This chapter sets out the general project undertaken throughout the following six chapters. It identifies what can be considered the ontological dimension of colonialism, a dimension many postcolonial critics fail to recognize. Insofar as that is the case, the argument is made that the emancipatory motivation behind postcolonial discourse and practice does not achieve its ends. In order to move postcolonial criticism forward, an interrogation of the ontology of empire must be undertaken. This interrogation is precisely what Mehta’s postcolonial hermeneutics sets out to accomplish. Negotiating Heideggerian and post-Heideggerian hermeneutics, Mehta’s work shows how the Western philosophical tradition has been committed to a “metaphysics of presence.” The metaphysics of presence reduces alterity to identity. Such totalizing philosophical gestures underwrite the colonial project. Mehta’s work demonstrates how a deconstruction of the metaphysics of presence not only delimits the reach of Western culture but also how it opens up new vistas for viewing classical Hindu traditions. Mehta’s novel interpretation of Hinduism provides a point of contestation regarding the dominant models in twentieth and twenty-first century Continental philosophy.


Comparative Philosophy Continental Philosophy Philosophical Hermeneutic Transcendental Subjectivity Hindu Tradition 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy and ReligionAppalachian State UniversityBooneUSA

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