By Wendell Kisner (auth.)
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Extra info for Ecological Ethics and Living Subjectivity in Hegel’s Logic: The Middle Voice of Autopoietic Life
Whereas the former is precluded by the monotheistic imperative of Christianity, the latter reduces the incarnation to something inessential or superficial. The older Greek word for person, prosopon, or persona in Latin, signified an actor’s mask and hence suggested the epiphenomenal implications of a role or “mask” concealing a deeper underlying reality. 36 Hence what the Patristic thinkers needed was a substantive concept of the person. The word hupostasis seemed to offer this insofar as it signified something substantial that could be distinguished from a mere epiphenomenal persona, and yet at the same time it was not simply coextensive with the classical notion of ousia (being, substance).
Nonetheless, even Bigger’s interpretation is saddled with problems created by the assumption of givenness that the Hegelian approach eschews. Contra Scott but aligned with Bigger, in this chapter I will argue that the medial form most appropriate to the specific determinacy of life is the reflexive middle voice as opposed to the intransitive, and that such Life in the Middle Voice 31 medial reflexivity can itself be further clarified in terms of the Patristic concept of hypostasis. Unlike Bigger, however, I will not merely adopt this interpretive frame as something pregiven in the tradition of ideas but rather as a determinacy that is derived and established through the dialectical logic demonstrated by Hegel, even if the latter does not explicitly employ this terminology.
But it is not difficult to imagine that the loss of the middle voice might facilitate a proto-subject/object dichotomy, allowing the representation of a subject of action and an object acted upon as both simply “there” prior to any process that takes place with respect to them. Human experience may more easily lend itself to such terms as soon as we are left with agent and patient alone, where the process of their emergence has become obfuscated and language has lost some of its disclosive resources to address this domain.