A Phenomenology the blackest ever black

13Mar09

Perhaps the phenomenological appeal that results from Kant’s critical philosophy is that it avoids the horror of knowing too much as well as the terror of not knowing.  Both Husserl’s intentional passing through the world as well as Henry’s pure affectivity ignores a certain darkness – that of the inevitable heat death of the universe, of de-poeticized death and so forth.

The vacuum sealed molten core of Harman’s objects might be taken as a certain form of darkness, as the sensory edges of the object dipping into the shadow.  What then is the relation between the speculative thought process and the non-thinking life of affect?  That is, if horror is a torsion in human finitude (Collapse iv, p. 360) then what are the noetic dimensions of that finitude which does not fall between the thing that thinks nor the embodied I?

In Harman’s phenomenology the speculative function is a kind of remote viewing – a seeing without seeing describing the movements and interactions of objects without human witness.  Yet, if there is no such thing as a self (following Metzinger) then what becomes the difference between the appearance of self and the appearance of all reality – how do the objects of consciousness and the objects of sense, mashed into a flat metaphysics, interact while also allowing speculative extrapolation?

The weight of affect can too easily lead to a concept of Life which is, in step of Henry, becomes all encompasing.  Henry’s ultra phenomenological realism (as Brassier puts it) spiritualizes matter effectively re-idealizing immanence (Alien Theory, p. 44-45).  This idealization buries the possibility of an a priori unphenominizable physical reality (Ibid. p. 45).

Henry’s ontology as eternal subjective life (Ibid. p. 46) takes sensorially corrupted immanence as the field of pure being thereby retroactively determining the bounds of ontology.  Kant’s aforementioned strength lies in his formalization of a balance between retroactive metaphysical determinations and the capacities of human reason.

The question becomes one that has already circulated in the more imediate orbits of the blogosphere – how such concerns translate to an object oriented philosophy in terms of folk physics.

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