John Dunn

John Dunn home page
Book sales
Thought Pieces

John Dunn home page


Ontological authority

At one time the answer to this question might have been quick and simple - the priest or the philosopher. These people have authority as the holders of the keys to truth. They had privileged access to ontologically guaranteed ideas (as they saw it), which gave them authority as the advisors to kings. This was the traditional role of philosophy, or onto-theology, which held steadfast until Heidegger’s time.

When Heidegger wrote The End of Philosophy, he was discoursing upon the end of Platonic metaphysics, where truth is understood to mean the matching of our ideas with some kind of objective world.

Nietzsche preceded Heidegger in his Twilight of the Idols by describing the gradual decline of the authoritative nature of truth. There were four stages in the authoritative era:

- Plato’s objective realm of truth (which Heidegger called Being), i.e. the realms of the forms and ideas
- Christianity - the truth that is attainable after this life
- Kant’s ‘Copernican Revolution’ - in which truth was discovered to be no longer out there, but rather inside us. Kant interiorised the ontological ground of being and truth was understood to come from within the structures of human reason. But truth remained nevertheless
- Positivism - the still commonly held view that only the scientist has a privileged access to truth. It was in the time of Nietzsche that the scientist began to replace the philosopher as the arbiter of truth.
Following Nietzsche and into the 20th century, the fate of the philosopher can be compared to that of the artist. Following the breakdown of ontological truth, art has come to be appreciated as a subjective undertaking. Whether or not an artist’s work has meaning does not affect its status as art. Artists no longer open the door to the sublime for mere mortals. They no longer give us access to truth.

In the same way, after post-structuralism and the deconstruction of ultimate authoritarian metaphysical thought systems, philosophers can no longer claim to have found the door to truth. Heidegger was right. It is the end of philosophy.

Unless… rather in the way that Derrida oversaw the removal of all meaning from all texts, leaving one textual mélange of infinite possibilities… we have again arrived at the One and the Infinite. The Oneness of the post-structural world is now the philosophical, or onto-theological, authority for globalism.

© John Dunn.
Click here for book sales

Shunning idolatry Shunning idolatry
Nietzsche declared God to be dead, i.e. that God the idol is dead.

Perhaps the corollary of this is that God, the metaphorical concept associated in some way with the active creation of the cosmos, is very much alive as aesthetic life.
John Dunn

Quote every hour: The timeless, surly patience of the serf / That moves the nearest to the naked earth / And ploughs down palaces, and thrones, and towers. Roy Campbell, "The Serf," lines 12-14

Lurianic Derrida Lurianic Derrida
Derrida’s formulation of there being ‘nothing outside the text’, combined with the destruction of ultimate meaning in the text, left a border-free grammatical landscape on the page. This was analogous to globalism in its implications. Like Luria and Spinoza before, the exiled Derrida found a home in the One by deconstructing the sovereignties of the many.
John Dunn


You are visitor number 989545

Staff and Scrip on Twitter
Website design and CMS by WebGuild Media Ltd
This website ©2009-2019 John Dunn