Defeated Ambivalence

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Ambivalence is often presented through cases of defeated ambivalence and multivalence, in which opposed attitudes suggest mutual isolation and defeat each other. Properly understood, however, ambivalence implies the existence of poles that are conflictually yet rationally interlinked and are open to non-defeated joint conduct. This paper considers cases that range from indecisiveness and easy adoption of conflicting attitudes, to tragically conflicted deliberation and to cases of shifting between self-deceptively serious attitudes. Analyzing such cases as variants of defeated ambivalence, I argue that the phenomena of defeated ambivalence are marginal to ambivalence even though they are by the same token exemplary of it. The poles in such cases are connected as opposing attitudes in such a way that the attitudes and the opposition are both undermined. The article focuses on two forms of vague multivalence, one of which is taken from Heidegger’s analysis of curiosity.
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Archival date: 2020-05-25
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