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Thursday, 19 July 2012

Abesences, negations and oppositions

Tristan Garcia (Forme et Objet) seems to be proposing a kind of monism of things with nothing but things in a plan de n´importe quoi. Whem he goes on about nothingness, he seems to point at a dissolution of oppositions. In pages 55-58 he criticizes a notion of absolute nothingness which results from a conflation between what he calls the contrary of a thing (or its negative) - that seems to amount to the complement of the thing - and the absence of a thing. The latter is the product of an event while the first is something that always appears in conjunction with the thing. Then he summarizes his position in three lessons:
Premier enseignement: rien ne préexiste à quelque chose qu´autre chose ; deuxième enseignement : le négatif d´une chose ne peut ni la préceder ni la suivre, mais est inséparable de son existence ; troisième enseignement : l´absence d´une chose ne peut que la suivre.
If we take the absence of something to be a thing (as I considered in the post on abhava in this blog, ) and if the absence has to follow from a thing, it is traceable back to it. The absence of a book on my table is not the absence of a pad because it is tied to the thing absent. Still, however, the absence of a book cannot be something that makes "this is the absence of a book" false.

In any case, the effort to dissolve oppositions in a world of things amounts to an anti-realism about lack - about negativity. The two elements that compose absolute nothingness - to be disentangled - are absence and contrariety (complement) and both boil down to things. (In fact, Garcia seems to be exorcising the possibility of conflating absence and contrariety and therefore understanding opposition in terms of complement - other things but the thing - and removal - or exil.) Negativity is just in the eye of the describer (the eye is also a thing). Surely then, there are no more than things, things and more things - negation being nowhere and being no more than the name of an operation (perceptive or active) over things.

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