Exploring the ontological basis of coexistence in international relations : subjectivism, Heidegger, and the heteronomy of ethics and politics
In the literature of International Relations the notion of coexistence is not understood as a question for world politics, despite the frequent irruption of issues of coexistence that constantly preoccupy international praxis. Rather, in theoretic terms coexistence is considered self-evidently as the composition of units, identified with co-presence in some spatial sense. This is evident, not from the explicit theorisation of coexistence as such, but from the ontological commitments of the discipline. The enquiry points toward the ontological centrality of the modern subject, whose key attributes are reason, self-mastery and control over others and itself, and which determines coexistence through 'a logic of composition.' The logic of composition reduces the multifarious relations of self and other to mere co-presence of already constituted subjects, that is, it occludes the constitutive role of the other in coexistence and for the 'subject' itself. Illustrating the interplay of subjectivity, composition and heteronomy in Thomas Hobbes's Leviathan and the work of David Campbell, the thesis turns to the phenomenology of Martin Heidegger in order to gain access to the heteronomy of entities. In his account of Being-in-the-world, it is argued, can be found an 'optics of coexistence' which enables a factically adequate understanding of coexistence. Such an optics reveals the self, not as autonomous and masterful, but as other-determined in its everydayness, and as uniquely appropriating this heteronomy in its process of becoming-proper. Existential heteronomy 'unworks modern subjectivity'. In this way, it forms the basis for the self's ethical comportment, a self which is an opening to otherness, and enables the articulation of a 'politics of non-self-sufficiency,' as a point of departure away from the subjective politics of self-sufficiency. Moreover, the diclosure of heteronomy disturbs the determination of coexistence as composition and points to community constitution through critique. Through what is called 'critical mimesis' community comes into being through the deconstructive retrieve of past possibilities inherited from past generations in process which is inclusive and critical. This is an account of communal constitution which is productive also in an era of global transformations, concerned with the destabilising effects of'globalisation.'.