Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Occasionalist tradition, Islamic theology, & OOO

Bell’s response from Object-Oriented Philosophy by doctorzamalek (Graham Harman)Towards Speculative Realism: Essays and LecturesCircus Philosophicus
  • One of the key disputes in the history of philosophy is that between the discrete and the continuous.
  • Bergson is the thinker of continuity par excellence. One cannot speak of discrete instants, any more than one can in Aristotle’s Physics.
  • In Whitehead and Latour, we have rare counterexamples: thinkers who hark back to the occasionalist tradition that gave us both disconnected instants of time and disconnected causal agents, though God was always brought in to solve the resulting impossibility of anything ever happening (we see this resurface in Whitehead with the eternal objects, though not with Latour who stays more earthly). 
  • We can thank the deep piety of some strains of Islamic theology for first denying causal power to any individual entity, and thus cutting all things off from all other things.
  • However, what we cannot downplay is the problem of how entities can be both discrete and capable of influencing one another at all. For it is a real problem.
  • Deleuze (the problem does not exist for him) … We must avoid assimilating everything to Deleuze simply because he’s still the king of the moment. We need to look for Deleuze’s Outside at a moment like this, not try to reinscribe everything on the Inside.
  • It is the great disadvantage of the United States to be so vastly populous and so geographically diverse that, while there, it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that it’s the whole world. Much follows from this fact, and some of it is quite bad.
  • But whatever the reason, it almost always feels like the USA is 7-10 years behind the UK in assimilating new continental currents. For Americans in our line of work, it is often an intellectually futuristic experience to spend a bit of time in London, almost like sampling what the USA will be doing in the year 2020. The point being, Deleuze has completely saturated the UK already, whereas I don’t think the water has reached the top of the tub yet in America.

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