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Friday, 28 October 2011

Somatism and individuated objects

The other day I was thinking about my way in the perdurantism vs endurantism debate (the former holds that this table now is part of a whole composed by the table now together with this table a second ago, this table two seconds ago etc - mereology of objects depends on how we carve up time - and the latter holds that each of these tables are one and the same (whole) object). Then I stumbled on the question of how do we want ready-individuated itens, like objects (or particulars in general). It is maybe a somatist intuition guiding us here to attend to individual bodies rather to their genesis. Objects are the bodies of the universe and we somehow tend to think in terms of them.

Maybe somatism concerning mentality has to do with the idea championed by Brentano that we intend objects. It is as if thinking about their genesis would be to lapse into the dark space between the thoughts (Dieter Roos' poem that I quoted in my book: «thoughts are like the stars at night, we see the stars, but the space between them remains in the dark»). Maybe there is a space between the objects that require another kind of thought, a thought that is not intentional but rather somehow dynamics, like when we track escaping singularities focusing at their paths rather than looking at their integrity. But this sounds too vague, too sketchy...

I thought ontology in the Lévinas sense (the reduction of the Other to the Same) maybe has to do with ready-individuated objects. There is another poem, this one by Pat Ingoldsby, that I mention in my book when I talk about Lévinas: «"But I'm not. ""What?""A tin-opener." "I am delighted to hear it but tell me, have people in the past attempted to open things with you?" "Why would they when I'm not a tin-opener" [...] Then she picked him up and lit her cigarette with him. » An ontology of objects is an ontology where individuation processes come somehow too late, only after individuated items. When Lévinas talks about attending to the other's face, this attention could be thought of as different from intentionality. Maybe he is pointing at a different way to look at what there is without taking individuation for granted.

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