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Friday, 22 March 2013

Folds for rhythms

Hume's attack on necessary connections is strongly dependent on his attachment to what he was ready to posit as information provided by the senses alone. In particular, his idea that the distinction of all things is evident - we see things, but we don't see the hidden links between them (forces, causes, power). McDowell, for example, pointed out (in "Functionalism and anomalous monism") that Humean causality is hostage to the dualism of scheme and content - why distinctness would be pure content while connectedness would depend on a scheme (built by our second creation)? Still, one could put aside for a while the troubles with the Given and try to appreciate the intuition behind Hume's idea that distinctness is self-evident from our sense experience. Surely, one has also to bear in mind that substances (particulars that remain the same over time) and substrata (particular that remains the same over trans-world travels) should not be self-evident from our sense experience. What is then left, I take, is that we perceive in a convincing way that folds (and joints, and articulations and borders) is what is captured by senses independently of any modulation. In fact, folds perceived leave us in a white blindness of too many differences - blindness of the id quo, that is, blindness of what is to be seen in what is seen. What is an individual and what is a process of individuation are not themselves evident as much as the joints that are used for individuation are - folds (joints, borders) have to be available for individuation. What is not available is what is an individual, what is a part of an individual, what is an yet unexploited fold. I guess this is also what is behind Quine's points on radical translation - Gavagai as a term doesn't have a straightforwardly graspable reference if only our senses are available. Also, this is why Latour (in Irréductions) has that only tests of resistance can tell actants from networks. Mereology comes later - what is immediately available are folds.

I believe this is defensible because there is a rhythm for perception. Senses are tuned somehow by their swing, their ability to be entrained by what they capture. Repetition: to capture is to be entrained. So our senses prey on folds and joints as they prey on pulses of a rhythm, this is why they perceive those things. Modulations (via conceptual acquisition, for instance, see Signals without modulations are blind
in this blog) make use of folds that are engraved like in a Bildung that enables the capturing device to distinguish the differences that make a difference. A modulation is the production of a model of repetition - a naked repetition - which acts like a ceteris paribus device where other rhythms are no longer captured. Modulation is really about producing a matrix of differences and indifferences and a capacity to repeat without much interference - the naked repetition under which there is always a dressed repetition. The appeal to folds as given would be more or less like saying that we always start out with differences, with borders, with joints - but not necessarily with all joints that there are, as we might need problems to be able to inspect them (as Deleuze insists that without problems no infinitesimal in particular can be seen). We see the folds (and pulses, and joints) because we cling to rhythms - the rest comes from them.

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