“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 16, 2013

My Yes Naturally Talk

Things Are Fuzzy

Ecological awareness requires that we rethink what it means to be a thing. This is necessary because it isn't clear that the things ecology cares about—frogs, meadows, clouds—are things at all! I shall argue that to be a thing is to be necessarily fuzzy. This means that you are made of things that aren't you, thus violating a fundamental rule of logic. If we want to think ecologically about things, we need to relax some of the logical rules. 

There are deep consequences for art in so doing. One consequence is that it becomes clear that the idea of Nature is not useful at all. For historical reasons, this is also the case.


Unknown said...

- The Forest for the Trees and the Branches for the Leaves - Wonderfully sharp angle to take. Isn't it ironic how being radically realistic and practical requires the most outrageous and intrepid imagination? Regarding your suggestion that ecological thinking must be decoupled from logical thinking, I don't think you would have to swing quite so far. Remember that in Hegelian Logic objects have their essence in others (being in-itself in another) and therefore identity and difference are seen to be merely two moments or perceptual determinations whose lawful interaction is made possible in virtue of their ontological interfusion. E.g. Fire is only itself qua 'burningness' in and through the mediating air (oxygen)which becomes an essential property in any accurate description of the object of fire. This is so just as rain could/should be seen as an extension of the essential action (phenotype) of the ocean which is in turn an interfusion of water, salt, fish and moon. In other words, objects obtain self-reflected identity in and only in other objects which is precisely why they are 'fuzzy'; one is always dealing with a multiplicity of entities at the same time. Or perhaps more playfully, objects are like musical chords whose identity consists of a certain combination of other pitches (or is it the intervals that we perceive?)
In any event, I am eagerly awaiting Hyperobjects! Keep up the fabulous work Sir. (See Phenomenology of Spirit chapters on Sense-certainty, Force and Self-Consciousness especially the section on Life; Logic 1 on Essence of Being and Reflection and Hegel's introduction to the Philosophy of History).

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.