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Showing posts from September, 2013

Leibniz, Aristotle and the unsubstantial sensible

This week, in my metaphysics course, I have been steadily contrasting an Aristotelian and a Leibnizian world. In fact, they could be seen as two answers to the charge Aristotle (Metaphysics, M, 4) makes of Plato (no matter whether it is a fair one) of giving up the impermanent within the realm of the sensible. Plato, as the charge goes, has accepted a Heraclitean view of the sensible that makes it accidental, transient, flowing and harboring no more than contingencies. Aristotle's attempt was to find necessities (and substantialities) within the sensible. (In Kit Fine's taxonomy of necessities, such necessary connections would be metaphysical or natural - and Aristotle is not clear they should all be uncoverable a priori, even though we normally take them to be.) Leibniz's take, on the other hand, was to take substantiality to be a mathesis universalis - substances are no more than their discernible properties and those are no more than what boils down to the substances. In

Objects being singled out: le ballon rouge

Being oriented to objects - to the point of singling out one among all the others. In Le Ballon Rouge (Albert Lamorisse, 1956), a kid pets a balloon and the balloon responds by following the kid - that ends up being known by the balloons as a balloon-protector. The force of singling out is such that the object is ascribed with an integrity - the balloon together with its string composes a body capable to preserve its integrity and to be challenged. The film upgrades balloons to a status of a being that cares for their borders, and who's life could be chosen against all other objects. These objects are brought to the realm of politics because they receive singled out ethical attention. When other kids capture the balloon to destroy it, they attach a second string to it - this string is the string of capture, not part of the balloon's body. It is not animated like the first one - it is external to the body of the balloon and holds it. Ethical attention, like an alliance, determi

More on ftonosophy as a Stimmung towards wisdom

My article with Carol about ftonosophy is about to come out. It presents ftonosophy in a script for a screen-dance. Characters involve Novarina, Ftonos, Lacan, Kakia, Maguy Marin, Ben Woodard, Plato and Duchamp. I've been thinking about friendship with wisdom to define the overall Stimmung of what we do. I do like friendship, but closeness to wisdom could yield to pride. Envy - and jealousy - is an antidote to pride. It corrodes pride: I'm nothing, I know nothing. I suppose envy is one of the many faces of friendship. It is a dazzling and unsettling form of love. I would say: beware of what you criticize because criticism opens your gates to whatever comes from the object of your criticism. This makes me think that philosophy should be closer to speculation: it is a form of amor fati - turn your gaze to the unknown. Now, envy doesn't require any intimacy. It is a love at a distance, for what is inaccessible and yet can be somehow seen from afar. It is not about criticizing

Being a foreigner to what there is

I always suspect there is too much between the lines of Plato's Sophist. Severino, for example, sees there the origin of Western Nihilism as the Stranger ends up spousing the idea that being can be other (in fact, non-being) and that it changes (turns into something else, other than what it is). The existence of movement appears as the existence of an other to what there is and therefore as a proof that what there is can be other. If it can be other, it has to be able to not-be (what it is). This is the parricide thesis: it is possible to predicate of an S that is not P that it is P. It is possible to say, of (this yellow) banana, that it is blue. Parmenides claim, on the other hand, appears elusive. The claim seems to entail some sort of necessitism (in the Williamson's sense: whatever exists, exists with necessity). But what does it mean that we cannot say or think (supposedly because it cannot be) that the non-being is? Maybe that appearances are meaningless - to say the fal