“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Stone Free: More Thoughts on Interobjectivity

A commenter writes:

It sounds to me like interobjectivity extends Kant's difference between things-in-themselves and appearances to all object-object relations. But that makes interobjectivity sound like a reification of discursive cognition, or a universalization of the commodity form. So I am curious whether OOO has its own version of a non-discursive form of cognition (like phronesis for Aristotle or mimesis for Adorno), or is it discursive cognition all the way down? And if the latter is the case, then how is OOO not a form of skepticism?

Very good! That's right! The first part I mean. Every object now joins in what Graham Harman calls “the Kantian fun of being excluded from the in-itself.”

As for the rest of it: no, it's not a reification of discursive cognition. In fact, it's more like cognition is like what a cup does when it rests on a table.

Universalization of the commodity form? No, I don't think asteroids are afflicted by capitalist ideology. OOO drastically reduces the configuration space in which capitalist ideology (and other forms of human ideology) operate—or rather, it expands our understanding of the space in which they exist. Capitalism doesn't cover the whole universe. This is bad news for left cynics but for the rest of us, hooray.

Discursive cognition? I'd have to know more about it. I'm not even sure I as a human do it! I mean this most sincerely. The smart money is on cognition not being representational. Just ask an AI theorist.

Even if stones were skeptical, OOO would not be a form of skepticism. OOO is a form of realism. Stones exist, to be skeptical, comedic, dull, whatever they do in their stoney way.

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