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Showing posts from December, 2013

Janne Teller's Pierre Anthon and his object-oriented classmates

In the last day of our last month's exhibition o.o (object-oriented) we had a closing debate about what we had there. The debate was very nice and moved slowly through the patient objects of Francis Ponge (brought up by Gê Orthof) to the allagmatics that make objects acquire the status of stability and the appearance of being in themselves. My friend Luciana finally managed to hear the whole 9 minutes of the recording one hears inside the coffin of the piece by Victor and me, No Object . She came back to the discussion saying that she finally understood what the whole exhibition was about. In No Object, one enters the coffin and hears a nine minutes collection of extracts from Janne Teller's Nothingness . Luciana then said: this exhibition, with all these objects in a gallery, is a true pile of meaning. In fact, this is what an object is, an item in a pile of meanings - outside the pile it makes sense because it is inserted in a context that gives it a sense. In the pile, an ob

On accelerationism

After last Friday live debate, Phil and I are trying to get a focused debate on accelerationism going here . As I say there in my comment, there are three possible responses to the charge that anti-capitalism is conservative: to bite the bullet and defend a conservatism of what is worth preserving, to dissolve the question and denounce it as promoting the idea that we cannot do anything but move forwards or backwards and to accept the challenge and come up with a non-conservative anti-capitalism that could take the form of finding something that erodes institutions faster than capital. I try there to explore the advantages of the third alternative. (See also my post about accelerationism and allagmatics ).

Translation and disconfort

Been to Amanda Casal´s viva. She writes about how Blanchot conceives the translation work in contrast both to the Lévinasians and to Heidegger. The central idea is to have a guiding fidelity to the strangeness felt by thought with respect to the words - in whatever language. Thought is foreign to the word. So translation is already built-in in the process of writting for there is a gap of foreigness where a foreigner can intervene. The idea that translation is grounded on such disconfort enables one to challenge the idea of a home language, of the translator´s fidelity to a growing culture. Translators ought to find ways to betray languages and words in order to be faithful to this gap. It is an important political point - translators are diplomatic agents that are to be placed beyond domestication of a foreign language and beyond strangification of the target language. But it is an interesting ontological point if we think of Latour´s monads in networks. He says somewhere in Irréducti

Substances and being in the parricide tradition

In this last part of my metaphysics course I'm bringing together the features we explored from Plato's Sophist all the way to Simondon and Latour through Aristotle, Leibniz, Kant and Schelling. The idea was to sketch a history of the notion of substance and of its gradual erosion. The first operation that makes this whole history possible - maybe the founding gesture of the way we think of substance - was the parricide. Parmenides' exorcism of nothingness amounts to an exorcism of non-substantial being - something that has no self-sufficient interior that makes it stay what it is (like nothingness) cannot be. If nothing is, there is something nonsubstantial that reaches to existence. The parricide opens the way for a less-than-substantial being, a being that is not independent, is not self-sufficient and has no interior. In fact, Plato's Stranger's move was to address the relationships that make nothingness be - the parricide untangles being and substance. A being c

"Drink with the dead without a revealed God returning to spoil the party (and trouble our intimacy with tombstones)" - anarcheology, immanence and monadology

Meillassoux's boutade (DI, 232, in Harman's appendix) on not welcoming a revealed God in a World of justice has an interesting echo in Jabès thoughts about divine (in)hospitality. I compiled bits of his Livre de l'Hospitalité here . The issue of hospitality brings about, as I pointed out in a recent talk about Jabès , the issue of subversion - God is subversive, but his creation (and faithfulness to it) is not. Hospitality opens up the space of availability. Availability contrasts with achievement - it is not about completeness-to-be neither about completeness-that-was. Jabès and Blanchot seem to be attempting to go ahead with Heidegger's project of understanding Nietzsche's death of God in terms of breaking up with archés. Heidegger is still hostage to the idea that thoughts have an origin, that language can be revealed through etymology. It is as if the notion of Verlassenheit were bounded by a ready-made (original) past,that pre-exists all events and shape them.

Cabrera on biopolitics: how to make people servile to their survival

Cabrera (see info about him in his blog ) has an ethics based on the non-value of life. It has many consequences concerning life and survival - to do with attaching one's life to something else that is not life itself. The idea that life is a value in itself - not a mean but an end - is presented as a way to make people servile to their survival. I attempted to explore this consequence in an article that is just out . It is a biopolitics of making people's survival transcend to their lives (their choices, their ways) and therefore making one's own life alienated.

Irreduction, dependencies and hospitality

I often come back to Latour's first proposition in Irréductions . It is puzzling: nothing is by itself reducible nor irreducible to anything else. I wrote an article on horizon and irreducibility years back where I compare this existential limbo Latour seems to put everything in with the image of the horizon that Eudoro de Sousa uses to analyze Anximander and Anaxagoras. But 1.1.1 is still puzzling. It states, in Schaffer's categories, that neither priority monism or pluralism nor priority nihilism holds: no priority, no dependence relation is there by itself among things. They need to be constructed. It is a strong, maybe the strongest of all process-oriented efforts to deconstruct ready-made reality. In the paper I talk about the existential limbo as if it is a pool of things that hold no dependency relation with each other - they are neither dependent nor independent from each other. The pool could be a world prior to any individuation. Things are brought to the fore by ope

The abundance of representations

One way of critiquing the view of knowledge as building an image of something already there is to criticize representations. In fact, the point of view according to which a subject tries to attain an object that pre-exists it is hostage to the Kantian image of a subject that can be fully cut off from the world. The monadological perspective contrasts with that not because it appeals to no representations, but rather because it postulates many of them. They are everywhere - there is no being without a representation attached to it. I believe this is also the case in Simondon's monadology without monads: a collection of relations account for a subject while another collection of relations account for an object. These relations host (and eventually perform) transductions. Information flow is such that the overall representation is no more than the assemblage of all the small representations, each relata does - like a string reflecting what is around it without taking into consideratio

Meillassoux: transcedent contingency sets the stage for (rational) faith

Last week I spoke about Meillassoux's Divine Inexistence to an audience of philosophers of religion. I suspect that to them, transcendent contingency (that is not itself up for grabs and cannot therefore become non-contingent) sounded like a perhaps traditional way to deal with the problem of evil. Of course, once we appeal to contingency, an existing God becomes something difficult to accommodate. Meillassoux offers to concede to the atheist the argument from the existence of evil to the inexistence of God while making the existence of evil the starting point of a hopeful World of justice that is the real object of faith. The existence of evil (in a contingent universe) and the (possible) existence of God (in a contingent universe) are therefore reconciled. It is as if Meillassoux were saying that the Atheist gets her modality wrong: evil doesn't imply the necessary inexistence of God, maybe necessary evil would, but not contingent evil. If contingency is in both sides of the