January 14, 2009

There is no transportation that does not involve translation

The Hegemonic Fallacy from Larval Subjects

As I learned last night, electricity is a very powerful entity that produces many differences. My entire life, the life of my neighbors, and the life of many gadgets that inhabit the world was suspended in a variety of ways by a power outage that lasted hours. However, the recognition that an entire constellation of processes depends on electricity is very different from the reduction of the entities belonging to this network to electricity. All of these other entities have an autonomy from electricity even while entering into relations with the power line enabling all sorts of activities within these act-ualities.

This is entirely different than a Kantian making all objects, in the form of appearances or phenomena, depend on mind, or Leibniz’s God sustaining all monads. In the first case we have an assemblage where act-ualities equally contribute those differences that are within their power to contribute, while in the latter case we have one entity contributing all the difference (Leibniz’s and Spinoza’s God), or nearly all the difference (Kant’s mind). Indeed, in Kant the in-itself contributes no discernible difference or no difference that could intelligibly be talked about. Yet if any of this is to be thought at all, it is above all necessary to overcome the Epistemic and Ontological Fallacies. The first, as articulated by Bhaskar, consists in

“…the view that statements about being can be reduced to or analysed in terms of statements about knowledge; i.e. that ontological questions can always be transposed into epistemological terms” (A Realist Theory of Science, 36).

By contrast, the Ontological Fallacy consists in the view that Being and Thinking are identical. It is only when these fallacies are overcome that it becomes possible to consistently think both the Ontic and Ontological Principles.

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