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Monday, 3 June 2013

A biographical remark on the up for grabs

Ever since I started concentrating in metaphysics I have been focusing on alternative modalities (or, rather, in movements in the modal hexagon of oppositions involving possibility, impossibility, necessity, possibility that not, the absolute and the nabla). First I wondered whether dispositions could be taken as a modality that cannot be reduced to any other - and what would happen if we think in terms of dispositional connections instead of necessary connections. Then I met the Speculative movement and became slowly more confortable with Humean accounts. I thought that there is more to metaphysics than what would have our vain criticism of necessary connections. Things could be up for grabs - in themselves. When I read some process philosophy (and consequences thereafter including OO ontologies and materialist takes such as Bennett's), I thought there would be a way to make the for-us/in-itself distinction (connected to substantiality, see the previous post) itself not necessary. More and more things could be thought as up for grabs and yet not dependent on the human ways. But speculative realism was more than process philosophy - it also involves those who defend the absolute facticity and those who defend the historicity of contingency (both called speculative materialists). In all cases, it somehow seems to draw on a message that I would call generalized Darwinism.

I thought metaphysics would have to deal with the main issue of Book Epsilon of Aristotle's Metaphysics - no episteme (pratike, poietike or theoretike) deals with symbebekos. There is no science of the accidental. Or is it? I thought this is what informed Kant's Humean misgivings with the standard form of doing metaphysics - no necessary connections to be found, nothing to be done. Meillassoux, in fact, hinted quite in this directions with his speculative argument for the principle of facticity. But the issue is, what can be done with the accident? Is there a way to bring it to thought? Is there at least a thought of the accident? Maybe it has to do with indexicality, with singularity, with being among concreta. Or maybe it has to do with what is we engage when we know things by heart (Lucian Freud once said he prefers not to know more than few things, but by heart, as I said in a previous post). I then started gathering resources to conceive this episteme of the symbebekos (floors, plans, spaces of suneches - pure contact, see Metaphysics Delta 1016a7 -, linguistic contact, exceptions etc.) The tool kit to conceive what is up for grabs.

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