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Tuesday, 22 March 2016

The universe without agency

Writing about a conception of agency where it transcends anything sensible (concrete), I realize that agency could then be ascribed to a transcendent element (a God) or to transcendent laws (like the laws of nature) but could also be understood as radically absent from the sensible because it is absent from everything. In other words, it could be that ontos is devoid of any arché - any capacity to command (or to commence). Ontos would be an-arche. Interestingly, in both cases the sensible is incapable to command - any sensible thing is incapable even to provide a self-government. They can follow, or they can be alien to whatever happens in the game of commanding and obeying. It seems like the power of the idea of arché is forced upon us in a way that we cannot conceive the absence of governance but as a lack of power. Maybe an-arché is precisely a move beyond the game of commanding and obeying, a move that escapes us. I thought that Meillassoux hyperchaos (the necessity of facticity) is an image of the world where nothing is capable to command anything. Meillassoux's contingency can be seen from the arche point of view - where we seek command and commencements - as an image of the sensible as lacking of power. It is interesting to notice that it lacks a power to affect anything just like when laws of nature are supposed to reign over it. This is maybe why Brassier's closeness to eliminativism is also so close from Meillassoux's hyperchaos. In both cases, the sensible is devoid of commanding capacity - devoid of agency. (It is perhaps analogous to the opposition and similarity between Heraclitus and Plato drawn in book M of Aristotle's Metaphysics: both take the sensible to be a realm of impermanence, but Plato understands that this is what makes it governable from elsewhere. In both cases, the image of the sensible as lacking substance is held.)

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