Master of Arts (MA)


Philosophy and Religious Studies

Document Type



In this thesis I am tracing the historical development of subjectivity from its skeptical foundation in Descartes to Alain Badiou’s subject as fidelity to truth. Drawing from Martin Heidegger’s What is a Thing?, this history begins with the turn from an Aristotelian to a Newtonian apprehension of motion, turning towards an a priori mathematical projection of spatial uniformity, such that there are no longer different places – only quantifiable distance. It is on the basis of this turning away from tradition, or ordinary experience of different phenomena, that Descartes posits the self-certain I-pole. Heidegger criticizes modernity, defined as the merging of the metaphysical and the mathematical, for apprehending the relationship between man and world in only one way, as things. I hope show that this development does not derive from the mathematical alone, but from the project of objects against an objective background secured in an I-pole, further advanced by Kant’s transcendental reflection of the thing-in-itself over this project. I do this by following Alain Badiou’s assessment of Zermelo-Fraenkel’s axiomatic set theory, a particular mathematical model that self-destructs, meaning it cannot become absolute or dogmatic. With this thesis I hope to contribute to the scholarship of facticity, the existential thinking that begins with doubt. If we can dissociate in our ordinary language claims that utilize transcendental reasoning from claims concerning mathematical projection based on speculation alone, perhaps we might find some basis to make existential claims independent of perspective, or subjectivism.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Francois Raffoul