Wednesday, March 27, 2013

On the inside and outside of endo- and exo-relations

Here is an excerpt from this Shaviro blog post, consistent with some of my recent ruminations that will follow.

"For one thing, I think that Simondon's basic question of where individuals come from, how they come to be, is an unavoidable one. I don't think that OOO answers this adequately.... So, for Simondon, being is always relational, but this relationality is not absolute & cannot be pejoratively defined as OOO tries to do (nor can we simply make a division between internal and external relations). Indeed: 'Already at the level of physical beings, that relation is constituting means that interiority and exteriority are not substantially different; there are not two domains, but a relative distinction; because, insofar as any individual is capable of growth, what was exterior to it can become interior', relations actually constitute the separation of interior from exterior, and guarantee that this border is itself never fixed."

From this post:

I'm wondering if Bryant's view is a sort of representationalism. Granted the most criticized version of it that J&R discuss is the kind that sees a disembodied conceptualization representing an outside object. Bryant at least asserts that this translation process is strictly material or embodied. And he too rails against the  representationalism inherent to metaphysics. Still, we have this inside translating an outside and representing it to itself via sensuous objects. Whereas image schemas are not such a thing, residing in the extended space-time of the inner-outer assemblage.

And this one:

So it strikes me that perhaps Lakoff's embodied basic categories are akin to Bryant's endo-structural organization. Both provide the frame through which a suobject interprets or translates its environment or perturbations therefrom. While each suobject's basic categories are unique by some infinitesimal amount they are still mostly similar (99.9%?) to other bodies in the same type, like humans. Lakoff also makes clear that our basic categories do not exist in the outer world, that they are unique to humanity in its translative capacity, that they do not provide a 1-to-1 representation of the world as it is. Granted it's close enough to respond to the world and not only survive but thrive. But still, like endo-relations they are inside, not outside.
However the outside still gets inside in both systems, or at least affects the inside, for we must engage successfully in exo-relations to survive. And it is here where our inside-outside boundary becomes more porous than insular. With extended cognition, something not explored by Lakoff that I can see, it appears that even our basic categories might indeed exist in the environment. Or something very much like them that then becomes translated through our biological neurostructure. Here Bryant is instructive in that any suobject has this self-defining endo-structure which translates its environment, so any suobject has its own version of basic categories.

So I'm suggesting that the basic categories themselves are an inherent structure to the material world, not in some Platonic ideal type but as inherent to embodiment of any kind by the very nature of a difference that makes a difference. Ideas then are not involuted from above but generated and evolved from below out of embodied basic structures. Granted it appears ideas require a more complex biological base to materialize, but perhaps this will also be so with machines some day. The point however is that once ideas are generated they too become embodied suobstances with a life of their own which get communicated via signs and infect others of like mind. Again this will be translated uniquely to the degree of maybe 0.1%, but 99.9% of that idea will remain intact across the individual boundary.

And this one:

More on this notion of inside/outside:

From TOO: “There is that side of the object pointed towards presence or what I call ‘local manifestation,’ and that side of the object that is radically withdrawn which I call ‘virtual proper being’” (4-5).
Harman in the debate: “I think the thing has to be free from its outer relations but it can’t be free of its inner relations…’domestic relations’” (115).

I can see making this distinction but it seems too rigid. Substance only resides on the inside due to a suobject’s drawing of a distinction or boundary, i.e., in its endo-structural relations. And I’m suggesting that difference per se is not just inside but in true metaphysical fashion is indeed an ontic* given that flows across all boundaries and everywhere in between boundaries.

Recall in TOO Bryant notes that differance demonstrates how succession occurs in time and how things change. As I was noting above, this environmental field of differance is itself the progenitor of change. And it should be no surprise that differance, being both in and outside of a suobject, is its cause.

* Unfortunately the definition of ontic distinguishes the real from the phenomenon, and it is exactly this too strict bifurcation (dualism) that I wish to avoid. Same with real and actual, withdrawn and local manifestation. Differance is not just withdrawn but within every local manifestation, every actual event. This is a tough one to communicate.

And this one:

In Clark and Chalmers seminal paper "The extended mind" they are discussing something akin to Bryant's endo- and exo-relations on 7-9. An objection for brain-object coupled cognition is that when the brain is decoupled from the object it retains its own cognitive capacities. This might be considered Bryant's distinction of the substance from its contingent local manifestations, which can and do change (decouple). C&C don't deny the brain-body its own capacities. However a number of those internal capacities were in fact shaped by environmental and social forces along the way, even from the beginning.

This is one area that I haven't found explored much with Bryant, how a particular machine comes to be, how it cannot have its autonomy without such external influence. He grants that a machine is created in time, impermanent, always struggling to maintain its autonomy from dissolution, but its creation comes from its coupling with various environments. And perhaps more importantly, its translative abilities don't reside strictly in its once established endo-structure, since that structure itself is at all times coupled with other environmental systems and thus distributing that cognitive translation.

Recall Bryant had to qualify a distinction with Harman about a particular substance capacity to not enter into any exo-relations. He granted it might be theoretically possible but that in practice there are no examples. Other than perhaps neutrinos, and yet they do enter into relations with us since we can imagine or imply their existence by their affects.

And this from "Beyond the flesh":

"Words are...the concrete objects that structure new spaces for basic forms of learning and reason.... Language is thus conceived as primarily a form of environmental structuring rather than as an information stream requiring translation into and out of various inner codes" (2-3).

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.