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Sunday, 13 November 2016

Anti-factism

Been thinking in what I'm after in terms of alternatives to factism. Roughly speaking, and to begin with, factism is the thesis according to which there are atemporal, impersonal, reachable (albeit not necessarily ever reached) facts in the world independent of time, tense, rhythms, personal engagements, subjectivity and query strategies. In other words, it implies that things are the way they are independently of any agent, of any approach, of any way closeness one is to them. Anti-factist positions, of course, can be full-bloodedly realist in the sense of the existence of an out-there however complex and processual. Anti-factism is a form of process philosophy because it postulates many commencements and rejects the claim that things are made at some point once and for all.

There are many avenues to anti-factism. I've been exploring three of them, that maybe have to do with my three ontoscopies in Being Up For Grabs (Fragments, Doubts, Rhythms). The first one is through a monadological path, inaugurated by Leibniz who assigned every fact to a subjectivity, but more clearly made visible by neo-monadologists like Tarde, Whitehead and Latour. Here, instead of facts as basic constituents of the world, we have agents, composers, subjects, beings capable of act according to an aim or commencers. The monadological way out is promising because it embraces clearly the idea of process as opposed to fact and so it is easier to imagine one's way out of a birfurcation between subjectivity and the world as the former is constitutive of the world without that leading to any form of idealism. The second avenue is Levinas' rejection of what he calls "ontologisme", which is itself, I contend, a form of favoring process through undecidability - for an existent to leave its own being it is required a decision that nothing else can take. This second avenue explores the contact between an existent and another, between a being and what attracts outside and can evade it. The third avenue is Heidegger's idea of being as involving a concealment (for instance in the Einblick in was das ist). The effort of factism is to place everything in a sort of map where everything is exposed and can be found - the corresponding assumption is that everything lies in something like this map, the facts connecting to each other and just awaiting to be fully uncovered, fully unveiled (this is why the being is what is persecuted, what is in danger). Here too, reality appears as process of unavoidable concealment and exposure where what is unveiled is as important as what is provisionally and temporarily exposed.

The three avenues point towards a constitutive role of time in the fabric of reality. In this sense, they point towards process philosophy in a very broad sense. Landscapes are not plane, reality has a ups and downs and to this sense ontology is not flat. It could be flat in other senses, and I claim that monadologies postulate a flat ontology in the sense that every entity enjoys precisely the same ontological status, but it is flat in the sense that there are no flats standing all there to be uncovered. Anti-factism, in all its avenues, posits time as a major constituent of things and not a mere accessory seasoning.

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