An ontology of trash: The disposable and its problematic nature

Title: An ontology of trash: The disposable and its problematic nature
Authors: Kennedy, Greg
Date: 2004
Abstract: The study investigates disposability as a uniquely modern ontological mode of existence. A disposable is something a priori wasted, a phenomenon whose presence in the world presupposes its absence. Consequently, from a phenomenological perspective, the essence of a disposable includes its non-existence, or more strongly, its essence excludes its more than instantaneous existence. Trash is taken as an ontological category that extends over all disposable beings. An historical interpretation is ventured that traces the current predominance of this category to the original metaphysical denigration of the sensuous human body. Only through the sensitive body do we experience the materiality, impenetrability and integrity of physical things. As technology and metaphysics continue to disengage our sensual capacities for perception, our understanding of physical things becomes increasingly tenuous and abstract. In the absence of tactile commerce with resilient and resistant things, we fail to encounter their physical, independent existence. Their being thus seems ever more thoroughly to depend on how we rationally conceive, determine and design them. However, the undeniable evidence of trash, and the threat it poses to our own continued existence demonstrate a fatal flaw in our exclusively rationalized relation with the physical world. If we desire to avoid the "throw-away society's" dangerous excesses, we must secure metaphysics and technology to a sensitive, physical participation with the world that takes care to preserve the being of things, by the generosity of which our own being is preserved.
CollectionTh├Ęses, 1910 - 2010 // Theses, 1910 - 2010
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