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On Time, Being, and Hunger:Challenging the Traditional Way of Thinking Life

Challenging the Traditional Way of Thinking Life

Juan Manuel Garrido

Publication Year: 2012

The traditional way of understanding life, as a self-appropriating and self-organizing process of not ceasing to exist, of taking care of one's own hunger, is challenged by today's unprecedented proliferation of discourses and techniques concerning the living being. This challenge entails questioning the fundamental concepts of metaphysical thinking, namely, time, finality, and, above all, being. Garrido argues that today we are in a position to repeat Nietzsche's assertion that there is no other representation of "being" than that of "living." But in order to carry out this deconstruction of ontology, we need to find new ways of asking "What is life?" In this study, Garrido establishes the basic elements of the question concerning life through readings of Aristotle, Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Derrida; through the discussion of scientific breakthroughs in thermodynamics and evolutionary and developmental biology; and through the reexamination of the notion of hunger in both its metaphysical and its political implications.

Published by: Fordham University Press

On Time, Being, and Hunger

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pp. ix

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pp. xi-xiv

Scholars around the world today are aware that the frequently denounced and deplored linguistic “imperialism” exerted by English speakers in our globalized and capitalized life constitutes an occasion for experiencing the most authentic hospitality. Languages...

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pp. 1-6

To live has been traditionally understood as having to take care of one’s own hunger. That life entails hunger means that the living condition is that of being in need or in want of the necessary conditions for being alive, for surviving, for not ceasing to be...

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pp. 7-11

A remarkable feature of living phenomena—think of metabolism, growth, reproduction, desire, thinking, aging, and so forth—is that they seem not only embedded in time, as are all other natural phenomena, but also to constitute, in themselves, singular...

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pp. 12-16

The thermodynamics of the nineteenth century provided an infl uential theoretical frame for understanding living organization. We should not believe that thermodynamics has nothing to say about life insofar as it originated as a science principally...

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pp. 17-24

According to Ilya Prigogine, from the 1960s on “complexity” can no longer be called an exclusive object of life sciences.1 Here, I will briefl y consider far-from-equilibrium thermodynamics. Thermodynamics of far-fromequilibrium systems and...

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pp. 25-35

Living beings have by nature the task of remaining what they are by nature. We would not say of stones that they are concerned with maintaining themselves as stones; they are by nature just what they are, and not what they endeavor to be. The life of...

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pp. 36-47

The living being is concerned with its own process of being. The living being essentially cares for not ceasing to be what it is by nature. Had living beings ceased to be concerned with their own process of being, they would cease to be; they would die. “Care...

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pp. 48-54

The surreptitious understanding of being as life unwittingly made possible, guided, and limited Martin Heidegger’s tremendous and unprecedented efforts to spell out the sense of being. His entire work could be considered from our point of view...

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pp. 55-63

Two years after the publication of Being and Time, Heidegger took up the issue of life in the second part of his winter semester seminar Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics. The essence of life is analyzed in terms of “animality” (Tierheit). Does this mean...

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pp. 64-73

The possibility of asking about the meaning of being implied that “being” is no longer self-evident, or that the obscurity of the term’s meaning can no longer go unnoticed. The effort deployed around the “question of being” led necessarily to resaying, rewriting...

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pp. 74-80

According to the traditional concept, to live is to be in need or in want of the necessary conditions for not ceasing to be. It is hunger. Only dead living beings cease to be in want of the necessary conditions to keep themselves alive. To live means to be delivered...

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pp. 81-85

Were hunger meant to be overcome, satisfi ed, abolished, life would not be possible. Yet, because hunger is not meant to pass, because it is infi nite, hunger is a problem—an ontological, ethical, political problem—through which life deconstructs itself. The problem of hunger...

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pp. 86-94

Charles Darwin’s theory of “natural selection” is not a theory that seeks to explain the production of living forms, the cause of their variation and change, but only the mechanism through which they have been selected over the course of life’s history...

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pp. 95-98

No subject of biology has caused more “wonder” than development. Is there anything more fantastic, more unbelievably perfect than the process by which a single cell, dividing and multiplying itself, can give rise to a highly complex organism? Almost...

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pp. 99-102

The aim of this book has been to render plausible and relevant the task of carrying out a critical enquiry concerning the traditional way of thinking life. I believe indeed that it is possible, and necessary, to defi ne a traditional way of thinking life, a dominating...


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pp. 103-118


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pp. 119-128


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pp. 129-133

E-ISBN-13: 9780823249473
Print-ISBN-13: 9780823239351
Print-ISBN-10: 0823239357

Page Count: 146
Publication Year: 2012