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Showing posts from October, 2014

More on dekenningarization

Descola writes about analogism (p. 329): "À l'instar de ce que [les chaines de correspondance] unissent, les relations sont donc très variées, quoique plusieurs d'entre elles puissent s'appliquer aux mêmes existants. [...] termes et relations sont interdépendant, mais à l'échelle plus vaste d'un monde chatoyant dont on recense sans trêve tous les reflets dans l'espoir vain et magnifique de le rendre parfaitement signifiant" The analogist scheme is really about different terms (and relations) rendered similar by a process where each inhabitant of a thoroughly analogist cosmology enjoys "une grande liberté herméneutique" (329). To resist identity through disclosing analogies, this is the deconstruction movement I diagnosed in the previous post . It is grounded on a sort of an Anaxagorean world where things are different (hair cannot come from flesh, flesh cannot come from hair) and the hermeneutic freedom they enjoy enable them to perceive

The analogical road to identities (and back)

Concepts are kenningar . Kenningar are old Nordic for alegory, or maybe well-established metaphor, or maybe analogy. Borges wrote about them in his History of Eternity. He talks about kenningar as dead metaphors. Like concepts, they have lost their guiding analogy and became petrified. Petrification, however, can be created and often a book or a talk is enough to petrify a metaphor. Often, however, kenningar take longer to show up; many devices have to be engaged in order to slowly petrify identities like, for instance, animals and anima, some humans and roos, human body and matter. I conjecture that animism, totemism and naturalism - three of Descola's four dispositions - emerged from the fourth, analogism. Analogism has that things are originally different and made similar by exercised of analogy - reinstated, petrified thought that brings together some different so that identities contrast with what is left different. So, analogy goes between people and other animals and plan

The optimist aggiornato

Watching an interview with Antoine Wilson about his beautiful Panorama City . He says that he tried to write about the Quijote, which led him to Paul Renfro, a character in the book, which has a whole outsider view of life and people in his medium-sized urban assemblage. He views thinking as something that is proscribed and engages heroically in finding time and environment to do some of it - and in a systematic way. Renfro, for instance, when asked about the basic questions that guide his thought, says he hasn't gone so far as to be able to really know what the basic questions are. But Wilson confesses that he lost interest in the thoughts of Renfro, so he became the occasional companion of the main character of Panorama City , Oppen Porter. Porter is a Sancho Panza but also comes out as a Candide of sorts - Wilson says he discovered he was doing a Candide and not a Quijote in the middle of the process of writing. In any case, the book navigates the space of the optimists and inve

Whitehead´s symbolic reference and qualia taken qua qualitons

Eros and myself published a paper in Acta Analytica few years back defending the idea that qualia should be taken as tropes. They would be like abstract particulars, objects of perception and yet not universals - universalisation would come with conceptual abilities that introduce resemblance of qualitons amid the so-far bare particulars of qualia. These bare particulars are not themselves perceived, but they are the stuff on which perception (which is taken by us as fully conceptual) works. We don´t go as far as saying that these abstract particulars have causal efficacy (for this would be a strangle claim for causation is normally thought as taking place among concreta). However, we were responding to the inclination to give an external reality associated to our qualitative perception - an external reality independent of the workings of our conceptual abilities. To be sure, we were probably quite realists about the outcomes of the perceptual process, but that realism depended on som

Syllabus for a future ecology that will be able to present itself as a politics

I´ve been finding myself discussing Latour´s predicament for a political ecology, stated in his Politics of Nature and assumed in the Enquiry (AIME). If one looks at the erratic history of some Green Parties around, it becomes clear that the ecological demands are not suited for the political institutions as they stand. Teaching Descola´s book makes me think of how politics is normally practiced - and of the several forms it excludes the non-human. Yesterday we were discussing totemism, and one of the translations of the word "totem", which is native from North America, is friend. It is interesting to consider nature from the point of view of philia: which non-human elements agree with me, where are my friends, who are the ones I form a frindship community with. (I´ll maybe write more about totemic nature as a space for non-human friendship.) That made me wonder about a syllabus for a future political ecology. I thought it should start with three foci, or three deconstructive

Parmenides and the dispositions of being

In my Descola's course today we were discussing the way animists see metamorphoses and camouflage. I suggested that, if an interiority can be, according to an ethnography of the Orokaiva (by André Iteanu), the same expressed in many physicalities, there is less room for a false discourse (to say of what it is that it is not, of what is not that it is). Or at least, there is an animist way to deal with the issue. In fact, myths are taken as (simple or qualified) lies because we are the offspring of Plato's Strager's Parricide (in the Sophist). A person can be a pig and a human and oscillate between these poles. No (physical) predicate of a subject are necessarily to be taken as false. A myth says of what it is that it is. It is interesting to wonder how much the Parricide of Parmenides is an opening gesture for naturalism. (Would the parricide sound the same in different dispositions?)

Anthropocentrism as a special case of animism

Descola's book (Par-delà nature et culture) is a quite extraordinary, it often makes you feel Wagner's motto (that anthropology is becoming philosophy with people inside) in the skin. It feels that the various groups mentioned are like schools of thought - for instance under the umbrella of animism (as much as naturalists have developed several schools within their overarching umbrella). It also gives the impression that anthropology is a tool for a proper jump into abstraction - at least to suggest strategies to dissolve problems we often put to ourselves. Animism admits of varieties and degrees. If we accept the founding (Durkheimian) idea that persons are always composed of physicality and interiority, physicality could be such that there is no interior associated to a portion of it. So, one can think that my finger doesn't have an interior, is only part of my person and therefore what is expressed by my interiority. This is why some animists take only (some) animals