Tag Archives: pass

All is Vanity, for Real…Kant, Latour and the Pass, part 2.

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Ok; here is the post I meant to put:

So we come to Bruno Latour, and his notion of the pass. What is it that allows for the repetition whereby self-fulfillment is denied? This is the question of ‘what happened’. We will never get to answer the question of what ‘is happening’ until we answer the question of ‘what happened’. This is because if we do not find out what happened, then it will happen again. We are then keen to Kierkegaard’s “Repetition”, for the question that most everyone wants to answer is the subsequent question, the question of Being, “What is happening”, why is there what is and not what is not? This question, though, denies its own bases and so asks upon itself without ever even looking for, let alone being able to see, what it lacks. What ontology always finds then is itself, or an other (an other and self are constituents of the real state). All is indeed vanity.

Further; philosophy as an ontological practice cannot escape the political, ideological and in general social dynamics. It is a simple thing to see the reason why I call such conventional philosophical method real. What is real is what is happening. But because thinkers, as opposed to Beings, but consistent with being real, take the products of themsleves as indication of the potential involved with other beings, and take this as evidence of not a whole, but actually The only whole, they thus always (1) take everything real as a product of some sort, be-caused of some thing or other, and (2) take as an automatic demand upon all things within their field their proof toward what is happening, and this, even to the extent that they demand that the question of ‘what happened’ must conform to the state of Being that is happening.

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Bruno Latour begins his book “An Inquiry into Modes of Existence” with a description of what a pass is with an analogy. I don’t have the book right with me, but he writes about a mountain trail or path that goes from the base to its peak. Note that I will not here follow his description exactly; I am not putting forth a strict analysis of his book and what it means in this post. It is enough that he came up with a pretty good analogy, a good term that can indicate the issue and the way it is dealt with. What is significant with Latour, at least in his AMIE project , is that he sees the need for an opening. It is clear from visiting his webpage that he understands the problem of a multi-vocalized reality similar to the type that Lyotard suggested in the conditions of the post-modern moment . Namely, the problem of communication between worlds. The salient question of every significant philosopher worth considering is “Is communication taking place?” For it is from this pivotal question that the world manifests in its ways.

So, if we can understand what this question means, which is to say, if communication has taken place through this one phrase, then we have found a common pass (a given ontological base). It doesn’t really matter too much if we identify it with Latour’s scheme (supposedly he describes 15 types of passes, 15 ‘modes of existence’; hence the book’s title “Inquiry into Modes of Existence”). What is significant is that he saw the need not so much for another reconciliation, not another philosophical reduction to some essential truth for which the author is trying to gain traction for through their communion with the intuition god, but rather some way to relieve the reduction from being the responsibility of one authors’ intuitive argumentative assertion. What is significant is that he sees that the method is at issue, the philosophical reductive method and its associated (and invisible) givens are at issue, and that the only way to get past this method is to somehow poke a hole in it! Instead of giving into the nihilism that arises in conventional minds, we need to create an opening whereby people can begin to communicate.

In my upcoming book, we might get into the complicity of needs that relates François Laruelle and Bruno Latour’s works; I am getting off the track of this post. The upcoming book probably will answer all the stray ponderings and vectored analyses.

For now, it is enough to understand the simplicity of the idea. First off, ontological foundations must be admitted given. If a traveler does not admit to an already given ontological truth that has already been explored, then the significance of the pass will make no sense; the trail will be missed and avoided. In order to pass, we must set aside the want to apply redundant deconstructivist techniques to every clause. This is because only once we understand the ontological foundations of existence, only once we admit to that truth, can we begin to see the passes. While I see really only one effective pass, Latour sees this pass as expressed in different ways.

The first kind of pass (probably not in the same order or number that Latour notes) is just this: Where a particular methodological application accounts for all that is allowed, a pass has occurred in the scheme of meaning that accounts for real estimations. We might even call this kind of pass a ‘given’, because it functions to allow reasoning to grant reality despite the problem it poses upon that reason to attach to real things. For example: If there is a question of the truth of Being, for which a particular formula answers this question, whether is be God, or whether it be a series of philosophical arguments, such as Deleuze’s Rhizomes, or various ‘arrived-at’ states or situations that we can associate with metaphorical ‘plateaus’ – where such an explanation of what is happening routes all occurrence back into its logic or reasoning such that every event is account for or deflected within that scheme, a pass has occurred to ‘miss’ the meaning of an alternate suggestion. The person effectivly ‘passes over’ the situation where someone is expressing a different reality because everything is making sense to the logic of the first person’s ‘total’ explanation of the situation. This is the post-modern condition.

But lets back up. Latour uses the analogy of a mountain pass. The meaning of the forgoing paragraph is that first we have to admit that there is a mountain in front of us. I show you a mountain and say that we are going to hike that mountain, and I start to walk. But you don’t move; you stand there pondering whether or not there is indeed a mountain. I tell you to come on, lets go, there are great views at the top of this mountain. But you stand there and reflect upon the possible aesthetics involved in being at the top of an epistemoloigcal situation that we cant agree upon.

This is the very problem we face when a philosopher will not admit ontological foundations as true. But I am not going to go into all the ramifications of this discussion here.

Again, enough to say that Latour’s analogy is of a mountain and a way to hike to the top. There are all sorts of dangers on this trail though. We will have to cross some fast streams and climb some crazy rocks, some steep terrain, but it is navigable, we just have to follow the route.

Now; the problems that Latour comes across and discusses in his book are due to the issues of this same type; he is still justifying the situation ontologically and thus has to address, and or finds, 15 types of passes that represent 15 types of manners or ‘modes’ that account for reality for the various types of people (various people use various modes so reality stays ‘whole’ –for those of the particular modes). This is why his gets sticky; because as soon as he attempts to justify something that is passing ontological constructions, he then has to use a pass that somehow avoids any of the passes he lists, or incorporates. Ironically, the need he notices gets set aside as another ‘religious’ dogma, another philosophical reductive scheme, accepted by some and rejected by others.

The point that he himself misses (and we will discuss somewhere the duplicity involved with conventional significance) is that in order to be able to see a pass one has to admit that ontological justifications rely themselves upon a pass. Simply speaking, Latour is attempting to answer a teleological question through ontological justifications.

Another kind of pass, a good one, and I think one of the first passes that Latour notes, is: Say we have a map of the mountain and the route leading up to the top. We mark our progress along the trail by markers in the map that indicate, like ‘when you get to a big dead oak jetting out of a rock, then you go east for two miles until…’ or symbols or pictures that say just as much. How are we able to transpose or translate the actual mountain to the map of it or vice-versa? The map itself looks nothing like the mountain, and in fact is nothing like the mountain. Yet there is some sort of resemblance between the two, and indeed, provided that something has not happened to have changed or altered the actual physical landmarks that the map notes, we are able to stick to the directions on the map and get to the top. In this kind of transferal there is a pass enacted in our understanding of reality. While I am not here addressing all the peculiarities of the situation, it is a simple thing to see that there is an obstruction in the actual Being of things to get around or past, and this can be analogous to two Beings attempting to communicate. In order for us to be able to follow the map of the course up the mountain, there has to be a sort of pass that allows us to ignore the problem that occurs in between the actual physical mountain and the small paper drawing of symbols that describe how to get up the mountain. This pass thus marks a particular manner of coming upon reality, a particular ‘mode of existing’.

The significant point, though, of noticing this situation is that in order to get beyond the dead end that is the modern-post-modern obstruction where no communication takes place (again: what do I mean by this? Read my past posts and my books to find out!, (and maybe check out some killer tunes to boot!)) is that an opening is needed through which people can be free to describe, what frankly amounts to, the ‘insane realties’ that actually occur in the meaningful life, but without fear of judgment of reprisal. Yet, this is not so much some sort of auto-biographical non-fiction or something, nor some authorial-fantasy of artistic license. It is more a manner by which we might be able to find out some facts about what reality really is.

At least, this is the idea behind Latour’s vision.

While I do enjoy the idea and see the need for a pass, I am not so optimistic as Latour.

Kant, Latour and Others: The Pass, part 1.

Kant, Latour, and others: The Pass.

2/8/2017 Part 1.

Sometimes, one is lead back into a certain truth that does not again circle back into various truths. For example; this computer that I am typing this essay on functions to allow me to make this post. But we will not yet, right this second, get into the Kantian syntheticals and analytics because those are an example of the meaning of this essay. So; the fact that this computer functions to allow me to write this essay and post it so that you are reading it right now, is true. As an analogy to my point here, It is a singular truth, yet some philosophers and theorists would want to knock this down through, what we could call, “The Method of Treachery”, which, basically, is modern-post-modernism wrapped up in a painting called “The Treachery of Images”, by Rene Magritte. Such game players would often come back to say that the statement ‘this computer functions to allow me to write this essay and post it so that you are reading it right now’ functions as truth, but is not, in itself, true. My question then would be, how is it that they may make that statement and have any meaning whatsoever? How can we say that everything is just propositions, just statements? If something is functioning, then how can what it functions to do be anything but true?

In this we must now address the instigation of Emmanuel Kant. In his “The Critique of Pure Reason”, he states what prompted his investigation: He was attempting to account for what we generally know as superstition, or superstitious beliefs. The motivating assumption was the common human being involved with the common ability and capacity for communication, education and intelligence; in short: enlightenment. He was attempting to account for how it is that something which seems so foreign and silly to him yet still functions for people; as well and by extension, how is it that ignorance does not know itself as ignorance.

If you are not able to see the connection I made; I am saying that indeed there is a computer here and I am typing on it, and you are probably reading this on one also. Some of the people that we have come to see as great thinkers and philosophers would say, no; the so called ‘computer’ there is just that, “so called”, and the computer itself we have no clue about what it may be in itself, so the statement I made about it being a truth is not so true, and could be false. So then my rebuttal is how they are able to come to such a conclusion? Specifically, if the true situation I point out is only true within a certain condition of proposal (I am staying away from using the term ‘discourse’ here for now), then how does the rebuttal have any veracity? I could say the same to your statement; for, are you not using it in a function of truth? If it is only probably or possibly true, then what we are talking about is utterly nonsense, and we should just shut up right now.

So it goes for the next 80 years or so until we fall into the pit of nothingness out of which a new humanity is hoped to outcrop from itself to become something new or different. We have the compendium of arguments and assertions of nihilism and then ‘new realism’.  And then I ask: If it is all based on nothing, why hasn’t the world imploded? Why isn’t the world just gone? Here is Kant’s problem extended out of the hegemonic and colonialist righteousness: How is it that we could be wrong?

What appears to me to be missed in this whole history of depression and
“self-imposed tutelage”
involves the question of this kind of redundancy; namely: If every statement of truth is at most only partly true, then why are we hanging on to that one part of the truth of the statement (to sum) “Its all propositions” that is true and setting aside the probable 99.98% of the proposal that is not so true? It seems to me that there is a whole generation or two of ‘profound thinkers’ that will sit there and argue over the inclusivity and limitation of statements (that they are conditional and contingent upon unrecognized given meanings that are encoded into the means of the proposal), bring up the ‘proofs’ of Delueze and Guattari, and Derrida and such, and yet never even consider how that very situation they argue has very little of the veracity that they suppose for it in its use. If I may: Through all sorts of manner of avoiding their own condition of Being, they will reference other author’s ideas, as if the sense they have of these authors thus accounts for their Being is a world because is ‘makes the most sense’. Again: the Issue of Kant.

It seems to me that such a line of discussion, while metaphysically and therefore religiously very interesting, is practically nonsense, despite if we can use it for anything but creating problems and justifying one’s faith. (Im not getting into the discussion about faith and discourse here; see my second book of the series, The Philosophical Hack , called “The Moment of Decisive Significance”. ) Keep in mind also that I am making a distinction here and that it is always possible that any author can miss the significance of her or his own work; as I suggest in my first book of The Philosophical Hack, Kant’s thesis of propositions allow for us a distinction that carries through to perpetuating a cloudy philosophical arena, and at that, apparently on purpose; the conspiracy is maintained by repeated reference to what is common and lowest: That which reduces must always consider one more that is lower, to then include it, raise it up to the reductions horizontal plane, to justify one’s raised position by asserting that what is lower or less is not but equal (Note: This is the opposite of the Ontological Argument). In this way, the insecurity that always accompanies denial (again, see the books of The Philosophical Hack) is justified by imposing a potential of intelligence upon the lower who otherwise would not know of its lesser state, but that he exists in a potential defined by his superior. This is all to say that Kant’s claim was based in a particular moment, and that once the moment plays, he must then not be saying anything about propositions, but that propositions evidence a particular division in the accounting for human existence.

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Kant is not saying very much about how propositions establish worlds, nor how to find a world through dissecting propositions. The academics that would learn and teach Kant’s method (Again: see the first book of The Philosophical Hack) as a kind of means to find out something about the addressor or some world is perpetuating a particular kind of world in the process. I have argued that this kind of world is real, but also that Kant was talking about a different kind of world.

So, at this point we find at times that one does not always realize the true meaning of what one says; others tell one the meaning of what one said. We find, further, that we cannot always rely upon an ability for finding out just what people meant by what they said; that no matter how they try to explain to us what they meant, we simply do not understand. The idea that we can reference an author herself and in all instances, as her original intension can be discovered, find out what she really was saying, is, as I say, a real occurrence, an occasion of real faith. My question is, if what someone said is true, then why are we still discussing it? There is a whole ‘world’ of great thinkers that have no idea what this question might entail, even while arguing with me about the meaning of it. The meaning is plain: If discussion is the only thing that establishes the ontological foundations of reality, then why are we still arguing over what this is? I call this the real principle of redundancy.

These notions describe an aspect of philosophy that, further, we could put under, say, a principle of veracity. This principle would point out only two possibilities in the nature of communication: What is true; and what is misunderstood. Yet in as much as there is an indication of a divergence, a point or moment where or when the idea behind, say, (as our example) Kant’s notions of the proposition actually define such polemical situation (of what is true and what is misunderstood), we are capable of understanding that what is misunderstood constitutes the aggregate of cause for further discussion, and due to this predominance, this overwhelming normative aspect soon comes to be understood as the omnipresent situation, such that we begin to understand the default ‘given’ which informs all (conventional) philosophical method, so that it must and could only argue itself to that state of nothingness which underlies all things, and to further thereby be able to argue (as speculative theory is a real operational mode at all times despite what definitions are in place) the truth of reality founded entirely in discourse. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

 

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more in a bit….