After The Death Of God: From Political Nihilism To Post-Foundational Democracy
Lewis, Clayton David
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The topic of this dissertation is Heideggers deconstruction of metaphysics viewed through the prism of Nietzsches declaration that God is dead. I argue that Nietzsches transvaluation of value remains ensnared by the will to power and the nihilistic destiny of the eternal return. I look at Heideggers late thought as a response to the disenchantment of nature and the technological framing of Earth. I argue that the delineation of a non-instrumental way life requires a political turn that is quite different from Heideggers own conservative nationalism. While the post-structuralist appropriation of Heideggers late thought makes some tentative moves towards a post-foundational democracy, I argue that the deconstruction of political community stemming from Derrida, Levinas, and Nancy fails to adequately deal with the question of democratic sovereignty. In light of this inadequacy, I take up the political theory of Benjamin, Schmitt, and Agamben in order to further delineate a negative political theology without reference to any metaphysical grounding of sovereign power. Essential to such a politics is the non-linear experience of time as event. I contrast Benjamins notion of empty homogenous time with Agambens analysis of non-linear revolutionary time. I suggest that the eschatological remembrance of democracy requires an interruption of history as a linear sequence of time. Against the instrumental framing of democracy, I advocate for the decentralization of sovereignty to local modes of participatory self-government such as general assemblies, councils, and cooperatives.