Toward an Ontology of the Social-Historical

Suzi Adams

in Castoriadis's Ontology

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780823234585
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780823240739 | DOI:

Series: Perspectives in Continental Philosophy

Toward an Ontology of the Social-Historical

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This chapter begins by outlining Castoriadis's long journey through the being of nomos. Castoriadis's shift to ontology in the second part of The Imaginary Institution of Society was meant to elucidate the ontological preconditions of an autonomous society. The chapter focuses on Castoriadis's elucidation of the social-historical as a hitherto occluded mode of being in traditional philosophy. It reconstructs Castoriadis's contention that the social-historical is characterized by self-creation rather than by determination from an external source, and, more in turn, the claim that inherited philosophy has reduced being to a question of determinacy. In mapping Castoriadis's critique of traditional approaches to “society” and “history,” it charts his discussion of history as an order of qualitative time and creation, and his critique of the philosophical “spatialization of time” through his discussion of Plato's Timaeus and mention of magma. Castoriadis set out to elucidate the social-historical as a regional ontology of self-creation, but it is argued that with the introduction of Castoriadis's neologism, à-être (always becoming being), openings towards his later trans-regional ontology of creative physis begin to appear.

Keywords: social-historical; time; creation; Plato; ontology; à-être

Chapter.  15443 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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