Thursday, October 10, 2013

Sophia Speaks

We're discussing Balder's ITC paper by the above name at this link. Please join us. An excerpt:

I'll copy and paste a few excerpts of posts from here on, perhaps to expand on this previous discussion related to Balder's paper:

theurj: The preposition acts like khora in that it is that withdrawn core that prepares the space-time for actual occasions and is coterminous with them, a la Whitehead. Hence I'm wondering if prepositions, while parts of language, aren't themselves something prelinguistic and which tie language back to that basic categorical embodiment via image schemata? If I'm right about prepositions being more akin to objet a than being an actualization or local manifestation of a particular paradigm, then they might be more of an meta-paradigmatic function.

Balder: Here is one more post in this thread of speculations, from page 68.  As I mention in my paper, it was reading this chapter by Latour on prepositions, plus watching the back and forth between several OOO and Whiteheadian philosophers, not to mention our evolving conversation in this epic thread, that planted the seeds for my paper.  I had forgotten your linking of prepositions to the khora, but that makes sense to me -- esp. the way Nancy and Serres use them -- and I think it is worth exploring and developing further (I don't in my paper).  I also like your suggestion, in our email exchange, that prepositions -- in this light -- are perhaps pre-linguistic operators "which tie language back to that basic categorical embodiment via image schemata."  I do touch on the image schemas which may inform prepositions, but don't draw the connections you are making here.

theurj: Here's Shaviro's blog post on the Harman-Latour debate book. I addressed the debate earlier in the thread, some of which was linked above yesterday.

Balder: I think they make a good point that objects are detachable from (many) present relations, and therefore aren't wholly and exclusively determined by or reducible to them, but in my view there are other ways they remain related -- internally (to their own parts and processes, to the larger universe which provided the parts that constitute them, therefore to their own and to other objects' past(s); and for living systems, to the ongoing circulation of elements which are necessary to their autopoiesis or self-making, etc).
I'd like to read more of Shaviro on his understanding of eternal objects.  Harman objects to the idea that eternal objects explain change and creativity, insisting instead that eternal objects are unchanging and that they only allow for new arrangements of eternally existing qualities rather than for anything genuinely new.
The emphasis on vectors above aligns not only with Latour/Souriau, but also with Serres (another prepositional philosopher).

theurj: Here's Shaviro's home page. In the "essays and papers" section one can find chapter drafts from his book on Whitehead. This is interesting from chapter 2 on Whitehead's eternal objects:

"Eternal objects thus take on something of the role that universals...Platonic forms and ideas played in older metaphysical systems. But we have already seen that, for Whitehead, 'concrete particular fact' cannot simply 'be built up out of universals'; it is more the other way around. Universals...can and must be abstracted from 'things which are temporal.' But they cannot be conceived by themselves, in the absence of the empirical, temporal entities that they inform. Eternal objects, therefore, are neither a priori logical structures, nor Platonic essences, nor constitutive rational ideas" (18).

Balder: Oh, yes, I actually read that chapter when researching one of the sections of my paper.  (You'll see in that paragraph that he references the part of speech for which I used this).  Harman thinks this is an incorrect reading of Whitehead (and apparently Hartshorne, one of Whitehead's leading interpreters, would agree with Harman on this.  I believe I reference this disagreement in the paper).  So, it's something I need to study in more depth.  I prefer Shaviro's reading, and would be happy if he is correct on this (since I've been uncomfortable with this Platonic-seeming aspect of Whitehead).

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