Philosophy Series 1

Philosophy Series Contents (to be updated with each new installment)

Philosophy Series 1 – Prelude to the Philosophy Series

Philosophy Series 2 – Introduction

Philosophy Series 3 – Appendix A, Part 1

Philosophy Series 4 – The Pre-Socratics – Hesiod

Philosophy Series 5 – A Detour of Time

Philosophy Series 6 – The Origin

Philosophy Series 7 – Eros

Philosophy Series 8 – Thales

Philosophy Series 9 – An Interlude to Anaximander

Philosophy Series 10 – On the Way to Anaximander: Language and Proximity

Philosophy Series 11 – Aristotle and Modernity: The Eternal and Science

Philosophy Series 12 – Levinas and the Problem of Metaphysics

Philosophy Series 13 – On Origin


Prelude to the Philosophy Series

An Introduction to Greek Thinking

Suppose you could look at infinity (apeirōn, ἄπειρον). What would that mean? Would you see something? You may but might it be an apparition? True, it may be some-thing, a concrete thing, definite in its appearance but might it be facade? Might it be that what you may see of infinity is really what you can’t see? Would there be an excess that would incessantly show itself precisely by not showing itself? Its showing would be in its continual vanishing. You would never see infinity, only a phantasm, an imagining, a mythos, a muse. Your imagining might take various forms depending on your history. You might think of space, of time-space, the khôra in Greek (χώρα); a receptacle which gives place and makes movement possible, thus, temporality. Yet, infinity would not be this generative space. This space would be a fantasy of infinity. Infinity would elude arche (ἀρχή), genesis, origin. Infinity would always take leave of khôra. It might be imagined as a gap, a yawning gap (χάος) translated as chaos. While all things might be born (γένετ’), come into new being, from khôra, infinity would always be a radical tear, an infinite rupture, absolute alterity or otherness. Infinity would always overflow itself in our phantasms. Could we think of infinity as an ‘it’? How could infinity overflow an ‘it’? Perhaps as a ‘he’ or a ‘she’. Certainly, that would be an excess to an ‘it’. Yes, but infinity would yet again find itself in between our idea (ἰδέα) of neuter and gender. The idea as form (morphe, μορφή), what appears and becomes present, and endures in itself must always underlie phantasm. Idea conveys permanence as what really ‘is’ (ontos, ὄντος). However, with regard to infinity another idea shows itself – void. Is the idea of void the end (telos, τέλος) and completion of infinity? I think not. After all, ideas have some affinity with infinity in phantasm and the idea of negation, even as the ‘idea’ of what retreats and cannot show itself in idea. Even in retreat, negation and privation we only allude to infinity. We poeticize, metaphor-icize, allegorize, mythologize and yet the gap remains. This gap is yet another idea that eternally turns on itself, the hermeneutical circle of language. It affirms contradiction at every step and leaves us impoverished, alone, wanderers without home; world weary and moving; this we call aging. In turmoil and strife (polemus, πόλεμος) our phantasm wears down and grinds down without ever achieving anything other than itself and all the while infinity remains. When we can no longer endure infinity we gracefully find death, escape from infinity into infinity. Our retreat is once again our entrance. We begin where we started and by that we know infinity.

And Beyond…

En-thinking infinity is an ethics. We can choose an absolute or we can choose to stand in the face of what exceeds our absolute. Ah, you gest, how can absolute be absolute without infinity? Therefore, we must have an idea of infinity in ‘absolute’. Here there is play. Yes, it could be that ‘absolute’ is a synonym for infinity as even ‘inifinty’ is an idea. If absolute overflows itself then we may take it as a synonym. We might take everything, all (panta, παντα) as another synonym. To take it further, we might monistic-ally, monotheistic-ally and mystically let infinity play in out phantasms; this, we call God. In God, infinity is finally revealed…we think. On the other hand, we may separate and divide our absolute dialectically or synthesize and integrate until we finally arrive at ‘The Absolute’, ‘The Idea’ and there we may confidently declare this is infinity. The final solution to infinity has no excess in this magnificent discovery…we think. Here, as Idea, we can see and understand that infinity is nothing other than pure, self-determining Idea. The residue of God and Idea is metaphysical. Here metaphysics has been transformed from what ‘is’ is (ontos, ὄντος) to what is True, what truly shows itself as itself as infinity. Metaphysics has been raised to beyond physics. At the same time physics has been raised to beyond metaphysics. In this battle of the Titans the banner of Truth is the battle cry. En-history we survey bleak materialism or rich spiritualism, body and mind, subject and object, accident and substance, thing and no-thing. And then, beyond meets end. Beyond good and evil the Great Nausea is eternal recurrence of the same. Our over-rich history has aged and become old. It repeats itself in tiresome fashion as we age in desperate and futile attempts to de-legitimize, capitalize, evade, re-phantasma-size, affirm and overcome, cyni-size and skepti-size; yet, all sizes no longer fit. Infinity has once again escaped and we find ourselves once again where we started, a new beginning. And still, we never knew infinity. How is it that history is infinity’s haunting?

This is how philosophy begins…

Philosophy Series 2 – Introduction

One thought on “Philosophy Series 1

  1. Administrator

    with regard to apeirōn…

    Aristotle Phys. f4, 203 b 23… through not giving out in our thought, both number seems to be infinite and mathematical magnitudes and what lies outside the heaven. But if what lies outside is infinite, body also seems to be infinite, and worlds too: for why should they exist more in one part of the void than in another?

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