Prelude to "Poetics of the Event": John D. Caputo’s Reflection on “Overcoming Onto-theology”


Author: CHEN Long, Lecturer at School of Chinese Literature and Language, University of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences;Researcher at 21st-Century Marxism Research Institute, Nankai University & UCASS.


“Overcoming ontotheology” is John Caputo’s consistent base position and continuous ideological task. Caputo points out that onto-theology is obsessed with “center”, “arche” and “strong force”, and has adopted a totalizing, representational and causal thinking, which has in turn has shaped the corresponding spheres of ethics, politics and so forth. “Overcoming” onto-theology does not mean its negation or destruction, but rather its deconstruction, that is, its recreation.However, the various solutions from Western thinkers since Heidegger, including Levinas, Marion, Westphal, Mark C. Taylor and Vattimo, have failed to achieve their aims and provide a satisfactory answer in terms of both “onto-theo” and “-logy”. Caputo’s poetics of the event is a proposition that aims to accomplish the task of overcoming “onto-theo” and “-logy” by virtue of the “event” and its “poetics” respectively.


John D. Caputo, Overcoming Onto-theology, Event, Poetics, Postmodern Theology

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