tumblr_myou3pD7ne1s8rihqo1_1280

The final chapter of Kimhi’s text (the quietism of the stranger) turns back to the general concerns regarding the Parmendies and the two way split of thought. After the Aristotelian marathon of the previous chapter Kimhi looks at how Plato addresses the figure of Parmenides and critiques him without committing parricide. As Kimhi has it, Plato’s dialogue must critique and ultimetly clarify what the riddle of being is in order to show how the sophists abuse the notion of ‘that which is not.’ Similar to those who would rely upon the force of an assertion to carry its positivity, Kimhi argues that Plato’s correct understanding of the Parmenidean riddle shows how, in a syncategorematic manner, the negative is parasitic on the positive but that the simultaneous synthesis and separation of thinking as an act can think what is not in a manner not dependent upon assertoric (or rhetorical) force.

Kimhi analyzes analytic interpretations of Plato’s puzzle and argues that the various forms of reading reads the notion of states of affairs back onto it or, as following MacDowell, deflates the puzzle as merely a confusion between naming and saying. MacDowell assumes that Plato’s puzzle (what is and never changes and what changes but never is) arises from a lack of a notion of state affairs, of a notion of truth that is purely veridical (a notion of truth that is separable from questions of being and non-being).

Continue reading ‘Kimhi’s Thinking and Being (Ch 3)’

Advertisements

I am sure no one will read this but I will keep writing because I am almost done for all that it matters.

contradiction

In the second half of the book’s main chapter Kimhi focuses on the structure of assertions in Aristotle. Following Kimhi’s central division of categorematic and syncategorematic he argues that statements are divided by an asymmetrical emphasis on affirmation and that all statements are split two ways internally. In otherwords that I can say something is x means that I assert that it is that way while entertaining that it could be the other way – ie that my thought has a direction which does not easily confirm to a state of affairs or a psychological attitude. While Kimhi admits that this sounds odd he thinks that such a position has definite advantages over the Fregean functionalist approach (which we have already addressed) as well as the schematic conceptualization of the unity of the proposition. This schematic conceptualization reads sentences and their meanings as internal relations between the semantic and the syntactic which produce solid or sound arguments (90).

Continue reading ‘Kimhi -Thinking and Being (Ch 2 ,Sec 9-19)’


Cy-Twombly-Libation-of-Priapus-1982-Mixed-media-on-paper-167-x-119cm

The central chapter of Kimhi’s Thinking and Being wanders far into the Aristotelian weeds – arguing that consistent misreadings of the notion of being in Aristotle’s work has closed the possibility which Kimhi has attempted in the first half of the book to re-open – namely that thought must be considered as a two-way capacity for action. This two way split which is not strictly formal nor non-formal is meant to supplant the more common strategy of dividing thought into logical and psychological components which then become (at least functionally and methodologically) independent of one another.

I am not properly trained to say whether Kimhi’s engagement with the various interpretations of kuriotata, energia, and the apophantic is radical or not (I simply do not have such deep knowledge of Aristotle scholarship). But what is central to Kimhi’s claim (and which he notes certain sympathy with Hediegger’s reading of Aristotle’s metaphysics) is that in general the notion of logic and its relationship to action (energia) in Aristotle is smashed together too quickly. Kimhi wishes to maintain that logic (in Aristotle’s sense) should not be retroactively seen as about states of affairs (as Kimhi puts it even prayer has a logos) and in turn being (esti) should not be submitted to the reign of contemporary analytic correspondence (68)

Regarding action (energia) Kimhi argues that one cannot collapse the following three levels: (s1) – Mary thinks that p, (s2) – This human is thinking, (s3) Mary is thinking (74). For Kimhi there is something quite special about s3 and this is tied to the two-way split of thought as having a monistic character and yet being and not being predicative. This rides on the fact that affirmation is more than negation in some sense (negation is parasitic on affirmation and yet both contain the other but not in terms analyzable strictly in terms of predicate form).

Continue reading ‘Kimhi’s Thinking and Being Chapter 2 (Sections 1-9)’


23al3a

In the closing sections of the first chapter Kimhi begins to outline what is Psycho/Logical monism is and why it is an important alternative to emphasizing either dualism or psychologism over logicism or vice versa. The monistic image that Kimhi wishes to defend is not metaphysical (at least not in any recognizable way) but rather has to do with thought as a form of action that is dualistic (or two-way) but only within a monistic structure.

As has already been mentioned, Kimhi levels the difference between consciousness and self-consciousness other than simply stating that the latter is an act of the later: “Consciousness so understood is an act of unity through the self-consciousness of that unity” (53). Kimhi advances using Kant (and self-consciousness as a formal mode of consciousness) against the dualism that he sees in Frege. One consequence of this is that, for Kimhi, why cannot think contradictory statements together because of the active self of self-consciousness in the togetherness of thought. The activity of thought in Kimhi’s view forces us to really think one as true in the sense that we believe one, we give our thought one direction while we still can think the possibility of another option but not in an immediate togetherness or simultaneity. Thus one cannot think something in an active sense and then claim not to believe it (‘it is raining but I do not believe it is raining) as this would break the necessary link between the monistic character of thought and judgments.

Continue reading ‘Kimhi’s Thinking and Being – Chapter 1 (Sections 3 and 4)’


frege_1024x1024

The first chapter of Kimhi’s book (The Life of P) begins to outline why Kimhi thinks there is a form of thinking logic that is neither purely logical nor purely psychological nor operating between a hard divide between those aspects.

He begins to do this by analyzing how the law or principle of contradiction has typically been thought in two difference ways: ontologically (OPNC) and psychologically (PPNC). In the first case (OPNC) and following Aristotle something cannot both hold good and not hold good of the same thing (25-26). For Aristotle something cannot both exist and not-exist and this is important, Kimhi emphasizes, because it compromises the bottom rung of philosophical generality – a generality which allows philosophy to be the study of being qua being (26-27). This generality, still following Aristotle, means that being is beyond or more than nature and hence philosophy is not a special science but investigates those principles which ground all special sciences (even though those sciences do not  investigate said principles).

[It is worth noting that here Kimhi seems close to Meillassoux in that non-contradiction appears to be the only thing that cannot be thrown out even after a total rejection of metaphysics in its classical or dogmatic sense).]

Continue reading ‘Kimhi’s Thinking and Being – Chapter 1 – (Sections 1 and 2)’


Blake-Chariot-Painting

This will be a first in a series of posts as we read through Kimhi’s book.

I am going to write up some notes while reading through Kimhi’s Thinking and Being. I have written about it generally before here and here. Building off of Paramenides famous philosophical fragment Kimhi wants to (potentially) realign the entire enterprise of analytic philosophy. Central to this is the fact that Kimhi wants to deny that there can be any substantial divide between what is often separated as logical and psychological thinking.

Kimhi argues that the standard reading of Paramenides claim in analytic philosophy is to read the statement that being and thinking are one as an epistemological claim, as a kind of correspondence theory. To say something is is to say that it is the case ie that it is true and thus oneness has nothing to do with existence or with essence and furthermore that it becomes a statement between states of affairs (what is the case) and what is veridical (what is true about what is the case).

Continue reading ‘Kimhi’s Thinking and Being – Introduction’


Faint Cinder

21Mar19

AMC's New Series "Halt And Catch Fire" Los Angeles Premiere - After Party

Halt and Catch and Fire was one of the greatest character dramas made and no one watched it. Maybe its name scared too many away thinking it would be a smart-assed comment on technology, or another meander into 80s and 90s nostalgia. In its funny and passing moments it functioned this way but pushed far beyond. In the end, after 40 episodes over 4 seasons, H&CF was about a sad fact: having an idea is not enough. Whether this was because of the turgid sexism of the tech-industry (to say nothing of the world) or because one is too old, or because one is too damaged, the general lesson of the series is that ideas require a lot of birth pangs, compromises, and self-damage and this often twists them into something else. But if none of this occurred, then the idea was dissipated without notice.

halt-catch-fire-mckenzie-davis-1200x520

While this is something familiar in the tech industry (Betamax lost to VHS, the Jaguar was too early, Sony was right on time with the Playstation Sega was too late with Dreamcast) it is something we hear but never really hear about ourselves. It is altogether a different thing to think oneself has arrived too early, or too late, or has become trapped in an idea that is nostalgically fused to the past, or careening drunkily into a future that we actually cannot see.

Cameron’s game Pilgrim was ‘too cerebral’ and arrived during the rise of the first person shooter (Doom soon to be followed by Quake), Donna got pregnant too early, Joe could see the future but only because he couldn’t stop running, Gordon with his nose in the hardware could see the near future but worry stopped him (some of the time) from leaping when he should.

img8

The show also quiet subtlety showed us how Cameron might become Gordon and Donna could become Joe but neither of them did. In fact, while Cameron was seen as the one who runs it was Joe, in the end, who was the escape artist. And while Donna seemed to become a pusher, torturing her underlings, once she got full control she did not forget what it was like to be at Mutiny.

It is telling that one of the most memorable scenes of the show involves Donna playing Cameron’s Pilgrim as PJ Harvey’s “Rid of Me” plays in the background. The show was about what could have been but never in a bitter sense. Better than any other show Halt and Catch Fire made the pragmatic consequences of the technological optimism of the 90s palpable.  Not in the lazy sense of a plethora of references and visual cues but in the sense that the social was going to bend in ways that were hard to prepare for.