“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

Friday, September 16, 2011

Realist Magic Teaser

I'm editing the book now and I got to this part:

Perhaps one reason why it is so hard to catch causality in the act unless you hold some kind of vicarious or dialetheic view is that the one thing that cannot be done to relations between objects is catch them “before” or “during” the event of their relating. As every good humanities scholar knows, meaning is retroactive. No one ever stood furtively on a street corner in twelfth-century Naples, discussing how they were going to shake up the art world: “Let's start this thing, right. Let's invent perspective and travel round Africa, find the spice islands and rediscover Platonism. Let's call it the Renaissance—that sounds catchy.”

If causality is aesthetic, then events only “take place” after they have happened! To say this is to make the Hegelian point that for something to happen, it has to happen twice.

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