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America's Shadow: An Anatomy of Empire by William V. Spanos

By William V. Spanos

A learn of imperialism that stretches from historic Rome to the post-Cold conflict international, this provocative paintings boldly revises our assumptions in regards to the family tree of the West. instead of finding its resource in classical Greece, William V. Spanos argues, we should always glance to old Rome, which first articulated the guidelines that will turn into primary to the West's imperial venture. those founding principles, he claims, have expert the yank nationwide id and its international coverage from its origins.

The Vietnam struggle is on the heart of this e-book. within the contradiction among the "free global" common sense hired to justify U.S. intervention in Vietnam and the genocidal practices used to achieve that good judgment, Spanos reveals the end result of an imperialistic discourse achieving again to the colonizing reason of the Roman Empire. Spanos identifies the language of enlargement within the "white" metaphors in Western philosophical discourse because the colonization of Greek idea by way of the Romans. He exhibits how those metaphors, and their position in metaphysical discourse, have lengthy been complicit within the violence of imperialism.

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As its binarism suggests, the foundational privileging of Identity over difference in metaphysical thinking means operationally that it enables the inquirer to read the temporal process as a system of evanescent or always changing signatures, fragments, enigmas, shadows, phantasms, and so on. It enables him/her to address the differential dynamics of 12 The Ontological Origins of Occidental Imperialism time as a spectral subaltern surface (an adulterated or "fallen," and thus worthless, but always threatening Other) that obscures — or, rather, reveals as in a glass darkly — a prior informing luminous presence (an abiding or universal or permanent meaning) that a willed penetration will reveal.

If this is so, the entire history of the concept of structure, before the rupture of which we are speaking, must be thought of as a series of substitutions of center for center, as a linked chain of determinations of the center. Successively, and in a regulated fashion, the center receives different forms or names. The history of metaphysics, like the history of the West, is the history of these metaphors and metonymies. Its matrix... 5 By logos, I do not mean a particular historical entity: the Greek or Roman logos, the Christian logos, the humanist logos.

Rather in the very receding things turn towards us. The receding of beings as a whole that close in on us in anxiety oppresses us. We can get no hold on things. In the slipping away of beings only this "no hold on things" comes over us and remains. 11 Metaphysics is thus a circular mode of inquiry that, in beginning from the end, has as its end the (finally futile) total reification and determination of the essential anxiety-activating indeterminacy of the nothing, of temporality, of the differences that temporality disseminates: of a phantasmic alterity, as it were.

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