Philosophical Papers and Review

  • Abbreviation: Philos. Papers Rev
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-663X
  • DOI: 10.5897/PPR
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 44

Full Length Research Paper

The being of culture: beyond representation

Alec McHoul
School of Media Communication and Culture, Murdoch University, W. Australia 6150, Perth Australia
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 22 October 2009
  •  Published: 30 November 2009



This work begins with the general question of whether it is possible to think of the idea of culture beyond the confines of representationalism, and discusses Heidegger’s ‘matter’ of Ereignis as the ‘mis-appropriability’ of cultures and cultural objects. In the second section, it moves on to the question of the ontological difference and its significance for a non-representationalist version of culture as ‘poiesis’. This leads to a radical notion of (transcendental) empiricity beyond the ordinary sense of ‘the empirical’ and, in light of this, a questioning of cultural relativism and the invisibility of the ontological difference to the cultural sciences. The third section of the paper briefly addresses the ethics of cultural research and the possible deconceptualisation of (the idea) culture. The final section summarises the paper by offering a (counter) definition of culture as such.


Key words: Culture, representation, Ereignis, ‘appropriability’, ‘poiesis’, transcendental empiricism, cultural relativism, research ethics.