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Sunday, 23 February 2020

Stengers, Heidegger, Descola, (Kraus) and what is cosmopolitics

My own notion of cosmopolitics is slightly different from that Stengers has been proposing and examining. I tend to add to her notion, grounded on the idea of an ecology of practices, two other elements that, it seems to me, make the notion more dramatic and still more crucial. I take the ecology of practices is about the conflicts, indifference, collaborations and alliances between practices of knowing, intervening and keeping company. The ecology of practices is the very cosmic scenario where any epistemic endeavor takes place - but also what the epistemic endeavor sponsors (and maintains, instaurates, brings about) in its surroundings. To the ecology of practices, I would add the history of being in the sense of Heidegger: what makes nihilism a cosmopolitics is that it names an attitude of intelligence extraction towards the rest of the cosmos - including the very protagonists of intelligence-extraction. The history of nihilism and of whatever precedes and succeeds it is cosmopolitical, it is an adventure in the realm of controlling things and letting them be. One of the consequences of nihilism - and of our modern practices - is the anthropocene or whatever is the name for the current impact on the planet's geology the current regime around humans has. I also add what Descola calls a disposition of being, in the context of the anthropology of nature: naturalism - as much as animism - is a cosmopolitics. In this sense, it is explicitly about the relationship humans hold with non-humans and how the former craft a form of life among the latter. The issue of the connections between modernity, nihilism and naturalism elucidate the three of them.

Ludueña understands cosmopolitics in terms of spectrology. He cites Karl Kraus saying that as there are no more than shadows and puppets left, then the banalest events should be considered from a cosmic viewpoint. Ludueña adds that, conversely, "it is not possible to understand any aspect of the cosmos without paying attention to the seeming details of the deceased human world" (La comunidad de los espectros III: Arcana Imperii, 26. My translation).

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

The childhood of the machines published

O artigo da primeira apresentação da infância das máquinas foi publicado na revista Direitos, Trabalho e Política Social.

PS on deferrralism

Can thought be non-Fregean? Can we therefore think genuinely de re?

Frege in ´"The Thought", cited in footnote 52 of Kaplan´s "Demonstratives": "Only a sentence supplemented by a time-indication and complete in every respect expresses a thought". The idea behind what I called deferralism yesterday in the previous post is that Kaplan´s treatment of indexical is still hostage to the idea that genuine thought ought to be complete and fully resolved - even if indexical sentences depend on the world to complete the job of specifying a content, a thought. Kaplan seems to believe that the thought as such - the proposition - needs to be identified and individuated in a de dicto manner. Thought is therefore never itself situated.

It seems to me that a metaphysical indexicalism needs to reject this Fregean conception of thought endorsed by Kaplan - no matter whether the way to go is deferralist (but I think this is a promising approach).

Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Deferralism (a sketch)

Thinking about how to present and argue for indexicalism - a metaphysical thesis that the world is indexical - in terms closer to those of Kaplan, Perry and Wettstein. Been going through Kaplan´s Demonstratives. My initial ideas boil down a lot to the distinction between character and content. Kaplan understands character as the rule governing the indexical term while content is what, in a context, the indexical term point to. Direct reference, for Kaplan, is a result of content being composed by individuals, by objects - propositions have individuals as their components. The de re character of the proposition (and the direct reference associated to an expression with a content) is given by the presence in the content of individuals that can be described in substantive terms - so in his example "He now lives in Princeton, New Jersey", if he is not Paul but Charles, the content of the sentence is different (he calls the respective propositions Pat and Mike). Pat and Mike are different - and the difference doesn´t boil down to proper names for Paul and Charles supposedly admit being replaced by definite description (in the attributive sense). Direct reference of indexicals, then, seems to depend on substantive content - and on the world where the demonstrata is being substantive (and not indexical). What I am looking for is a full-blown indexicalist account of propositions.

I thought it would be interesting to understand propositions as somehow unreachable at least if we need to settle for an expression in substantive terms. A character would then be a function that in a context produces a content that has itself a character. The proposition is then deferred to this character which outputs in a context another content with character and so on. This deferralist aporoach would be in line with the essentially indexical nature of content and hence with the presence of characters in propositions. Such a deferralist approach would still be a direct reference approach although the reference is not to (substantive) individuals but rather to indexical demonstrata (or denotata). The deictic element is not exorcized when we move from a sentence to its content (to a proposition). Similarly, deferralism is also haecceitist - as, for example, it rejects the identity of indescernibles. (In fact, haeeceitas is an indexical expression, from ´haec´, ´this´). Kaplan may object that deferralism is Fregeanism in disguise. It is Fregean in the sense that it rejects a distinction between Pat and Mike above - the content of the sentence above involves whoever is pointed at (if ´he´ is used as a demonstrative). But it is not Fregean in a more important issue, it is not the sense that determines reference, not the demonstration that determines the demonstrata, but rather the reference is perhaps fixed but not determined by the demonstration. The expression ´the one i´m currently pointing at´ cannot be replaced by a substantive - or by a description in substantive terms. Deferralism is committed to direct reference, but the demonstrata cannot be expressed in non-indexical terms. (It is a mistake to think that direct reference requires that language is indexical but the world is substantive, although it is clear that there is no direct reference when language is ultimately descriptive and the world is made of instances of these descriptions.)

Sunday, 9 February 2020

The metaphysics of paradox?

I'm signing a contract with the Edinburgh University Press to publish the book I called Deictic Absolutes in the Speculative Realism series. They want to change the title of the book and name it Indexicalism: The Metaphysics of Paradox. I'm not yet fully sure. I copy here the table of contents:

Table of Contents

Introduction: Reality and speculation

Speculative realism and the Great Outdoors
Totality and speculation
Other dialogues
The paradox of deictic speculation

1. Indexicalism: a paradoxico-metaphysics

Indexicalism
Paradoxico-metaphysics
The routes to indexicalism (and paradox)
Situated metaphysics
Monadologies
Totality
Demonstratives and proper names
Tense realism and baroque realism
Horizon
Measurement
Exteriority and externalism
Proximity
Object-oriented
Tentacular thinking

2. The metaphysics of the others
The others
The φύσις of the others
Perspectivism
The metaphysics of the others at the age of the correlate
Meillassoux
After speculation
The priority of the others
The interrupted nexus
Process metaphysics of the others
Robinsonology and transcendental xenology
From the Other to the Great Outdoors
Perception and supplement

3. The hospitality of perception
Doors of perception
Hospitality and the Given
The complexities of receptivity
Importance and supplement
Perceiving is responding
Metaphysical empiricism
Pan-perceptualism
Proximity, conversation and experience
Deictic absolutes

Coda: The circumscription of Potosí
Epistemic abundance
The Potosí principled
Ch'ixi
Being up for grabs
Absolutely situated