Skip to main content


It is usually said that some generalizations carry nomic capacities - associated by Goodman with the capacity to enable counterfactuals - and therefore express a law, or a physical necessity. The difference between universal statements with and without a law-like character is hard to spot in a roughly formal way because often it relates to the terms used in the statement. Laws are formulated in sanctioned terms - which are sometimes called "kinds", or "natural kinds". Hence there could be laws with "mammals" but not with "my favorite animals" or even with "pets", there could be laws with "heavy bodies" but not with painted bodies. If laws are formulated with kinds, causal relations genuinely occur between things that can be described as kinds - hurricanes and tempests but not headlines of Monday and news on Thursday, to recall an example given by Davidson to show that a causal relation between two events is not expressed by a law in every description of those events. The difficulties concerning spotting what statements are laws are inherited by those about pointing out which terms are kinds. Things seem even more difficult when I take on board that I always thought there is a continuum in both cases that would enable one to talk of degrees of lawlikeness, degrees of kindlikeness.

I woke up wondering whether the conception of causality as a mode of perception, that Whitehead recommends, would help out here. The differences that make a lawlike difference are those that could be perceived not only by us but also by other perceivers. A mammal is a kind because ticks prey on them (and not on pets), tomato is a kind because parasite plants seek them - mammals and tomatoes are constituted by whatever trigger causal and perceptual relations with them. Degrees of kindlikeness could be understood in terms of how much a perceptual similarity is detected by different perceivers - say, by non-human perceivers, or episodes of perception in the mode of efficient causation. Pets support some generalizations, mammals support more. Laws - and kinds - would then be about a common vocabulary we share with other perceivers. Yes, more about vocabularies and less about the furniture of the universe.


Popular posts from this blog

Giving Birth

This is a month of giving birth: 1. On the first day of the month (my birthday) I sent out my book BUG (Being Up for Grabs) to publisher. A birth-giving moment. 2. On the forth, we started the Journal, called Journal of Questions. It is a Jabèsian and Jarryian endeavor that intends to reflect in many languages about the gaps between thought and translation. It will be available soon. 3. On the 10th, day before yesterday, offspring Devrim A. B. was born. Her name means revolution in Turkish and is a roughly common name. She's very attentive and concentrated - especially on her own fingers that she learned to molest in her youth during her womb months. She was gestated together with BUG. Hope the world enjoys.

My responses to (some) talks in the Book Symposium

Indexicalism is out: l   The book symposium took place two weeks ago with talks by Sofya Gevorkyan/Carlos Segovia, Paul Livingston, Gerson Brea, Steven Shaviro, Chris RayAlexander, Janina Moninska, Germán Prosperi, Gabriela Lafetá, Andrea Vidal, Elzahrã Osman, Graham Harman, Charles Johns, Jon Cogburn, Otavio Maciel, Aha Else, JP Caron, Michel Weber and John Bova. My very preliminary response to some of their talks about the book follows. (Texts will appear in a special issue of Cosmos & History soon). RESPONSES : ON SAYING PARADOXICAL THINGS Hilan Bensusan First of all, I want to thank everyone for their contributions. You all created a network of discussions that made the book worth publishing. Thanks. Response to Shaviro: To engage in a general account of how things are is to risk paradox. Totality, with its different figures including the impersonal one that enables a symmetrical view from nowhere

Hunky, Gunky and Junky - all Funky Metaphysics

Been reading Bohn's recent papers on the possibility of junky worlds (and therefore of hunky worlds as hunky worlds are those that are gunky and junky - quite funky, as I said in the other post). He cites Whitehead (process philosophy tends to go hunky) but also Leibniz in his company - he wouldn't take up gunk as he believed in monads but would accept junky worlds (where everything that exists is a part of something). Bohn quotes Leibniz in On Nature Itself «For, although there are atoms of substance, namely monads, which lack parts, there are no atoms of bulk, that is, atoms of the least possible extension, nor are there any ultimate elements, since a continuum cannot be composed out of points. In just the same way, there is nothing greatest in bulk nor infinite in extension, even if there is always something bigger than anything else, though there is a being greatest in the intensity of its perfection, that is, a being infinite in power.» And New Essays: ... for there is ne