The Contours of ‘Left Heideggerianism’: Post-Foundationalism and Necessary Contingency

Oliver Marchart

in Post-Foundational Political Thought

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print July 2007 | ISBN: 9780748624973
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748672066 | DOI:
The Contours of ‘Left Heideggerianism’: Post-Foundationalism and Necessary Contingency

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This chapter substantiates the main thesis — according to which the political difference must be understood as symptomatically pointing at the crumbling grounds of foundationalism — by analysing its elements step by step, starting with an account of the notion of post-foundationalism itself and of the quasi-transcendental argument by which post-foundational thought proceeds. It then examines the Heideggerian roots of post-foundationalism (around the four concepts of event, moment, freedom, and difference) in order to better understand left Heideggerianism. It also shows how the ontological difference is implicated in the radical notion of contingency, which lies at the (negative) ‘core’ of current post-foundational thinking. The term ‘foundationalism’ can be used to define — from the viewpoint of social and political theory — those theories which assume that society and/or politics are ‘grounded on principles that are undeniable and immune to revision and located outside society and politics’. Finally, the chapter explores how Martin Heidegger proceeds regarding the question of the ontological difference.

Keywords: left Heideggerianism; foundationalism; post-foundationalism; ontological difference; Martin Heidegger; politics; contingency; event; moment; freedom

Chapter.  9250 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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