Sunday, July 19, 2009

The background is more decisive than the explicit content

[Butler responds: So I am struggling toward a non-anthropocentric conception of the human, if that is possible – even a non-anthropocentric philosophical anthropology. The other way of saying this is that wherever the human is, it is always outside of itself in the non-human, or it is always distributed among beings, among human and non-human beings, chiasmically related through the idea of precarious life. So we can neither lodge the human in the self, nor ground the self in the human, but find instead the relations of exposure and responsibility that constitute the “being” of the human in a sociality outside itself, even outside its human-ness. Judith Butler's anti-anthropocentrism
from Critical Animal by Scu]

[Corradi Fiumara calls for a deeper appreciation of the reader on the part of writers of philosophical texts: The propensity to neglect the reader is a derivative of an inclination to leave creatures of the sort readers exemplify outside the situation which the text purports to cope with. Some outlooks almost constitute examples of such an oversight, as if supported by a view of philosophical writing which renders the reader nearly evanescent; it is a view which sustains a sort of "disembodied professional conscience," in Danto's language. He also remarks that science can get away this largely because even when it is about readers, it "is not about them as readers and so lacks the internal connection philosophical texts demand because they are about their readers as readers." If we rotate the discussion in this sense, then we come to appreciate an inescapable live relationship between any living beings engaged in philosophy in its real sense. (Metaphoric, p. 25) Rhythmosophic Textuality in the Direction of the Spasmoreal
from Fido the Yak by Fido the Yak]

[The most important distinction for psychology and language however, is the difference between “viewer-centred frames, object-centred frames, and environment-centred frames of reference. In a viewer-centred frame, objects are represented in a retinocentric, head-centric or body-centric coordinate system based on the perceiver’s perspective of the world. In an object-centred frame, objects are coded with respect to their intrinsic axes. In an environment-centred frame, objects are represented with respect to salient features of the environment, such as gravity or prominent visual landmarks." (Carlson-Radvansky & Irwin 1993: 224). Language, Thought, and Space (III)
from Shared Symbolic Storage by Michael]

[Here I’m a McLuhanite– the background is virtually always more decisive than the explicit content in any situation. And that’s why rhetoric is crucial, because rhetoric sets the emotional background for any dispute. It deals with the unthematized assumptions that govern any disagreement, while dialectic merely flips the dominoes of surface-figures.
How did Emerson put it: “Who cares for Spinoza’s arguments?” Something like that. We still read Spinoza not because he made powerful arguments (though he may have made some). We still read him because his view of the universe was highly original.
This deserves another post, because there are frequent attacks on “originality” as being less important than “truth”. But this is based on a shallow assumption that true means “accurate propositional content” and originality means “unheard-of propositional content.” If that were the opposition, then obviously it’s better to take accuracy over the unheard-of, which might include the most ridiculous fictions. But I contest the very notion that explicit propositional content is the site of either truth or originality. But that’s a theme for another day, because it’s too central to philosophy to address in a couple of throwaway lines.
one other point re: Levi’s post
from Object-Oriented Philosophy by doctorzamalek ... in philosophy we still assume that written texts are the sole available medium. Why not a philosophy videogame? the metaphysics videogame
from Object-Oriented Philosophy by doctorzamalek (Graham Harman)]

"Why rhetoric is crucial" and "the reader nearly evanescent" when "the self...outside its human-ness" forms the "frames of reference." [TNM]

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