Monday, October 1, 2012

process-relational philosophy and value experience

Steven Shaviro has two posts HERE and HERE covering among other topics processes of individuation (Simondon) and the basic nature of value experience (Whitehead).  These two posts have prompted me to go and dig through my own posts/thoughts on the subject and repost them below, as I apparently have covered alot of similar themes over the past year and thought readers might benefit from taking a look.  But first just a thought of introduction.

A basic truth spoken by Whitehead and Hartshorne is that the value character of experience is determined by various intensities which, relating to each other, form the basic aesthetic contrasts of experience.  The crucial question does not concern the relations between or among the intensities of experience (although this is an interesting question), but rather how these intensities communicate singular expressions of perspective and thus may be taken as self-determining becoming-subjects in their own right.  In other words, how do singular "firsts" come to be?  In the generation of "firsts" (dynamic singular agents) the value character of experience becomes ethical and political when "seconds" and "thirds" are added - although as a "first" any agent is always already primitively aesthetic - felt as some positive character of experience.

Or to put it another way, from Firsts (aesthetic quality) we get Seconds (reaction, clashes) and Thirds (generalities, law) together in a categorial scheme.  Peirce saw this quite clearly, as did Whitehead.
  1. Hartshorne on internal and external relations 
  2. In defense of relations (again)
  3. Whitehead's concept of importance and James' "On a Certain Blindness in Human Beings" 
  4. Hartshorne, Leibniz, panpsychism 
  5. Whitehead's God and powers: a response to "subjectalism" 
  6. Shaviro on aesthetics and forms of life 
  7. What is Nature? 
  8. The upholding and sharing of value intensity 
  9. Do animals grieve?

"The correction of defects in traditional versions of Idealism."
From Charles Hartshorne, The Zero Fallacy.

MV: One perhaps puzzling aspect of your philosophy is your “ideal­ism.” For you, objects do not depend on our particular experiences of them; rather, you believe in the asymmetrical dependence of subjects on their objects. Thus, epistemologically speaking, you are not an idealist but a real­ist. However, you contend that “Epistemological realism is entirely compati­ble with metaphysical idealism.” What, exactly, does your “metaphysical idealism” entail, and is “idealistic” indeed an appropriate label for your type of metaphysics? 

H: I deal with this especially in “The Synthesis of Idealism and Real­ism,” Theoria 15 (1949); also in “What was True in Idealism,” Philos 43 (1946). The key is fourfold: (1) subject-object relations are subject-subject relations so far as objects are active singulars and concrete, otherwise the objects are abstractions from or collections of such subjects; (2) actual objects are temporally prior to and hence independent of subjects to which they are given; (3) subjects (Leibniz) are enormously varied and in the vast majority of kinds more or less radically different from human persons, vary­ing from feelings of electrons, say, at the lower end of the hierarchy, to God at the upper end; (4) fully concrete and particular subjects are not persons and the like, but single experiences (Whitehead’s actual entities). My psychical­ism and Whitehead’s “reformed subjectivism” are virtually the same, so far as I can see. The subject-object relation is prehension. No one else ever clearly had this idea previously. Tibetan Buddhism seems to have come fairly close, Berkeley and Hegel not at all.