Nature is not natural and can never be naturalized — Graham Harman

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Pimp My Correlation

Levi reminds me of something I left out of my response to the epistemology question, which he hilariously illustrates with a photo of a giant hurricane...

I quoted Graham on how we could “extend the Kantian fun of being excluded from the in-itself” too all entities. Levi argues much more cogently than I managed to in that moment, basically pointing out that OOO precisely isn't a form of epistemological realism.

1 comment:

Bill Benzon said...

I was struck by one of Bryant’s opening gambits:

In response, Morton says a bit about the sciences. I personally think epistemology has little to do with science and that it makes little in the way of contributions to the sciences. Scientists just do not bother themselves with the finger waving of the epistemologists and the rules they claim govern inquiry into the world.

I won’t claim that what I do is science. But if it were possible (for me) to be scientific about the questions that most interest me, I would be so. As it is, well, I do what I can.

At the moment I’m really concerned about being able to get good descriptions of things like, for example, cartoons, or poems. I want descriptions that can be shared by others and that others can build on. I want to be able to craft descriptions of cultural artifacts that have the same, shall we say, heft, as the descriptions of flora and fauna developed by naturalists starting in the early modern era and continuing one, well, to today.

Note that the famous 1953 Watson & Crick paper in which they explicated the structure of DNA, that was fundamentally a piece of description. But description built on top of some very ambitious and indirect data gathering. So it is, in some deep way, very different from describing a flower or a millipede. But it is also, in some equally deep way, much the same.

As far as I’ve been able to tell, philosophy (of whatever stripe) has little to offer me.

I also like this:

It is not an epistemological realism. OOO’s critique of correlationism is a critique of the privileging of human correlation. Put differently, OOO multiplies correlations, it doesn’t get rid of correlations. There is the way humans correlate to the world, bats correlate to the world, rocks correlate to the world, aardvarks correlate to the world, hurricanes and tornadoes correlate to the world, social systems correlate to the world, dust mites correlate to the world, etc., etc., etc.