Truth & Theories: Facetious Treatment

Truth is the main regulative principle in the criticism of theories, their power to solve them or raise new ones is another. As Popper says, the quest for precision is equivalent to the quest for certainty and both should be avoided. I think that that is an undesirable activity to raise the precision of a theory/statement for its own sake (for e.g. Linguistically) as it would tarnish the clarity one is seeking. Can we ever know what we are talking about, say a proposition ‘A’, since in all its likelihoods that the successor to the above mentioned proposition may one day refute it or may even one day entail it. Because to see as a matter of fact, to know what we are talking of is an hopeless task in itself as there might be an infinite number of logical irregularities that might confront us as we propagate through ‘A’, say theory/statement. To understand the truth content of a theory, the foremost thing is to link the logicality of the theory to the existing one posed by the theory, as it is a well known fact that there is more of a room for the understanding of the theory in a much better way. As a simile, let us take the remark made by Clifford Truesdell about the law of thermodynamics,

“Every physicist knows as to what is meant by the first and the second law of thermodynamics, but no two physicists agree on the two.”

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All learning is a modification or at times a refutation of the knowledge already gained or also of the so called inborn knowledge. In a great work of art, the artist does not try to impose his ambitions to the use, but merely uses the faculty to serve the purpose his art is intended to expound. So for an artist or a musician, the adage should be “from the heart may it go back to the heart.” The point is that even the most scientifically tested theory is an approximation to the truth as was evident of Einstein’s revolutionizing of the Newton’s scientific theory of gravitation.

Theories are actively produced by our minds rather than being imposed upon us by the realities and also that they transcend our experience with the expressionist mind that we possess. As with the Kantian point of view, we should all ask ourselves this simple question…”Can we really know things in themselves or are they purely entailed in the deep seas of purely hypothetical conjectures?” Universal scientific theories are not deducible from singular statements, but can definitely be refuted by them as and when clash occurs with the known or knowable facts. We always find ourselves in a kind of a problematic situation and then we deliberately choose a situation that is no doubt problematic but at the same time conducive enough for us to solve. Now the solution to this situation is/might be a tentative one which might consist in the hypothetical theorization, and a conjecture which in the course makes us to believe that that the solution is nothing more than the nearest approximation to the truth. The various resulting theories are then critically discussed and compared to check their shortcomings, the discussions in turn bring further competing theories and this recurring structure constitutes science. Thus it lacks induction and as Popper says, “we never argue from facts to theories as it is possible only through falsification or refutation.” What really matters in case of theories is not their visual understanding but the logical basis which forces its way through up to understanding a theory, its explanatory content and most importantly its discourses in understanding the problems confronted in relation to other theories. No test of any theoretical statement is final or conclusive, and that the empirical, or the critical attitude involves the adherence to some methodological rules which direct us in not evading criticisms but in accepting refutations. As a consequence, the acceptance or a refutation is nearly as risky as a temporary adoption of a hypothesis, it is surely the acceptance of a conjecture. Knowledge grows out of trial and error and its elimination at times and this knowledge is likely the scientific knowledge as it is always wise enough to conscientiously acclaim or declaim a theory in its fullest criticalities. And thus as it is said that the critical adoption of a theory is what is responsible for the growth of the knowledge by its accepted as its major tool of instrument. The rationality of man consists in taking nothing for granted. Explanation is always incomplete, by enticing us into asking new questions which in turn give birth to new theories which not only correct the older version of the theory but substantiates new breeding grounds for other questions thus entering into the vicious circle of refuting the old and accepting the new…the theory clearly underlies the fact that science can never reach completion. So rightly put, the evolution of science is going to be an endless quest of corrections and new approximations. For Gödel’s theory of incompleteness would come into picture…in view of the mathematical background of physics, at best an infinite sequence of true theories would be needed to answer the questions which in any given formalized theory would be undecidable. Science not only begins with problems but at the same time ends with problems as has been rightly answered by Popper. Truth is conceived as an absolute, timeless discourse whose effect is to suppress the narrative differand and thus to conduct an ethico-discursive wrong against anyone who fails to accept its criterion or accepts its veridical status. Without the possibility of right understanding of truth as a precondition of any communicative act, we should have no means to recognize case where understanding has just broken down, or where translation comes up with some genuine problem of localized interpretative grasp. The truth is rather that the language is a condition for having conventions. And since language in that sense of the term adequately, not just involving words, signs or vocabularies taken out of context, but also sentences or propositions and higher level forms of discourses, it follows that the conventionalist doctrine along with their relativist progeny need not carry the day. Any problems of communication on the other side of our side can best be sorted out by making an appeal to those features that are not otiose but which make up the strictly ineliminable bi of all understanding within or between theories.

So formulating a theory is a never ending myth that could give birth to a cycle of myths which are so entailing in nature that expound the very fact before us that the truth content of a theory is limited to the extent till criticisms to it or at times cynicisms to it are not raised.

Representation lives on…

Misprision of the primacy of processes maintains the couplet of transcendental form and empirical content; this failure realizes the material autopoiesis of representation. If this were the case, and hitherto, it has been the case, representation seeks asylum in transcendental illusion. Collapse of the binaries never takes shape, even if, material monism is assumed. Representation lives on…

other, another…..symbolically real or really symbolic: A Wounded Dialogue

This is an experimental post with a dialogue with the other and the other is simply nowhere or now-here, or whatever form it takes. A response to what is to be imagined, a collation of comments in argumentativeness with a piece that gets created with the answers coming prior to the questions. In short, a tryst with experiment.
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Thanks for a brilliant piece (call it an x, a y or a z….). here is my observation and maybe a criticism in disguise (not to be taken harshly, but in full sincerity of seriousness, I guess). I’ll have many more occasions to polish my viewpoint(s) through this symbolically real or really symbolic space!

The analysis that is so a-Freudian is a turn-on, as for Freud, the symbols worked not in the clear and distinctive propositional language of law, judgment or the ego. They worked through the process of displacement and condensation in the unconscious. This is where Lacan differs with Freud, as for the former, (x, y, or z) the ‘symbolic’ embodies the normalized and the law, and the ‘real’ in turn embodies the powers of resistance.

But, when you say, the critique and escape from the ‘symbolic’ realm is not only difficult, as one might think, it is literally impossible, then I have a nuance here. If we take a closer look at the Žižek’s position, the ‘real’, unlike the ‘symbolic’ and the ‘imaginary’ escapes the order of representation altogether. Going by the above, I think, a non-conscious attempt at luring the ‘real’ (as critique and escape) with the ‘symbolic’ is made. This would send Žižek into a labyrinth.

As a reference to ‘Derrida’ (surprisingly, he comes to rescue Žižek), the mention of rewriting the laws is made and I take it to be the real ‘real’, the resistance to the existing norms, a way to circumvent the aporia. This then, is the space of the ‘real’, the space of frenzy, the space envisioned by not only Žižek, but also Bataille, the space of the death drive and not the sex drive (reproduction). This is the space of ‘meontology’, the pure nothingness of the void in the Other, the pure materialization of the void and the snapping with the symbolic order.

Therefore, what gets favoured is the prerogative-ness of the real over the symbolic, albeit un-[consciously]. QED….

wait…
If the triad of the Lacanian/[s] are not separate entities allowing for the escapades into the other, but instead are the overlapping ones, then, where is the need to escape into the other? One is already dwelling in multiplicities and herein, I would correlate one’s acceptance of, say, capitalism, or the Marxian notion of commodity fetishism. Here, one would resist the symbolic, by, allow me to say this, fetishizing the real, a concept that you mention by the name of paranoia. Now, the problem here is the aggrandising of the political, the praxis or the paranoia of the praxis, wherein the resistance to break away simply fails because one is basing oneself on the symbolic. A catch 22 or a catch between Scylla and Charybdis.

The creation of minor big others is a good way you have put it, but, then I feel this would relegate us to ever resisting, but ever elusive ‘real’. That is why I said the concept as aggrandizement of the political.

Do we have a choice?
What about Durkheimian idea of the symbolic as the conscience collective, to be dealt with deviance or the pathological through its exclusion.

wait once again…..
If only the assumption of their being trapped inside the blackhole could be true, they would not have reached the houeholds of cultural studies pundits so much so as they have. Your writing style is so post-colonial critique type and this is a challenging (read only challenging) read (whether you intend it or not).

Lastly, iam reminded of a saying by Malone:

Now, it is time for me to wait to figure out, what is this all about?
As I said in the beginning, only an experiment, where the piece that is being targeted or commented upon is not to be discovered anywhere within the text, but remains silently within the apparatus of comments. Why so Althusserian a term? Only so frustrating.
In all likelihood, I would want to polish this further and in all likelihood this would not materialize. Wanting to do it, but won’t be doing it: crazy dialetheism.

An Addendum to Capitalism Without Being…..Smuggling in Postone

Just a brief addendum to the previous post, and obviously the thinkers to be involved are Marx, and most crucially the more oblivious Moishe Postone. The former’s work is the decisive reference point for all the other theorists of accelerationism, insofar as the latter remains in many ways an ultra-Marxist heresy developing from a critical appropriation of certain key Marxist insights, and consequently deemed a place intended to venture into the hypothesis of a “capitalism in-itself”. It’s not clear if such a concept can be cogently articulated. Unless the scope and depth of this critique is clearly laid out, any subsequent extrapolation risks falling flat cannot be ruled out. One particular Marxist text seems particularly apt in this context: Moishe Postone’s “Time, Labour, and Social Domination”, (the review of it could be read here), which is perhaps the most interesting corrective to orthodox Marxian critical theory. Postone argues that for Marx it is capital, not labour, that is the subject, so that the key to the supersession of exploitation, expropriation lies not in the liberation of labour but in a transformation of the capitalist mode of production that will release alienated social labor. This is a controversial analysis within Marxist circles, and Postone remains conventionally humanist at bottom, but his account provides a rather useful traction for the confrontation between Marxism and accelerationism.

Capitalism Without Being…

There is only one way to escape the alienation of present-day society: to retreat ahead of it. – Roland Barthes, The Pleasure of the Text

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This powerful statement by Barthes, even, unintentionally, is thetic of ‘accelerationism‘, the position that deliberates on the generation of forces of dissolution as an inherent property of capitalism calling forth to be radically challenged. How could this be achieved without falling into the trap of drawing endlessly vicious circles of positioning the subject of revolt as always peripheral to capital? One contingent solution lies in rehabilitating this subject of revolt in relation to capital, such that, the immense circuit of capitalist exchanges makes room for the possibility of coming-into-existence of all modalities of jouissance, with none of them suffering the fate of getting ostracized (marginalized). This very well echoes Lyotard’s position as stated in his Libidinal Economy.

My interest lay in connecting this rehabilitation with speculative realist stance, which would lock away the correlationist (thinking and being as tightly coupled) side, and appreciate the elevation of thinking capitalism as it would be in-itself. If, one perceives capitalism as a gigantic productive machine, without any relation to the human, one is successful in jettisoning the possessiveness involved therein, as in, capitalism-for-humans, as either putative or pejorative. Capitalism then, as a colossal producing machine, becomes inorganic, and calls for a traction along non-anthropocentric lines. Such a reading creates ruptures within the Marxian discourse, where, speculating on capitalism in-itself is either not permissible due to the tenets of his labour theory of value, or, if at all undertaken, epitomizes levels of insanity. Whereas, capitalism as inorganic, construes speculation to be of highest value. Supplementing this theme, is the DeleuzoGuattarian notion of capitalism-as-proces, where a switch from concrete-ness to processuality invests the onus of housing a true nature of capitalism as shifting  from basic building blocks, such as, forms of alienation to telos (destination) of the process.

The prescription is a call to embrace capitalism, in order to be liberated from the polarities of agonizingly devaluing post-modernism, and increasing bankruptcy of the ideologies of liberal democracy. Such a liberation might create frameworks of naivete, which would subsequently be liquidated with the emergence of inhuman subjectivation in the face of relentlessly indefatigable capitalism. For such emergence to be brought about, the embracing of capitalism would obligate the dissolution of animated ideologies that drive corporate assemblages on the one hand, and mass-based power structures (states, civil societies etc.) on the other. Such a dissolution, in the words of Alex Williams would usher in an absolutization of an adequation of post-human subjectivity to capital, and in turn would also carry a caveat akin to revolution eating its own children. One way to safeguard from this caveat is to go back to Deleuzian notion of metabolic rate within capitalism through the vestiges of Foucauldian ‘man’ that derives its dependency on the analytic of finitude while attempting to face up to the relentless brutal force of capitalism. This not only negotiates the falling back into the already experienced conservative subjectivation, but also formulates a novel theorizing accounting for the expansive nature of capitalism, homeostatically arresting the realization of pernicious potentials of capitalism.

Nothing would obviously prevent from thinking about such a form of realized capitalism as fantasy. Williams invokes the Badiouian fiction with its potency to bring about a completed truth, and in turn actualize its own reality. This invocation is required to undertake a radical new reading of the friction generated in balancing the deterritorializing/reterritorializing axiomatic within capitalism, a position that is not adversative to the real praxis built upon the system. The re-reading departs from Nick Land’s, where any deterritorialization sends an immediate reterritorialization into oblivion. Importantly, what is required is a firm belief in the negativity harbored in capitalism, through an accelerationist reading to safeguard the critique of the left on one hand, and the praxis of the right on another. This would not only maintain Deleuzean becoming sans affirmation, but equally legitimize capitalism’s colossal machinic status in tune with Lyotard’s observation (above), thereby expounding what is truly adequate to capitalism-in-itself.

How would an accelerationist reading differ from another communist revolution-in-the-making? The idea propounded by Williams is most suitable, for, accelerationism, in a weak sense, would be opposed to ameliorative leftism by acting to foreground the structural privations of the capitalist system, and accelerationism in its strong sense would mutate the system itself rather than getting engulfed in the euphoria of capitalism’s downfall. It is precisely in the strong sense of the word, accelerationism would talk about capitalism as inorganic, or as nullifying the subjectivity, or even for that matter, resemble as effectuating inhumanism. This inhumanism, or inhuman becoming poses the  problematic of grounding politics. In other words, with speculative realism as a tool, an un-correlated philosophical system at place would find its grounding on to the correlated domains of political system quite misfitting.

To circumvent this problematic, either through taking recourse to Deleuzean notion of capitalism as a system of deterritorializing/reterritorializing flows, or some sort of dialectical movement, with the haunting of de-subjectivation, if at all attainable, this could only be made so through the trace of what praxis seeks to eliminate….

But, then this is only a dream now with no academic ambitions to pursue. Fictionalised.