Metaphysics and Oppression

Metaphysics and Oppression : Heidegger's Challenge to Western Philosophy

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In this stunning philosophical accomplishment, McCumber sheds important new light on the history of substance metaphysics and Heidegger's challenge to metaphysical thinking.... Well-documented, brilliant, definitely a major contribution to philosophy!" -ChoiceIn this compelling work, John McCumber unfolds a history of Western metaphysics that is also a history of the legitimation of oppression. That is, until Heidegger. But Heidegger himself did not see how his conception of metaphysics opened doors to challenge the domination encoded in structures and institutions-such as slavery, colonialism, and marriage-that in the past have given order to the Western world.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 360 pages
  • 156 x 233.9 x 26.2mm | 612.11g
  • Indiana University Press
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • 3 figures, 1 bibliog., 1 index
  • 0253213169
  • 9780253213167
  • 1,465,525

About John McCumber

John McCumber is Professor of German at Northwestern University. He is author of Poetic Interaction: Language, Freedom, Reason and The Company of Words: Hegel, Language, and Systematic Philosophy.show more

Review quote

In this stunning philosophical accomplishment, McCumber (Northwestern Univ. and author of Poetic Interaction, 1989, and The Company of Words, 1993) sheds important new light on the history of substance metaphysics and Heidegger's challenge to metaphysical thinking. He carefully analyzes use of the concept of ousia in Aristotle, Aquinas, Descartes, Hobbes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, and Hume. He finds in Aristotle three defining aspects of ousia: 1) everything occurs only within a boundary; 2) through disposition, everything is hierarchically arranged, and 3) through active initiative, form imposes itself on matter. He shows how the metaphysical concept of ousia, by defining the way things are, justifies as rational such social structures as slavery, colonialism, and male domination of women. In each case, rational form imposes itself on irrational matter. Historically, this has offered a conceptual rationale for oppression, but the analysis of Heidegger offers a positive alternative. Heidegger blurs ousia with metaphysics of presence; his thinking breaks through boundaries, does not impose a top-down hierarchy on nature and society, and does not relegate some things or people to the category of matter. Thus, significantly, Heidegger's critique of substance metaphysics offers a way beyond oppressive thinking. Well-documented, brilliant, definitely a major contribution to philosophy! Upper-division undergraduates and above.R. E. Palmer, emeritus, MacMurray College, 2000apr CHOICE.show more

Table of contents

ProemIntroduction: Two Heideggers and Their ChallengePart 1: The Codification and Consolidation of Ousia (Aristotle and Aquinas)1. Aristotle's Concept of Ousia2. Ousia as Parameter in Aristotle3. The Docility of Matter in Thomas Aquinas4. Two Ancient Engines of OppressionAppendix to Part 1: Plato and PrehistoryPart 2: The Modern Eviction of Ousia (Descartes, Hobbes, Locke, Hume)Introduction to Part 25. The Cartesian Relocation of Ousia6. Ousia and Sovereignty in Hobbes7. Ousia and Property Rights in Locke8. The Triumph of the Individual in Hume9. Critical Accounts of Oppression in Mudimbe, Douglass, de BeauvoirAppendix to Part 2: Ousiodic Structures in Spinoza and LeibnizPart 3: Heidegger's Challenge to Ousia10. Heidegger's Presentation of Diakena in Being and Time11. Diakena and Thing in the Later Heidegger12. ConclusionNotesBibliographyIndexshow more

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