Academic journal article Philosophy Today

Hermeneutic Communism And/or Hermeneutic Anarchism

Academic journal article Philosophy Today

Hermeneutic Communism And/or Hermeneutic Anarchism

Article excerpt

1.INTRODUCTION

The position I will advocate in what follows can be summarized thusly: In problematizing the prejudices of modern politics (and the political project of modernity), hermeneutic philosophy does not engage in championing a leftist or rightist political standpoint. Nonetheless, hermeneutic philosophy has a post-political agenda which consists in diagnosing the "retreat of the political" and figuring out the ways of overcoming (in the sense of Vattimo's Verwindung) the distortions caused by modern politics-which, by now, is postideological and freed from a commitment to meta-narratives. The post-political agenda of hermeneutics is a "critique of politics" that should take into consideration all connotations involved in "critique" This formulation presupposes a difference between politics (lapolitique) and the political (lepolitique) that-in line with Jean-Luc Nancy, Claude Lefort, and several other authors-might be interpreted in two main (more or less Heideggerian) ways.

On the one hand, the political is that whole of politics which ontologically constitutes the latter's factual reality without having a factual existence of its own. The talk of politics' factual reality admits that the empirical facts, events, and processes of politics can be epistemically conceptualized within the frameworks of politological theorizing. Yet what ontologically constitutes the factuality of politics (being conceptualized in this manner) resists conceptualization within such frameworks. In the perspective of politological theorizing, the political-the ontological totality of politics-is completely absent from the factual reality of politics. However, it is totally present in all particular political facts, events, and processes as providing their ontological meaning. Consequently, the political has a totally absent presence in politics. On the other hand, since the reality of politics is always projected upon possibilities, the political is a horizon of revealing and concealing possibilities in politics. The two ways of interpreting the difference between the political and politics complement each other. Though not discussing this difference explicitly, I will employ it, trying to make the "conflicting cooperation" between politics and the political instrumental in my critical analysis of hermeneutic communism.

In admiring Vattimo's post-metaphysical recasting of hermeneutics within a political horizon, I will try to extend the ontological context of his discussion. My preoccupation in what follows will be with the kind of being-with assumed by the doctrine of hermeneutic communism. It is my contention that the postmetaphysical debates about the communist idea would have profited from taking into account the forms of solicitude Heidegger addresses in Being and Time. Paying special attention to these forms would additionally allow one to specify the ontological conditions of being-with for having a communist mode of being-inthe-world. Yet extending the debate's scope in this way is not a neutral undertaking. In spelling out the extension, I will transform it into a criticism: Communism in general rests on a kind of being-with-one-another that forecloses interesting possibilities for being-with. These possibilities are to be disclosed within a social ontology (or more correctly, a hermeneutic ontology of sociality) that is at odds with the regulative ideals of communism.

The paper is organized as follows. In the next section, my efforts will be devoted to that logic of diremption and emergencies in thinking historically which enables one to advocate a leftist-Heideggerian position. The post-metaphysical weakening of metaphysical grounds opens a horizon of"active non-participation" in the framed democracies' political life that characterizes hermeneutics-qua-leftist-politics. The next section probes the extent to which Benjamin's re-translation into theological language of what Marx had secularized might complement the Heideggerian profile of hermeneutic communism. …

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