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Thursday, 10 October 2013

Transcendental substances

My computer is dead and some of my data lost in the darkness of organized matter. It is good to know that it is all there. But matter has no simple doors to open.

Meanwhile, I´m teaching about substance. My metaphysics course this term is all framed in terms of the adventures of substance from Plato to Simondon. We have now stopped in Kant for few classes, talking about substance as a postulate (note 24 in the Prolegomena) and substantiality as having a normative structure. Kant moves substance out of the in-itself (where Plato and Aristotle placed is). Substance is in the for-X; it is intrinsically relational - something with a Leibnizian inspiration. Substance is a necessary postulate for experience that doesn´t extent father than the realm of experience. Substance is in the sub-sensible, not in what is experienced (or in what is beyond experience shadowing it) but rather in what makes experience possible - how experience is experienced. Such an account of experience paves the way to a conception of substance where necessity arises not from itself but rather from something else. The transcendental can be evoked outside the anthropological sleep - what makes it possible for something to be experienced (or, if we want, prehended) by something else. The transcedental dimension of something is the dimension that makes it available by a perspective.

Transcendental substantiality is also about translation - it resides within the tools of translation. It is about the way objects are received and therefore substantiality has to do with modulation. It is in the infra-sensible because it is what makes perspectives possible - what makes the sensible sensed. Schelling insinulates that viewed as substantiality in the infra-sensible, the transcendental was already in Leibniz. Schelling take is to look for substantiality in the pre-thing, in the dynamics of individuation. Nature is not what is viewed but rather what makes things and representations take the shape of individual items. Things, and not only representations, demand transcendental explanations - and the method envisaged by Kant (and followed or perverted by Schelling) is to provide these explanations with an appeal to substantiality. (This is why there is no empirical substantiality in Schelling, like in Aristotle. Empirical objects get substantiality from below.)

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