On being - à voter: Derrida, democracy and the ontology of possibility

Vernon, James Patrick
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University of Guelph

This text is an investigation of 'ontologies' of democracy--both ideal and actual--through a critical eye informed by the work of Jacques Derrida. It begins with an examination of the role of founding texts in democracy, particularly in its American manifestation. We then move through the 'originary' relationship between Government and Governed, the electoral process. Finally, the philosophical conception of the subject that underpins the current, limited expression of democracy is explored. All these 'ontologies' are demonstrated to betray our actual 'ontology', the origin of/in response. From this discovery, I defend a truly 'ontological' democracy--an ontology of the voter, of a subject of/in/as voting. This new subject, this ontological voter, is defended as ontological factual, ethically desirable and political viable and necessary.

ontology of democracy, Jacques Derrida, founding texts, American, government, governed, electoral process, philosophical conception