24 Pages


Absence is a lack that disrupts or defers full presence. Insofar as traditional Western thought and its modern consummation involve a metaphysics of presence, the functions of "absence" prove crucial to postmodern critiques of Western thought. Within a metaphysics of presence, primal "truth" is equated with "being," and being is equated with "presence": to be true, or truly to be, is to be originarily and fully present. This tie between primal truth and ontological presence informs traditional and modern conceptions of God (the source of all truth as the full presence of being); of the human subject (the truth of whose thought and identity would be realized in rational self-presence); and of meaning in language (the truth of whose signifying movement would be sought in the presence of a signified).