Saturday, December 01, 2012


You cannot talk about progress in ensemblistic-identitarian (which I call the ensidic for short), let us say: the logico-instrumental. There is progress, for example, in the H-bomb relative to flint, since the former can kill a lot more and better than the latter. But when it comes to fundamental things, one cannot talk about progress. There is neither progress nor regression between the Parthenon and Paris’s Notre Dame Cathedral, between Plato and Kant, between Bach and Wagner, between Altamira and Picasso. But there are breaks: in ancient Greece, between the eighth and fifth centuries, with the creation of democracy and philosophy; or in Western Europe, beginning in the tenth-eleventh centuries, accompanied by a gigantic host of new creations and culminating in the modern period.

(Cornelius Castoriadis, "The Project of Autonomy Is Not a Utopia")

[M]y ontology is an ontology of creation: creation and destruction.  Creation can be democracy and the Parthenon and Macbeth, but it is also Auschwitz, the Gulag, and all that.  These are fantastic creations.  Politics has to do with political judgments and value choices.

Q: For which you can't find an ontological ground?

No. I don't think there is an ontological basis for value judgments.  Once you enter the field of philosophy, you have already made a value judgment, Socrates' value judgment: the unexamined life is not worth living (and the unlived life is not worth examining, as you say in Essex - this is true as well).  But this is already a stand you have taken.  In this sense, the decision to enter the reflexive domain is already a sort of grounding decision, which can't rationally ground itself.  If you try to rationally ground it, you use what is the result of the decision.  You are in a vicious circle.

(Castoriadis, "Autonomy Is an Ongoing Process")

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