Quickie reply to Graham, Levi [updated]
Graham: . . . Yes, I think words are a crucial part of the game. I think OOO and relationalism are working two sides of a similar coin. But there are differences. I think part of this may lie in that I see a potential OOO now that I like, I’m just not sure its the OOO you and Levi are arguing for, despite having invented the term!
On another note, isn’t it trumpery to say that relationalism believes an old fashioned, billiard ball and stick version of objects and relations, and continually beating us up when we continue to press that this isn’t so, in Whitehead, or for SR types of relationalism? I’m not sure relationalism was EVER this simple (even in the much maligned and rarely read Hegel . . .), but I believe the argument here is that relationalism is so passe because there’s no withdrawal, etc.
Levi: It’s not that I don’t understand your argument, it’s that I disagree. I’ve said that many, many times! When I discuss the mouse, I discuss him in my hand, because to an electron whirring by, the mouse is not a mouse! What I call a mouse interacts with what I call an electron. But electron and mouse know neither. The electron experiences the mouse electronly (which involves no words), and vice-versa.
This is why I believe that the recent ‘trip to Damascus’, while definite development, has been a meconnaissance.
I won’t speak for Adrian and Steve (certainly not on this issue!), but I think you are right that I do see the fundamental debates here different than Ian, Tim, Graham, and yourself.
I do think language has a huge role to play. Does that make me a correlationist? More so than most at this table, sure. As I’ve argued before, I believe in absolutizing and multiplying the correlation, which is a very different thing than traditional correlationism.
There is no mouse, and yes, of course it is a mouse. OOO is, I think, for all the HUGE differences with Kant, a descendent of the Kantian-Cartesian-Platonic sense that there is a fundamental schism within what is. I think Adrian, Steve, and myself (I’ll speak for them lightly here . . .) feel that this schism’s fundamentalness is overrated. Where OOO tends to see binaries, we see more continua. Of course, the devil’s in the details, but I think this is why there continues to be this two sides to things.
And philosophy has always had its Parmenides and Heraclitus, Hegel and Kant, Deleuze and Derrida, Peirce and Saussure, the more monist-oriented and the more bindary-oriented. What one makes of this, is, however, another story . . .
PS – I do think we are discussing the same thing with the linguistic turn. The prison house, there’s nothing outside the text. Don’t forget Wittgenstein in all this! The difference, though, I feel, is that I put words and things on the same plane. Which means we can link mice and the word ‘mice’, but this is different from saying that a mouse in space is still a mouse . . .
On Whitehead: You’re account of Whitehead does cite a lot of PR, which is great. But how do you account for privacy in all of this? You don’t even mention it! I think it is VERY easy to cherry-pick citations, and particularly from a process-philosopher. They write differently from non-process philosophers. Nietzsche , while not a process thinker, would quasi-contradict himself nearly every other line, in order to refract to a greater whole.
I don’t think the much more systematic and consistent Whitehead or Peirce do this. But, like Hegel, they are easy to misquote because when they are describing an ASPECT of the whole, they are also describing a moment. Whitehead talks a lot about non-temporal yet logical synthesis, for example.
The passages you pick out here aren’t really related to these issues, but I think what I’m stating here relates to the very manner in which Whitehead, Peirce, and Hegel write in general, along with why especially Hegel get’s a bad rap (and in fact, I think Hegel BECOMES his bad rap towards the end of his life, that’s another story).
But what of privacy Levi, where do you account for that?!
On the Linguistic Turn:
I think we should not throw the baby of post-structuralism out with the bathwater. The networkological project is an attempt to understand and take into the argument posed in many forms by the ‘linguistic turn’ without just ignoring it. I’m not arguing in any manner that all we get is language. Nor do I think you are arguing for unmediated access to the real. But damn, you sure TALK like you do!
On Philosophy: I am not someone, as you say, who thinks anything goes in philosophy, that no philosophy is better than any other, etc. Very often I say stuff which is nuanced or layered, and then it gets heard in black and white. I think perhaps this is what happens when process folks talk to more binary-types . . .
I do not believe that ANY philosophy is completely true, or completely false. But I do believe in matters of DEGREE. There are more and less true philosophies, in relation to the contexts at hand. More and less useful, beautiful, just . . .
I do believe that those trained in philosophy depts argue about such things with a slightly different aesthetic than those trained in other humanities dept (theory, so to speak). I think we are a bit more pluralistic on our notion of what constitutes truth, particularly in relation to how arguments are made in relation thereto. But you always push me to one side or the other in a debate, and I prefer the tricksy middle, which is not the same as one side or the other, but resides in a neither/both that wouldn’t exist without the two sides . . .
Which is also why it’s a mouse and not a mouse, but it is certainly not merely a ‘mouse’ or just a mouse . . . I realize that doesn’t say much, but I’m about to leave the house for a few hours, so it will have to suffice as shorthand for much of what I’ve argued in more depth . . .