Tuesday, December 06, 2011
In The Democracy of Objects Levi Bryant argues objects have received short shrift.
Our historical moment is characterized by a general distrust, even disdain, for the category of objects, ontology, and above all any variant of realism. Moreover, it is characterized by a primacy of epistemology over ontology. While it is indeed true that Heidegger, in Being and Time, attempted to resurrect ontology, this only took place through a profound transformation of the very meaning of ontology. Ontology would no longer be the investigation of being qua being in all its variety and diversity regardless of whether humans exist, but rather would instead become an interrogation of Dasein's or human being's access to being. Ontology would become an investigation of being-for-Dasein, rather than an investigation of being as such. In conjunction with this transformation of ontology from an investigation of being as such into an investigation of being-for-humans, we have also everywhere witnessed a push to dissolve objects or primary substances in the acid of experience, intentionality, power, language, normativity, signs, events, relations, or processes. To defend the existence of objects is, within the framework of this line of thought, the height of naïveté for objects are held to be nothing more than surface-effects of something more fundamental such as the signifier, signs, power or activities of the mind. With Hume, for example, it is argued that objects are really nothing more than bundles of impressions or sensations linked together by associations and habits in the mind. Here there is no deeper fact of objects existing beyond these impressions and habits. Likewise, Lacan will tell us that “the universe is the flower of rhetoric”, treating the beings that populate the world as an effect of the signifier.
With Hume, for example, it is argued that objects are really nothing more than bundles of impressions or sensations linked together by associations and habits in the mind.

However philistinish some in the phil-biz find him, Hume didn't fuck around--all a posteriori (and...in terms of klassix who says..Diogenes, Cicero and Sextus Empiricus.et al are not at the Feast? At least the early bird specials--before the Greats arrive).
The more I read of the classics the more I get the sense that most everything of consequence was already said from the beginning, but we only recognise that thanks to later indications.
Yeah, the history of philosophy's a short story really--they just keep recycling stuff, or making shit up. Either way I still chuckle a few alleged comments of the skeptical villains---we may see a red apple, Lord Plato, but we do not see some quality "redness"
We always already see The Red Wheelbarrow.
OK, J,

Whom do you recommend for making the distinction between quality and quantity? Or do you avoid that distinction?
I do not claim mastery of the scholastic chestnuts, Jan. I find ontology itself somewhat baffling. From a pragmatic point of view, moderate realism seems justifiable (at least workable). Ie, we accept universals of some sort (ie, whether triangles, Justice, or redness) because existence is a bit easier. One might understand a Kantian cognitive innateness of a sort without quite accepting the platonic a priori.
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