A Critical Essay on the Exercise of Critique

On the Impossibility of Reconciling Ontology and Epistemology

In: Danish Yearbook of Philosophy

Ontology and epistemology will never be reconciled, this article argues. There is widespread opinion among scientists and laymen alike that we are standing at the threshold of a fusion and reconciliation of ontology (being, what the world is) and epistemology (acknowledgement theory, how the world is). But my thesis is that this will never happen – and my argument can be read as a credo for non-identity. The tensions between being and thinking are here to stay, and this philosophical ‘position’ has a wide range of implications for politics, education, Bildung and thinking. Strongly rooted in Theodor Wiesengrund Adorno’s philosophy, it is claimed that he was right in emphasizing that the non-identical must be honored, defended and emancipated. The vivid dream is that conceptual work opens and ‘dignifies’ the non-identical, while the non-identical ‘longs for’ conceptual assistance so it can come to exist among us.