Mr Michael Murphy

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The Emptiness of Cosmopolitanism: Reimagining Cosmopolitan Critical Theory through the concepts of Emptiness, Fūdo, and Aidagara


Thesis Abstract
This thesis will argue that a synthesis of the work of Gerald Delanty, Walter Mignolo, and Watsuji Tetsurō can provide an account of Critical Cosmopolitanism that can address its identified deficiencies. The thesis will develop as follows. First it introduces the concept of kairotic space as an ontic background for the thesis to undermine the dominant narrative of a singular perspective. Then a double critique of Delanty’s and Mignolo’s work offers a conceptual scaffold through which to develop the thesis. The outcome of the critique is a conceptual persona consisting of Mignolo’s principle of aesthesis and Delanty’s relational social ontology. The second outcome is Mignolo’s account of relative universal. To address the epistemological problems inherent to present discussions of cosmopolitanism the next stage introduces a re-reading of Watsuji’s concept of emptiness. Here emptiness operates as a deconstructive heuristic device. The next stage comes in two parts. The first part begins a hermeneutical descent by interrogating Mignolo’s relative universal and Watsuji’s concept of fūdo through the thesis assumption of kairotic space and the rereading of emptiness. The outcome of this chapter is a rotation of the cosmopolitan focus of analysis away from vertical accounts of tradition towards a methodological approach that focuses on the meeting place of the horizontal axe, everyday experience, with tradition. The second part of this stage continues the hermeneutical descent but then moves onto ideological critique. This will be carried out through developing the proposed conceptual persona through an engagement with Watsuji’s concept of aidagara and an extrapolation from emptiness of negative and positive social critique. The outcome of this chapter bridges the gap between the individual and society to provide an account of the creativity of the social imaginary which is outside of the dominant mode and to provide a critique of social conventions.

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