Philosophy, Politics, Autonomy: Essays in Political by Cornelius Castoriadis

By Cornelius Castoriadis

Those awesome essays comprise Cornelius Castoriadis's most up-to-date contributions to philosophy, political and social thought, classical stories, improvement conception, cultural feedback, technology, and ecology. reading the "co-birth" in historical Greece of philosophy and politics, Castoriadis indicates how the Greeks' radical wondering of tested principles and associations gave upward push to the "project of autonomy". The "end of philosophy" proclaimed by means of Postmodernism could suggest the top of this undertaking. That finish is now hastened by means of the deadly growth of technoscience, the waning of political and social clash, and the resignation of intellectuals who blindly protect Western tradition because it is or who in simple terms denounce or "deconstruct" it because it has been. Discussing and criticizing Plato, Aristotle, Leibniz, Kant, Hegel, Weber, Heidegger, and Habermas, the writer of The Imaginary establishment of Society and Crossroads within the Labyrinth poses a thorough problem to our inherited philosophy.

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By this a ffirmation, we contradict the entire spectrum of exist­ ing tenets : h istory as the p roduct of the w i l l of God ; h istory as the result of the actio n of ( " natura l " or " histori ca l " ) " laws " ; h i story as a "subjectless process " ; h istory as a p u rely random process. It is not m y p u rpose, however, t o d iscuss or t o refute these tenets here. 2 We posit h istory in itself as creation and destruction. We are speak­ ing at an ontologi cal level h ere, for we a re concerned with the cre­ ation and destruction of forms, of eide.

This opens up immediately the possibility of questioning our own institution and of acting in regard to it. If its origin is nomos and not physis, then it could be changed through human action and h uman reflection, and this leads immedi­ ately to new questions: Ought we to change it? For what reasons ? Up to what limits ? How? This is why a genuine interest in the institutions of other peoples as such appears in fact only in the two social­ historical formations, Ancien t Greece and Western Europe (which in­ cludes, of course, the United States ) , where true politics-in the sense of calling into q uestio n the existing institutions and of changing them through deliberate collective actio n-and true philosophy-in the sense of calling into question the instituted representations and mean­ ings and of changing them through the self-reflective activity of thought-were created.

In this respect, I can only summarize here, dogmatically, my own positions. I believe it i mpossi ble to understand what philosophy is truly, without taking into account its central place i n the birth and deployment of the social-historical project of (individual and social) autonomy. Philosophy and democracy were born at the same time and in the same place. 7 To put it in another way: the struggle for democracy is the struggle for true self-government. explicit self-institution, which presupposes, of course, the put­ ting into question of the existi ng i nstitution-an d this, in principle, at any time.

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