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Plasticity and the impossibility of the intelligible intellect

Been reading Catherine Malabou's The Future of Hegel in a reading group in this confinement. Her idea of plasticity emerges from the problems Derrida found in the remarks Heidegger does in the end of Being and Time about the notion of time in Hegel in "Ousia and Grammé". The temporality afforded by the notion of plasticity is one that is immersed in the habits and therefore on anticipation. Contemplating repetition - as Hume once claimed - a subject changes because a projection takes place. The idea Malabou finds in Hegel is that those anticipations constitute time. The Hegelian world appears as a world of expectations where therefore future is ubiquitous. Time is the trace of plasticity because through expectations it shapes things and are shaped by them (as subjects of habit). If I understand correctly, then time is intertwined with Geist and there is no intelligible intellect - the criticism Hegel addresses to Kant in Faith and Knowledge - because concepts are tied to the temporality of sensible intuitions - phenomena - through the expectations of their appearing.

If this is the idea, it is very interesting. It is as if time as habit is tied to thinking and therefore intelligence cannot be but a figure of time. (Negaretani has a similar thesis in Intelligence and Spirit.) Maybe then Malabou is making Hegel into a process philosopher postulating a world that is not oblivious to its elements that can project and shape things through habit. It is not a Hegel of a genetic command of Geist where there is no space for future or for the event (in the sense of Jean-Luc Marion) but rather a Hegel of a thoroughly epigenetic Geist that cannot live but in the time run by phenomena and their habits. Anticipation creates intelligence much as bodies are composed by their epigenetic elements that command from inside their genetic ones. Time, through habit, contaminates both the world and Geist.

That is an interesting image. The time of habit is indexical, a bit like a McTaggart's A-series. But a world made of anticipations is not yet a fully indexical one - plasticity is still, it seems to me, an account of a unified (subtantive) Geist.


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