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Friday, 17 December 2010

Every object is a transcendental subject?

I'm in Cairo. Had lunch, almond tart and wine with Graham Harman. Recorded him answering questions for my project of a cartography of the current metaphysical renaissance with a camera. We were in a place called Estoril. The interview is going to come up soon, in some format.

Been considering whether we can read some of the Kantian ideas as examples (or as first steps in a speculative operation, as Didier Debaise would prefer). Then talk about things-for-ourselves as opposed to things-in-themselves would be as much about us as about any other "us" (any other "ourselves"). Hence, things-for-bees, things-for-trees, things-for-ticks, things-for-a grain of salt. The distinction itself doesn't have to be human-centered: everything could be seen as a transcendental subject. Analogously, we can understand the old Vaihingen "as if" idea as applying to everything: it is as if blood is manioc beer for the jaguar and there is nothing else to blood but what it is as if for something else (apart, maybe, from the conjunction of everything that beer is for something else).

We can take many features of our own phenomena building as an example (pace Didier) of something more general in the world. Our capacity to construct objects – for instance, taken as black boxes – can be seen as shared by eagles, rivers and bacteria. It could be that we are only examples of transcendental subjects, that being a transcendental subject is our specific way of being something more general – say, an object.

Additionally, as I wrote elsewhere, the very definition of human "us" (as it appears when we talk about human experience, human conceptual capacities or human subjects) is itself not obvious. Surely, there is a gap between things-for-me and things-for-us and that is bridged by an appeal to what is common to us - but what us? The problem is that the metaphysics of things-for-us becomes hostage to the assumed commonalities between humans. It also stands on the supposition that these commonalities are more important than anything else to the constitution of things-for-me; while it could be that my experience (or my phenomena, or my conscious life) is more informed by my contact with non-humans - say cats, or toys, or mice, or beer - than by my common conceptual Bildung.

Maybe we should stop privileging one among many correlations...

1 comment:

  1. que lindo. a gente lendo harman aqui e achando a posição dele ainda muito misteriosa e você conversando com ele ai.