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Posts Tagged ‘Peirce’

Here’s a version of the theoretical model I develop in Ecologies of the Moving Image. (An earlier version can be found here.) Following Peircian phenomenology (or “phaneroscopy”) and Whiteheadian ontology, that model is process-relational and triadic. (*See Note at bottom for more on the relationship between Peirce, Whitehead, and their leading synthesist, Hartshorne.)

This means:

Everything is three. Or, everything there is can be thought of in terms of three relational processes:

(1) The thing itself, which is a qualitatively distinctive phenomenon. Let’s call it the thing-world, since it is an unfolding of a particular kind, which sets up a formal structure of internal relations and (externally) interactive potentials as it unfolds, and since our relationship to it is generally from its ‘outside,’ though we can enter into a relationship with it.

(2) The interaction of that thing with another. Let’s call this the thing-experience, since we (or others) experience it from the ‘inside.’ This experience is what happens with us when we enter into the relationship with (1). (Other things may be happening with us simultaneously; this thing-experience doesn’t exhaust us. It’s just what we’re trying to understand here.)

(3) The relating of the thing-world and thing-experience with the whole world. To keep things simple, we can call this the thing-world/extra-thing-world relation (with the thing-experience being a subset of this whole relation, and the only piece of it that is distinctly “ours”). Or we can call it the world-earth relation, or the world-universe relation, with the ‘world’ being the thing-world and the ‘earth’ or ‘universe’ being the unencompassable ground (considered either in its earthbound or its cosmic aspect) within which all thing-worlds have their being/becoming. This relation is the full set of connections and interdependencies within which the thing has its action. To map out this relation in its entirety is impossible, but to understand the more proximal and direct parts of it is possible and useful. It is, in effect, the thing come into its fullness: both its full glory and its full dispersion into (other) things.

[. . .]

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(Warning: This is a long and involved post.) In reposting Steven Shaviro’s critique of DeLanda’s A New Philosophy of Society, Levi Bryant has reminded me of one of the impetuses (impeti?) that moved me to a Whiteheadian perspective. Steven’s review is excellent, and it prefigured what eventually became his book Without Criteria, which I think […]

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DeLanda, Peirce, etc.

Larval Subjects and several other blogs have begun their reading group of Manuel Delanda’s small but ambitious book A New Philosophy of Society. It’s not my favorite of his books — that remains the brilliant A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History, followed by the drier, but useful, Intensive Science and Virtual Philosophy. But I think […]

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It’s been slow here because I am hard at work on the manuscript of Ecologies of the Moving Image, which I had hoped to finish this summer. The first three chapters are complete or close to it; the last three and final epilogue are in various stages of semi-completion. Until they are complete, blogging may […]

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The following are some working notes following up on my previous post on the relationship between Charles Sanders Peirce and Alfred North Whitehead, specifically on Peirce’s logical/relational/phenomenological categories (firstness, secondness, thirdness) and Whitehead’s notion of prehension and the “actual occasion.” It’s become clear to me since writing that post that any rapprochement between the two requires going through Charles Hartshorne (which is something I had been resisting due to the theological cast of many of Hartshorne’s writings, but I’ve come to see that it’s unavoidable). [. . .]

This asymmetry is what gives process-relational ontology, at least the kind exemplified by these three thinkers, its evolutionary character and forward momentum. It is also what makes it different from relational philosophies for which all things are symmetrically related to all other things, resulting in the kind of formless, changeless “ontological stew” that Graham Harman (and sometimes Levi Bryant) has critiqued (to which I’ve responded in posts like these).

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The case has often been made — by John Cobb, David Ray Griffin, and others — that Alfred North Whitehead’s process metaphysics provides an account of the universe that is, or could be, foundational to an ecological worldview. This is because it is an account that is naturalist (or realist), relational, evolutionary, and non-dualistic in […]

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I’m looking forward to Graham Harman’s forthcoming review of Jane Bennett’s Vibrant Matter, and I’m glad to see that this discussion between object-oriented philosophy and Bennett’s vibrant materialism (and, by extension, the other theoretical impulses she draws on, which this blog, for the most part, enthusiastically shares) is getting underway. That discussion will no doubt […]

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I like to follow extended think-fests (such as conferences) with brief flights away from cerebrality, at least for a couple of days where possible. So following the SCMS, I visited the Santa Monica Mountains, which included a hike up La Jolla Canyon and Mugu Peak at the northern end of the range, and another up […]

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I’m on my way this week to the Society for Cinema and Media Studies Conference in LA, where I’ll be presenting, in miniature, the ecocritical/ecophilosophical model of cinema that I’m developing in my book-in-progress. This “process-relational” model draws on Peirce, Whitehead, Deleuze, Bergson, Heidegger, and others, with inspirational nods to psychoanalysis, cognitive film theory (which, to be honest, is a little less inspirational, but to some extent inevitable), and individual theorists like Sean Cubitt, John Mullarkey, and Daniel Frampton. Its ecophilosophical basis is that it is primarily concerned with the relationship between cinema — as a technical medium, a thing in the world, and a form of human experience — and the ecologies within which humans are implicated and enmeshed. Here’s one articulation of that model. [. . .]

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The Biology Blog’s post on shadow biospheres intrigued me in part because I’ve been reading Charles Sanders Peirce, for whom semiosis is writ large (and small) throughout all things. Musing philosophically about the search for life on other planets, the author, cyoungbull, writes, “Unless we know how to interpret the signs of such life, we […]

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