Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Tom Sparrow on ontology, from Plastic Bodies.
If Heidegger’s ontology represents a form of correlationism—it would seem that this is how Levinas understands it, although the point is contentious—then Levinasian metaphysics challenges correlationism in the name of an infinity which exceeds the subject-object relation. The challenge operates as a response to what Levinas perceives as the inability of Heideggerian ontology to accommodate otherness, infinity, alterity—that is, to think beyond being. This may not be a failure of ontology in general, however, but a failure only of correlationist ontology. An ontology that surpasses correlationism might not meet the usual Levinasian criticism. Indeed, what Levinas provides, I think, is a non-correlationist ontology, although he is reluctant to call it ontology for fear that his work will be read too closely to Heidegger’s. Putting this worry aside, we may surmise that ontology is not intrinsically reductive, violent, or unethical.
There's hope then.
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