Difference and dependency, violence and sublimation: Two questions for Kelly Oliver

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This essay assesses Kelly Oliver's long publication career by focusing on two novel ideas we find in her work. Both are ideas belonging to the new kind of ethics Oliver envisions. On the one hand, there is the idea of dependency. Through dependency, she aims to ground an obligation to care for the ones who provide the care to the dependents. The second idea is sublimation. Through her studies of psychoanalysis, Oliver shows that sublimation allows the subject to distance herself from the violence of the drives. Sublimation is Oliver's response to constitutive violence. In regard to Oliver's ethical vision, I raise two questions. The first concerns the kind of obligation Oliver grounds; it seems to be hypothetical and not categorical. The second question concerns constitutive violence, whose existence Oliver seems to argue against. I conclude my essay by arguing that we must recognize the constitutive violence in all experience, and find a response to it.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)607-617
Number of pages11
JournalPhilosophy Today
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Philosophy


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