Negative Realism
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AbstractIn his Critique of Pure Reason, Kant undertakes a radical new philosophical beginning by uncovering a latent dogmatism in traditional metaphysics. Any inquiry into the ‘what it is to be’ of Being must already assume that the subject, via its reason, has the capacity to know ‘what it is to be’. Accordingly, in order to attain a critical relationship to our own question about the meaning of Being, the philosopher must interrogate her own reason. Our question is the same as Kant’s: is reason capable of knowing what it is to be, or more simply: to what extent is Being accessible to reason?
Though we ask the same question, our methodological approach differs from the master, and it is the much celebrated argument from facticity from which our method diverges. Irrespective of whether what it is to which we have access is present to us merely phenomenologically, what is given to philosophical reflection nonetheless is. Insofar as there is the fact of the givenness or presence of some being to philosophical reflection, we are justified to raise the question: ‘what is it to be?’ Being is that in virtue of which that which is given is. Perhaps ironically then, we follow Heidegger by asking the old question again and interrogate Being. What is it to be?
Our method consists in thinking Being autonomously. Following Heidegger, “to think is to confine yourself to a single thought.” As I will show, by isolating Being and attending to it auto kath auto, the concept of Being shows itself to be both self-referential and self-negating. Having witnessed the self-negation of Being, reason must recognize its own impotence in the face of Being. The impotence of reason in the face of Being discloses the impossibility of a dominant strain of traditional metaphysics. Reason cannot know what it is to be. Nonetheless, through the failure of reason to think Being, a new path opens in the Lichtung: Being reveals itself only in non-conceptual space. Though metaphysics is impossible, the ‘what it is to be’ of Being cannot remain hidden: it is revealed as what exceeds the concept in the experience of the annihilation of conceptual determinacy. In short: by thinking Being in its self-referential autonomy, reason discloses Being as it is in itself.
All Author(s) ListGregory S. Moss
All Editor(s) ListJesper Lundsfryd Rasmussen, Christoph Asmuth
Book titleThe Problem of the Beginning
Year2020
Publisherverlag koenigshausen neumann
Pages- - -
LanguagesEnglish-United States

Last updated on 2019-31-07 at 10:48