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Showing posts from January, 2011

Fried and objects

Today in my Object-Oriented meeting (we're preparing for an exhibition in early June in Vyner Street, Bethnal Green/Hackney) we were discussing some Michael Fried theses (in Art and Objecthood, haven't read yet). One of them is that genuine art pieces are gallery independent (yes, Duchamp doesn't figure high in his hit parade). I was wondering what would it mean to have an ontological equivalent of the thesis: genuine objects are subject (or actor) independent. And, in the back of my mind: is this a thesis that Harman would be willing to endorse? Fried wants to preserve the intrinsic quality of the art work. Objects are often taken to need some intrinsicality to them - stripped off their relational properties (including the purely dispositional ones) and maybe left as just substrata, bare particulars. Fried wants to make sure that the gallery doesn't have the power to bring about (to instaurer, in Souriau's terms) a work of art. The ontological Fried thesis would ra

The speculative operation in Meillassoux's principle of factiality and in perspectivism

Meillassoux's argument for the absolute character of facticity is based on an operation that enables him to infer from the factuality of the correlation to a general factuality, the principle of unreason or of factiality. Again, this is an operation that resemble the move from the primacy of correlation to a generalized correlationism that takes reality to be made of correlations (like, everything is in a correlation of some sort with its surroundings, in a version of pan-dispositionalism or perspectivism - or ├╝ber-realism). This generalized correlationism is maybe either deeply correlationist or a kind of subjective metaphysics (see the previous post). But it does make use of the same (speculative) operation: the correlation between thought and world is our way to experience something more general (either the absolute of correlations in the world or the absolute of facticity in the world). What is the nature of that operation? Speculative induction? Are we the one example that wou

Meillassoux, speculation and metaphysics: how my ideas fare

Enchanted by Meillassoux's distinction between what he calls the subjective metaphysician and what he calls the speculative philosophy. The former is somehow attached to the absolute character of the correlation (between thought and world), holding that the correlation itself is an absolute. Meillassoux mentions Hegel and insinuates that also Nietzsche and Deleuze would be part of this group. The latter finds the absolute not in the correlation but rather in its facticity (sort of instance of the generalized (and necessary) contingency of all things). The correlationist, in contrast, is the one who admits no absolute holding that the correlation has a primacy over any attempt to find something absolute while, at the same time, entertains a facticity. The speculative philosopher - but not the subjective metaphysician - takes these two correlationist claims on board. She is, then, the other, positive side of the correlationist criticism of the attempts to attain any sort of absolute.

Correlations against correlationism (part 2)

I reckon the post-humanist ways of thinking that where ushered in by structuralism and carried on through the efforts to explore the thought of difference have reshaped the correlationism question. It became clear that it is the burden of the correlationist to show that there is a unified (human) thought that is in the most central correlation with the world. Thought is spread in many directions and has to do with alliances and becomings that are build up from contact rather than from an underlying structure. Thought is fragmented - my thought has to do with my body, my gestures, my landscapes, my speeds, my habits. The image is more Nietzschean or, rather, inspired by a Nietzschean reading of Humean contingency. Even if we grant that concepts have a grip on our thinking and therefore act as unifying force gathering together every instance of thought, we have not yet established that this centripetal force rules unchallenged. In fact, concepts are likely to be contaminated by all forms

Correlations against correlationism (part 1)

Been thinking about Meillassoux ancestrality versus correlationism argument. Not quite convinced but I'll post more as my thinking develops. In contrast, I believe the problem with correlationism is that it is too attached to the idea that we think and as we think, we think qua humans. There is an us that is taken to be well-established and absolute - transcendental philosophy flirts with a metaphysics (as opposed to speculation in Meillassoux's terms) of the transcedental subject. Artaud has a bit about the non-paganism of our obsession with the human, something I guess Paul RB would enjoy. He says something like 'what distinguishes the pagans from us is that their beliefs are based on an awful effort not to think as humans' (in Heliogabalus, chapter 2). We are not constrained by our humanity, no matter how strong concepts bind our thinking (have a grip on us, as Brandom would say). If we strip correlationism off the us, then we have just a diversity of correlations (a

The existence of events: a Generalized Doppler Effect

An important thrust of Souriau's idea that ontology is centrally connected to the relation of bringing about (and not to that of finding out) is that what is brought about has consequences beyond those that strictly have to do with what brought them about. Consider tense perspectives. They bring about events, as a product of something that passes. Events are located in time, further they are located in tense: they are passing. It is what I call Generalized Doppler Effect. Just like in the common Doppler Effect that requires a still or a slower perceiver to hear the sound of a passing car, something needs to be held still or moving more slowly in order for the passing of the events to be noticed. In fact, it is only for what is still or slower that events happen – and therefore that something takes place. An event can only take place in contrast with surrounding states that remain the same (or change in a different pace). So we say that the river waters flow and we say that because