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Friday, 4 May 2018

Paradoxical-transcendental philosophy

In the first part of the Grammatology, Derrida notes at some point that the ultratranscendental resembles the precritical. In other words, the transcendental recoil could go far enough to reach what is beyond the pale. What is deemed inaccessible for some reason can end up being accesses if we dwell too much on the very reason that precludes access. It is as if the plane where the critique of metaphysics takes place is round and what is beyond the pale can be reached by going backwards without ever crossing the pale.

Paradoxico-metaphysics as I conceive it is a way to provide a total view according to which no total view is possible. Indexucalism and the metaphysics of the other - see previous posts here - are convenient examples but surely one can think broadly in terms of how Cogburn analyses Garcia's claim that the universe is never an object. So, the critique of the total view - the metaphyisical effort to explain why a total view is impossible - engages in transcedental endeavor. It is about the conditions of possibility or impossibility of a total view. Now, that such a transcendental or ultratranscendental endeavor ends up being precritical or engaging in plain metaphysics makes it no less transcendental. It is a transcendental philosophy showing that a total view is impossible - and resorting to a total view to do so.

Derrida undestands the critique of the metaphysics of presence to be a transcendental critique that has (Kantian) transcendental philosophy in its scope. It provides a critique of the very subject of knowledge and experience that Kant took as the basis of the transcendental enterprise. But if the transcendental subject is itself object of a transcendental critique, the stuff of which transcendental projects are made is not anything sui generis. They could involve everything.

Something similar is the case when we find transcendental analysis that appeal to experience (Whitehead's transcendental analysis of objects and time in terms of events or Deleuze's transcendental empiricism). Here, experience provides the transcendental tools for a transcendental project. Such project is about what is there to be found in a total view of reality and not outside that scope. Yet, it is equally transcendental. In all these cases, it is so because it is paradoxico-transcendental.

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