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Galaxies and monadologies 1

This is just a quick note to be continued later. It is something I found in my notes while I writing on time and determination. In Leibniz, the actual world is chosen before the present time. In neo-monadologies, one could resort to David Lewis schema and claim that the actual world is being chosen at any event, it being no more than this world. One could extend this schema to possible worlds of other galaxies, and the galaxy of the present world would be also this galaxy. (Galaxies are collections of worlds associated to logics, see our first article on this .) But in both cases, one is assuming an enclosed totality of possible worlds – the one God contemplates in the first time. There is a determinate domain of rooms in Pallas' palace. What is interesting about galaxies could be that there is no such totality. Once Priest asked Alexandre and me what is the space of all worlds, possible and impossible. We never completely answered this question. I wonder if we can think of gal

The timing of determination

Three paragraphs of what I'm writing about Leibniz, process philosophy and determinations: One of the dazzling features of time is that it introduces the idea of process – and that reality itself could be a consequence of multiple processes. As a general feature of what is often called process philosophy1 – committed to the claim that reality is constituted by ongoing processes and somehow doesn't precede them – the idea of process poses a specific problem for the relation between metaphysics and time: the problem of the timing of (metaphysical determination). Metaphysical truths are often considered to be (at least to a large extent) necessary and permanent. That is to say respectively that they are not contingent on anything else and that they are not subject to the passing of time.2 The issue here is whether metaphysical determinations take place once and for all – and cannot be otherwise – or whether they are not an instant event but rather require some duration. In parti

Quick further thoughs on Levinas' proximity (and correlationism)

Levinas hints (in La proximité , 3.6 of Autrement qu'être ) that the geometrical sense of proximity is itself derivative of the one of neighbor, of the neighbor that can substitute me. Now, on the face of it it can look as if the geometrical issue (the geometrical theme) is always hostage to us, to our ways and specifically to the "us" that we are which is laden with a inevitable diaphonía , plural, with the presence of the other as part of the meaning of what we think about the world. It can look as if we're facing a correlationism (and even a strong one as intelligibility of the world itself depends on the human Other). But there is a different plot going on here. Levinas is pointing at the exposure to being that sensitivity accomplishes - not simply an opening to it. The world is such that we are exposed to being in our structure of substitution - subjectivity then becomes desidentification, departure from oneself. Subjectivity is a witness to the exteriority of

Against speculative realism?

I just wrote what sometimes sounds like a manifesto against speculative realism. It is a sketch of what I'll present in Rio next week. It is the first written version of my conception of the furniture of the universe as indexical. O universo deíctico Correlacionismo e interrupção Hilan Bensusan Contingência, neutralidade e a era do correlato Em seu diagnóstico do tempo que começou com Kant na filosofia, a trama que Quentin Meillassoux tece é a de uma atração e da necessidade de resisti-la. A atração é pelo correlato: por um confinamento naquilo que é para-nós – que se inspira e se distingue daquilo que é para-mim. O acesso ao que é para-nós parece impedir que acedamos ao que está para além dele, ao que está do lado de fora, que Meillassoux descreve em termos de algo absoluto - entes ou princípios absolutos. O que está para além do para-nós é talvez o que é em-si ou o que é para-os-outros e, supostamente, em todos os casos, o que é sem-nós. Como um atrator, a correlação cap


Then I found an epigram for the book I'm concocting: << Autrui, à qui s'adresse la demande de la question n'appartient pas à la sphere intelligible à explorer. Il se tient dans la proximité. >> (Levinas, Autrement qu'être , 46) That is, the other, to whom the demand of the question is addressed belongs to no intelligible sphere to explore but rather to proximity. But then soon I realize that in isolation and if proximity is read like Heidegger's Nahe , there is nothing Levinasian in the claim. Proximity for Levinas has to do with the neighbor that one is commanded to respect. The next one, the one that can replace you, that substitute you when goodness tears apart your being. Not a world, not anything zuhanden , but the other that looks at you from outside when you think and act.

The deictic universe

Soon I'll give the first public formulation of the current form the book (that was once to be titled The Interruption , then A Stranger in your Doorstep , then The Interrupted Nexus and now The Deictic Universe ) I plan to finish in the upcoming (climatic) season) in Rio. Right now I have a skeleton: Intro: The Deictic Universe – the preliminaries This and that Proximity Being Up For Grabs Plato's Other, Same, Moving and Restful Severino's Horizon Totality and the view from nowhere First-person Tense Levinas' face Celan's personal Kripke's proper names Kaplan's demonstratives Perry's indexicals Kaplan's demonstratives Agency and monadology Existents and proximity Whitehead's panperceptualism Object-Oriented Garcia's dedetermination and the fixation of reference Perspectivism 1. The metaphysics of the others Metaphysics and transcendence Hosts and hostages The diaphonia, doubts and verzweifelt Exteriority taken

O lugar da escuta desesperado

Texto que eu apresentei hoje no FIFI: sobre a necessidade impossível de morder a língua dos outros No seu discurso Der Meridian, Paul Celan, para quem um poema é um encontro – feito de presságios, ocorrido no escuro, e desarmado como qualquer encontro – alude a que em certas condições um poema se estende em direção a um outro, a uma necessidade do face-à-face. Ele consegue fazer isso porque é um exercício de atenção, a prece natural da alma, segundo Malebranche. Porém o poema, que se inclina desde a direção de um mutismo, fica manifesto no segredo de um encontro. Um poema inaugura assim um diálogo, e se assim o fizer, inaugura um diálogo desesperado. Um diálogo desesperado é um exercício de voz afónica, um exercício de voz em direção a algum ouvinte, a algum decifrador – o poema é solitário. O poeta é o que diz com Pascal e depois com Chestov segundo Celan: “Não nos acuse de falta de claridade, é dela que faço minha profissão.” (27)A poesia em direção a um encontro, conclui Celan, pr

Hospitality: being a host, being hostage

Levinas' analysis of the face in T&I drafts several elements for deconstruction. It is in a great extent about the voice, about seeing language in its formal element as structurally dialogical and its prime function as that of enabling discourse aimed towards a public - and not description or coping with the world. The structure of language - and indeed of voice - makes explicit the asymmetry between the other, as a master, and the speaker. As a speaker, I'm in the hands of the other because language is a public device formally structured by diaphonia, by different discourses and that difference is embedded in the very structure of thematizing anything, in the very structure of the conceptual. As a consequence, it is not that I have a grip on my concepts and not even that they have a grip on me but rather that the others have a grip on me through my conceptual life. Concepts make me think, but they do so only because they make my masters present. Without a public language,

An amendment to the three narratives story

I made a first amendment to what I presented last Monday about the three concomitant narratives concerning the other. Instead of three narratives, I'm thinking in terms of two poles where representation lies in the borderline. The composer that performs a representation of the world is a composition and a fragment; the monadological narrative deals in compositions or fragments and brings about ( instaure ) fragmented compositions that can be interrupted. Composing enables interruption - it emerges from a tension between compositions and fragments. Compositions are fragments because they are incomplete and therefore make room for further composing. Composing is perceiving, the ethical endeavor of attending to one's agenda and being interrupted by it. Perception is therefore dual, it aims at building a nexus and it attends to interruptions. Hence, perception is the meeting point between monadology and what it inscribes, a hauntology. Monadology features the agency of each unit

A metafísica paradoxal dos outros

Hand-out of my presentation in Anarchai today: A metafísica paradoxal dos outros Hilan Bensusan Metafísica e os outros: o mundo externo, a fundamentação de alguma coisa em outra, as relações de dependência e inter-dependência, a interação, a transcendência, a heteronomia. Existir e co-existir: aquilo que existe tem lugar entre outros que existem. Anna Tsing e a dupla tarefa: a) oferecer uma abordagem maximamente geral da realidade com as melhores habilidades disponíveis e b) deixar espaço para outros – e outros relatos – que são parte da realidade. Totalidade e transcendência: satisfazer a tarefa a) apenas produz uma totalidade fechada (e consistente nela mesma), satisfazer b) apenas é recusar uma abordagem englobante em nome da transcendência dos outros (e dos outros relatos). Diaphonía e paradoxo: A diaphonía exerce uma pressão desde fora sobre a espontaneidade (a soberania) de qualquer abordagem. A tarefa paradoxal: oferecer uma abordagem maximamente geral da realidade tal

Transcendence and paradoxical totalities

Levinas' endeavor in Totalité et Infini is to consider the first-person encounter with the absolute Other, not as a representation (or of fruition) but as an exercise of transcendence. His exercise in transcendence inaugurates a métaphysics where the ethical demand plays a crucial role. However, transcendence itself is not thematized and, as a consequence, does not compose a totality. Levinas aims to avoid totality for a plurality of reasons (to be examined …). As a consequence, there can be no maximally general account of how things are. In fact, Levinas rejects the possibility of a maximally general and consistent account of how things are such that transcendence is possible. There can be no consistent account of any other as the other is not a neutralized alter-ego – another me that turns me into something impersonal - but precisely what I am not. No consistent account is possible because a consistent account would turn the other into something immanent and void it of any tran

Object-oriented vacuous actuality

Harman's Immaterialism sets out to contrast his object-oriented approach to social and historical explanation to what is loosely labeled "new materialism" and to actor-network theory in particular. After a quick presentation of his ontology of objects stressing the speculative move from objects of human knowledge endowed with a withdrawn element that eludes every sensorial contact to an image of everything as objects enjoying a secret in-itself dimension and a quicker presentation of the adversaries of the object-oriented approach, Harman illustrates the strengths of finding objects behind events with a historical narrative of the Dutch VOC. Following a provocation from Leibniz, for whom it would be outrageous to treat the Dutch East India Company as a real substance, Harman sets out to present the history of the company as the history of an object - that supposedly would explain more than accounts that rather undermine it in terms of its components (fleets, trips, emplo

Perhaps a phenomenology + a monadology + a hauntology

Getting acquainted with Salanskis reading of Levinas and thinking of how, in perception, there are always traces of the still others in perceiving the others (language brings in the images of the masters when we look at anything but also every mediation is a trace in perception - think of the notion of importance in Whitehead's Modes of Thought , for instance) I've been elaborating on the account of three modes of existence I gave on Being Up For Grabs . There, each unit (which was a monad) was at the same time a composition, a fragment and a composer. There they relate to the others in a monadology. But this strikes me now as only part of the story. There is a monadology but on top of it and at the same time there is a phenomenology and a hauntology associated to the interiority of each unit. The paradoxico-metaphysics of these units is the (incoherent) juxtaposition of these three arrangements of units in each of their mode of existence. In each mode they enjoy a connection