcation counters this by reminding us, in manifold ways, that we have not yet discovered all of the possible unifying factors in any thing, and that there is a definite space within the thing as we have experienced it so far where such unifying factors may come to be evident. Like dialectical continuity, diakenicity is not so much a matter of what is in things as of how we take them, and so cannot be captured by standard notions of truth.

Postmodern theory can thus be understood as a way of opening up futures, in which case I call it “demarcation.” The centrality of the future as a category of postmodern thought is underlined by Derrida himself in a cri de coeur in his interview on terrorism, published a year before his death:

[What is unacceptable about Bin Laden etc.] is not only the cruelty, the disregard for human life, the disrespect for law, for women, the use of what is worst in technocapitalist modernity for the purposes of religious fanaticism. No, it is, above all, the fact that such actions and such discourse open onto no future and, in my view, have no future. (21)

 
 
VII. Conclusion

To recapitulate my argument: getting a common intellectual space within which the various squabbles between philosophers and theoreticians can become debates required seeing that the basic issues between the two camps are not epistemological. The camps in fact divide, I suggested, in answering the question of whether thought and reason need be affairs of the present tense only. Is it possible for thought and reason to respond in dif­fer­ent ways to the past and the future than to the present? I tried to suggest, if not actually to show, that it is. It then became clear, I hope, that “postmodern theory” does not need to undermine the tra­di­tional values of truth, reason, or clarity. Rather, I claimed, it seeks to supplement them by introducing a kind of thinking which is attuned to the future as we experience it-as unknown but impending. Adding in Hegelian techniques for reconstructing the past as rational-as a series of solutions-gives us a form of discourse which is faithful to Kant’s point that all our cognition is in time, and so are all objects of our knowledge as such.

This discourse, seeing all things as the products of previous problem solving and as teetering on the brink of unpredictable futures, is able to continue the historical work of one of its parents-“theory.” It can expose and challenge the static structures of ousiodic ontology, be they exhibited in the factory, the household, the plantation, or the colony. But because it consciously avoids blanket sacrifice of the virtues of the present tense, i.e. of argument in the service of truth, it is able to follow the crucial injunction of its philosophical parent and to give an account of itself to others.

If this is right, the debate between philosophy and theory is over. Their future, so far as I can predict it, is one of unbridled cooperation.

 
 
Appendix: Ontology and Epistemolog

That a certain kind of ontology is required for the project of epistemology to make sense is a point originally made by Heidegger. (22) Plato, I think, illustrates the point in an interesting way. The general issue of whether sensible things can be known is almost omnipresent for him. As he puts it at Phaedo 65a-d, they cannot, for true knowledge can only come when the soul is autê kath’ hautên, ‘itself according to itself” or as I would put it most truly itself. Whether or not we can know the Forms themselves, by contrast, seems to be not nearly as pressing; Plato generally assumes that we do, probably, after death (cf. Phaedo 663-67a; he makes some extremely cryptic remarks on the issue at Parmenides 133b-134c). While the argumentative filiations here remain matter for future research, it is apparent that knowledge becomes a general problem for Plato only in the case of the kind of objects which is most unlike us. Since soul is “kin” (suggenês– cf. Phaedo 84b2) to the forms, not to sensibles, soul can truly be itself only when unaffected by sensibles, and true knowledge is of only of the non-sensible forms.

The ancient Skeptics illustrate the same thing, though in less interesting ways than Plato. They follow him in believing that the soul becomes most itself, i.e. achieves serenity (ataraxia), when involvement with the sensory world is suspended (especially cognitive involvement); again, the objects of which knowledge is sought were for them not similar to thinking minds, but mere “substrates”. (23)

When ancient and medieval thinkers, in the wake of Aristotle, conceived both knower and known as alike structured by form, the first part of philosophy had as its task not validating the possibility or impossibility of knowledge, but laying out the basic nature of form: it was “logic,” not “epistemology,” (24) and indeed in that famous sense of “logic” which coincides with “metaphysics.” Only when “substantial forms” were evicted from nature, leaving only matter in motion (and taking us back to the “substrates” of Skepticism), did the question of whether knowledge as a whole was possible at all become pressing.

Skepticism, and so epistemology as the antidote to it, is thus associable with what I will call “substrate ontologies”-ontologies which see all beings as consisting of a substrate in which various properties inhere. Combined with the view that all we can know of things is the properties they have, such ontologies raise the problem that we cannot know what is most basic-the substrates. If we are Cartesians, we can appeal to intellectual intuition of some sort, as Descartes does in the Second Meditation. (25) But if we are Empiricists, the nut is tougher. At one point, for example, Locke characterizes the attribution of substrates somehow underlying the properties we actually perceive to be a matter of “custom” and “supposition,” which suggests that the idea of substance could be entirely dispensed with–an attractive move, in view of the epistemological problems it would put to rest. (26) But when challenged on this ground by Lord Stillingfleet, who thought that Locke was making substance an optional concept, Locke responded that any other explanation for the subsistence of concatenated ideas is “inconceivable.” (27) It is Berkeley who will establish definitively that the idea of an unknown material substratum for the concatenated ideas we actually perceive is untenable–a main thesis of his “subjective idealism”. (28)

******************

(1) François Cusset, French Theory Paris: Éditions la Découverte 2003 p. 108. The phrase “reason, truth and scholarship” is from the open letter, signed by Quine among others, protesting Cambridge University’s awarding of an honorary degree to Jacques Derrida: quoted at John Caputo Deconstruction in a Nutshell New York: Fordham University Press, 1997 p. 39.

(2) John Searle, “Reiterating the Differences: A Reply to Derrida” Glyph 22 (1877) pp. 198-208; Derrida’s response is in Jacques Derrida, Limited Inc. (Gerald Graff, ed.) Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1988.

(3) This meaning of the term is beautifully played out in the opening lines of Plato’s Republic, where theôresthai is paired with proseukhesthai, to address in prayer.

(4) Hans Reichenbach, The Rise of Scientific Philosophy Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1951.

(5) Judith Butler Giving an Account of Oneself New York: Fordham University Press, 2005 pp. 1-22.

(6) For Derrida and Foucault, see my Philosophy and Freedom Bloomington, Indiana:” Indiana University Press, 2000. For Deleuze cf. my “Just in Time: Towards a New American Philosophy” Continental Philosophy Review 1: 34 (2003) pp. 61-80.

(7) For a sampling of the many places where Heidegger does this, see Heidegger, Basic Problems of Phenomenology (Albert Hofstadter, trans.) Bloom­ington: Indiana University Press, 1982 p. 113; An Introduction to Metaphysics (Ralph Manheim, trans.) New Haven: Yale University Press, 1959, the important discussion at pp. 194ff, as well as pp. 64 and 206; The Question of Being (William Kluback and Jean T, Wilde, trans.; German text with English facing) New Haven: Yale University Press, 1958 p. 21. Wegmarken p. 161; and the more extensive listing at Hildegard Feick, Wortindex zu Heideggers ‘Sein und Zeit’ Tübingen: Niemeyer, 4th ed. 1991 p. 63. Also cf. my Metaphysics and Oppression (Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1999 pp. 225-226.

(8) John McCumber, Metaphysics and Oppression, passim.

(9) See my Metaphysics and Oppression pp. 96, 180-193.

(10) And, as substrates, unknowable: as Appendix 2 suggests in more detail, it is the substance-ontology which makes epistemology pressing.

(11) The views expressed in the rest of this paper are developed in more detail in my Reshaping Reason: A New Philosophy Emerges, forthcoming. Also cf. my Time in the Ditch, Chapter Five.

(12) As when we investigate the truth of a scientific sentence by inquiring whether the exper­iment that supposedly establishes it was correctly carried out. But even here, the questions are different: we cannot be sure that creationism will not, someday, turn out to be true. But we can be quite certain that it is not scientific, i.e. cannot currently be located at the current stage of the growth of scientific knowledge.

(13) That is how I view it in my The Company of Words: Hegel, Language, and Systematic Philosophy Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1993.

(14) Cf. Sara Massey (ed.) Black Cowboys of Texas College Station, Texas: Texas A&M University Press, 2000 p. ix.

(15) A good deal of mischief has been done by reading contemporary, atemporal versions of logical negation back into Hegel. For a highly pitched example see Karl Popper, “What is Dialectic?” in Popper, Conjectures and Refutations New York: Basic Books, 1965 pp. 312-335.

(16) See my The Company of Words pp. 143-148.

(17) A minimal change is not necessarily a trivial one. It changes only a single aspect of the situation, but that aspect might be central to it. If we look at the criticisms of Plato’s theory of forms in the ninth chapter of the first book of Aristotle’s Metaphysics, for example, we find that they are all directed to just one of its assertions: that forms are “separate” from the things of which they are the forms. This single, minimal negation of Plato’s philosophy, however, was central enough to produce a massive transformation in philosophy itself.

(18) For a recapitulation of Heidegger’s argument see my Time in the Ditch: American Philosophy and the McCarthy Era Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press, 2001, pp. 157-158.

(19) See my Metaphysics and Oppression Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1999, pp. 15f for a discussion of “diakena.”

(20) Sam Farmer, “Bowl of Contention: How Successfully the New Soldier Field blends in with the Old Façade is an Open Question” Los Angeles Times Monday, September 29, 2003 p. D11 (sports section).

(21) Giovanna Borradori Philosophy in a Time of Terror: Dialogues with Jürgen Habermas and Jacques Derrida Chicago: Univeristy of Chicago Press, 2003 p. 113.

(22) Martin Heidegger, “Die Zeit des Weltbildes” in Heidegger, Holzwege Frankfurt: Klostermann, 4th ed. 1963 p 269-104; English translation in Heidegger, “The Age of the World Picture”, in Heidegger, The Question Concerning Technology and Other Essays (William Lovitt, trans.) New York: Harper and Row, 1977 pp. 115-154.

(23) hypokeimena: Sextus Empiricus, Outlines of Pyrrhonism I 19.

(24) Hence, as Aristotle put it, “…in syllogisms ousia is the start of everything:” Metaphysics VII.10 1034a30ff; see also VII.10 11035b27f, VII.14 1035b20f.

(25) See Descartes Oeuvres (Charles Adam and Paul Tannery, eds.) Paris: Cerf, 13 vols. 1896-1913 VII 30-32.

(26) John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (Alexander Campbell Fraser, ed.) New York: Dover, 2 vols, 1959 II.xxiii.1f.

(27) Locke, Essay II. 23.1f. See also the Editor’s Note at Essay II.23.1 (p. 390 n.3).

(28) See, e.g, George Berkeley, The Principles of Human Knowledge in David M. Armstrong (ed.) Berkeley’s Philosophical Writings New York: Collier, 1965 pp. 74-96. The qualities we actually sense cannot for Berkeley be shown to be caused by external substances, or at least by a plurality of unintelligent ones: they are all caused directly by God: see Berkeley, The Principles of Human Knowledge, pp. 71f. See my Metaphysics and Oppression pp. 109-179.

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