Tuesday, June 5, 2012


Reblogging this from Naught Thought ...

Ravaisson begins to close Of Habit writing:

“Between the ultimate depths of nature and the highest point of reflective freedom, there are an infinite number of degrees of measuring the development of one and the same power, and as one rises through them, extension – the condition of knowledge – increases with the distinction and the interval of the opposites. This is like a spiral whose principle resides in the depths of nature, and yet which ultimately flourishes in consciousness” (77)

A few lines down he continues: “The history of Habit represents the return of Freedom to Nature, or rather the invasion of the domain of freedom by natural spontaneity” (Ibid).

Here it is impossible to avoid the Schellingian resonances. In the First Outline Schelling writes: “Now, it would certainly be impossible to get a glimpse of the internal construction of Nature if an invasion of Nature were not possible through freedom” (FO, 196).

Where Nature invades us through habit for Ravaisson, for Schelling we invade nature through experiment. Furthermore, it is interesting that Ravaisson breaks the efficacy of intuition in a way that Grant wants to do in Schelling (contra Andrew Bowie). As Brassier pointed out in the original Speculative Realism conference (C3, 310) Grant is faced with either supporting a naturalist epistemology which grossly asserts that the brain is a truth engine or in idealizing objects or actualizing ideal relations (via Hegel). That Ravaisson reads freedom as natural spontaneity also opposes Markus Gabriel’s reading of Schelling’s freedom as a freedom within the bounds of objective idealism. That is, Gabriel argues that for Schelling (unlike Hegel) reflection is limited but not because of nature’s spontaneity but because of the contextuality of discerning a logical space (a plane) from which to reflect.

What the tension between Ravaisson and Schelling and Brassier’s comment points out is the that there is always the problem of the ground and the two series – that is the experiment is a question posed to nature which already cuts off and assumes a non-productive nature – ie the experiment is the ideal (a priori assumptions) using the actual (natur naturata) to find out something about nature in itself (natura naturans) or the real. The term ‘real’ is tricky here because Schelling would say that nature as nature would be beyond both the real and the ideal, and could only be thought in metaphysical terms, of an originary strife or tension.

In his Notes on the Figure of the Cyclone Negarestani writes:
“The ovum of reality is the eternal or the universal. The universal is that in which all partake, but it is eternally irreducible to commonalities and affordances between all particular instances, collections of multitudes, and local horizons of thought. It is neither bound in its local expressions, nor is it exhaustible by any collection of multitudes; it is simply free from the necessity of all its particular instances. The universal is a sign free of meaning and significance, the so-called free sign of Peirce that ramifies into its local contexts according to its global contingency, its bottomlessness and uninterruptable continuity with itself. For naturphilosophie, by virtue of its intensionality and self-reflexivity, the universal is identified as the eternal. The eternal – understood semio-logically by Peirce – is a modal plenum, an abyss replete with modalities that can neither be reduced to the totality of infinite possibilities nor determined in the first or the last instance by discrete actualities (marks of difference, cosmological horizons, local conditions of life and thought, etc.)” (Leper Creatvity, 287).

From the speculative naturphilosophical point and from Ravaisson’s actualized view we seem to gaze downward into the abyss (of forces). For Schelling and Ravaisson it would seem that these perceptions (whether bodily mediated or speculatively mediated) don’t contract matter or sense to make objects out of them but improperly translate them (via a sign) to a second order, to reflection or representation. But this translation is over a basal continuity or unprethinkable identity where thought access is indirect and not expressive of virtuality or becoming, nor does it speak to the development of spirit or mind but speaks to the breadth of nature which appears in the cyclone as a torrent.