Abstract temporalities and the metaphysics of flux: the problem of absolute becoming

Sutherland, Thomas (2014) Abstract temporalities and the metaphysics of flux: the problem of absolute becoming. In: Derrida Today, 28 - 31 May 2014, Fordham University.

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Paper)
Item Status:Live Archive


At a time when continental thought is dominated by the influence of philosophers of becoming and process - from Nietzsche and Bergson, through Whitehead and Heidegger, and most importantly now Deleuze - Derrida’s deconstruction of time as a philosophical concept in his essay ‘Ousia and Grammē’ would seem to be all the more vital. Building upon this essay, in which he contends that all conceptions of time, even that of Heidegger, remain inextricably caught within a metaphysics of presence that can only render temporality in the terms of a spatial movement, I will argue in this paper that the concept of absolute becoming - as popularized through the work of Deleuze - is predicated upon an unacknowledged absolute being that undermines its claims to both absoluteness and becoming, and inscribes it within the logic of identity that it is intended to evade. Of course, even Derrida’s own concepts of the difference and the trace fall into this problem. Using this aporia as my starting point, I will attempt to demonstrate the way in which these two categories of being and becoming are both reliant upon the epistemē of the written word, undermining the notion that the latter somehow exists outside of such abstractions.

Keywords:continental philosophy, deconstruction, Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze, time, becoming
Subjects:V Historical and Philosophical studies > V500 Philosophy
Divisions:College of Arts > Lincoln School of Film & Media > Lincoln School of Film & Media (Media)
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ID Code:26939
Deposited On:10 Apr 2017 09:01

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