Friday, May 18, 2007

Adorno on metaphysics

Adorno: "against scientism, for example Wittgenstein's position that fundamentally consciousness has to do only with that which is the case. That might call forth another definition: metaphysics is the form of consciousness in which it attempts to know what is more than the case, or is not merely the case, and yet must be thought, because that which, as one says, is the case, compels us to do so" (cited in metaphysics: 196)

Materialst reflections on light may form the basis of an ontology of mediation, to whit wonder as mediation's ontological 'experience'.

But mediation fails as ontology so long as it addresses the first and third persons (especially "I" and "it") but does not recognise the second, and subsequently the multiplicity of all three persons

[the multiplicity produced in the object domain by differentiation, the plurality of self as fragmented but much more so in the plural form "we" – in this quasi-ontological enquiry a categorical statement that perception is social in its firstness as much as its thirdness – and critically that "you" is both singular and plural]

If the thical is to work in any usefully material sense, it must be first plural and distinguished from the third person. But by what? Its autonomous movement? Or its capacity to stand face-to-face? A descent into F2F is inappropriate to a century in which it is no longer the fundamental form of human interaction. We live after levinas.

Instead perhaps the multiplication of multiplicity by multiple (and multiplied) others – that the world is not only self-constituting but multiply other-constituted, and that those others who co-constitute the world are in some special sense my others.

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