Papers in progress
- “Time-Horizon in Heidegger’s Kant-Interpretation.”
- “Temporal Synthesis and the Finitude of Being.”
- “Temporalität and Time-Determination in Heidegger’s 1925/26 Lectures.”
- “Reinterpretation of Subjectivity in a Non-Subjectivist Transcendental Philosophy of Time.”
Apart from publishing my dissertation as a monograph, I am planning a book which addresses my findings about temporal unfolding and temporal endurance to a broader audience.
The tentative title of the book is Once and for None: On the Forgetting of Endurance in Creativity, Individuality, and Masculinity. In it, I first argue, on the ontological level, that the only way for a human achievement (such as an artistic genre, a social institution, or even a scientific finding) to persist over time is to constantly renew itself in expressions fitting the evolving historical context. This takes patience and tenacity of generations, who act as the ‘site’ at which these achievements have their historical duration or ‘life’.
With this in mind, I then problematise the prevalent view, in theory but more importantly in unreflective practice, of the achievement of truth, justice, or meaning: this view prioritises momentary ‘dashes’ over long-term perseverance, which is embodied in emphases on innovation, initiatives, and ‘penetrative’ thinking. I exhibit the presence of this view in the history of thinking since Plato imagined an intuition into eternity (that is, a momentary dash which secures truth ‘once and for all,’ no further effort needed).
This would then allow me, on the one hand, to question the valorisation of assault in sexist or racist discourses, and, on the other hand, to read from religious practices a recognition of the broad yet often silent communal ground, which has always been supporting individuals and preserving achievements that seem to belong exclusively to these individuals.
My doctoral dissertation prepares an ontological-transcendental groundwork for the re-thinking of time: instead of interpreting time as a measure of the change of extant entities, I suggest that we situate the temporal character of experience within the unfolding of meaningful events. Thus viewed, the articulation of meaning necessarily takes time, and the time thus ‘taken’, which may be seen as indicating an ontological resistance intrinsic to our own finitude, is unlike any entity we encounter in the world; it is the transcendental condition for encountering entities. For every meaningful entity, to come into being in the fullness of time means to unfold and to differentiate as a gradually concretised complex, a process which cannot be abbreviated once and for all in a proposition ‘of’ its meaning.
The specialised researches I plan to publish in the near future can be summarised in four distinct yet correlated categories. The first is to look for a metaphysical account in which the plurality and generationality of human subjectivity matters, not just for the way things happen to show themselves ‘to us’, but for the very meaning of their being. Taking initial inspiration from the work of Arendt and Edith Stein, I argue that the only way for beings—ranging from artifices to ideal concepts to historical movements—to be in appropriate concreteness is to ‘happen’ at multiple, mutually correcting and competing ‘sites’, to undergo parallel or diachronic durations, and hence always to exhibit an excess to the grasp of any individual subjectivity. This metaphysical plurality, moreover, is weaved into the generational structure of human historicality: beings unfold themselves in intergenerational dialogues about their sense, and such dialogues are either actual (where the interlocutors are present in person) or virtual (where one side of the dialogue is ‘in default’ as a haunting reticence). Because of the plurality and generationality of human ‘sites’, the human being is capable of incepting senses that are radically new, senses which, moreover, are immortal in that it receives ever-renewed recognition from generations to come. The history of philosophy is itself an attestation to this, though the tradition tends to obscure its own condition of possibility, i.e., plurality and generationality.
The second and related category aims at understanding the unique dignity of human being with resources from both existential philosophy and religious accounts of humanity. In situating humanity between animality and divinity, between the transient and the eternal, I look for an intrinsic articulation of human finitude built upon felt limits such as natality, mortality, embodiment, emotional vulnerability, solitude, and historical partiality. This would allow us to see these limits, not as marks of our inferiority to an ‘unlimited’ or infinite being, but as constitutive of our tragic yet profound existence. The recognition of limits is therefore also a redemption of them: instead of hasting to overcome or to disregard them, I point towards a celebration of life as it is, in all its ups and downs; a nurturing of strength in our personality, so that we can contain the tragic aspects of human existence in multiplying ‘folds’ of life without being overwhelmed.
The third category concerns the search for a mid-point between subjective relativism and dogmatic objectivism with the help of the idea that the rhythm of events is autonomous: neither at the behest of the arbitrary will of a subject, nor reducible to the causality of indifferent matter. This is made possible with a modified transcendental philosophy of temporal events, in which the transcendental (the condition for the possibility of beings) is no longer founded on subjective consciousness alone. On the one hand, the subject (either an individual or a community) is reinterpreted as a translucent locus for the happening of events, rather than as a representing basis (substratum) for them. On the other hand, an emphasis is put on collective acts of narrating, commemorating, and institutionalising. These constitute the intermediary layer of shared meaning: giving them primacy would free us from the dilemma of subjectivism and objectivism. The investigation also situates me in the debate over the “death of the subject”: in the face of naturalist tendencies to dissolve subjectivity altogether, I would like to endorse the inevitability of subjectivity—thoroughly reinterpreted, to be sure—for a concrete comprehension of the world and of ourselves.
The fourth is about re-thinking the temporal duration of truth—above all, of scientific findings. I take a fallibilist position (broadly construed) and suggest that the idea that all truths have their own durations and are ‘expirable’ does not necessarily entail a surrender to subjective relativism. The fact that Newtonian physics was ‘falsified’ by relativity theory does not mean the former became untruth; it was only disclosed as having been a partial truth with conditioned validity. With the idea of ‘expirable’ truth, I problematise the identification, implicit in scientific and technological endeavours, of truth with timeless certainty. I interpret this will to pre-determine and to fix in advance as a will to ‘go faster than time.’ By contrast, I propose to imagine a respect for the rhythm of the unfolding events themselves (either natural or socio-historical).