Skip to main content


Showing posts from April, 2012

Is the world a container?

In Larval Subjects: and Bryant discusses the connectedness of all things. I take his relations are external, and yet they compose a world. There is an interesting discussion on whether accidental, incidental, coincidental relations could be forged. I suppoose they can be forged in the sense that they have to be instauré - that is, brought about and maintained. If all relations in the world have multiple sponsors, there are many elements (objects, actants) involved in any forging of a relation. An external relatedness of all things could be thus defended (but this is not Bryant´s line). Bryant then discusses whether the world is in some sense a container. He goes: "Tim seems to conceive world as a container that entities are in. For me, by contrast, the world is anything but a container. Ultimately there are no conta

Kairós, location, external relations

To talk about relations of co-presence as primitive, like trope theorists often do to take care of objects (concrete particulars), makes location derivative. Location is built out of, say, degrees of co-presence. It is a bit like monads having no location in space - see post below on points of view and perspectives. Monads govern bodies (the whole universe but specially a region where it expresses itself more distinctly) but are not in the bodies. They relate to the other monads through some kind of diplomatic relation - a relation between governing instances. Of course, those relations are taken to be internal by Leibniz. In fact, often external relations appear to be tied to location (in space and time). It is a matter of opportunities, of kairós - contact and contagion as opposed to a kinship, typically. If locations are undestood in terms of something else - say, relations of co-presence - then it could be difficult to understand external relations. Maybe it is possible to unde

The horizon of the concrete

I´ve been calling the horizon of the concrete that line that divides properties from objects. (In my square representation, properties are in the northern hemisphere in the universal and abstract corners while objects are south in the particular and concrete corners). Abstract things - like mathematical items or properties or even tropes - are such that the Leibniz law (that claims both that the identicals are indiscernible and that the indiscernibles are identical) holds. Leibniz, as a radical bundle theorist, takes it to hold all the way. There is no concrete, no horizon of the concrete. All items belong to the abstract hemisphere and their particularity satisfies Leibniz law. Leibniz finds a way to get rid of all concretude, it is the basis of a mathesis universalis. To invert Leibniz up side down could be to consider no more than the side of concretude; to allow for no abstracta where the Law is satisfied. No indiscernible is identical and no identical is indiscernible. There is n

Indexicals and dispositions: two varieties of perspectivism

It is common to understand opaque contexts as those where things appear as something - as opposed to transparent contexts where things appear as such. It is a tricky distinction, surely. But still sometimes a useful one. Descriptions of qualities or modes of presentation introduce a sort of opacity. Think of dispositions, for example. When A is (physically) intended towards B, A intends a bill to be fitted that it happens to be satisfied by B. It doesn´t really matter what else B is, provided that it is, say, a mammal, a glass of water or a piece of solid ground that holds some weight. A sees B as something. I have been suspecting for a while that here we are very close to the talk of perspectives. There is a sense in which A has a perspective on B. Interestingly, it is not the kind of perspective that is brought about by indexicality. Kit Fine, for instance, in his studies of perspectives focused primarily on tense, considers those perspectives brought up by the A-series of McTaggart

Haecceitas: pointing at objects, tropes and concepts

We were discussing today in the metaphysics course the very idea of thisness - of haecceitas. Given a frame of reference - it could be the keepers of proper names, a repository of labels or a finger pointing at a particular - something can be tracked independently of anything universal (like qualities or properties). I always thought that there ought to be something of this idea played whenever one is pressed with a challenge related to the identity of indiscernibles. De re tracking is the first way that comes to mind when we try to avoid taking particulars as examples. The original Duns Scotus haecceitas was applied to objects - concrete particulars. Pointing at one object and not another (maybe indiscernible from the first) makes it this object and not the other. Whenever pointing - any kind of indexicality, proper names, for example - is possible, we can deal directly with particulars. We can then take an object as whatever is pointed and not as an instance of something universal. W

Skendes and recursive ontology (partly by Imogen Reed)

Imogen Reed wrote to me kindly offering a piece of writing to this blog. I suggested him to write something on Skendes, the Ethiopian philosopher, which he promptly did. Skendes´life and his decision for silence as a punishment self-inflicted for having fooled his mother and cause her to suicide through his speech calls my attention. It could also be seen as yet another slant on the Oedipus narrative. Plus, his silence - his oral quietism - probably influenced the image of a philosopher - or of a wise person - in some parts of the world. I was reading some of the questions and answers of Skendes book. Question 18 is about the ocean and he connects it with a womb. Not a surprising connection (with even an evolutionary ring to it). It made me think of the recursive element here: the womb is a generator of all that exist - "the whole world is in its womb" - and yet it is exists. The womb is not outside the world as the monads are not outside matter. Ontogenesis is part of ontol

Monads, death drive and panbiosis

Around section 67 of the Monadology, Leibniz firmly embraces an object-oriented ontology (it is a monad-oriented ontology where the particulars are individuated with respect to the rest of the world, but the rest of the world itself boils down to monads.) Matter is made of monads all the way down and a mind relates to a body only when we consider a single layer; the body itself is made of monads and some matter and this matter is itself made of monads and some more matter and so forth. This recursive operation could also be used by the materialist who would take a mind to be composed of matter and further minds and so on. In any case, it is a thoroughly infinitist ontology. Each monad is singular and everything is full of them - Leibniz panbiosis insinuates a chain of beings that points towards some form of recaptulation thesis where more of the same (not quite the same) is found when we look for what is inside. Interesting to consider the Leibniz scheme in a Nick Land / Brassier / Nig

Leibniz. materialism and compossibility

In Leibniz, the internal relatedness of things - that may follow from a general principle of reason - entails priority monism and certainly affords talk on the complement of a substance as the whole world minus that substance. He is committed to the impossibility of gunk (at least in the actual world, see IX, Discours de métaphysique) as units cannot be divided (have no parts) and his ideas suggest that no junk is possible, i.e. not everything is a part as worlds are not. Schaffer´s position comes therefore quite close. I keep wondering, though, how his system fares with no appeal to God. Interestingly, God knows a priori contingent truths not because he has a special faculty of knowledge but rather because he can grasp the infinite notions of the substances. In other words, in his infinite wisdom, he can see what is there in each substance - say, that Alexander would beat Darius in a battle. It is there, in Alexander, past events leave signs (traces) in the substances and those, seen