Whitehead vs Heidegger (1): Beginnings

My problem with ALL THINGS SHINING is that it is not pluralist enough and that this is due to its heideggerian foundations. I have begun to read Steven Shaviro’s « WITHOUT CRITERIA » and he begins with a comparison between Heidegger and Whitehead. He considers 8 points of difference: beginnings, history of philosophy, metaphysics, language, style, technology, representation, and subjectivity. Sometimes he is unfair, but his list does capture a difference of tonality that may help to explain both my enthusiasm for and my dissatisfaction with ATS.
A preliminary sketch of Shaviro’s comparison can be found at his blog The Pinocchio Theory: http://www.shaviro.com/Blog/?p=342 .

1)Beginnings: Retrieval vs Production

Heidegger begins with the endeavour « to raise anew the question of the meaning of Being » , Whitehead is not concerned with retrieving the past but with the production of novelty. Dreyfus and Kelly repeat this nostalgic orientation towards the past in their slogan « luring back the gods ». The « luring back » is a monist gesture strangely inconsistent with the pluralist gesture of opening out to « gods ». It is monist because it violates the notion of incommensurability that they so timidly construct to describe the radical difference between understandings of being and then undo by postulating a continuity within the background assured by the presence of marginal practices that correspond to other understandings of being.

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2 commentaires pour Whitehead vs Heidegger (1): Beginnings

  1. dmf dit :

    I enjoyed Shaviro’s book for many of the reasons that you cite but think that we can follow Stengers constructivist mis-reading of Whitehead to have something akin to Rorty’s Romantic Polytheism without making the regressive move to pantheism/psychism.


  2. terenceblake dit :

    I am glad that you mention Rorty as he shares with Dreyfus and Kelly the notion of a secularized polytheism that rejects all attempts to commensurate the incommensurable as hegemonic power tactics. The desire to reinforce this polytheistic attitude by supplying it with an ontological basis such as panpsychism seems both unnecessary and a mistake. As Guattari said « before Being is politics ». Rorty seems more thoroughgoing in his polytheism here:
    « Once you become polytheistic, you will turn away not only from priests but from such priest-substitutes as metaphysicians and physicists–from anyone who purports to tell you how things really are »
    Dreyfus with his insistence that Heidegger is a realist with respect to modern physics seems to be an incomplete polytheist as he does not wish to extend his pluralism to physics, preferring a strange mix of Kuhn (incommensurability) and Kripke (rigid designator as recommensuration).


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