Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Ian Hamilton Grant (two abstracts)

 Two rather interesting abstracts by Ian Hamilton Grant. 

"Maximal Ontogenesis: On the Speculative Satisfaction of Naturphilosophie" 

 The naturalistic claim that nature is all there is, becomes contentious only once a second claim is added, i.e. the claim that the natural sciences be accorded, on the grounds of the proper regulation of their methods, exclusive priority in stipulating what is. For in the first case, that “nature is all there is” offers no finality of form to this Proteus, while in the second, nature is finally determined as the issuance of the natural sciences. In consequence, a naturalism capable of thinking scientific must forge a philosophy of nature capable of creation, whatever its source. What is philosophically interesting here is that these facts reveal two philosophical alternatives. The first of these consists in the elimination of philosophy’s substantive contribution to any question of what nature is, as the means for the validation of philosophy as a dependent, critical science, less a court than a review board before which all our claims to knowledge must henceforward be submitted. The second, contrastively, consists in taking the question “what is nature” as involving answers that no special science is equipped to provide, and therefore rejects the reduction of ontology to beings sanctioned only insofar as they are accorded ongoing scientific scrutiny, and takes nature to be a set correspondingly unsatisfied by any specific ontic content and neither seeks to eliminate nor isolate those ontic contents in accordance with any special science, be it physics or myth, according to Quine’s famous account of science in ‘The Two Dogmas of Empiricism’ (1963: 44). I call this naturalism ‘post-naturalistic’ in a twofold sense. First, it rejects the anti-Aristotelian rejection of ontology as distinct from the special sciences but does not sit critically as judge or review panel over the contributions of those sciences. Instead, it embraces all and is thus additional to it. It thus renews ontology neither on the basis of, nor as opposed to, the content or methods of the special sciences, but as cosmically oriented, i.e. as maximally inclusive. The operation of this cosmical attractor in ontology may therefore be called the first or cosmical precept of post-naturalistic naturalism. Second, it is post-naturalism because it has so to speak two dimensions, a past and a future, both of which according to the cosmical precept are nature, such that nature can never consist in any given totality of entities but must embrace what no longer is (e.g. a primal nature) and what is not yet (a nature consequent yet autonomous, which must obtain just if nature is ontogenetic).

"How nature came to be thought: Schelling’s paradox and the problem of location" 

How nature came to be thought: Schelling’s paradox and the problem of location In his Predication and Genesis, Wolfram Hogrebe reconstructs Schelling’s Ages of the World along the lines of a theory of predication, while asking, with Schelling, how it is that predication or judgment comes about. In one sense, therefore, the work asks, ‘how does reasoning arise in nature?’ In another, it affirms that “the world lies caught in the nets of reason; but the question is: how did it come to be in these nets?”4 A philosophy of nature, in that it seeks precisely to embrace nature in reason or affirms that nature cannot – since “nature is incognizable” is a cognition – be considered a priori insusceptible to all cognitive strategies without begging the question, can neither avoid therefore the problem of the identity of nature in thought with nature before thought. While the first question posits that reasoning is contained in nature and the second, conversely, that nature is contained in reasoning, and since the two contradict one another, one can only be true if the other is false.With Schelling, however, I will argue first, that both are true and second, that it is because reasoning occurs in nature that nature comes to be contained in reason and that it is the reverse of this order that is importantly false. Otherwise, either reasoning, if it occurred in a world, could not reason about nature or it could only catch nature in its nets if that reasoning were other than the world in which it occurs. 

Grant, I. H. (2020). "Maximal Ontogenesis: On the Speculative Satisfaction of Naturphilosophie." August 3rd – 7th, 2020. 2020 International Winter School, Center for Interdisciplinary and Intercultural Studies. Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Tübingen. 

Grant, I. H. (2013). "How nature came to be thought: Schelling’s paradox and the problem of location." Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology, 44(1), 24-43