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Saturday, 22 February 2014

Monadological withdrawal

One of Harman's exciting Heideggerian move in L'objet quadruple is to make withdrawal ontological. Objects have a secret life, withdrawn not only from us but also from any other object. No quality, no description - and no prehension - of the object captures its open horizon; reality for an object is to resist, to escape, to withdraw. Objects supersede, they transcend. The speculative jump towards universal withdrawal reinstates transcendence in a flat ontology - it is a Kripkean transcendence. No need for a different layer of things, it is enough to postulate a trans-worldly feature to objects - or the non-identity of all indiscernibles. Qualities are not enough to determine an object. This is why it has a quadruple nature, because ontology is flat but the insides of what there is - we could call it endontology for the lack of a better term - is structured.

Fair enough, but exactly because the scheme is Kripkean to a great extent, it is not Leibnizian. In fact, it flies on the face of Leibniz's law. Transcending objects (or transcending monads, for that matter) is something very far away not only from Leibniz but from the very principles of a monadology. Monadologies, as I understand them, posit distributed beings. Monads are wordly things. There is some transcendence because no monad in the world fully capture what a monad is - none can see beyond its field of vision, so to speak. Withdrawal, therefore, has to be a wordly withdrawal. In other monadologies (Tarde's, Latour's or Whitehead's for example) it is even clearer that what is withdrawn about a monad from any other monad is the wordly relations (or alliances, or sponsoring connections) it enjoys with the rest of the world. As no monad sees everything, each perspective opens up a blind spot. Part of the blind spot is unveiled when we change perspective. But as no perspective is complete, there is a resilient withdrawing of each monad. Not from its structured inside, but rather in the vastness of a world of interconnections. In a sense, we could say that the only inner reclusion that take place spells no more than a reclusion towards somewhere farther away.

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