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In April, I will give a paper entitled “The Duplicity of Beginning: Schürmann, Aristotle and the Origins of Metaphysics” at the Eighth Annual Independent Meeting of the Ancient Philosophy Society, which will meet this year at my alma mater, the New School for Social Research in New York City.


The paper is a engagement with the work of Reiner Schürmann, a former professor of mine at the New School, who died in 1993.  Schürmann tends to read Aristotle as the father of a way of thinking he derisively dubs “metaphysics” in which being is understood primarily in terms of technological production.  I seek to show how such a reading of Aristotle does not do justice to Aristotle’s own attempts to address nature on its own terms.

In the process, the paper suggests that Aristotle was himself more attuned to the ways principles function both as forces of domination and principles of beginning.  The paper ends with an attempt to shift Schürmann’s emphasis upon the trait of mortality and the nature of human tragedy in order to recognize also the significance of the trait of natality and the more comic dimensions of human-being.

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