The question left in the previous essay (the Divergent Proposal) asked us to consider what about the current philosophical proposals are apparent in our daily lives. We need unpack this. Easy at it may seem to refer to science and say that there indeed are processes at work that we do not recognize or acknowledge in our daily activities, we should have pause when including philosophy in this deferment.
We have already touched upon the presumed equivalency of philosophy and science, of metaphysics and physics. Indeed, the arena in which we are involved at this point is ripe for deception; we argue one one side in order to argue against it, to argue the other side. Let us take the usual philosophical example, from the basis that is assumed common of the likes of Bertrand Russell. His description of the situation is a good one. He considers a table and moves toward finding what the table actually is and goes on to describe that at no time do we ever arrive at a table. The table exists as a condition of multiple aspects that arrive according to the various routes of analysis, sensation, intelligence, the instruments used, mode of comparison, et cetera. In fact, it might be possible to bring in Harman’s “Third Chair” as a response to this situation. Nevertheless, in considering an object, there is no knowable reduction that encounters a table, as we say, in-itself.
Now despite that Russel is probably responding to the 200 years of critical philosophical thought since Kant by suggesting that the object exists through different modes (well get to Latour later), it is sufficient to say that through the working of all such modes, even then, we still never get to the table itself, but instead find out selves and the ability to know of the chair within a network of approaches, attitudes, and views. At root, again despite out intellectual strategies that appear to offer us new ways in the attempt to find it, we still find that we never get to the table in-itself.
Something odd has occurred here that I have not seen addressed anywhere in the philosophical literature. Nowhere do philosophers address this shift; I only hear of ‘turns’, but no one ever talks about why or how such a shift occurred. They only justify why it is logical or sensible to begin to speak about something in a particular way. What I always see is philosophers starting in the middle. This shifting of starting in the middle bahaving like it is a beginning, we call a type of pass.
So it is time to start at the beginning again. Any philosophical and or critical effort worth its salt begins its proposal at the beginning. Now, of course, with this statement we should then see that indeed most philosophers would have something to say about that; they would probably say, for one, that that is why people go to school, maybe major in philosophy or at least take a couple classes or read some books. But also, as many are indeed accredited academics, studies and well learned if not proven intelligent, they would say that they indeed have a position (just look at my papers and books Ive written) and that they do start at the beginning.
Again, we have something odd that has occurred here. Are you feeling it? Do you see it?
My hint is that the problem is in the very route by which such beginning are being said to have substantiality. Indeed, there may be a ‘beginning’ of philosophical considerations located somewhere in time, somewhere in the historical library, but isn’t that what and where philosophy gains it stature? From the neverending shuffling and proposing upon various manners of statements, of arguments? We do not find a beginning here. Those philosophers who would site this route might say that, well, one needs to know the issues, the various proposals made around particular topics, and then through addressing and getting responses upon various proposals made through considering particular vectors and types of philosophical arenas (epistemology, ontology, computer science, artificial intelligence, ecological idealism, et cetera) one has developed a position and there by has allowed a sort of organic beginning to arrive by the mere fact of now the operator being involved in the network of discussions. Indeed, the philosophers of this route would say that the very idea of beginnings is another philosophical arena unto itself. (And here I am considering such beginnings. LOL)
Further, though we can site the ideas of Kant as a certain beginning by which to draw conclusions as to what is and has been occurring over the past 300 yeas or so, we could just as well start with the Ancient Greeks. The point is is that it doesn’t matter where we start in the historical discursive record, what matters is what is occurring when a person reads a philosophical work and come to certain ideas about what is occurring and or what to do next, where to go, where to look.
But lets go back to the simple philosophical situation. The table; the object. The basic: Im sitting here on the couch typing on my computer with my legs up on this table. I am going to purposefully limit my scope and focus on the table. What is the table? Take a moment. What do I need to know, have, experience the table? Of course, there is a slew of critical thinkers that would say, Oh, well, what about the table are you trying to consider? Its “beingness”? it relation to your knowing it? Its structure? Its physicality? Its relations to other things? The mind that is considering it?
Blah blah. Ok yeah; humans have at its disposal potentials located of individuals for various kinds of approaches and solutions to various problems that it also can creatively apprehend. Such is intelligence, ego, superego, wit, privilege, schooling, strategy… Again: We are not attempting to elaborate upon what might occur in the middle of things. We are not advocating the mediating subject. We concede that there is this real aspect of being human and that humanity functions within reality along dynamics of all these possibilities of novel and rehashed ideas that arise from real human viability. There are philosophical thinkers that merely want to showcase their super philosophical intelligence, and likewise there are spiritual gurus who only want to ‘be helpful’. We grant all the ideas that arise to make various real explanations.
What is the table? Let us take the Kantian and Russelian idea as a beginning. In the framing above, we can say that the table exists only as knowledge and that such knowledge exhibits a network of functional categories that are ever changing, dynamic in the flow that is the human and universal exchange and negotiation of information, the views offered through encountering the table at different observational and sensational junctures allowing for any particular frame of reality by which to enjoin further negotiation for progress.
Really? So me sitting here right now, the table that I have my feet on is really a product of a dynamic network of knowledge? In this respect, if the real table is indeed is totally accounted for and described by that statement and extrapolations, rebuttals and reiterations and proposals of actuality, then I would have to say then that the table on which I have my feet is not real. In fact, if I extrapolate to other objects the same basis, such as that cup, the floor, the window, the tree outside, electricity, my car, my hat, coat, chair, book, my foot, legs, pants, bulbous belly, fingers, eyes, vision, brain, thoughts…then I must say that at least part of what is occurring is not real, including most significantly, that aspect by which I am able to have such a consideration, that I call, colloquially, my self.
By this situation I just described, we, in some partial yet significant way, discount what philosophical considerations that propose upon me what is real and true. And by this we can categorize these new Realist proposals as of another sort of ontology, another sort of teleology. In fact, we have only then to see that what they are proposing, as psychologically as well as politically and objectively,, falls entirely into the realm of phenomenal ideology. I am a psychological being only in as much as I must speak about what is occurring in particular manner to make sense to those occupants of that real world in which I find myself.
We must admit then, given all the Zizekian-Lacanian-Hegalian ontological posturing that a type of non-philosophical event is occurring. The way I frame it is that I must behave as a lie. I must wholeheartedly and truly take the form of that which I argue against in order to expose and reveal the faultiness of that position, and that is the only way any sort of progress can occur. So if this is the case, then I have only to offer that such Realists, again, are involved in a Bad Faith, because they are posturing upon an existential maxim of honesty that cannot occur truthfully in any ideological stance.
But, we cannot say that somehow I have a better grasp on some truth of reality. No. The functioning of reality occurs the only way that its does; the significant question is rather about orientation upon objects, and not whether any particular mode of existence is more or less real.
I am concerned with truth. Reality is left to those so invested in objective identities. I propose through a divergent route that uses ideological structures in order to expose their fallacy. In short: The offensive route is toward the destruction of the transcendental object of faith, the fetishized commodity of identity. Yet see that this is not to suggest that reality will somehow relinquish what we must say are their idols. This never occurs. Rather we merely attempt to lay a foundation by which to speak about what is neglected, in fact, agued out of existence, or rather, this can be to say, what has been usurped by the discourse of power.
Ill get back to what happened later in this essay.