4th Political Theory (Review)

This review has in mind St Cheetos the Prophet.

The phrase that best sums up Dugin’s approach is “Negating the Logic of History.”  Dugin begins by listing the three most common (and modern) ideologies:

    1. Liberalism: the individual is the normative subject
    2. Fascism: race or nation is normative subject
    3. Communism: Class

      The second and third options failed, leaving liberalism in charge.
    4. 4th political theory: Dasein is the acting subject.

Liberalism is the broad, architectonic worldview that hinges on several assumptions (the challenging of which will entail a drone strike). Classical Liberals defined freedom as “freedom from.”  There should be no ties on an individual’s will.   It is these individuals, acting alone but taken as a whole, who form the circle of liberal action.Lacking a telos by definition, liberalism is hard-pressed to explain what we have freedom for.

Against this Dugin posits Heidegger’s Dasein as the acting subject of the 4th Political Theory. Dasein is a way to overcome the subject-object duality.  It is inzwichen, the “between.”

One valuable insight of Dugin’s is his pinpointing the bigotry of Western liberals.  All societies must accept liberalism in its current manifestation.  What if you don’t want to?  Well, if you don’t have natural resources you are probably okay.  Otherwise, look out.

Liberal ideology is necessarily evolutionary.  The concept of progress takes one from barbarism to technologism and the more refined way of life of the markets. This is what Dugin calls “The Monotonic Process:” he idea of constant growth, accumulation, steady progress by only one specific indicator (60).  In other words, in a system only one value (x) grows.  Only one thing (or a small group of things) accumulates.  Applied to either machines or biological life, this is death.  

Modern political options have all seen progress and time in a linear fashion.  Even more so, because of time there must naturally be progress.   By contrast, Dugin suggests that

T1: Time is a social phenomenon with its structures arising from social paradigms (68).

By this he wants to safeguard the idea that there can be “interruptions” and reversals in the flow of time.  History does not simply teach the march of capitalism upon earth (borrowing and adapting Hegel’s phrase).

Nevertheless, and perhaps unaware, Dugin remains close to the linear view.  He does note that time is “historical” (70) and from that draws a very important, Heideggerian conclusion:  it cannot be objective.

Why not? The acting subject, the historical observer (whom we will call “Dasein,” but this is true also of the individual in liberalism) is finite.  He doesn’t have a god’s-eye view on history. Of course, that’s not to say it can’t be real or reliable per the observer, but we don’t have the Enlightenment’s dream of a god’s-eye application of reason to reality.

Dugin then analyses how Leftist and Conservatism evolved in the 20th century.

Finally, he ends with a dense and staggering discussion on the nature of time.  Kant denied that by mere perception we have access to the thing-in-itself.  Therefore, if the being of the present is put in doubt, then all three moments (past, present, future) become ontologically unproveable. From the perspective of pure reason, the future is the phenomenon, and hence, it is (157).

Kant puts time nearer to the subject and space nearer to the object. Therefore, time is subject-ive.  It is the transcendental subject that installs time in the perception of the object.

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Dugin notes, 2: Dasein as Actor

  1. What is the nature of freedom?
    1. Classical Liberals defined freedom as “freedom from.”  There should be no ties on an individual’s will.  
      1. It is these individuals, acting alone but taken as a whole, who form the circle of liberal action.
      2. Lacking a telos by definition, liberalism is hard-pressed to explain what we have freedom for.
    2. All political theories have an acting subject.
  2. Dasein as subject.
    1. Dasein is a way to overcome the subject-object duality.  It is inzwichen, the “between.”
  3. Hidden Racisms
    1. Is “progress” racist? Maybe.  Progressive societies have an implicit judgment that other societies, who do not hold such views, are inferior.
    2. The only true human rights are those enshrined by global capitalism, democracy, individualism.
  4. Ethnos: A community of language
    1. Racist societies, whether Nazis or American neo-liberals, reduce society to a concept like race, blood, market.
    2. A better reduction, if reduction it is, is language.

Dugin outline, chapter 1

I am doing an analytical outline of Dugin’s Fourth Political Theory.

Birth of a Concept

  1. Three Ideologies
    1. Liberalism: the individual is the normative subject (this includes both free market capitalism and the Democratic Party.  I am using “liberal” in a non-perjorative sense).
    2. Fascism: race or nation is normative subject
    3. Communism: Class
      The second and third options failed, leaving liberalism in charge.  Without any alternatives, liberalism is the norm.
    4. 4th political theory: Dasein is the acting subject.  We will explain more on this later.
  2. Postmodernism
    1. Global Market Society
      1. Globalism
      2. Technology
    2. Kingdom of Antichrist
  3. Heidegger and the Event
    1. The ancient greeks confused the nuances between pure being (Seyn) and a being (Seinende).
    2. Nihilism and the event
      1. The “Nothing” is the flip side of being and paradoxically reminds one of Being’s existence.
      2. Event: the sudden return of being.

 

Reading Goals for 2016-2017

I measure the years starting in August, not January. So, here is what I plan, Lord willing, to have read by the end of the year:
  1. 1. All of Martin Heidegger’s corpus in English. I’ve read Sein und Zeit and most of his essays.
  2. 2. Most of Edmund Husserl’s stuff, or at least make a dent in the Logical Investigations.
  3. 3. To finish reading Dugin’s works in English. That would be his book on Putin and his book on Heidegger (one of them, anyway).
  4. 4. Cyril O’Regan’s Heterodox Hegel. That’s been on my list for some years now.

Truth and Method (review)

This is one of those great moments where a great student follows his master (Heidegger) yet gives us a new product and not simply a repetition of his master. In short, for Gadamer language is the horizon of being. As Kant was wrong to seek a thing-in-itself, so we also should beware of a “meaning-in-itself.”

Gadamer begins and ends his work on a strange note: the aesthetics and interpretation of art. It’s not that art determines how we interpret text, but art allows Gadamer to illustrate (no pun intended) the tension given that great works of art are considered “timeless,” yet they were produced in historical, finite circumstances. This tension points to the horizon, a key Gadamerian term.

Every experience has implicit horizons of before and after and finally fuses with the continuum of experiences present in the before and after to form a unified flow of experience (246). Df. horizon = not a rigid boundary but something that moves with and invites one to advance further. Everything that is given as existent is given in terms of a world and hence brings the world horizon with it. As a horizon phenomenon “world” is essentially related to subjectivity, and this relation means also that it exists in transciency.”

Hermeneutical circle: possesses an ontological positive significance. We have already fore-projected before we even approach the text. This creates an openness which situates our meaning with other meanings. Understanding is a participation in the event of tradition and not so much a subjective act (302).

Horizons are temporally-conditioned. Time is not a gulf to be crossed by a supportive ground in which the present is rooted. We cannot stand outside of our situation. “All self-knowledge arises from what is historically pre-given, what Hegel calls “substance’” (313). Horizon: every finite present has its limitations. Every situation represents a standpoint that limits the possibility of vision. Horizons move with us. When we understand something, we fuse the horizons between text and interpreter. Fusion of horizons: We regain concepts of a historical past in such a way that it also includes our own comprehension of them (382).

This will go down as one of those truly great books. Ground-breaking works. It’s not super-hard to read simply because it is well-written. However, he does presuppose a good bit of Hegel and Heidegger, so keep that in mind.

Gadamer notes, 3

Now we are getting into the meat of it.  Gadamer is setting the stage for what goes into “understanding a text” (which he fully develops in the next part).  He introduces several key concepts which he will later exploit with great skill: fusion, God’s-eye-view of history, etc.  The most important concept is “horizon,” and the limitations and finitude it implies.

Of great importance are his sections on Heidegger and Husserl.  And in true Heideggerian fashion, you don’t need to “analyze” them, but just approach them and let them open new horizons of being.

PART TWO: The EXTENSION OF THE QUESTION OF TRUTH TO UNDERSTANDING IN THE HUMAN SCIENCES 

Historical preparation

  1. To understand means to come to an understanding with each other.  It is to come to an understanding about something.
  2. Schlieiermacher: the act of understanding is a reconstruction of the production
    1. We must also understand the psychology of the author.
  3. Dilemma of universal history: historical research can lead to a universal view of history.
    1. Power is the central category of the historical worldview (209).
    2. Power exists in expression.  It cannot be measured by its expressions but only experienced as an indwelling.
    3. The historian applies the Boethian view of time to the historical method:  all historical phenomena are equally available to him.
  4. Dilthey’s entanglement in the aporias of historicism
    1. Experience (Erfahrung) is a fusion of memory and expectation (225).
    2. The ultimate presupposition is experience–the identity between consciousness and object.
    3. Husserl: intentionality is not a psychic component but an ideal unity.
    4. Historical consciousness is a mode of self-knowledge (237).
  5. Overcoming the epistemological problem through phenomenological research
    1. Husserl: consciousness is not an object but an essential co-ordination
    2. Phenomenology: bracketing all positing of being and investigating the subjective modes of givenness.
      1. Every experience has implicit horizons of before and after and finally fuses with the continuum of experiences present in the before and after to form a unified flow of experience (246).
      2. Every intentional experience has a two-fold horizon.
      3. Df. horizon = not a rigid boundary but something that moves with and invites one to advance further.
      4. Everything that is given as existent is given in terms of a world and hence brings the world horizon with it.
      5. As a horizon phenomenon “world” is essentially related to subjectivity, and this relation means also that it exists in transciency.”
    3. We cannot conceive of subjectivity as the opposite of objectivity, because this concept of subjectivity would also be conceived in objective terms (250).
  6. Heidegger’s project of a hermeneutic of phenomenology
    1. The whole idea of grounding itself underwent a total reversal (257).
    2. Temporality is ontologically definitive of subjectivity.
    3. The “there” for Heidegger (Da-sein) functions as a “clearing in being, a distinction between beings and being (258).
    4. Understanding is the original form of the realization of Dasein (260). It is potentiality for being and possibility.
      1. Understanding is also self-understanding because you project yourself upon a new field of possibilities.

Early notes on Heidegger, Basic Writings

HarperPerennial Edition.

I read this in 2011.  I didn’t have quite the understanding of Heidegger that I do now.

The book begins with Heidegger’s introduction to Being and Time. The main thoughts are fairly simple. Heidegger’s argument runs along the following lines:

Being (Sein): when capitalized, Heidegger is talking about the Western tradition’s tendency to ground all of reality in an abstract entity known as “Being.” This is a presupposition from Plato onwards that is rarely challenged.

Being-there (Dasein): a better way to speak of Being. It is when beings (human entities) exist in a certain location. Heidegger suggests that the pre-Socratics operated on this principle.

Conclusion: The nature of being is time. Heidegger places being and existence in a radically temporal frame.

Thus armed, the reader is allowed to approach Heidegger’s other essays. We can take the above thoughts and condense them into one sentence: Being is the coming to presence.

Heidegger on Truth

In one of his essays Heidegger dwells on a Renaissance painting about a peasant. Heidegger takes the Greek word for Truth–aletheia–and shows its real meaning–unconcealment, the presencing of something (160-161). The truth of art, therefore, is the setting to work of a thing for what it was designed to do. However, Heidegger means something much richer than a crass utilitarianism. He notes that “to set to work” actually means “to bring to stand.” Well, what does “to bring to stand” mean? He really doesn’t say here, but I think we can guess.

The main point of this essay (“On the Origins of the Work of Art”) is to present an epistemology contrary to the typical ones offered by the step-children of “Being” (in the bad sense of the word). Heidegger is attacking Descartes’ subject-object distinction as it relates to language. The correspondence theory of truth. For example, Heidegger takes a coin and the statement “this is a coin.” He asks, “How can what is completely dissimilar, the statement, correspond to the coin? It would have to become the coin and in this way relinquish itself entirely. The statement never succeeds in doing that” (120-121).

Let’s apply this discussion to iconography and Christian art for a moment. Heidegger notes that “beauty is a mode of knowing” (181). He is not attacking the legitimate aspects of the correspondence theory of truth; he is simply showing its limitations and allowing other modes of knowing to arise.