Problem and Construction: Kant, Schelling, Deleuze

Dissertation, Depaul University (2001)

The dissertation addresses the issues of subjectivity, method, and criticism in postmodern European philosophy by tracing their roots back to a specific interpretation of the meaning of Kantian critique. It then presents an alternative line of Kant-interpretation opened up by F. W. J. Schelling and which, I argue, is prolonged in this century by Gilles Deleuze. Specifically, it engages in a historical and thematic analysis of the concepts of construction, deduction, problem and Idea as they are variously treated in Kant, Schelling, and Deleuze. It examines the epistemological, ontological, and indeed ethical dimensions of the method of construction in philosophy since Kant. The key issue motivating this reinterpretation is the implicit relationship between ontology and ethics, or theoretical and practical philosophy, and how this relationship has been conceived in twentieth-century European philosophy by thinkers such as Heidegger and Levinas. The claim is that much contemporary European and Euro-American philosophy conceives this relationship in such a way that it is constrained to deal exclusively with "human reality" and meaning-formation, generating an aversion toward discourses oriented primarily toward treating nonhuman objects . By dealing both historically and analytically with the notion of "construction" in philosophy, the dissertation aspires to reorient contemporary philosophy away from its preoccupation with the human and toward the treatment of nature as a legitimate subject for philosophy today
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