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Showing posts from March, 2011

Baechler and Le devenir

Very curious about Baechler's take on the becoming in his new book. He starts out talking about three layers of things, the human, the living and the physical - associated with three types (or directions) of science. The three of them, it turns out, are intrinsically historical (the historicity of the last one being a recent development. Therefore, any metaphysics guided by science should look at the becoming and its workings. Did anybody already read the whole book?

Preserving events

Went to one of the meetings of Badiou's seminar on "Qu'est-ce que c'est changer le monde" last Wednesday at the ENS. The theatre was full, I sat on the corner of the stage. He arrived and apologised for the room so packed and the subsequent lack of proper seats for the audience. (I agreed with Lise Lacoste that it is always interesting to notice how things get started...) His philosophy of events was made very appealing. He explored a bit the space between the pure being and the worlds - a world being where whatever there is (and ontology is mathematics) gets implemented. He then moved to the Jasmin Intifadas to consider what he calls the Problem Stalin, or how to preserve the political force of a revolutionary event. A million people (in fact less than that) in Tahrir square became Egypt in the streets. Yet it is a small minority if we think in terms of elections. It is, he goes, a dictatorship (of those in the square). Is the run-of-the-mill, business as usual,

Fragments in Paris 8

This is the first part of the first class of my course in Paris 8 on fragments, to be delivered tomorrow... Hope it goes down well. 1. Ontologie du fragment Je voulais proposer une attention sur les fragments. Je voulais explorer l’idée d'un monde qui n'est pas fait que de fragments, ou il n'y a pas quelque chose de complet dessous les pièces. Il n'y a pas d'objet primordial cassé ou caché. Il n'y a que des fragments, cet-à-dire, de traces, des vestiges. Une ontologie du fragment ou le fragment n'est pas une pièce d'un puzzle. La question que je voulais poser c'est peut-être une question sur la composition. Quand on cherche un ordre caché, on débute avec des fragments. Et aussi, quand on fait une œuvre, on la fait fragment par fragment. Voici deux méreologies: celui des fragments comme élément de révélation et celui des fragments comme ingrédient pour la fabrication. Il y a une méréologie ou il s'agit de la découverte des parties dans les fragme

Post Humanist Politics at the Really Free School

Last Friday I talked a bit about post-humanist politics at the really really free school. Discussion was rather good afterwards as it normally is. Debra Shaw insisted that a post-humanist focus on machines rather than animals (my primary focus, as it were) would take us in very different directions. I was surprised that the Anerkennung tradition got mentioned and linked to revolution. And, of course, when we start talking about (mutual) recognition it is difficult to step outside the humanist tracks. I should have insisted more in the idea that there is no ready-made humanity. I did that only by considering humanism a form of identity politics, and presenting some criticism of the way some of those identity politics are pressed (like identity is given by nature or it is an effect of the way our enemies treat us). Should have brought up more of my dearest Lucia Garrido, my anti-humanist alter-ego... (Maybe more on her soon in the blog)

Things like countries

One way to develop further Souriau's idea of 'instaurer' is to think that things are more like countries than like babies. We shouldn't look so much for parents and gods but rather for diplomats, warriors and cartographers. Countries are often redrawn in the map, new countries emerge from existing ones etc. I always think that there should be a connection between the Kripkean idea that the reference of proper names relate to their name-giving act and Souriau's ontology of instauration (bringing about). If we consider things (and people, and places and whatever can bear proper names - or even beyond that limitation) in the way maps portray countries, we don't appeal much to descriptions to fix the reference (only to descriptions of the sort 'east of' etc). I grant that reference fixing without description is one strategy to bring about things, among others. But it is an interesting one. Once something is brought about, then it can be put to all sort of di

Becoming matter

When I think about pure potentiality, an image that comes to my head is money. Enough to think about Rodrigo Triana's 2006 flick, "Soñar no cuesta nada". A bunch of soldiers uncover packets and packets of cash and that was a trigger for many dreams. Dreams are departures from the existing, they are believable because they are possible - potentially existing. In any case, money incarnate potentiality that didn't turn into anything yet. (The actualist, by the way, could have problems understanding the value of money as such.) The idea of matter is that of something that has no more than a one dimension limitation: that of its quantity. Matter is supposed to be independent from any form as form is the intellect that shapes it. (Venkatachalapaty remarked last week on my Madras talk on tantric ontology that potentiality would also needs a guiding intellect, therefore something to shape it; otherwise, it lacks any quality). Surely one can find things common to the mobile