Date of Award


Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Philosophy, PhD

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Roland Farber

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Philip Clayton

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

John Quiring

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Ranu Samantrai

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Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2011 Alan Van Wyk


The post-secular event within which we live is occasioned as the limit of the secular project. The secular project meets its limit in attempting to separate a religious private sphere from a public sphere while at the same time repeating as a demand a religious subjectivation of the public sphere: demanding conformity to a simple subjectivity, producing a world of simple subjects through a theologically determined metaphysics of conversion. In this latter demand secularism enforces a simplicity of its subjects and its world. Yet this simplicity cannot be taken up into or as life. To genuinely live and think the post-secular requires, then, not simply a resistance to the secular but a resistance to simplicity, developing ways of becoming otherwise than simply and of producing a world other than that which conforms to a metaphysics of conversion.

This dissertation proposes to meet the requirements of the post-secular event by developing a post-secular political ontology drawn from the work of Judith Butler and Alfred North Whitehead. Read through and out of these two philosophers of becoming is a post-secular political ontology that is embedded within a metaphysics of creativity, a metaphysic that is itself already infected by the political. At the intersection of the work of Butler and Whitehead a metaphysic arises that is a systematic discourse of the political.

From this metaphysic a political ontology is developed. This political ontology begins with a suspicion of grammar as a suspicion of a subject-predicate form of thought that grounds ontologies of substance. With this suspicion, being is allowed to unfold as its becoming, particularly as a becoming material, so that actuality is a becoming materiality. This is also a relational becoming of feeling, becoming as a process of intensive feeling that can never be finalized for itself, always suffering its own continual downfall. Finally, but without finality, actuality is a becoming of creativity, opened by a divine violence that ruptures history by the possible, leading to a post-secular political ontology of the future.