Quick one

Are only “subjects” “minds” hypostatizied? Or are ‘bodies’ and ‘matter’ just as much hypostatizations? There is a growing irritation in me while re/reading and trying to come to grips with the varying reductionist materialisms out there. In essence, even from folks that are nuanced in their thinking on it seems that the background idea of what is real is a fixed, stable “substance” tangible ‘matter.’ Say, the door you run into or a rock. The problem then is to account for the non-real things, things that lack being like ‘beliefs’ and ‘reasons.’ The general line of thought, it appears, is that the latter are “hypostasized” in thought ( which thought does to itself as well) and leads into confusion. But in contrast to what? Lots of ink is being spilled on how the self for example, is an abstraction thought fallaciously to ‘have’ being. But say it doesn’t ‘have’ being? ( Which I’m inclined to agree with but for different reasons) Then what does it mean to have or be an actual thing? What does it mean to be ‘matter’? I find it far too quick and easy to go on as if in contrast to the egregious hypostatization going on when we think of ourselves as ‘minded’ we are doing something better when we assume something else called ‘matter’ that is ‘really’ occurent. ( Whether we say “physical” [and the tortured arguments that bypass giving an actual definition] is of no consequence to me – if we are simply referencing ‘some sort of stuff’ or ‘whatever current or future Physics says exists’ then it is philosophically uninteresting, if the term can be converted into its opposite it makes little sense to profess it as a stance or position). We can easily reel off how culture, institutions, laws, language are not substantive things and try and work out how they have emerged or have come to seem like real things but why is what is real simply convertible with a static, point-like solidity?

The issue has always been our embodied condition, how to parse our lived experience with our explanations of this experience – whether we reduce all to matter or mind seems to me to do an injustice to the Actual… which is what spurs inquiry in the first place. Perennial, for me, the question is always how to do justice to the activity, the energy involved in thought with the product at the end of thought – whether it be a book of philosophy or the material products around us. My interest in Ontology is in this becoming, this process to adopt a popular term, but the process involving both the activity as such and the product of the activity. How do we account for both? And without, which is our contemporary problem, of ‘explaining away’ the activity and becoming transfixed by the end result? To us the ancient terms, how do we do justice both to Potency and Act?

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One Response to Quick one

  1. terenceblake says:

    Reblogged this on AGENT SWARM and commented:
    Chen on how reductionist materialisms presuppose not only a naive concept of matter but also of existence. “Matter” seen through the eyes of a diachronic ontology, where process is included not only in the beings it premises but also in the theorising itself, looks very different to matter as seen by a synchronic ontology. Given that such synchronic ontologies tend to base their concept of matter on the sciences, which are neither consensual nor stable, their very effort to establish a non-dualist materialism produces the very sort of bifurcations that it pretends to eliminate.

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