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Thursday, 7 August 2014

The space between nobody and nothing (few remarks on the politics of predication)

Been thinking a bit - while finishing Being Up for Grabs - about the politics of predication. The gap between someone and something - and between nobody and nothing - is the black hole of politics (and of metaphysics). This black hole is the space where different politics and metaphysics can be cartographer and it is, in fact, the space between politics and metaphysics. This is the space inhabited by animals, plants, parts of people, all sort of auto-poietic devices, prehensions, correlations, intentional stances, proto-subjects etc. The cartography of this space is also a chronology: when does a what generate a who, when do a who bundle into whats - organisms have components that can be described mechanistically, people get together to form resources (or nationalities, or identities, or work force). The endeavor to explore this space starts with a descriptive metaphysics, and descriptions of the world are politically charged (see for instance Galeano's Los Nadies). In fact, most political and metaphysical projects of this time traffic this space: the exacerbation of naturalism, animism and perspectivism, post-humanism, rights of animals, ecology. Political language, and whatever grounds it, draws this line. Politics flows in a riverbed of metaphysics.

This division line is independent both of views concerning the substantiality of what there is and of approaches to the negative - whether there is an absolute nothingness or absence is always relative. In other words, no matter which other options in metaphysics are taken - for instance, no matter whether necessitism, haecceitism or concretism are held - the issue of what counts as an object and what counts as a subject is central. Flat ontology, for instance in the form of object-oriented ontology, holds that anything is a who and a what. For instance, objects are amphibious enough to be sometimes subject. But is this just a way to conceal the black hole?

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