provisionality and truth

All hedged betting has been halted. We are too damned busy with flesh tactics to type electric words into fabricated scripts. Expect mostly strategic delirium and fragments from here on out.

————

If Derrida does sometimes speak of destroying truth, what is meant is a deconstruction that reveals the complex conditions of the truth-effect:
The ‘rationality’… which governs a writing thus enlarged and radicalized, no longer issues from a logos. Further, it inaugurates the destruction, not the demolition but the de-sedimentation, the de-construction, of all the significations that have their source in that of the logos. Particularly the signification of truth. (Of Grammatology, Baltimore, 1976, 10)
Deconstruction brings to light a realm of undecidability which is ‘beyond truth’ and which is the condition of possibility of our true statements while also marking the provisionality of any formulation of truth:
Far from being a sort of empiricist agnosticism or skepticism, deconstruction is, so to speak, a hyper-cognition of a truth beyond truth, ‘a supplement of truthless truth’ (‘Living On’, 139), to the extent that it also inscribes the structural limits of cognition – thus, however, radically altering the concept of cognition as such. (R. Gasché, The Tain of the Mirror, Harvard UP, 1986, 267)
This hyper-cognition dissolves the classical concern with the foundations of truth and knowledge by showing how the true always withdraws, defers itself, leaving only traces of itself in the play of the signifiers. Truth is not exhausted by the set of true statements one can enunciate, but if one asks what knowledge the statements convey beyond their explicit content one is thrown back on the enigma of their textuality as the medium in which all truths emerge and into which they recede. The cult of upper case Truth, a Lacanian master-signifier which becomes a paralysing Gorgon, obscures this abyssal textual ground of true statements and seeks to found them instead in some direct transparent encounter of the mind with the real.
#postnihil

 

8 responses to “provisionality and truth

  1. “All hedged betting has been halted. We are too damned busy with flesh tactics to type electric words into fabricated scripts. Expect mostly strategic delirium and fragments from here on out.”

    Yes. But isn’t there a way in which we have to “fabricate” coherent and rigorous fragments, especially fragments that address the nature of fragments and wholes (and the relation between them). “Flesh tactics” is in some way always present in the urge to fabricate; or to fragment or deterritoralise fabrications. No?

    As always Terence Blake hits the nail on the head in his latest post, which manages to be rigorous with the idea of non absolute, unfinished, fragmentary wholes or infinities:

    “However, it is not only a question of language. We need to resort to the infinite to respond to a blocked situation, where even the death of God (of the One) has not liberated us. In our everyday lives, we are still enclosed in finitude, only covered over by a supplementary layer of false infinity that redoubles and reinforces the blockage. The whole is submitted to the quasi-transcendence of the inaccessible infinite of Capital. That is our actuality. Against the hegemony of democratic relativism, Deleuze and Badiou reply that we are capable of experiences of more or less greater proximity to the absolute, but that under the conditions of finitude, under the reign of democratic relativism, we do not know that this capacity exists.”

    Read it all here.

  2. Hi dmf,

    Thanks for the link. I like the way Geuss situates the question against the idea of a disinterested Cartesian subject beloved of Philosophers, but don’t you think his reduction of Nihilism to a rhetorical means is too easy? All philosophy is rhetorical after all – a house divided against itself but with the Philosopher always avoiding becoming homeless. This sense of not being able to ( or not wanting to) escape philosophy just is the decisional impasse that Laruelle exposes. A philosopher is one who decides against all of the myriad Philosophies and in favour of his own Philosophy but without ever leaving Philosophy.

    Deleuze, Badiou, Laruelle and especially Nietzsche, refuse to concede ever having entered into Philosophy except as a site of struggle linked to a superstructure of power. Concepts such as foreclosure of the real, plane of immanence, deterritorialisation, inconsistent multiplicities, multiple truth procedures etc are attempts to undermine the power of Philosophy by pointing to a primary outside that in some way coincides with a “deeper” level of human experience, a non-thethic field of human experience. Of course science, especially a certain sort of systems science does the job too. But Philosophy has a way of appropriating science to it’s own interest, of course.

    Nihilism too seems to be trying to point to a field of indifferent cosmic power that is also somehow present in humans as an indifference always and already before the creation of norms, postulates and conceptual systems — a world of subterranean drives fuelling the engine of conceptualisation, but behind our backs as it were. Going back to the Cartesian subject, Ray Brassier makes the point that thinking pushed to the limit does not have to be in the interests of the thinker. In fact it is often not. That’s a sort of “outside” of thinking inside thinking. The ultimate cosmic horror show. “Nihilism unbound”!

    I suppose I am complaining that Geuss is not radical enough!

    • hi PJ, Geuss rejects (as do I) anything that waxes Romantic and with it all theo-logical deus ex machina kind of moves like “Concepts such as foreclosure of the real, plane of immanence, deterritorialisation, inconsistent multiplicities, multiple truth procedures etc are attempts to undermine the power of Philosophy by pointing to a primary outside that in some way coincides with a “deeper” level of human experience, a non-thethic field of human experience” the depths of human-being are as he suggests in the clip no more and no less.
      In this we both follow the lead of Rorty when he said ““In the Davidsonian account of metaphor, which I summarized in Chapter I, when a metaphor is created it does not express something which previously existed, although, of course, it is caused by something that previously existed. For Freud, this cause is not the recollection of another world but rather some particular obsession-generating cathexis of some particular person or object or word early in life. By seeing every human being as consciously or unconsciously acting out an idiosyncratic fantasy, we can see the distinctively human, as opposed to animal, portion of each human life as the use for symbolic purposes of every particular person, object, situation, event, and word encountered in later life. This process amounts to redescribing them, thereby saying of them all, “Thus I willed it.” Seen from this angle, the intellectual (the person who uses words or visual or musical forms for this purpose) is just a special case – just somebody who does with marks and noises what other people do with their spouses and children, their fellow workers, the tools of their trade, the cash accounts of their businesses, the possessions they accumulate in their homes, the music they listen to, the sports they play or watch, or the trees they pass on their way to work. Anything from the sound of a word through the color of a leaf to the feel of a piece of skin can, as Freud showed us, serve to dramatize and crystallize a human being’s sense of self-identity. For any such thing can play the role in an individual life which philosophers have thought could, or at least should, be played only by things which were universal, common to us all. It can symbolize the blind impress all our behavings bear. Any seemingly random constellation of such things can set the tone of a life. Any such constellation can set up an unconditional commandment to whose service a life may be devoted – a commandment no less unconditional because it may be intelligible to, at most, only one person. Another way of making this point is to say that the social process of literalizing a metaphor is duplicated in the fantasy life of an individual. We call something “fantasy” rather than “poetry” or “philosophy” when it revolves around metaphors which do not catch on with other people – that is, around ways of speaking or acting which the rest of us cannot find a use for. But Freud shows us how something which seems pointless or ridiculous or vile to society can become the crucial element in the individual’s sense of who she is, her own way of tracing home the blind impress all her behavings bear. “

  3. ok nice chunk to chew on there. To me what Rorty is saying is that so called “ordinary” experience escapes altogether the philosophical categories of universal and particular. What he misses or fails to address is the real power structures which nonetheless capture the individual in horrible forms of harassment and oppression. The history of psychiatry in practice is a disgraceful assault on whole generations of the helpless, after all, and despite the insights of those philosophers who find Freud’s theories useful. But yes , there is something in what he says nonetheless.Thanks for the reply.

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