Seeking a Method of Philosophizing

Emmanuel Kant did overcome the passivity of the mind in the event of production of knowledge to some extent. He did restore the dynamism of the mind in the project of knowing. But his theory of the apriori categories of the mind has put back static passivity in the mind as it produces knowledge. W. H Hegel seems to be overcoming this defect as he restored instability by stating that the categories through which the mind is grasping reality are dynamic. This instability is certainly at the heart of reality. Martin Heidegger clearly tilts to towards this dynamism.

Hegel teaches that to be able to say that something ‘is’, or hold that it exits (that it is a Being) implies non-being or category of nothingness. Such that, one cannot call to mind being without presupposing or recalling the other of what one position as ‘is’. Being and non-being belong together. But even this Hegelian dialectics forgets the position of Joseph Marechal which teaches that when one thinks of something as ‘is’ one opens to existence in an unlimited form. This means our thinking involves a trialectics of Being, Non-being and Unlimited-being. This means our knowing always carry an excess. We may have to synthesize Hegel with neo-thomist Marechal.

It may bring us closer to the understanding of finitude that Heidegger says is forgotten by humanity. Here too we have to overcome a slice of static passivity that we find in Marechal. The passivity is in the limiting principle of individuation that seems to seal the dynamism of being once it gets individuated. This means being is moving towards beingfullness. We can see this in Jean-luc-Marion’s sense. It means being is tending to what Marechal calls unlimited being but it is limited by the finiting principle, non-being or nothing. That is, being belongs together to unlimited-being and non-being. This is why Emanuel Levinas is right. We cannot totalize being into our categories of same-ness.

There is always an excess/ surplus/ mystery that carry the marks of infinity in reality. The real therefore, in Jacque Lacanian sense cannot be fully theorized or rendered into categories of our understanding. This is why from the trialectics or trialogics that I have proposed, we may have to move to polylectics or polylogics to acount for infinity and remain open to the unlimited-being. Thus, reality/ Being belongs to the infinite set. The event of understanding is only drawing sub-set (s) that our experience and memory enables and disables. This means knowing is still coming together of the subject and object of knowledge. But is object-centric and the object of our knowledge is objecting or resisting it continuously and hence there is a growing terra in cognita that only we can humbly know in the process of knowing. This means the process of knowing is also a process of not knowing. It includes what we do not know.

This is why it requires humility to stay open to the not knowing occurring in process of knowing. This means knowing is open to unlimited knowing but has to occur in the background of nothing. We cannot even see something in abstraction or in its fullness. Phenomenological thinkers knew it. To see the coconut on a coconut tree, we will have to stop seeing everything else. This means we have to align our eye line to the see what we wish to see. Thus, our being and knowing in–the-world is marked by our finitude. It is forgetting of our finitude that is the cause of many of our problems today. This is why ethics becomes central to avoid pragmatic arrogance that one may find in the opening of all possibilities of thinking like in the thought of Deleuze and Gauttari or will to power as in the thought of Nietzsche and Foucault. Therefore, we will have to admit that all knowing and being occurs in the horizons of the pluriversal and not the monotopic-hermeneutics of the universal.

This may open us to the diatopic hermeneutics of Panikkar or to pluriversal hermeneutics of Walter Mignolo. We may have to stay open to different knowledge ecologies without ordering them on the drawing board of hierarchy. Will this mean we have to factor in hermeneutics that is seeking consensus? Jurgen Habermas is not acceptable as he calls for consensus that pretends to take the sting of politics but actually is letting one that can get the other by force of arguement to submission win. Therefore , I favour ethics of dissensus. Dissonance is productive. Our being and knowing in-the-world is profoundly political. Therefore, ethics of dissensus that seeks to take full responsibility of one’s position and stand for freedom of one’s position while respecting that of the others. This means unlike consensus, ethics of dissensus does not try to overcome politics of being and knowing-in-the-world but wishes to stay with the dynamics of politics but chooses to steer it towards emancipative options.

Ewa Plonsca Ziarek have best articulated ethics of dissensus so far. One can also trace a politics of disensus in search of equality in the work of Jacque Rancier. My issue with this position is equalizing politics may not always be emancipative. Such equalizing dissensus is not free from logocentirc limitations that does not fully account for difference or otherness. It seems to attempt to level down otherness as it disagrees to be recognized as equal. This is why letting the play of politics without seeking to silence it but working towards emancipation(s) in a pluriversal way is ethically more acceptable.

Perhaps, this is the great lesson we have through the novel dissident virus that is mutating even as I am writing. It has a dissident relationship with us and our medical science. Our condition with regard the novel virus is much closer to the cultivation of dissensus championed by English artist and thinker Helen Chadwick. Both Ziarek and Chadwick include our bodily dimension of life in their thinking of dissenus. Sensus is certainly bodily. This is why both consensus as well as dissensus has links to the body.

In fact reality is dissenting against our attempts to fix it. Reality is in an instable dance across a range of scales. It cannot be fully represented by our understanding and hence remains partly opaque which itself sets a full range of dynamic construction of our life. Dissensus challenges us to redistribute our experience of life without taking away its inherent politics. It challenges us to face our positions and actions with full responsibility and freedom. This means ethical dissensus can indeed take us on the part of emancipation and enable us to stand for our freedom and that of others .

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao