Cover image for Metaphysics and oppression : Heidegger's challenge to Western philosophy
Title:
Metaphysics and oppression : Heidegger's challenge to Western philosophy
Author:
McCumber, John.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Bloomington, Ind. : Indiana University Press, [1999]

©1999
Physical Description:
xiv, 338 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780253334732

9780253213167
Format :
Book

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B3279.H49 M3754 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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Summary

Summary

"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!" --Choice

In 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.


Author Notes

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.


Reviews 1

Choice Review

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


Table of Contents

Proem
Introduction: Two Heideggers and Their Challenge
Part 1 The Codification and Consolidation of Ousia (Aristotle and Aquinas)
1 Aristotle's Concept of Ousia
2 Ousia as Parameter in Aristotle
3 The Docility of Matter in Thomas Aquinas
4 Two Ancient Engines of Oppression
Appendix to Part 1 Plato and Prehistory
Part 2 The Modern Eviction of Ousia (Descartes, Hobbes, Locke, Hume)
Introduction to Part 2
5 The Cartesian Relocation of Ousia
6 Ousia and Sovereignty in Hobbes
7 Ousia and Property Rights in Locke
8 The Triumph of the Individual in Hume
9 Critical Accounts of Oppression in Mudimbe, Douglass, de Beauvoir
Appendix to Part 2 Ousiodic Structures in Spinoza and Leibniz
Part 3 Heidegger's Challenge to Ousia
10 Heidegger's Presentation of Diakena in Being and Time
11 Diakena and Thing in the Later Heidegger
12 Conclusion
Notes
Bibliography
Index