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Showing posts from December, 2014

Ontoscopies: metaphysical reasoning through picture investigation

I've been reading Anne Sexton and Peter Handke. Sexton's Death Notebooks and Handke's Essay on tiredness . While writing something on pictures in my Buca L'Ombrello blog , I had some thoughts about how I understand philosophy. I self-quote some bits: << The intensity of the picture is enough for me. I don't mind how sad or upsetting a film or a book is - to have a convincing picture is the pinnacle of overcoming the uninspiring. In pictures also dwells Coetzee in his Elizabeth Costello episodes. Dialogues are indeed sometimes explicit scaffolding for pictures. Anne Sexton is summoned in the poem: "Interrogator: One day is enough to perfect a man. Anne: I watered and fed the plant." Peter Handke, in his Essay on Tiredness, is also summoned by an interrogator of sorts. Handke speaks of the heartlessness of his attempt to content himself with "investigating the pictures, or images, that my problem engenders in me, with making myself at home in e

Truth-makers and truth-consortia

I think there is a lot to unpack in Latour's observations about truth. I think his thoughts here are in the right directions. For example, in Irréductions 2.4.8. he goes: Une phrase ne tient pas parce qu'elle est vraie; c'est parce qu'elle tient qu'on la dit vraie. Elle tient à quoi? Mais, justement, à beaucoup de choses. Truth is what is maintained - it supervenes on its truth-makers, on what contributes to it. I wonder whether I can understand truth in terms of supporters, of what holds a relation of instauration , of sponsoring the true proposition (or belief, or statement, or sentence). My model is that of an agreement, but not only with the human agents but between a sufficient number of relevant actants. If it is so, the truth-bearer is somehow a truth-maker, a contributor. Truth could then be taken to be a report on the agreement between sponsors. Truth lies in the agreement between sponsors – but it is always subject to new tests of resistance, as L

Whitehead, the ontological distinction and an ever-growing world

If we accept an ontological distinction between the ontological and the ontic we can maybe see in Whitehead an ontological dimension of growing: the world is itself ever-growing. Cosmic epochs follow one from another, God is incomplete, novelty is introduced through any act of prehension, objective immortality registering what is achieved in the world are ontic counterparts of an ontological drive towards growing. To be is to grow, to be in an ever-growing process. It is an interesting conception of becoming: the movement of self-expansion is a feature of being qua being. What grows depends on the actual ontic population (in Whitehead, it is composed of actual entities). There are, therefore, different ways to expand and to promote expansions - mostly to do with making room for further elements in that population. Novelty arises from everywhere in a non-structured manner - prehending is creative. But growing is ontological constitutive: it is of the very nature of being exposed to what

Whitehead and Leibniz on written events (and God being up for grabs)

I've been thinking of Whitehead's system as a monadology that turns Leibniz up side down. In the last pages of Process and Reality - on God and the world - Whitehead comes up with a conception of God as an incomplete actual entity whose derivative nature depends on what takes place in the world. This could be read as an interesting reversion in the direction of fit present in Leibniz. Leibniz has that events are somehow written in the predicates that constitute his substantial monads - according to Couturat's principle of reason, any event follows from the nature of the worldly monads. These monads where chosen by God when he chose the best of all possible world - God dealt with worlds, not with specific monads. In Whitehead, the nature of God is itself under constant creation by the world, ever enlarging itself. Events are not what follows from God's creation of the world but rather they are inscribed in God's (derivative) nature. Events don't follow what is w

Revista das Questões is out

Eclair and myself have now for some time read and discussed Jabès and his tonality in philosophy. This led to this multilingual Journal of Questions, titled after the Livre des questions . The idea is to bring together contributions from my Anarchai group and from Eclair's Blanchotian Group for thinking the outside . The journal also wants to be peri-academical and reflect the interfaces between philosophy and translation while creating a community of those who feel questions ought to be cherished quite apart from any attempt to answer, solve or dissolve them. They transcend whatever we end up doing with them. The first issue was out yesterday.

Whitehead's externalism

Whitehead's philosophy of organism is presented in Process and Reality as rescuing some lost elements in Descartes and Locke. In particular, elements related to the conception of perception according to which the subjective capture of the perceived item leaves its mark in the perception process. As a consequence, there is a revamping of the distinction between extension and mentality - in terms of a theory of extension and a theory of prehension respectively, or a morphology of the concrete and a genetics of its concrescence relatively independent. To be sure, mentality becomes the object of something Nietzsche once heralded as a universal psychology while extension becomes the object of a study of the concrete formed by the multiple and often mutual prehensions. It is a Cartesian division and Whitehead (Part IV, chapter 1, section V) is clear about how hard it is to consider actualities without parsing them into the publicity and the privacy of things. But the ontological bifurc