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Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Rhythms, rules, regularities (and Anerkennung)

I feel a tiny bit more confident to go back to the hairy issue of normativity and recognition. I used to favor the idea that an act of recognition was no more than a special case of what Latour, for example, calls alliances. But alliances still sounded as if they involved themselves a degree of recognition - of the alliance being made. I thought maybe we can do better if we think in terms of rhythms, modulations, transmission and reception. In terms of capture, to use the vocabulary of a recent post here. We can start considering our thinking about induction and the quasi-inductive nature of the considerations on rule-following that Wittgenstein inaugurated.

Induction is a form of entrainement. It is about creation of expectations that depend on the entrained insertion in a cycle as cycles have built-in expectations. So, we can only think about the whereabouts of the sun tomorrow if we have a sense of rhythm - enough of a sense of rhythm to be sure when tomorrow is. If all our cycles are at the same time put into question, we can no longer figure out what is put into question. Doubts about the future makes sense only if there is a clock, a cycle or an expected rhythm we're tied to. Induction is about habits - habit-making is entrainement and therefore production of further cycles. Analogously, to learn to follow a rule (say, +2) is to follow a rhythm that is being shown. It cannot be done if we cannot associate the rhythm to be learned to others that are already available to us (i clocks or cycles we're tied to). I believe this is the grain of truth in naturalist approaches like Millikan's. There should be something in the pupil that prepares him to the learning - and I guess this has to do with the cycles the pupil already harbors. The 996-998-1000-1004 pupil of section 185 (of the PU) captures the wrong rhythm, nothing to do but to repeat the entrainement having in mind that the pupil's receptors could be such that they cannot mimic this rhythm as what is captured is something (slightly, as Brandom says) different. Concept-acquisition, and rule-following, is a way to explore important features of the rhythm of the world (of the many real patterns to be explored by different matrixes of difference and indifference). It makes recognition possible. But this story can be told in terms of capture.

The struggle for recognition is the struggle to be captured. The state is a giant antenna (and a giant entrainer) and politics is about making things received - turning them visible. But there are rhythms that skirt around the giant antenna and entrain around anyways. Concepts are things we exploit if we can grasp them - and it is an issue of being prepared to grasp, like having them in the deliverances of our senses. Additionally, somethings need to be recognized to affect others - their signal has to be captured, otherwise they don't entrain. There are things, however, like the malaria mosquito that defends the Amazon (as I mentioned in my recent paper on the register and the registrar), that broadcast signals that are modulated and transmitted without any act of recognition.



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