S.C. Hickman (earth_wizard) wrote,
S.C. Hickman
earth_wizard

Levi R. Bryant: Relata do not precede relations post....

Levi has an excellent post on Karen Barad's use of the thesis that relations are internal in her statement that “relata do not precede relations” (Meeting the Universe Halfway, 334). Levi argues for both endo/exo and/or internal/external relations between objects and their separation or withdrawel from all relations.

I want go into the details of the post, only that several commentors still have issues with correlationism and relations etc... I left my own comments on what he terms the subset of the debate, Correlationism:


It always seems to me people get stumped over just what correlationism is. Obviously it goes back to Kant’s Copernican Turn (so called):

“Up to now it has been assumed that all our cognition must conform to the objects; but all attempts to find out something about them a priori through concepts that would extend our cognition have, on this pre-supposition, come to nothing. Hence let us once try whether we do not get further with the problem of metaphysics by assuming that the objects must conform to our cognition, which would agree better with the requested possibility of an a priori cognition of them, which is to establish something about objects before they are given to us. This would be just like the first thought of Copernicus, who, when he did not make good progress in the explanation of the celestial motions if he assumed that the entire celestial host revolves around the observer, tried to see if it might not have greater success if he made the the observer revolve and left the stars at rest” (Preface to Critique of Pure Reason B/XVI)”

It is this reversal from both the empirical and rationalist theocentric pre-critical stance to Kant’s Epistemic Turn that is at issue in Correlationism. Kant's subjective turn internalized the external ontological relations of transcendental realism of both the empirical and rational traditions: “Space is not an empirical concept which has been derived from outer experiences.” (B/38) On the contrary: “…it is the subjective condition of sensibility, under which alone outer intuition is possible for us.” (A/26; B/42)

OOO is not a return to the pre-critical ontologies of the past, but a swerve from those traditions by shifting the questions from substance itself to relations. And obviously for relations to come about there must be a something that precedes a relation that instigates the relations to begin with (the old joke of which comes first the chicken or the egg). And I agree Levi we have differing kinds of relations. The shift beyond correlationism is to decenter the obvious connection with the human/world divide or gap that is central to humanistic thought and philosophy of finitude.

The major question is how do relations happen, how does contact or communication between objects/machines happen: a concept of happening and event is at issue. A relation is an end result of a process that has its origin in desire or anxiety, a probing of the lines of influence between objects rather than a study of the objects themselves.

Tags: levi r. bryant, object-oriented philosophy
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