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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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Rethinking the World of the Living Being

Rethinking the World of the Living Being

(p.181) 7 Rethinking the World of the Living Being
Castoriadis's Ontology

Suzi Adams

Fordham University Press

Castoriadis's rethinking of the living being emerges as a central aspect of his shift to a trans-regional ontology of creative physis, but also as the site of relocation for the nomos/physis problematic. Increasingly, Castoriadis began to characterize the living being as “self-creating” rather than “self-organizing” and redrew the demarcation between humans and non-humans more in terms of continuity (rather than discontinuity). However, he still maintained a line of discontinuity between human and non-human modes of being, as his rejection of Francisco Varela's notion of “biological autonomy” demonstrates. In rethinking the living being, Castoriadis developed what might be called a poly-regional ontology of the for-itself, which spans human and non-human regions. The living being inaugurates the level of the for-itself, by rupturing with non-living (that is, physical) regions of being, and creating what Castoriadis called the “subjective instance”; that is, putting the physical world into meaning. Common to each level of the for-itself, is the interrelation of imagination, world and meaning. In that the world manifests itself to the living being, Castoriadis extends—and radicalizes—conventional phenomenological approaches.

Keywords:   living being, biological autonomy, Francisco Varela, being for-itself, self-creation, world horizon, phenomenology, the subjective instance, imagination, poly-regional ontology

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