What is Transcendental Materialism? pt1
There are at least two strains of transcendental materialism:
3-And then the question becomes whether Iain Hamilton Grant is a different strain altogether or not
1-The first strain has been laid out by Adrian Johnston – which centers on a theory of the material for the more than material, the subject as escaping the bounds of its material genesis. This theory asserts that the division between soma and psyche is false and that the transcendental arrives immanently (xxiii-xxiv, Zizek’s Ontology). While transcendental materialism appears in Johnston’s work primarily as theory of the subject there are instances where it is applied more broadly.
“Transcendental materialism posits, in short, a self sundering material Grund internally producing what (subsequently) transcends it.” (Zizeks Ontology, 61). The discussion always turns back to the ontogenesis of the subject (this is, admittedly, Johnston and Zizek’s interest after all). Towards the end of the text Johnston continues:
“The transcendental materialist theory of the subject is materialist insofar as it maintains that this thus generated ideal subjectivity thereafter achieves independence from the ground of its material sources and thereby starts to function as a set of possibility conditions for forms of reality irreducible to explanatory discourses allied to traditional versions of materialism.” (Zizek’s Ontology, 275).
While the one way and immanent explosion of the transcendent from the material is perfectly Schellingian, this emergence is always ideal, in terms for the subject, such as the grasp of language. Since Zizek’s Hegelian move is to make the noumenal/phenomenal split within the phenomenal itself the generation from the non-material is transcendent in so far as it transcends the non-material, making the non-material merely the pre-ideal.
This is particularly evident in Zizek’s reading of Schelling as he reduces Schelling’s project to tracing the pre-subjective (as opposed to viewing nature or the noumenal as extra-subjective). Johnston does a good job of drawing out how Schelling turns the Kantian critique against Kant in that Kant does not account for the non-empirical arrival of the empirical realm (Zizek’s Ontology, 73-74). Yet, following Zizek, these reigme of the non-empirical is transformed into the pre-symbolic. Furthermore, the imprint of the real on the ideal is (Zizek argues following the early and late Schelling) experienced as raw sensation (Zizek’s Ontology, 76).
Zizek effectively re-Kantianizes Schelling reorienting Schelling as a more self-critical Kant – the critical project turned against itself as ontologically aware critique.
This extension of critique and the empirical registering of the non-empirical as raw sense brings transcendental materialism into the space of Deleuze and Guattari as well as Nick Land.
To be continued…
Filed under: Deleuze, Iain Hamilton Grant, Kant, nature, ontology, psychoanalysis, Schelling, Speculative Realism, transcendental materialism, Zizek | 2 Comments