Indexicalism and Paradox


  • Paul M Livingston University of New Mexico


Bensusan, Indexicalism, Antinomy, Levinas, Derrida, Modality, Metaphysics


I consider the longstanding connection, already mooted by Aristotle, between the project of metaphysics as the general science of “being qua being” and the apparently more specific structure of a metaphysics of possibility that is structured essentially by the force and dominance of the principle of non-contradiction.  I reconstruct, from the alternative position of what Hilan Bensusan terms “indexicalism,” an antinomic structure of indexicality plausibly underlying at a basic level the paradoxical results of several significant arguments in the history of Western philosophy that bear (on their face) contradictory or antinomic conclusions and suggest that the these arguments are collectively sufficient to show that there cannot be an indexicalist “metaphysics of modality.”  The antinomic arguments nevertheless bear, I argue in dialogue with Bensusan, Levinas, and Derrida, an important critical significance if directed, from an indexicalist standpoint, against the anthropogenic violence characteristic of the humanist thinking of metaphysical possibility and the extractive dominance over non-human others that that this thinking enables and promulgates.


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How to Cite

Livingston, P. M. (2021). Indexicalism and Paradox. Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, 17(2), 66–97. Retrieved from



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