Thursday, December 21, 2006


Here is a problem that is not unrelated to Henry's phenomenology of the lived body. Derrida notes (in "L'animal que donc je suis") an abyss between the relation to self charateristic of all animals and the I of "I think." As Bains sees it, the concept of ipseity that Derrida deploys here cannot do justice to his insight(The Primacy of Semiosis: An Ontlogy of Relations, pp. 140-141). Instead, Bains argues, what is needed is a concept of cadacualtez, a neologism invented by the school of Argentinian existential neurobiologists. Literally "each-oneness," cadacualtez stands for the fact of being thrown to experience one's own corporeal and historical circumstance instead of another. Interestingly, this concept is meant to apply not just to human existence, but to any lifeform with a nervous system.

What I take from this is an argument against any kind of impersonal philosophizing of experience. When we think, for example, of an elephant's relation to self, it is vital to recognize that the elephant is cadacualtic, that it is not interchangable with other animals or even other elephants. This obviously limits the way we make generalizations about the living world. It also places our empiricism on firmer, if more radical, ground.

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posted by Fido the Yak at 11:30 AM.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's v. interesting. I think there is an English wik entry for cadacualtez but it's difficult for me to paste it now...
I will be looking at the history of 'multiple big bang theory' in the new year. And digging up some works by Fred Hoyle...that help to understand this stuff.
happy new year.

December 22, 2006 1:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Btw, in this tradition nervous systems aren't enough. You need a 'dielectric organ':
"Dielectric: a material inside which a steady electric field can be set up and sustained with a negligible flow of current or dissipation in power. Adult human brains are dielectrics that dissipate about 10-15 watts to pattern their inner electric field." (Mariela Szirko).

As for esemplastic:
"Coleridge, Samuel Taylor: British XVIIIth-century critic-philosopher and poet, coined the term “esemplastic” for the power of shaping disparate things into a unified whole. In fact what one semoviently does is always an esemplastic attentional reconfiguration of one’s mental contents, a causal action that in the Argentinian tradition is called reclustering (see). E.g., when shifting imaginations in imagining, esemplastically, attention moves members and thoughts, enacting or not outer behaviour. In the act of recall, the circumstanced semovience esemplastically selects (among the whole set of her availabilities, not of those of other psyche) the mental contents to be re-imagined and, semoviently, determines its immediate re-imagination."

"Mind-brain research in Argentina stems from a 250-year neurobiological tradition that has focused on what today would be called the dynamic “sculpting” of intensities of the electric field inside brain tissue; this, more technically, is also called the dielectric states of electroneurobiological organs."(Mariela Szirko).

I should stress that this is not a reductionist neurology in which minds are nothing but 'brain activity'. But it's not a short story......
Ps. always need to do the word verification twice.

December 24, 2006 1:29 PM  
Blogger Fido the Yak said...

Happy New Year to you.

RE: "dialectric organ." I shouldn't be so sloppy. It is a long story though.

I really am going to use "esemplastic" in a sentence. Just waiting for the right set of thoughts.

I sometimes have to do word verification twice. I would ditch it but blog spammers make me crankier than word verification and I really don't want this place to be any crankier than it has to be. I am thinking about it.

December 29, 2006 11:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy New Year Year to you Fido.

We have now moved our 'caravan' to Kerikeri, 250kms n. of Auckland. and will move into a house in February after 8mths wandering.

I'm sure Henry wrote something called
'Le monde comme perception et realite.'
Or something like that. The intro. was v. good.

I have a suspicion that phenomenology is an incredibly seductive and fascinating 'dead end' - un cul de sac.

December 29, 2006 11:58 PM  
Blogger Fido the Yak said...

Well, as I've said before, many of my favorite thinkers have been versed in phenomenology and a few of them are actually phenomenologists. I think phenomenology can be a dead end, that its horizons aren't as broad as I'd like at times, but I don't think that's necessarily so. I look at it case by case. Recently Levi (Sinthome) suggested I read Henry and Marion, so I'm deep into it at the moment. I'm not sure where this will lead me, but I'm not unhappy reading these authors.

Glad to hear you're settling in.

December 30, 2006 10:10 AM  

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