Tuesday, July 31, 2012

What matters?

In light of recent posts on Stengers and philosophy, this notion of a meta-paradigm, and how to frame it, is key to what might be called an integral worldview. The previous polydox examples are not akin to the more generalized, abstract universals inherent to the kennilingus and/or model of hiearchical complexity. The latter indeed posit something like transcendent, absolute realms that clearly define how the messy world of relativity must fit within its strict, mathematical categories. Yet the polydox crew see this as more an embodied rhizomatic structure from the ground up, with no ultimate defining ideal. Even emergent, higher order meta-events are not any kind of final defining structure by which all can be measured, like some sort of absolute consciousness per se.

Stengers gets at this too in her chapter in The Speculative Turn. She examines scientific reductionism in that it claims privileged access to truth on matter, but it does so only by thoroughly eliminating the heart of matter, its own inherent capacity for self organization. Matter is, like in kennlingus, the inert outside that is filled up with the abstract universals (or Platonic essences) of some involutionary, top-down methodology of defining it within a set of parameters deemed as true.

Stengers though, like Byant, sees that this too is but another frame among others, not the one true and defining frame. And all frames not only reveal but conceal and eliminate important data. Hence the latter seems to agree that we need to examine a multitude of frames, and even have some means of connecting them, seeing the confluences, even positing some temporary unifying principles so that they loosely cohere. But they do not posit this temporary way-station as some king of Platonic essence, or even some kind of final general category, that determines the matter once and for all.


  1. Perhaps the above is a legitimation battle for how to define the epitome of Commons' et al. most current, final stage, cross-paradigmatic? According to him* it has this description:

    "The fourth postformal order is the cross-paradigmatic. The objects of cross-paradigmatic actions are paradigms. Cross-paradigmatic actions integrate paradigms into a new field or profoundly transform an old one. A field contains more than one paradigm and cannot be reduced to a single paradigm. One might ask whether all interdisciplinary studies are therefore cross-paradigmatic? Is psychobiology cross-paradigmatic? The answer to both questions is 'no'. Such interdisciplinary studies might create new paradigms, such as psychophysics, but not new fields."

    According to this definition (accepting it for the moment and not dealing with my substantial criticisms here), is what Bryant and Stengers suggesting ( and polydoxy more generally) merely interdisciplinary or creating a new field?

    * http://www.tiac.net/~commons/Four%20Postformal%20Stages.html

  2. One possible answer is in this thread,* where Wallis said:

    "Metatheory (as the study of theory) may be conducted in at least two ways. It may be integrative (where multiple theories are combined). It may be deconstructive (where theories are parsed into their constituent components for analysis and/or recombination). Either way, the process leads to the creation of a metatheory, metatheorum, or a 'theory of theory'” (78).

    Granted it is still debatable whether metatheory is systematic, metasystematic, paradigmatic or cross-paradigmatic according to Commons.

    * http://integralpostmetaphysics.ning.com/forum/topics/constructive-and

  3. In the first comment my substantial criticisms are located at this address:



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