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Showing posts from June, 2016

The diaspora of epistemic properties

Been thinking in terms of the spread of epistemic properties in the world. Monadologies, typically, assume that all monads, unities of agency, are capable to perceive and often to know. The presence of such properties - that could be less than full-blown knowledge but still epistemically loaded - is a feature of the world. A metaphysics of epistemology, if we can call it this way. So, the issue is whether thermometers, sunflowers, red billiard balls or ticks genuinely know or genuinely have some epistemic properties. The issue, as I see it, has to be dealt in connection with that of where to find doxastic properties and aletic properties. Epistemic properties are, I claim, independent of doxastic properties. I don´t find very relevant (or very interesting) to claim that thermometers cannot know anything because they don´t have beliefs. Beliefs are good support for epistemic properties, but they are not necessary. There could be non-dosxastic supports, I suppose - if epistemic propert

A face and a proper name

In my classes of contemporary philosophy (where I covered Kripke a while ago and Levinas and Derrida these last few weeks) I have been feeling close again to my somehow old book of 2008 ( Excesses and Exceptions ). There I make an unusual connection between Levinas and Kripke. In order to consider the issue of singularity and singular thought, I engage the Other of Levinas as bearer of an appeal againtst being turned into a concept and Kripke´s account of proper names that eludes description. It is not fair to have a semantics of reference that imposes on Socrates to be a philosopher (in all possible worlds). The proper name, like the face, breaks the articulated totality of my descriptions and introduces an element that is alien to the concepts that I own (and master). The passivity in both cases is crucial - my use of a proper name inculcates responsibility on me for something I´m not fully aware, just as the decision imposed on me by the Other´s face. Also, in both cases there is an

The personal is political

In the context of trying to briefly describe the nearness of Derrida and Levinas in my contemporary philosophy course and having in mind especially Derrida's "En ce moment même dans cet ouvrage me voici", I was drawing a distinction between interruption - an element of the articulation of a text, of its texture, of its engineering - and intettuption - an element of the personal that intrudes the text, as if an author or an addressee is suddenly made explicit. In the latter, the personal element in a text is brought up through the trace of the Other, the person who wrote "cet ouvrage" is made explicit not by a signature, but by an break. This is reminiscent of the Celan distinction (in Gespräch im Gebirg ) between the language of the it, of the this on the one hand and that of me and you (thou). To intettupt is to address a second person - and therefore to be addressed by her. My doctoral student Gabriela Lafetá, who succeeded in her Viva last Wednesday, disc


I've decided I want to pursue the idea of a monadology of fragments sketched in BUG as one of the three ontoscopies of contingency presented in the book. In the book I'm finishing about monadologies (called "The diaspora of agency"), there will be a section on fragments that will show how a monadology could sort out some of the problems that Levinas sees in Husserl's version (his monadology in the last Cartesian Meditation) while retaining the central features of the monads. The idea will be that the monad will be conceived as a unity of response - or a unity of decision - and in that sense will gain agency only by being appealed by the other, by an other that is seen as its composer - and as such entirely different from itself. The idea began to be rehearsed here . In order to do so, I'm examining again my notion of ontoscopy. As I wrote in a recent post , the ontology doubts can be seen as the flip side of a monadology of fragments. I wrote we can use the

Continental bullying

What makes me angriest and saddest about this coup in Brazil is not the outrageous hypocritical acts of those who took power and pretend everything is fine, neither is it that incredibly corporate-oriented and ungenerous policies are being implemented in order to destroy the social inclusion measures that took place in the last 12 years or so. What makes me more upset and depressed (and I suspect I'm not the only one) is rather the bullying. To be bullied involves to be humiliated by someone making clear that your sovereignty is limited, that you cannot do what you want - "we're watching you". The corporate right-wing who is taking power in this coup is certainly composed by cynical bullies, for sure. I feel I've been looked down as if someone was saying: your capacity to act is a concession, it is after all up to us. The worst thing about being bullied is that you often don't know where the bullying comes from at first glance. It is often later that you rea

Accented concepts: the distorted Anerkennung

Three poles is likely to be better than two - at least they acknowledge that there are more characters in the knowledge plot than just the craving subject and the resilient and yet indifferent object. A third pole alleviates the tension providing a mediation - or perhaps the materials for a correlation. A third pole gives us a chance to know something at least a bit external while not being fully out there - if the object is not reached, at least we're not confined to one pole. Yet, this is what seems to me to be important, three poles are still not enough. Davidson's efforts are the best presentation of a third pole: the intersubjective one that ensures that knowledge comes in three interconnected (correlated) varieties: knowledge of the external world, knowledge of one's own mental life and knowledge of the mental life of the others. Neither the first nor the second - and this is why strict Cartesianism is rejected - can be achieved without the third. Of course, the thi

The hull

Finding some interesting material in this old paper . Except I tend now to think that parts of the hull (of this Neurath ship) are too expensive to fix and some biases too costly to revise. I think costs matter: maybe every bias is a soft bias - not hard-wired - but costs have to do with importance. And it matters.