Dark Vitalism 4/10


/4/ – The Stufenfolge and various forces cause an ontic layering which, given the ability of some forms of matter to sense and to think lead to proximal epistemologies. Given the following registers Real-Immanence-Sense-Transcendence the various relations of the layering of the world can be thought but not without the troubling ghost of thought itself as a strange relation. The issue is that thought seems to be a process (although a lesser one) then other formative processes operating through time and space. Yet the ground of thought is far more tenuous than the ground of interactions amongst stones in an avalanche.

Roy Bhaskar’s A Realist Theory of Science which has been covered by Levi in several posts is a useful tool for any formulation of realism. Bhaskar’s Critical Realism articulates a distinction between transitive and intransitive objects in the sciences attempting to short circuit the dominant approaches to philosophy of science as between discovering objective things in the world and as a distinctly (or mostly) sociological production.

Bhaskar’s text is a powerful ally to dark vitalism and to any work of naturephilosophie in that nature is independent and made of real mechanisms. Whether these real mechanisms are things are powers is not completely sure begging the Grantian question via Schelling what is the ground of ground? The ground of ground is either highly difficult or impossible to discover either due to fundamental epistemological limits or due to ontological status. Bhaskar centers not on this but on what ontology is necessary in order for science to be possible. Bhaskar argues that an open admission of ignorance is important as part of a powers-based alternative to Humean evental ontologies (175-177).

Bhaskar’s stratified world has Schellingian echoes as, instead of ontological reductionism, Bhaskar argues that fundamentally different mechanisms operate at different levels. These generative mechanisms form natural necessity which Bhaskar opposes to logical necessity and natural kinds (forming a interesting critique of Meillassoux’s Humean collapse of logical and natural necessity. Generative mechanisms name the local or proximate capture of nature as pure process. Here thought as process shifts the contingency-necessity relationship completely away from any sense of subject (from Meillassoux’s thinkable contingency and Zizekian decidable necessity) as necessity becomes a question of what is necessary for powers – powers that then materialize and these materializations lead to thought.


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