Tropetheory is the view that the world is a world of abstract particular qualities. But if all there is are tropes, how do we account for the truth of propositions ostensibly made true by some concrete particular? A common answer is that concrete particulars are nothing but tropes in compresence. This answer seems vulnerable to an argument (first presented by F. H. Bradley) according to which any attempt to account for the nature of relations will end up (...) either in contradiction, nonsense, or will lead to a vicious infinite regress. I investigate Bradley’s argument and claim that it fails to prove what it sets out to. It fails, I argue, because it does not take all the different ways in which relation and relata may depend on one another into account. If relations are entities that are distinct from yet essentially dependent upon their relata, the Bradleyan problem is solved. We are then free to say that tropes in compresence are what make true propositions ostensibly made true by concrete particulars. (shrink)
In this paper I explore Michael Loux’s important distinction between “tropes” and “tropers”. First, I argue that the distinction throws into relief an ambiguity and discrepancy in the literature, revealing two fundamentally different versions of tropetheory. Second, I argue that the distinction brings into focus unique challenges facing each of the resulting trope theories, thus calling into question an alleged advantage of tropetheory—that by uniquely occupying the middle ground between its rivals, trope (...)theory is able to recover and preserve the insights of these views. Ultimately, the distinction suggests that tropetheory is a divided house. (shrink)
The concept of appearance has had the historical misfortune of being associated with a Kantian or idealist program in metaphysics. Within this program, appearances are treated as "internal objects" that are immaterial and exert no causal powers over the physical world. However, there is a more mundane and innocuous notion of appearance, in which to say that x appears to y is just to say that y perceives x. In this more mundane sense of the term, an appearance is a (...) perceived object ? qua perceived. In this paper, I try and develop an account of the metaphysic of appearances in this more mundane sense. The account is developed within the framework of TropeTheory. After defining the notion of a "phenomenal trope," I construe appearances as special bundles of phenomenal tropes. I then use this account to develop an approach to the thorny issue of appearance individuation. (shrink)
The traditional ontology within which chemistry has developed involved various versions of a general substance/attribute scheme. Recently this has been challenged by two versions of Dynamism. One version is derived from the writings of A. N. Whitehead and the other from several sources, including G. Leibniz and I. Kant. Both involve the idea of flux of actual occasions. Unlike the former scheme, the latter involves a foundation of causal powers and the energetics of field theory. The situation has been (...) made more interesting because of the revival of tropetheory, based on an ontology of particularized attributes. This notion is claimed to resolve philosophical problems about the nature of universals and of substances through the introduction of spatial and temporal sequences of tropes. While tropetheory seems, at first sight, to work as an attractive alternative to substance/attribute close inspection shows that it is beset with difficulties that are more problematic that the dynamist ontology based on casual powers, dispositions and affordances. (shrink)
Tropetheory is a leading metaphysical theory in analytic ontology. One of its classic statements is found in the work of Donald C. Williams who argued that tropes qua abstract particulars are the very alphabet of being. The concept of an abstract particular has been repeatedly attacked in the literature. Opponents and proponents of tropetheory alike have levelled their criticisms at the abstractness of tropes and the associated act of abstraction. In this paper I (...) defend the concept of a trope qua abstract particular by rejecting arguments that purport to show that tropes should not be understood as abstract and by arguing that the abstractness of tropes plays an indispensable role in one of our more promising trope-theoretic analyses of universals and of concrete objects. (shrink)
This note presents an argument to show that tropetheory, as usually conceived, gets into difficulties in handling certain ways in which two objects can resemble one another. Ways out of the difficulties are discussed briefly.
In this paper, I argue that (non-presentist) endurantism is incompatible with the view that properties are universals. I do so by putting forward a very simple objection that forces the endurantist to embrace tropes, rather than universals. I do not claim that this is bad news for the endurantist—tropetheory seems to me by all means more appealing than universals—rather, I would like to see this result as a further motivation to embrace tropes. I then also put forward (...) a (more controversial) reason to believe that at least some versions of perdurantism also require tropes rather than universals. (shrink)
G. F. Stout is famous as an early twentieth century proselyte for abstract particulars, or tropes as they are now often called. He advanced his version of tropetheory to avoid the excesses of nominalism on the one hand and realism on the other. But his arguments for tropes have been widely misconceived as metaphysical, e.g. by Armstrong. In this paper, I argue that Stout’s fundamental arguments for tropes were ideological and epistemological rather than metaphysical. He moulded his (...) scheme to fit what is actually given to us in perception, arguing that our epistemic practices would break down in an environment where only universals were given to us. (shrink)
In this chapter, I present the first systematic trope nominalist approach to natural kinds of objects. It does not identify natural kinds with the structures of mind-independent entities (objects, universals or tropes). Rather, natural kinds are abstractions from natural kind terms and objects belong to a natural kind if they satisfy their mind-independent application conditions. By relying on the tropetheory SNT (Keinänen 2011), I show that the trope parts of a simple object determine the kind (...) to which it belongs. Moreover, I take the first steps to generalize the trope nominalist theory to the natural kinds of complex objects. (shrink)
The concept of instantiation is realized differently across a variety of metaphysical theories. A certain realization of the concept in a given theory depends on what roles are specified and associated with the concept and its corresponding term as well as what entities are suited to fill those roles. In this paper, the classic realization of the concept of instantiation in a one-category ontology of abstract particulars or tropes is articulated in a novel way and defended against unaddressed objections.
A standard interpretation of Plato’s metaphysics holds that sensible particulars are images of Forms. Such particulars are fairly independent, like Aristotelian substances. I argue that this is incorrect: Platonic particulars are not Form images but aggregates of Form images, which are property-instances. Timaeus 49e-50a focuses on “this-suches” and even goes so far as to claim that they compose other things. I argue that Form images are this-suches, which are tropes. I also examine the geometrical account, showing that the geometrical constituents (...) of the elements are also Form images. Thus everything in the sensible world is composed of tropes. (shrink)
Field theories have been central to physics over the last 150 years, and there are several theories in contemporary physics in which physical fields play key causal and explanatory roles. This paper proposes a novel field trope-bundle (FTB) ontology on which fields are composed of bundles of particularized property instances, called tropes and goes on to describe some virtues of this ontology. It begins with a critical examination of the dominant view about the ontology of fields, that fields are (...) properties of a substantial substratum. (shrink)
A trope is an abstract particular. Trope theorists maintain that tropes exist and argue that they can solve important philosophical problems, such as explaining the nature of properties. While many contemporary interpreters of Aristotle read him as a trope theorist, few commentators distinguish different versions of tropetheory. Which, of any, of these versions did Aristotle hold? Classical trope theorists say that individuals just are bundles of tropes. This essay offers a reading of Categories (...) 2-5 and Metaphysics VII-VIII that aligns Aristotle's view with nonclassical tropetheory, according to which objects are more than just bundles of tropes. (shrink)
Meinard Kuhlmann has recently provided an interpretation of quantum field theory that seems to offer an alternative to the particle and field interpretations. The main idea is to adopt a trope ontology and, then, consider particles and fields as derivative entities. The aim of this paper is to discuss Kuhlmann's proposal. In the first part of the paper I will offer a reconstruction of his position. I will then show that this interpretation faces some problems about the distinction (...) between essential and non-essential tropes and their link to the formalism of algebraic quantum field theory, which is the formulation of the theory that Kuhlmann adopts in his interpretation. Finally, I will show how Kuhlmann's proposal might share some problems with the particle and field interpretations, namely the localization problem and the Unruh effect. (shrink)
This article discusses a familiar version of tropetheory as opposed to a familiar version of the theory of universals, examining how these two rivals address the problem of “attribute agreement”—a problem that has been at the root of the very reason for developing these theories in the first place. The article shows that there is not much of a difference between the ways these two theories handle the problem, and in a more general way it argues (...) that there is little reason for preferring one theory over the other. It is not interested in this claim only for the sake of the debate between tropetheory and the theory of universals. Indeed, the reasons why it claims that it is so difficult to choose one theory over the other can be applied to other cases as well. (shrink)
Nonreductive physicalism faces serious problems regarding causal exclusion, causal heterogeneity, and the nature of realization. In this paper I advance solutions to each of those problems. The proposed solutions all depend crucially on embracing modal counterpart theory. Hence, the paper’s thesis: counterpart theory saves nonreductive physicalism. I take as my inspiration the view that mental tokens are constituted by physical tokens in the same way statues are constituted by lumps of clay. I break from other philosophers who have (...) pursued this line, however, in that I hold that constitution is identity. Much of the value of the comparison to statues and lumps is that it calls to mind the resources used to defend constitution-as-identity, most notably that of counterpart theory. Along the way, I discuss the virtues of a trope ontology, modal objections to token identity theories, the prospects of conditional analyses of causal powers, the subset account of realization, and the grounding problem. I also endorse a novel, empirical argument in favor of counterpart theory. (shrink)
Following W.V. Quine’s lead, many metaphysicians consider ontology to be concerned primarily with existential questions of the form, “What is there?”. Moreover, if the position advanced by Rudolf Carnap, in his seminal essay, “Empiricism, Semantics, and Ontology ”, is correct, then many of these existential ontological questions ought to be classified as either trivially answerable or as “pseudo-questions”. One may justifiably wonder, however, whether the Quinean and Carnapian perspective on ontology really does justice to many of the most central concerns (...) of this discipline. This chapter argues, by considering a particular ontological dispute between two different kinds of trope theorists, that some of the most interesting and important debates which properly belong to the study of being, whether we call it “metaphysics” or “ ontology ”, do not concern existential questions at all; rather, such disputes in some cases focus on non-existential disagreements over questions of fundamentality. (shrink)
This is about a proposed solution to the exclusion problem, one I've defended elsewhere. Details aside, it's just the identity theory : mental properties face no threat of exclusion from, or preemption by, physical properties, because every mental property is a physical property. Here I elaborate on this solution and defend it from some objections. One of my goals is to place it in the context of a more general ontology of properties, in particular, a trope ontology.
In The Problems of Philosophy, Russell presented his famous regress argument against the nominalist denial of universals. In this paper I explore the origin of the argument in Russell and explore its relevance in contemporary metaphysical debate. I argue that a hundred years on, the argument still presents a powerful tool for realists in their debate with nominalists and trope theorists.
Combining insights from narrative analysis in sociology and tropetheory in anthropology, this article develops a theory of tropes that emphasizes their historical production and political effects. Tropes function politically to enable some narratives, identities and resolutions while foreclosing others. As a powerful tool for socio-historical analysis, a consideration of tropes is crucial for deconstructing the taken-for-granted predicates and the `dangerous' consequences of political narratives. To illustrate the argument, the trope of `the Sixties' is analyzed as (...) a case study. (shrink)
In this article I examine the compatibility of a leading trope bundle theory of substance, so-called Nuclear Theory, with tropetheory more generally. Peter Simons (1994) originally proposed Nuclear Theory (NT), and continues to develop (1998, 2000) and maintain (2002/03) the view. Recently, building on Simons’s theory, Markku Keinänen (2011) has proposed what he calls the Strong Nuclear Theory (SNT). Although the latter is supposed to shore up some of NT’s weaknesses, it (...) continues to maintain NT’s central tenet, the premise that tropes are variously existentially interdependent. I argue that the central tenet of NT frustrates several important aims of tropetheory. If my arguments go through, they also implicate SNT. Because of this, I largely set aside other aspects of NT and SNT and focus on their shared central tenet. (shrink)
Apart from his critique of Kant, Maimon’s significance for the history of philosophy lies in his crucial role in the rediscovery of Spinoza by the German Idealists. Specifically, Maimon initiated a change from the common eighteenth-century view of Spinoza as the great ‘atheist’ to the view of Spinoza as an ‘acosmist’, i.e., a thinker who propounded a deep, though unorthodox, religious view denying the reality of the world and taking God to be the only real being. I have discussed this (...) aspect of Maimon’s philosophy in other places, and though the topic of the current paper has an interesting relation to certain doctrines of Spinoza, I will not develop this issue here. Neither of these two issues -- Maimon’s criticism of Kant or his original interpretation of Spinoza -- was considered by Maimon as his main contribution to philosophy. There is little doubt that if Maimon were asked to point out his single most important innovation he would have picked his doctrine of the Principle of Determinability [Satz der Bestimmbarkeit]. Regarding this doctrine Maimon writes: ... [T]he principle of determinability laid down in this work is a principle of all objectively real thought, and consequently of philosophy as a whole too. All the propositions of philosophy can be derived from, and be determined by it [woraus sich alle Sätze herleiten und wodurch sie sich bestimmen lassen]. … I have made available a supreme principle of all objectively real thought, viz., the principle of determinability... and have established as the ground of the whole of pure philosophy -- a principle which, if it is ever grasped, will, I hope, withstand every scrutiny. These claims may strike the reader as somewhat presumptuous, to say the least. But, if we pay attention to the last sentence of the passage, we can see that Maimon doubts whether his great finding will ever be understood. It is not unlikely that in this phrase (“wenn er nur einmal eingesehen werden wird”) Maimon was reacting to his own repeatedly unsuccessful attempts to explain the principle. The fate of Maimon’s principle has not been much better in the few works written on Maimon’s philosophy, and though almost all commentators agree that the principle of determinability is the linchpin of the positive philosophy Maimon was trying to develop, we do not yet have a clear explanation of this principle, or of the reason why Maimon assigns such importance to it. Recently, Oded Schechter developed an excellent reading of this principle, and in most aspects my view agrees with his (primarily, in its rejecting the attempt to explain the principle as a version of Leibniz’s predicate-in-subject [Praedicatum inest subjecto] containment thesis). My paper consists of two parts. The first is expository in nature. In this part, I spell out briefly the main aspects of Maimon’s principle of determinability and its aims. In the second part, I examine Maimon’s surprising claim that once we accept the principle of determinability, we have to deny the possibility of two subjects sharing the same predicate. Maimon provides several proofs for this highly counterintuitive claim, and I will try to clarify and evaluate these proofs. (shrink)
Das Buch bietet die erste systematische esamtdarstellung der Ontologie Brentanos. Es zeigt, daß es in Brentanos ontologischem Denken drei Perioden gibt: die frühe "konzeptualistische" (1862-1874), die mittlere "deskriptiv-psychologische" (1874-1904) und die späte "reistische" (1904-1917). Diese drei Perioden werden in ihrer Kontinuität und komplizierten Dialektik unter Rückgriff auf unveröffentlichte Manuskripte Brentanos dargestellt. Dabei wird von dem logischen Handwerkszeug der zeitgenössischen analytischen Ontologie Gebrauch gemacht. Das Buch wendet sich nicht nur an Brentano-Forscher, sondern an alle an ontologischen Fragen Interessierten. Die Analysen zur (...) Ontologie der Intentionalität sind insbesondere für Phänomenologen und für Forscher im Bereich der cognitive science von Interesse. (shrink)
The essays in the first part, Approaches to Ontology, explore different philosophical frameworks in which the ontology of QFT could fruitfully be examined. Despite their differences, they all agree that traditional ontologies, in particular substance-attribute ontology, are unsuitable for QFT. Peter Simons begins by pointing out why substance-attribute ontology, applied set theory, fact ontology, occurrent ontologies, and tropetheory are inadequate ontologies for QFT and then puts forward his own suggestion: factored ontology. The main idea of this (...) ontology is to posit basic features (so-called ‘factors’) and to view objects as suitable combinations of some of these factors. He presents an outline of a version of a factored ontology, called PACIS, which he and his collaborators have developed over the last fifteen years and which they have – in their view successfully – applied to different domains in the natural and the social sciences. Given this success, Simons is confident that this framework will also prove fruitful in the case of QFT. However, he does not give any further argument for this claim and does not make an attempt at formulating a concrete factor 1 ontology of QFT. He merely puts forward his framework as a conceptual tool and leaves it to the philosopher of physics to work out an interpretation of QFT in its terms. (shrink)
This book addresses the metaphysics of Armstrongian states of affairs, i.e. instantiations of naturalist universals by particulars. The author argues that states of affairs are the best candidate for truthmakers and, in the spirit of logical atomism, that we need no molecular truthmakers for positive truths. In the book's context, this has the pleasing result that there are no molecular states of affairs. Following this account of truthmaking, the author first shows that the particulars in (first-order) states of affairs are (...) bare particulars. He then argues that the properties in states of affairs are simple, non-relational and concrete universals. Next, he argues that (material) relations in states of affairs are external relations. Lastly, he argues that a state of affairs is unified by a distinctive formal relation without giving rise to Bradley’s regress. (shrink)
This paper is the first trope-theoretical reply to E. J. Lowe’s serious dilemma against trope nominalism in print. The first horn of this dilemma is that if tropes are identity dependent on substances, a vicious circularity threatens trope theories because they must admit that substances are identity dependent on their constituent tropes. According to the second horn, if the trope theorist claims that tropes are identity independent, she faces two insurmountable difficulties. (1) It is hard to (...) understand the ontological dependence of tropes on substances. (2) The identity-conditions of tropes cannot be determinate, which threatens the determination of the identity-conditions of substances. Our reply to the first horn of Lowe’s dilemma is to deny the identity dependence of tropes. Yet we can avoid the second horn because our theory can explain the ontological dependence of tropes on substances and the fully-determined identity-conditions of both tropes and substances. (shrink)
This paper is an articulation and defense of a trope-bundle theory of material objects. After some background remarks about objects and tropes, I start the main defense in Section III by answering a charge frequently made against the bundle theory, namely that it commits a conceptual error by saying that properties are parts of objects. I argue that there’s a general and intuitive sense of “part” in which properties are in fact parts of objects. This leads to (...) the question of qualitative unity: in virtue of what are certain properties unified as parts of an object? In Section IV I defend an account of unity for complex material objects. It turns on the thesis that the properties of such objects are structural properties. After addressing some objections, I turn in Section V to the question of unity for simple material objects. Here a different and more radical account is needed, for simples, since they do not have structural properties, are not subsumed by the account of Section IV. I defend the view that a simple object just is a simple property, so that identity delivers the desired unity. (shrink)
In this paper I want to show that topology has a bearing on the theory of tropes. More precisely, I propose a topological ontology of tropes. This is to be understood as follows: trope ontology is a „one-category”-ontology countenancing only one kind of basic entities, to wit, tropes. 1 Hence, individuals, properties, relations, etc. are to be constructed from tropes.
This paper brings together two theories that I have propounded separately elsewhere. The first is the view that concrete individuals are constituted completely by tropes, that they are trope bundles. The second and more recently developed theory is that of the two major categories of concrete individuals, continuants and occurrents, the latter are ontologically more basic than the former and that continuants are to be viewed as invariants among occurrents under equivalence relations. The latter theory embodies on (...) its own an account of the nature of identity through time of things that are in time but not extended in time. The question is whether this view is compatible with the trope bundle account of concrete particulars, and, assuming it is (both theories being separately attractive) whether bringing them together entails any modifications (other than complexity) to either theory. After examining likely metaphysical difficulties the tentative conclusion is that the attractiveness of the trope bundle theory persists despite the marriage, but that the mental picture of what tropes and trope bundles are must be overhauled. (shrink)
This is a paper about The Causal Self-Referential Theory of Perception. According to The Causal Self-Referential Theory as developed by above all John Searle and David Woodruff Smith, perceptual content is satisfied by an object only if the object in question has caused the perceptual experience. I argue initially that Searle's account cannot explain the distinction between hallucination and illusion since it requires that the state of affairs that is presented in the perceptual experience must exist in order (...) for the perception to be veridical. Smith's account is interestingly different in that the descriptive content, i.e. the content that presents the perceptual object as having certain properties, does not determine the object of the experience. His account consequently does not require that the state of affairs that is presented in perception exists in order for the perception to have an object. Smith argues instead that perceptual reference is determined by a specific kind of demonstrative content. In this paper it is argued that Smith's account of demonstrative content is too indeterminate and in certain circumstances prescribes the wrong object. It is subsequently argued that the theory of demonstrative content can be modified so as to avoid these consequences. This modification involves deriving the conditions of satisfaction of seeing an object from the conditions of satisfaction of seeing the shape of the object, where the shape of the object is conceived of as a particularized property, what is also called a ‘trope’. (shrink)
This thesis presents some of my earlier attempts to develop a trope bundle theory. It contains a fairly comprehensive discussion of Simons' (1994, 1998) views and Denkel's (1995, 1996) Saturation Theory, which might still be useful.
Is there a political theory in Mary Wollstonecraft’s writings? The question is relevant since Wollstonecraft’s main preoccupation was moral rather than political: the duty of every thinking person to strive to make themselves as good as they can be. This is a complex duty, involving independent thought, acting on principles of reason, and making oneself useful to others. The challenge involved in this endeavor is a recurrent theme in most of what she wrote. The idiosyncrasies of Wollstonecraft’s political (...) class='Hi'>theory are partially a reaction to republican principles but from within republican commitments. I analyse some of the features that make her republicanism distinctive: the moral ends of government, her suspicion of the republican trope of “the people”, and her conflicted views on revolution. I conclude with her critique of hierarchies of privilege and wealth. (shrink)
'Natural class' trope nominalism makes a trope's being of a certain sort--its nature--a matter of its membership in a certain natural class of actual tropes. It has been objected that on this theory had even a single member of the class of red tropes not existed, for example, then the type 'being red' would not have been instantiated and nothing would have been red. I argue that natural class trope nominalism can avoid this implication by way (...) of counterpart theory as applied to properties. (shrink)
We’re in the midst of a wave of efforts to historicize and localize theory. One stream, oriented toward a global social imaginary, has sought to “ provincialize Europe,” in Dipesh Chakrabarty’s resonant trope. This means provincializing Euro-American social theory and situating it within a particular geopolitical formation—a contextualizing project that opens space to center what the Comaroffs call “theory from the South” and other regional or indigenous loci of orientation. Another stream situates itself more comfortably within (...) Western traditions of theory but casts them in new historical lights—for instance a revisionist account of critical theory as the product of Hegel’s refiguration of medieval... (shrink)
This article examines some of the ways in which the trope of coldness appears in the social theory of Theodor W. Adorno. In the first section, I show how and why Adorno repeatedly criticizes a certain brand of coldness, namely, ‘bourgeois coldness’, which is understood as enacting and encouraging formal abstraction and indifference to sensuous particularity. In this sense, coldness is seen to function as a precondition for severe forms of violence (both symbolic and material). However, in the (...) second section, I argue that stopping short at this one-sided ‘critique of coldness’ remains incomplete and undialectical, and does not do justice to Adorno’s more complicated engagement with the topic. In light of this, I invert the focus of analysis to the ‘coldness of critique’, claiming that there are examples of other forms, internalizations and uses of coldness in Adorno’s work, serving to indefatigably expand the utopian horizons of his social theory above and beyond piecemeal reformism, local pedagogy or pragmatic micro-politics. The aim is not simply to promote ostensibly ‘positive’ alternatives or remedies to the ‘negative’ symptom of coldness, but rather to tarry with the negative, to recognize the coldness within ourselves the better to break through and sublate it. For Adorno, there is no way around coldness; the only way is to go through it. (shrink)
In this paper, I consider an objection to ``natural class''trope nominalism, the view that a trope's nature isdetermined by its membership in a natural class of tropes.The objection is that natural class trope nominalismis inconsistent with causes' being efficacious invirtue of having tropes of a certain type. I arguethat if natural class trope nominalism is combinedwith property counterpart theory, then this objectioncan be rebutted.
The history of modern feminist political theories is often framed in terms of the already existing theories of a number of radical nineteenth-century men philosophers such as James Mill, John Stuart Mill, Charles Fourier, Karl Marx, and Friedrich Engels. My argument takes issue with this way of framing feminist political theory by demonstrating that it rests on a derivation that remains squarely within the logic of malestream political theory. Each of these philosophers made use of a particular discursive (...)trope that linked the idea of women's emancipation with the idea of social progress. I argue that this trope reproduced the masculinist signification and symbolism inherent in their particular political philosophies. I argue for a more positive, less masculinist, account of the history of feminist political thought. (shrink)
Bundle theory reduces particulars to bundles of properties. Bundle theorists have been working to explain individuation within an ontology of repeatable properties, but the outcomes are not satisfactory. Even the trope approach toward properties is not capable of establishing individuation. This article argues that bundle theorists are wrong in searching for individuators within the bundles of properties. Rather, individuation should be established within ontologically more fundamental level of events. Events, with their spatial and temporal character, enable us to (...) individuate the bundles of properties involved and this is one of the reasons for the superiority of bundle theory to other competitive theories of substance. (shrink)
: The history of modern feminist political theories is often framed in terms of the already existing theories of a number of radical nineteenth-century men philosophers such as James Mill, John Stuart Mill, Charles Fourier, Karl Marx, and Friedrich Engels. My argument takes issue with this way of framing feminist political theory by demonstrating that it rests on a derivation that remains squarely within the logic of malestream political theory. Each of these philosophers made use of a particular (...) discursive trope that linked the idea of women's emancipation with the idea of social progress. I argue that this trope reproduced the masculinist signification and symbolism inherent in their particular political philosophies. I argue for a more positive, less masculinist, account of the history of feminist political thought. (shrink)
In this dissertation, I develop a post-reflexive philosophical account of self-knowing subjectivity. I argue that ambiguity, not clarity, is the hallmark of intersubjective being and knowing, and that ambiguous being is particularly evident precisely where subjectivity occupies a central place: in theory. To illustrate this claim, I turn to the ubiquitous and indispensable technology of the glassy mirror, a material object and discursive trope which I use to enliven the Beauvoirean concept of situation: a lived ambiguity of being (...) both subject and object, both universal and particular, both for-self and for-others. Far from eschewing the historical importance of precision and determinacy in Western views of knowing well, my appeal to mirrors in this project allows me to read such values as sedimented in knowers’ ways of making sense of the world – of themselves and their objects of knowledge, as these are expressed through theoretical engagements. (shrink)