Brassier’s “How to Train an Animal that makes Inferences” and Transcendental Dynamism


I found Ray Brassier’s recent talk on Sellars and Brandom quite interesting. What was particularly striking was Brassier’s comment that Sellars is a thinker of stratified processes, a project sounds utterly fascinating given my own attempts at trying to adequately (if speculatively) describe the relation of thought to nature. Furthermore, a critical focus of the talk is how (following from the split of scientific manifest) the discontinuity between thought and nature is a discontinuity or a rupture only from the side of the manifest image or from the realm of ideality.

This point, I’ve argued, is what Schelling is exploring particularly in his Naturphilosophie and in the System of Transcendental Idealism. The combination of these projects (particularly in terms of their methodologies), I argue, is what illuminates the metaphysics which undergirds all of Schelling’s thought that of a kind of Transcendental Dynamism. I want to argue that Schelling’s form of the transcendental (which is resolutely non-Kantian performatively as it acts in experience yet also Kantian as it structures in its wake) works as a kind of symmetry breaking (which Grant utilizes briefly in Philosophies of Nature after Schelling) in that transcendence marks the noise in which one regime of processes moves into another (from Real to materiality, from materiality to sense, from sense to thought) which involves the same basic metaphysical engine (a complex dynamism between Spinoza and Leibniz) but changes in terms of different forms of power and forms of grounding.

Anyways, the talk is excellent as are the responses and questions (from Adrian Johnston, Slavoj Zizek, and others).


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