Skip to main content

Levinas' ultratranscendental

After finishing Deictic Absolutes, I'm revisiting Autrement qu'être (and Derrida, and Silvia Benso) in my course on Levinas, Heidegger and Derrida. Today we discussed the orientation towards the other - kerygmatic - in the significance of empirical verdicts. What is said is reduced to the saying - because the metaphysics of the subjectivity is not a form of ontologism. That is, when one says anything like S is P, one is predicating and preaching, preaching requires responsibility to the Other who hears one's report. Sensibility is ultimately testimony: my senses are geared towards producing reports to the Other. Now, this is why the senses themselves have no language - no private language - but rather they are led to speak the Other's language so that I can genuinely inform from my senses to the Other that, say, S is P. So, that sensible intuition requires concepts is a consequence of sensibility being geared towards the Other. My senses are put at the service of saying something to somebody else - and public language is not forged within the scope of sameness, it is a way for me, the speaker, to be always hostage to the Others who have taught me concepts and still can correct my application of them. Levinas hints towards an ultratranscendental: that intuitions require concepts is something that demands a transcendental explanation, beyond the scope of thematization. The transcendental - and yet phenomenological explanation - is that in sensibility the Other is entangled with the I (with sameness). The intersubjective is (ultra)transcendentally explained through the wound of the Other in the subject of sensibility.

Now, interestingly, this ultratranscendental can be put in terms of concepts - as in the Kantian tradition that Levinas wants to deepen with Husserl's efforts to find the transcendental and intentional structure of subjectivity - but doesn't have to be put in those terms. So, one can think, in a Whiteheadian vein, that there is no sensible intuition of isolated facts or that there is no sensible intuition without modulation and co-ordination with what is already taken to be known. Whitehead is in a sense going beyond concepts to explain the transcendental structure behind them - that they proceed by co-ordinating, by modulating perception and this is what makes perception itself possible. But one can apply Levinas' ultratranscendental scheme to Whitehead's (transcendental) formulation: co-ordination and modulation is required because one needs to be of relevance to the Other. One needs to be a reliable reporter because sensibility has a saying behind what is said in its very structure. So, the Levinasian doesn't have to be associated to (human) concepts, it is enough to stress that sensibility is an endeavor in saying something to some Other.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

My responses to (some) talks in the Book Symposium

Indexicalism is out: l https://edinburghuniversitypress.com/book-indexicalism.html   The book symposium took place two weeks ago with talks by Sofya Gevorkyan/Carlos Segovia, Paul Livingston, Gerson Brea, Steven Shaviro, Chris RayAlexander, Janina Moninska, Germán Prosperi, Gabriela Lafetá, Andrea Vidal, Elzahrã Osman, Graham Harman, Charles Johns, Jon Cogburn, Otavio Maciel, Aha Else, JP Caron, Michel Weber and John Bova. My very preliminary response to some of their talks about the book follows. (Texts will appear in a special issue of Cosmos & History soon). RESPONSES : ON SAYING PARADOXICAL THINGS Hilan Bensusan First of all, I want to thank everyone for their contributions. You all created a network of discussions that made the book worth publishing. Thanks. Response to Shaviro: To engage in a general account of how things are is to risk paradox. Totality, with its different figures including the impersonal one that enables a symmetrical view from nowhere

Hunky, Gunky and Junky - all Funky Metaphysics

Been reading Bohn's recent papers on the possibility of junky worlds (and therefore of hunky worlds as hunky worlds are those that are gunky and junky - quite funky, as I said in the other post). He cites Whitehead (process philosophy tends to go hunky) but also Leibniz in his company - he wouldn't take up gunk as he believed in monads but would accept junky worlds (where everything that exists is a part of something). Bohn quotes Leibniz in On Nature Itself «For, although there are atoms of substance, namely monads, which lack parts, there are no atoms of bulk, that is, atoms of the least possible extension, nor are there any ultimate elements, since a continuum cannot be composed out of points. In just the same way, there is nothing greatest in bulk nor infinite in extension, even if there is always something bigger than anything else, though there is a being greatest in the intensity of its perfection, that is, a being infinite in power.» And New Essays: ... for there is ne

Necropolitics and Neocameralism

It is perhaps just wishful thinking that the alt-right seemingly innovative and intrepid ideas will disappear from the scene as Trump's reign comes to an end. They have their own dynamics, but certainly the experiences of the last years, including those in the pandemics, do help to wear off their bright and attractiveness. Neocameralism, what Mencius Moldbug and Nick Land with him ushered in as a model of post-democracy that relinquish important ingredients of the human security system, is one of these projects that is proving to be too grounded in the past to have any capacity to foretell anything bright beyond the democratic rusting institutions. It is little more than necropolitics - which is itself a current post-democratic alternative. Achile Mbembe finds necropolitics in the regimes were warlords take over the state-like institutions (or mimick them)  to rule on the grounds of local security having no troubles killing or letting die whoever is in their path. Neocameralism pos