Saturday, July 14, 2007

The Esemplasticity of the Living Subject

It's time to take another gander at the ontological difference in light of Barbaras' philosophy of living movement. We begin with Husserl.

As Husserl affirms forcefully in The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology, phenomenology brings to the fore the correlation between the transcendent being and its subjective modes of given[ness]. This means that there is an irreducible distance or tear, constitutive of phenomenality, between appearing and the being on which manifestations rest, so that the search for a univocal sense of being that would embrace the appearing being and the "locus" of constitution is not pertinent. The difficulty is rather to think of the difference of the being conditioning the manifestation in such a way that its "beingness," its intraworldliness, is not compromised by this difference.

(Desire and Distance, p. 149, emphases Barbaras')

Patoĉka's philosophy of movement, to which Barbaras is deeply indebted, leads to the following conundrum:

Determining Dasein's ultimate sense of being as movement of realization compromises its unicity at the very moment when its singularity is fully revealed, as if a rigorous determination of the subject of the manifestation's sense of being had as its counterpart a questioning of the tear inherent in the correlation–as if, therefore, we abandoned phenomenology at the very moment in which we succeeded in establishing its possibility.

(p. 150, Barbaras'emphasis)

Barbaras is exactly right that the Patoĉkan idea of being as movement compromises the unicity of Dasein, which I will refer to as the "existential subject" while adopting the term "living subject" for the compromised entity whose basis is living movement. If the living subject's singularity remains intact while its unicity is compromised, is it possible then that it retains an esemplasticity, a capability or even a tendency towards unification? Or does the ontology of living movement also forcefully compromise this capacity? If the latter is the case, can this really be an acceptable rendering of who we are? A phenomenological cogito, for all of its brittleness, would then seem to have its advantages. Perhaps, however, the living subject truly is esemplastic, even while, or precisely because, its unicity is in doubt.

These are Barbaras' concluding thoughts:

These, then are the ultimate questions that I have invited my readers to consider: Is it possible (and on what conditions) to account for the difference between the appearing and the subject of manifestations on the basis of the monistic cosmology envisaged by this philosophy of movement? Does the concept of movement as realization allow us to maintain the originary difference between the movement of existence and the beings that it makes appear? How can the univocality of the ontologico-cosmological concept of movement be reconciled with the correlation and therefore with the difference of phenomenology's constitutive sense of being? In short, does the cosmological monism outlined by Patoĉka by means of an unprecedented deeping of the human subject's sense of being threaten the phenomenological undertaking, or does it constitute its most radical accomplishment.

(p. 150)

I can't help but feeling, as I've indicated before, that the ontological difference is intolerable. If I am to go beyond phenomenology towards a cosmo-ontology, however, I don't want to sacrifice the test of experience. Does this ontology make sense in terms of what I can know based on my own experience? I am unsure of my fundamental unicity, yet I don't doubt the esemplastic character of my experience, the fact that it seems to belong to me. How do we think uniqueness? I just don't know.

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posted by Fido the Yak at 12:05 PM.


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