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Interventions in Contemporary ThoughtHistory, Politics, Aesthetics$
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Gabriel Rockhill

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781474405355

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474405355.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 18 September 2021

How Do We Think the Present? From Ontology of Contemporary Reality to Ontology without Being1

How Do We Think the Present? From Ontology of Contemporary Reality to Ontology without Being1

(p.37) Chapter 1 How Do We Think the Present? From Ontology of Contemporary Reality to Ontology without Being*1
Interventions in Contemporary Thought

Gabriel Rockhill

Edinburgh University Press

The opening chapter explores a philosophic question that reflexively sheds light on the orientation of the book as a whole: how can we write the history of the present? Against the backdrop of the more specific question of how to understand the present state of philosophy, it turns to the late work of Michel Foucault and his unique account of the ontology of actuality or of contemporary reality (ontologie de l’actualité). It carefully reconstitutes his concern with providing a historico-philosophical justification of his own project, which he situates in a trajectory that begins with the emergence of the ontology of actuality in the later Kant. It assesses the contemporary relevancy of his critique of historical periodization and his redefinition of modernity in terms of a critical attitude. Given the apparent contradiction between his rejection of periodic history and his identification of a new era of historical thought, the chapter goes on to suggest that an alternative logic of history—founded on the three dimensions of time, space and social practice—would allow us to completely reformulate the way in which we think the present.

Keywords:   History of the present, historiography, historical ontology, Foucault, Agamben, Kracauer

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