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Will Malson Alt + Ontology [CAP] Page 1 of 7

Alternative + Ontology -- Index

Alternative + Ontology -- Index .....................................................................................................................................1


Alt: Acknowledge ..........................................................................................................................................................1
1.The alt is our act of criticism itself. To endorse reform based on or complacent with capitalism hinders actual
improvement – we must acknowledge reform can be successful outside of capitalist principles.........................2
Alt: Acknowledge ..........................................................................................................................................................3
2.The ballot is key. Every refusal and act of negativity can challenge the mindset that capitalism is our ultimate savior.
Thus, our alternative is of increasing necessity in the progressing world............................................................4
Ontology (framework backup)........................................................................................................................................4
3.Our ontology (or philosophy) shapes our view of life........................................................................................4
Ontology (framework backup)........................................................................................................................................6
4.Ontological questions precede questions of policy because without understanding who we are in the world, we cannot
make meaningful use of the information available to us.......................................................................................7

Alt: Acknowledge
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1. The alt is our act of criticism itself. To endorse reform based on or complacent with capitalism
hinders actual improvement – we must acknowledge reform can be successful outside of capitalist
principles.
Adrian Johnston [Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque.
Major areas of research interest: Nineteenth and twentieth-century European philosophy (particularly
German idealism and post-war French thought) and psychoanalysis (especially Freud and Lacan). His
publications include: The forthcoming Žižek's Ontology: A Transcendental Materialist Theory of
Subjectivity. Northwestern University Press (2007). And Time Driven Northwestern University Press
(2005)], “The Cynic’s Fetish: Slavoj Žižek and the Dynamics of Belief”, International Journal of Žižek
Studies, Pages 93-94, February 4, 2007, ISSN 1751-8229 (HEG)
On the basis of Lacanian theory, one could argue that an act is something whose occurrence can only be
determined retroactively (as per Freud’s Nachträglichkeit and Lacan’s après-coup). It isn’t until after a
whole series of concrete actions have already been engaged in, and whose effects have temporally
unfurled to a sufficient extent, that one is able to assess whether an act actually did happen. One always
recognizes an act as such after-the-fact (Zizek himself acknowledges this too126). Thus, as Lacan
insists, acts aren’t events brought about in the present by self-conscious volitional agents because, within
the immediacy of the here-and-now, individuals aren’t able to determine or decide whether their actions
will eventually qualify, through the verdict of subsequent history, as genuine acts strictly speaking.
Individuals must first immerse themselves in action, since, without these particular interventions, there
would be nothing to grasp later through hindsight as an act. Although an act is indeed not an action (and
although far from every action can or does become an act), there is, nonetheless, no act without an
action. A politics of the pure act, one that eschews engaging in any specifications concerning actions to
be performed, is an empty “politics without politics.” The risk that this position refuses isn’t the risk of
the “absolute Act” and its always-possible failure—it risks refusing the active specification and
performance of actions that might not end up becoming acts. The activity of thinking that Zizek hopes to
facilitate again by toppling certain implicit ideological prohibitions must not allow itself to neglect
grappling with the tangible details of, for instance, social and political policymaking. Is the passivity of
awaiting the messianic future arrival of the undefined act- miracle the sole viable replacement for
Marx’s abandoned political project of communism? At some point soon, Zizek needs to explain what
fills the vacuum remaining after he severs the positive prescriptive agenda of Marxism from its
diagnostic-descriptive dimension.
Perhaps the absence of a detailed practical roadmap in Zizek’s political writings isn’t a major
shortcoming. Maybe, at least for the time being, the most important task is simply the negativity of the
critical struggle, the effort to cure an intellectual constipation resulting from capitalist ideology and
thereby truly to open up the space for imagining authentic alternatives to the prevailing state of the
situation. Another definition of materialism offered by Zizek is that it amounts to accepting the internal
inherence of what fantasmatically appears as an external deadlock or hindrance127 (with fantasy itself
being defined as the false externalization of something within the subject, namely, the illusory projection
of an inner obstacle128). From this perspective, seeing through ideological fantasies by learning how to
think again outside the confines of current restrictions has, in and of itself, the potential to operate as a

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form of real revolutionary practice (rather than remaining just an instance of negative/critical intellectual
Will Malson Alt + Ontology [CAP] Page 3 of 7

reflection).Why is this the case? Recalling the earlier analysis of commodity fetishism, the social
efficacy of money as the universal medium of exchange (and the entire political economy grounded
upon it) ultimately relies upon nothing 93more than a kind of “magic,” that is, the belief in money’s
social efficacy by those using it in the processes of exchange. Since the value of currency is, at bottom,
reducible to the belief that it has the value attributed to it (and that everyone believes that everyone else
believes this as well), derailing capitalism by destroying its essential financial substance is, in a certain
respect, as easy as dissolving the mere belief in this substance’s powers. The “external” obstacle of the
capitalist system exists exclusively on the condition that subjects, whether consciously or unconsciously,
“internally” believe in it—capitalism’s life-blood, money, is simply a fetishistic crystallization of a
belief in others’ belief in the socio- performative force emanating from this same material. And yet, this
point of capitalism’s frail vulnerability is simultaneously the source of its enormous strength: Its
vampiric symbiosis with individual human desire, and the fact that the late-capitalist cynic’s fetishism
enables the disavowal of his/her de facto belief in capitalism, makes it highly unlikely that people can be
persuaded to stop believing and start thinking (especially since, as Zizek claims, many of these people
are convinced that they already have ceased believing). Or, the more disquieting possibility to entertain
is that some people today, even if one succeeds in exposing them to the underlying logic of their
position, might respond in a manner resembling that of the Judas-like character Cypher in the film The
Matrix (Cypher opts to embrace enslavement by illusion rather than cope with the discomfort of
dwelling in the “desert of the real”): Faced with the choice between living the capitalist lie or grappling
with certain unpleasant truths, many individuals might very well deliberately decide to accept what they
know full well to be a false pseudo-reality, a deceptively comforting fiction (“Capitalist commodity
fetishism or the truth? I choose fetishism.”).

Alt: Acknowledge
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2. The ballot is key. Every refusal and act of negativity can challenge the mindset that capitalism
is our ultimate savior. Thus, our alternative is of increasing necessity in the progressing world
Charlie Post [teaches sociology in New York City, is active in rank and file organizing in the American
Federation of Teachers and is a member of Solidarity, a US socialist organization], “Review: Empire
and Revolution”, Jun 12, 2002, http://archives.econ.utah.edu/archives/marxism/2002w24/msg00030.htm (HEG)
In this world, all those who are subject to the vicissitudes of capitalist production and reproduction-
whether they labor collectively in workplaces under the command of capital or are excluded from social
production through unemployment, forced migration and the like-are equally part of a new revolutionary
subject. According to Hardt and Negri 'the multitude has internalized the lack of place and fixed time; it
is mobile and flexible, and it conceives the future only as a totality of possibilities that branch out in
every direction.' (p. 380) Almost any act of 'negativity' – the refusal to work, migration from one part of
the world to another, confrontations with the police, strike action - are equally powerful forms of
resistance because 'the construction of Empire, and the globalization of economic and cultural
relationships, means that the virtual center of Empire can be attacked from any point.' (p. 59)

Ontology (framework backup)

3. Our ontology (or philosophy) shapes our view of life


Will Malson Alt + Ontology [CAP] Page 5 of 7

David Campbell [bachelor's degree in physics and chemistry from Harvard College in 1966, Part III
Mathematics Tripos, with distinction, from Cambridge University in 1967, and Ph.D. in theoretical physics and applied
mathematics from Cambridge in 1970. He has pioneered the systematic study of inherently nonlinear phenomena throughout
physics. Professor Campbell is a leader in the emerging field of nonlinear science. His influential overview articles and his
direction of the flag-ship journal, Chaos, of which he was the founding editor, have established key interdisciplinary
organizing principles--the paradigms of solitons, chaos, and patterns--and have played a seminal role in defining the
research agenda in nonlinear science] & Michael J. Shapiro [Professor of Political Science at the University of
Hawaiiʻi at Mānoa. His work is often described as 'postdisciplinary', drawing on such diverse traditions as political
philosophy, critical theory, cultural studies, film theory, international relations theory, literary theory, African American
studies, comparative politics, geography, sociology, urban planning, economics, psychoanalysis, crime fiction, genre studies,
new musicology, aesthetics and Indigenous Politics. Shapiro's early work in political science covered the conventional areas
of the discipline, including political psychology, decision theory and electoral politics. Shapiro is an editor for the journal
Theory and Event, as well as a book series in political theory (with the University of Edinburgh Press) entitled Taking on the
Political; he was a previous editor of a book series in international studies and comparative politics (with the University of
Minnesota Press) entitled Borderlines. Shapiro received his Ph.D in Political Science from Northwestern
University in 1966, before moving on to a position as professor and chair of the University of Hawaiiʻi at Mānoa's
Political Science Department. Shapiro has also taught at the University of California, Berkeley (1968-1970), the University
of Massachusetts (1979 and 1986), the University of Bergen in Norway (1972-1973), and the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU
(2002)], "Moral spaces: rethinking ethics and world politics", Pages 97-98, Publisher: University of Minnesota Press; 1 Ed
edition, August 1, 1999, ISBN-10: 0816632758, ISBN-13: 978-0816632756 (HEG)

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Will Malson Alt + Ontology [CAP] Page 6 of 7

Ontology (framework backup)


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4. Ontological questions precede questions of policy because without understanding who we are
in the world, we cannot make meaningful use of the information available to us
Bert Olivier [Professor of Philosophy at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth,
South Africa. He holds an MA and Doctor of Philosophy in philosophy, has held postdoctoral
fellowships in philosophy at Yale University in the US on more than one occasion, and has held a
research fellowship at the University of Wales, Cardiff. At NMMU he teaches various sub-disciplines of
philosophy, as well as film studies, media and architectural theory, and psychoanalytic theory. He has
published widely in the philosophy of culture, art and architecture, cinema, music and literature, as well
as the philosophy of science, epistemology, psychoanalytic, social, media and discourse theory. In 2004
he was awarded the Stals Prize for Philosophy by the South African Academy for Arts and Sciences, in
2005 he received the award of Top Researcher at NMMU for the period 1999 to 2004, in 2006 the
award for Top Researcher in the Faculty of Arts at NMMU, and in 2008 and 2009 he was both Faculty
of Arts Researcher of the Year, and NMMU Researcher of the Year], “Nature as 'abject', critical
psychology, and 'revolt' : the pertinence of Kristeva”, South African Journal of Psychology, Volume 37,
Issue 3, Publication Date: 2007, ISSN: 00812463, (HEG)
In the light of this, any responsible human being who has taken note of the current state of affairs cannot
and should not avoid making use of every possible medium to create and expand an informed awareness
of the situation, as well as a sense of urgency and the need to act, among as many people as possible. In
my experience, mere ‘factual knowledge’ is not sufficient to have the desired effect of galvanising
people into action— in the present ‘information age’, people with access to media (that is, the vast
majority of people on the planet) are ‘better informed’ than in any previous era, but arguably just as
apathetic as ‘informed’, judging by the deteriorating condition of natural resources.3 Rather, therefore,
by placing ‘information’ about the precarious state of the earth in the context of not only a
philosophical-theoretical but also, crucially, a critical-psychological interpretation, people are afforded
the intellectual, psychological, and ethical4 means to appreciate what all this information means for
them and for other creatures on the planet.