The Movement of Philosophy: Freedom as Ecstatic Thinking in Schelling and Heidegger
Arola, Adam, 1981-
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Arola, Adam, 1981-
The question of freedom has been a present and constant concern since the inception of the occidental philosophical tradition. Yet after a certain point the manner in which this question is to be asked has been canonized and sedimented: do humans (subject) have the capacity (predicate) for free and spontaneous action? The third antinomy of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, I argue, demonstrates the necessary failure, the perpetual aporia, of continuing to discuss whether humans conceived of as subjects possess the predicate freedom. I argue that if we do not want to fall either into the Third Antinomy, we must steer away from thinking of freedom as a predicate of a subject and reconfigure it as an experience or a comportment. Following suggestions from Jean-Luc Nancy's The Inoperative Community, Being Singular Plural, and The Experience of Freedom, my dissertation argues that re-thinking of freedom as an experience simultaneously requires a re-thinking of identity, in terms of ecstasy, ek-stases, or ex-position, and accordingly a re-thinking of the activity of thinking itself. Nancy cites Schelling and Heidegger as the thinkers who have made an attempt to think about ecstasy seriously as a fundamental ontological fact about the constitution of things. This reconfiguration of the constitution of things as either parts of organic structures (Schelling) or beings in a world (Heidegger), demands that we recognize how our identities are perpetually being constituted in all of our acts of relating with the world. We are constituted and constituting by our engagement with the things that environ us, and this environing is active and alive. If this is accepted as an ontological fact, this requires that we reconsider what it would mean to think, as all of our engagements with the world would be creative-both of ourselves and of what it is that we encounter. This would also mean that the meaningfulness of all things is wildly contingent, in fact necessarily, so. Accordingly, I defend that freedom, as the experience of possibility through our awareness of this contingency due to the lack of an origin, emerges for us in the experience of thinking.