The Horror of Materialism

Larval Subjects .

Cu-corralWith his declaration of the identity of being and thinking Parmenides inaugurates one of the central themes and aspirations of Western philosophy:  absolute knowledge.  It is this that Heidegger and Derrida are referring to when they speak of the “philosophy of presence”.  Being that is identical to thinking will be maximally present.  It will present itself without remainder, with nothing withdrawn, with nothing outside.  There will be hundreds of variations on this theme.  Parmenides, of course, will give his patient demonstration, arguing that if non-being is not and that if difference always involves reference to what something is not, then thought cannot be other than being.  There will be Plato’s theory of recollection, where being is already written in our souls and we merely need to recollect it.  There will be Descartes’ identity of existing and thinking, along with the doctrine of innate ideas.  There will be Spinoza’s magnificent metaphysics…

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