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The poetics of being

Vaernes, Rolf (2004) The poetics of being. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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The aim of The Poetics of Being is to inquire into how the apperception of the Being of beings is produced. We will recognize this production not primarily in philosophy, but in a medium accessible to us all, theatre. Although the Romantic tradition of literary criticism from Herder to Bloom has noted that Shakespeare produces an exceptional sense of what is [true], so much so that he is said to create the impression of nature or life, no one has so far attempted to show how precisely Shakespeare affects this experience. Contrary to T. S. Eliot, who is unable to discern any kind of poetics in Shakespeare's plays, we have discovered an insistent and consistent pattern of inadequation, a kind of mismatch. The thesis argues, that the predominant tropes of inadequation are falsity, dissimilarity, nothing, indefinition, elision and substitution. We shall show that these figures of inadequation are the universal means by which Shakespeare, almost imperceptibly, compels the spectator to infer the apperception of what is [true].

On the basis of these tropes of inadequation the thesis makes the fundamental philosophical claim that the cognition of Being through non-Being is a negative form of what Heidegger calls the ontological difference. We call this the negative ontological difference. The thesis demonstrates that with the exception of some Pre-Socratic thinkers, Plato in the Sophist, the work of Pseudo-Dionysius, and the writings of Derrida, the bulk of the tradition of Western philosophy has argued Being in terms of positivities. While the thesis does not question the possibility of realizing the ontological difference in a positive fashion, as does Heidegger's philosophy of unconcealment, the thesis claims that the negative ontological difference, or ontological contradiction, is the more forceful process by which we become aware of what is [true].

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Media, Communication and Culture
Supervisor(s): Ruthrof, Horst
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