November 08, 2006

A foundationalism based in experience

Re: Re: (Revised): Reflections on THE IDEAL OF HUMAN UNITY - Ontology, Habitus, Interpellation, Darshan by Debashish on Thu 19 Oct 2006 11:25 PM PDT Permanent Link Heidegger's ontology of "thrownness", Boudrieu's habitus, Althusser's interpellation, all point to the same thing - that we are born into a world not of our own making, which is given to us and into which we are socialized without knowing the difference bwtween conditioning and choice. This habitus, ontology, interpellated reality is our culture - set into place through historical processes of discourse. But culture, though it may be given, is not fixed. It is in constant change, and we are the social agents of that change. Change in the fundamental assumptions and discursive "seeds" (doxa, memes) of a culture lead to a changed habitus.
In Foucault's language, history is marked by sudden changes of this kind, which are not entirely causally describable. He calls them epistemes. The "modern episteme" is fundamentally different from the "episteme of the Renaissance." He begins his book "The Order of Things" by talking of the change from the one to the other. But this change may be more properly and priorly seen as a change in ontology, as a different "disclosure of Being" (in Heidegge's language).
As recognized both by Heidegger and Foucault, such changes cannot entirely be explained, but social processes are certainly involved in their occurrence. These processes are partly immanent (transformations within the culture through critical and creative processes which "dissolve doxa", as you put it) and partly through alien culture contact and other incalculable factors (and thus, transcendent). The conditionings of doxa then become revealed as choices or else they may transform themselves (much as viruses can do) and continue in new more resistant forms until forced once more into consciousness. The ontic technologies of Vedanta are certainly prior to any cultural doxa formation, but the Vedantic cultural complex was created to facilitate the operation of such technologies from within its habitus.
This is the subtext of Sri Aurobindo's "Foundations of Indian Culture." However, it is not dependent upon this habitus (whose outer forms keep changing unpredictably and not always for the best) and can and needs to be socialized through other cultural representations in times of worldwide epistemic/ontological revision. This also I believe is Sri Aurobindo's subtext and his social text. It indicates, as Rod has hinted, at a foundationalism based in experience - which, perhaps, phenomenology, as a cultural revisionism of western metaphysics can facilitate as aprt of a cross-cultural hermenutics leading towards social and individual (ontic and ontological) freedom.

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