Saturday, July 13, 2013

not everything that is conceivable is possible


sorry, friend, friends, whomever out there following this little spec of ranting stunts. i've been caught up with other priorities.

i found a really attractive paragraph in quentin meillassoux's after finitude (p. 54). here, he tries very hard to break out of what he calls the "correlationist circle," (i.e. the position that talking about the world amounts always to talking about the world as it is for us).

how to wrestle with an existing realm unbeknownst to us? imagine what meillassoux calls "unreason in itself" (after kant's infamous ding an sich).
Accordingly the correlationist circle undermines the thesis of the absolute contingency of everything just as effectively just as it undermined the necessity of the thesis of the supreme being --for how would one know that the apparent unreason of the world is an unreason in-itself-- i.e. the real possibility of everything becoming other without reason -- rather than just an unreason for-us -- i.e. simply a function of our inability to discover the true necessary reason for everything behind the veil of phenomena? 
one thing is the apparent unreason of a world without a supreme being (we've been in that predicament pretty much since the end of 19th century). another is unreason in-itself, a much heavier metaphysical mark.

i share meillassoux's speculative desire of breaking free, but here is the catch:

can unreason be thought? never mind you try to shuffle it with quick rhetoric as when he writes (in parenthesis, i've ordered after finitude in french, this poetic philosophical morsels call for gallic delectation):
(...) We must grasp how the ultimate absence of reason, which we will refer to as 'unreason' is an absolute ontological property, and not the mark of the finitude of our knowledge.
first, it's common place that he noumenon can be thought of.  one could even make the case that the thing in-itself is a sort of poetic suspension (the aesthetic punctum, levinasian abeyance, etc). now i'd like to bring leibniz. he built his ontological edifice on the same shaky foundation: 
So God alone, or the Necessary Being has this privilege, that He must exist if he is possible. And since nothing can inhibit the possibility of what has no limits and no negation and so no contradiction, this by itself is enough to secure the existence of God a priori.  (monadology #45).
leibinz thought G was in-itself (keep in mind, this is early 1700's).  but #45 is easily defeated by a scottish philosopher born 3 years before leibniz's monadology was published. hume's response to leibniz can be written as such:

not everything that is conceivable is possible.

you may retort: but G is possible. of course! and so is the man of steel (this is just an example, we're not debating G now).

how about unreason in-itself?

you really want to go beyond finitude?  there are two buses: REASON & UNREASON.

if you ride on REASON you are within the realm of thought. and don't try to play dirty with the unthought. we fully accept that the unthought is not yet until someone thinks it. but this is not "unreason" as defined by meillassoux, above, in aqua.  let's make clear that thinking of a world before reason (meillasoux's "ancestral") as existent is not thinking "unreason". also , calling "unreason" "absolute" --as if some kind of hegelian invocation, will not bring it closer to reason. that was leibniz's faux pas.

so, what is it like riding on UNREASON?

wait. if i did it's because i was riding on REASON all along, wouldn't i?*

*what is surprising is that meillassoux seems to respect the principle of non-contradiction
coming back to a quite literal version of my bus example: can you ride two buses at the same time?

Monday, July 8, 2013