Saturday, January 02, 2010

Original contribution made by Islam to the Greek philosophical tradition

[Regardless of the differing motives in the theories of al-Ash’ari, Descartes, Malebranche, Leibniz, Whitehead, Latour, and I myself, the same problem arises in all cases: the inability of two things to make contact without mediation. (I see an upside-down version of the same problem in both Hume and Kant.) This is a clear problem that links all these thinkers, and which is not found at all in other neighborhoods of philosophy, such as the Aristotelian, neo-Platonic, and materialist traditions. Islam got the ball rolling on occasionalism, and despite a strong shift away from the initial theological motive, the specter of island-like entities, cut off from one another unless they have a powerful mediating term, lingers with us to this day. I would argue that it is one of the most powerful of all philosophical traditions, and is certainly the greatest original contribution made by Islam to the Greek philosophical tradition. Western philosophy is now unthinkable without it, and in my opinion it is really just the suppressed truth of Aristotle’s admirable focus on separate individual substances (more about that shortly). part 1 of 2 to Deontologistics
from Object-Oriented Philosophy ] [What is unique about my approach is this… Most of the occasionalists (up to and including Whitehead, who deserves to be called one) had to invoke God as the global mediator. (Or human habit/ human categories, in the upside-down world of Hume and Kant.) The great innovation of Latour in this tradition is to say that it’s not God, and also not human habit that does the linking. Instead, he democratizes it: any actor can be the mediator for any two others. That’s why I call it “secular occasionalism.” ... My twist on the theme is to say that there is a place where immediate contact does occur: the phenomenological sphere. Here, I as a real object am in immediate contact with intentional objects. It is a direct contact with (intentional) objects, not a contact mediated through qualities, since Husserl is clear that the objects precede the qualities, and I agree with him. part 1 of 2 to Deontologistics
from Object-Oriented Philosophy  [I think it’s a terrible mistake to lump Whitehead and Latour together with Bergson and Deleuze, as if they all belonged to some grand vitalist alliance of contemporary philosophy. They don’t. For there is a major philosophical difference between those who solve the deadlock in favor of the continuum, and those who solve it in favor of the discrete, and Whitehead and Latour (both heirs of occasionalism) resolve it in favor of the discrete. part 1 of 2 to Deontologistics
from Object-Oriented Philosophy 

Brassier in Interview from Larval Subjects . 

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