Some OOO ques, thoughts on eidos and essence
So, it’s already been a few weeks since I posted that my basic level objections to OOO have gone by the wayside. And finally, my grades have gone in, I’m able to read for pleasure/ research in a real way again, and I’m back to work editing/finishing the network books. Woohoo!
I’m also most of the way through Circus Philosophicus, and it has me thinking some new thoughts regarding the relations between OOO and language. What follows isn’t critique, it’s questions. Because as I’m working on finally getting these network books to congeal, there are many, many related issues, and I’m really trying to figure out the potentials for common ground.
Because I suspect that OOO and networkological relationalism, despite differences in our preference for metaphors (OOO preferring those of separation/disjunction, relationalism that of connection), the end picture is eerily similar to wave/particle duality . . .
Let’s go back to the cane toad, one of my favorites from the OOO bestiary. We refer to the cane toad as an object. It has split structure, etc. Much of what I’m asking here deals issues related to the eidos/essence dichotomy in Graham’s accounts (and I’m looking forward to reading Democracy of Objects soon, to find out more about how Levi deals with these issues).
It’s obvious that for OOO, a cane toad is an object. But is the cane toad and the table it is sitting on an object, or, as Graham recently argued in the UCLA talk, an aggregate? Graham mentions that via Leibniz we can tell the difference between a substance and aggregate, and that a Latour Litany (TM) taken together is not an object. Does this mean it doesn’t withdraw, or that each part withdraws, but not the whole?
That is, what is it that makes something get a withdrawing core, a ‘virtual proper being’ of its own? An eidos and an essence, a post-Kantian ding-an-sich? My networkological side wants the aggregate to get one too, if perhaps one that is less dense or less interesting. But one nevertheless. But in Graham’s UCLA talk, it seems these are pseudo-objects, and I guess I’m wondering what the inner structure of these are.
From a networkological perspective, all of these are networks, simply of different types. A cane toad and a table are networks, both separately and together, just as the molecules of which they are composed. They have no essence or eidos, except that they are linked to the semiotic particles within human language called ‘cane toad’ and ‘table’ and ‘molecules’, and from these they are seen differently by those who use semiotics than those who don’t. That said, they are also dealt with differently by all animals, because animals have conceptual networks in their brains, and these are linked in even human brains, under the linguistic level, and these semiotic/meaningful networks (both linguistic and neural), are linked to the actual networks of the toad and table by means of the interactions between animals, humans, toads, and tables.
Any eidos/essence is always ‘for’ something, but that something need not be human, but merely, something that finds toads and tables meaningful. A passing electron, for example, in good Uexkuellian fashion, finds only certain things around it meaningful. It sees no toad nor table, only particles and charges and spins. But it interacts with what we call a toad and table nevertheless. So it’s not so much that there’s ONE eidos or essence, but as many as there are perspectives on the spacetime location in which what we call toad and table co-exist.
I’m not sure if OOO agrees with this, but I’m curious.