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Castoriadis's OntologyBeing and Creation$
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Suzi Adams

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780823234585

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823234585.001.0001

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Toward an Ontology of the Social-Historical

Toward an Ontology of the Social-Historical

(p.25) 1 Toward an Ontology of the Social-Historical
Castoriadis's Ontology

Suzi Adams

Fordham University Press

This chapter begins by outlining Castoriadis's long journey through the being of nomos. Castoriadis's shift to ontology in the second part of The Imaginary Institution of Society was meant to elucidate the ontological preconditions of an autonomous society. The chapter focuses on Castoriadis's elucidation of the social-historical as a hitherto occluded mode of being in traditional philosophy. It reconstructs Castoriadis's contention that the social-historical is characterized by self-creation rather than by determination from an external source, and, more in turn, the claim that inherited philosophy has reduced being to a question of determinacy. In mapping Castoriadis's critique of traditional approaches to “society” and “history,” it charts his discussion of history as an order of qualitative time and creation, and his critique of the philosophical “spatialization of time” through his discussion of Plato's Timaeus and mention of magma. Castoriadis set out to elucidate the social-historical as a regional ontology of self-creation, but it is argued that with the introduction of Castoriadis's neologism, à-être (always becoming being), openings towards his later trans-regional ontology of creative physis begin to appear.

Keywords:   social-historical, time, creation, Plato, ontology, à-être

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