Chapter 17 Postmodernism: The End of Metaphysics, or the End of Ontology?

In: Metaphysics or Ontology?
Author:
Piotr Jaroszyński
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Translator:
Hugh McDonald
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Abstract

The critique of classical metaphysics comes from different sides. Sometimes, it is a dispute between philosophical systems dominated by epistemology or idealism (as it happened in Modernity). At other times, it comes from a strongly anti-systemic way of making philosophy, which is characteristic of postmodernism. The best we can do is not to critique the critique, but rather to reconstruct what postmodernists have in mind when they critique metaphysics. For postmodernists, typical metaphysical problems can be reduced to sets of oppositions: opposition between subject and object, between essence and phenomenon, the primary and the secondary, the abstract and the concrete, or between constancy and change. Those oppositions were not invented by traditional metaphysics, but came into light in the modern times, especially in the context of Cartesian way of understanding philosophy. This is where epistemology meets idealism, putting aside traditional metaphysics and its realism. One of the best examples of following the way of ontology in his critique of metaphysics, is Derrida, who approved the univocal and contradictory concept of being.

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