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Showing posts from October, 2012

Two books out in Brazil

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Flat ontology and plot metaphysics

Thrilling conversation with André Arnaut on the way back from Curitiba. We were considering Viveiros de Castro's claim that ontographies are either antropocentric or antropomorphic. There is, according to the claim, a tertium non datur connecting anthropocentrism and anthropomorphism. To be sure, Brassier's alternative (as well as Meillassoux's factualism) is not easily accommodated in either horn of the dilemma. No matter whether the dilemma holds, it is interesting to consider the paths from one pole to the other and vice-versa. It is the road between correlationism and the metaphysics of subjectivity and back – for instance, between an enchanted nature and a world stripped of all secondary qualities and filled with our (anthropocentric) projections or between a transcendental idealism and a Whiteheadian view where there is no centrality of one form of (anthropomorphic) actual entity. The anthropomorphic pole – favored by Viveiros – sees some element of humanity every

Accelerationismusstreit 1

Thinking about Srnicek's sort of defence of accelerationism against the charge of collaboration with neoliberalism. In a sense, he makes a good counterpoint to Ben Noys suspicions about the politics of an accelerationism ontology. Srnicek claims that neoliberalism is in fact a regime of concentration of powers that protects trusts and corporations against the free flow of liquidity. The discourse of free flow coincides with accelerationism only superficially because the effect of the neoliberal gesture was crucially to open way for more concentration of powers as if to create and protect some feudal territories within the space of capitalism. Srnicek praises relative accelerationism as a political weapon to add liquidity in solidified structures - and therefore as a tool for the political left. He is less committal concerning absolute accelerationism, a position like Nick Land's according to which the flows will dismantle everything including humanity itself. He thinks that w

Markus Gabriel and the modally open horizon

Last week in Porto Alegre I talked to Markus Gabriel about his notion of fields of sense. He defines existence as presence in a field of sense. The inspiration is Fregean (and, although not admittedly, the flavour is Meinongian) but he adds an element of pluralism that could be understood in terms of existential pluralism (in the vein of Souriau´s different modes of existence, for example). A field of sense encompasses domains of discourse or thought, perspectives, modes of presentation such that each work of fiction or each folk ontology have a corresponding field. The notion inherites the ambiguities and the vagueness of the notion of "Sinn" in Frege. But Gabriel holds that senses are somehow de re, they are in the world and in that sense he could side with McDowell interpreting Sinne as a way to determine reference (and not necessarily a method, a criterion, or a description and not even an explicit mode of presentation). Strangely, though, he wants to have no room for den

Transcendental Surrealism

Last night for no simple reason to explain I remembered transcendental surrealism. I believe it was because somehow I was toying with the interdiction Noli Me Legere in the way Blanchot deals with it in Après le coup. In any case, in my thesis, years ago, I presented briefly what I understand now as an embrionary form of process philosophy I called transcendental surrealism. Surrealism came from Leplin. He claimed that a scientific surrealism was an alternative way to understand the predictive successes of science - alternative to a realism that posits the approximate correspondence truth of scientfic theories in terms of the denotation of its major terms (and an ontology built accordingly). Leplin´s surrealism held that things are as if theories of mature sciences with predictive successes were true. As if, he claimed, was enough. My transcendental surrealism was about other cognitive devices - that I called other inductive biases. I wrote that each bias had an "as if" assoc

Factual thought, populated thought

Been to the conference on the ontological turn in Porto Alegre organized by Rodrigo Nunes and his MaterialistS friends. Good discussions with Markus Gabriel, Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, Benjamim Noys, Stephen Shaviro, Eduardo Luft, Caroline Marin and many others. Here is the text of my comment of Shaviro's interesting paper called Uncorrelated Thought. I believe one of the major attraction of Meillassoux's work lies in its diagnostic power. He makes us see the efforts of philosophy in the last centuries as fitting a general, albeit claustrophobic, pattern. Correlationism, with its two poles of inextricable dependence – thinking and being, has exerted its various charms on the efforts to relate to the world in ways that involve thought. His diagnosis is presented in broad terms: no matter how thought is conceived, no matter how being takes place. His diagnosis provokes many effects. Among them, several ways to deny its bite and several ways to wage heroic battles against th

A (Quinean) flat ontology of thought

Last week in my metaphysics classes I was on about physical intentionality and virtuality. I tried to explain the contrast in terms of what is internal and what is external - dispositions being internal and virtuality external. Incidentally, or not quise so, connectedness through dispositions leans towards internal relations and the kind of connectedness of things that Schaffer finds indicative of monism. Dispositions place tendencies (or inclinations) inside things - this is why Molnar´s use of Brentano´s notion of intentionality seems so suitable. Dispositions are properties and, only as such, they can be such that water (to which soluble sugar is disposed) could prefigured inside sugar. It does look like mental intentionality. It points towards the world inside - towards the dark quarters of a monad. Surely, dispositions depend on the rest of the world to be triggered, they can find antidotes, they can never be actualised and something can carry finkish ones for ever in its wake. On