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Jones By The Way in Beirut

Last week I met Ray Brassier in the By The Way bar in Hamra, Beirut. He is quite an admirer of Sellars and has misgivings with the word speculation as it appears in expressions like "speculative realism", Didier Debaise's "speculative empiricism" or "speculative turn". He doesn't seem to share a lot of enthusiasm for the works of Latour and Stengers. Yet, he somehow believes that metaphysics is unavoidable.

The interesting conversation around Sellars made me remember my problems with the myth of Jones. I tend to think that Jones would be either a genius who introduced mental vocabulary in the Rylean ancestor's language or he would be a discoverer of mentality but in the latter case not so much of a genius. In order for Jones to be a discoverer, there should be mentality there in the first place, in the Rylean ancestors and that could not be a private issue as that would fly on the face of the basic Wittgensteinian points. I do like the idea that the Jonesian contribution introduced mentality into the Rylean ancestors but I suspect Sellars' brand of realism plays him a trick here. Mentality was in a sense "instauré" (Souriau's term) by Jones, it didn't have to pre-exist his endeavour as discernible items (say thoughts, perceptions etc).


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