Monday, July 16, 2007

The Behind of Sound

The époché, properly performed, has the potential to liberate space from mere objectivity. This is a strong claim put forward by Hiroshi Kojima in Monad and Thou: Phenomenological Ontology of Human Being. He says that "[s]pace as the schema of interintentionality is neither mere subjectivity nor mere objectivity" (p. 9). Well, a lot of philosophy claims to be neither subjective nor objective. The problem seems to be that in working out such a perspective, philosophers make assumptions that tacitly require the a priori existence of either a subjective or an objective reality. Let's look at how Kojima proposes to work the problem out, and see if he manages to avoid any obvious pitfalls.

Husserl failed, in Kojima's view, to recognize the originary plurality of the transcendental consciousness (pp. 4-5). Consequently his view of intersubjectivity is narrowly egological. Other egos are not only discovered after an empathic introjection of one's own consciousness into other bodies; rather, they are present from the gitgo in the fabric of consciousness. "The intentionalities of other egos are not," Kojima insists, "noemata of my intentionality; rather they are co-noeses with mine" (p. 5). How could we know that our noetic faculty wasn't purely or merely our own, that there exists something like a conoesis in every moment of consciousness? Kojima thinks we can answer this question by reexamining the problem of "appresentation," as outlined by Husserl in the Fifth Cartesian Meditation. The key question here is, How do we know that things have a behind? How do we know that there is a rear aspect to things we perceive? Kojima doubts that it's my intentionality that appresents the behind of things. Neither can the appresentation of a behind of things be explained as an "empty" intention. Here Kojima presents a logical objection (and draws a rather startling conclusion):

In order even to turn a thing over, I must know in advance that it has another side! Thus the back of a thing cannot be defined by my empty intention, to be fulfilled in turning the thing around. Rather my intention directed toward the reverse side is empty, or imperfect, because it is not originally my intention.

(p. 6)

It's instructive at this point to contrast Kojima's take on the imperfectness of perception with Barbaras' riff on adumbrations. Barbaras thinks that Husserl's insight into perception points to a new kind of being, being-at-a-distance, and the inexhaustibility of perception ultimately points to the impossibility of satisfying desire, which is the heart of the living subject. For Kojima, on the other hand, it seems that the same set of ideas about perception would lead to a questioning of the intentionality of consciousness, concluding that the ownness of an intention towards an object of perception can not be taken for granted.

So how does this tie into the idea of a spatial schema that is neither objective nor subjective? Kojima directs his critique of Husserlian intersubjectivity towards the analysis of Here and There in the Cartesian Meditations.

As reflexively related to itself, my animate bodily organism (in my primordial sphere) has the central "Here" as its mode of givenness; every other body, and accordingly the "other's" body, has the mode "There." This orientation, "There", can be freely changed by virtue of kinesthesias. Thus, in my primordial sphere, the one spatial "Nature" is constituted throughout the change in orientations, and constituted moreover with an intentional relatedness to my animate organism as functioning perceptually. Now the fact that my bodily organism can be (and is) apprehended as a natural body existing and movable in space like any other is manifestly connected with the possibility expressed in the words: By free modification of my kinesthesias, particularily those of locomotion, I can change my position in such a manner that I convert any There into a Here–that is to say, I could occupy any spatial locus with my organism.

(Cartesian Meditations, § 53, Husserl's emphases)

For Husserl it seems that the core experience of other people rests on an imaginative possibility (as if) of Here becoming There (§ 54). Kojima comments that "the essence of Husserl's theory of intersubjectivity lies not in pairing-association nor in appresentative empathy, but rather in the possibility of removing the center from Here to There" (p. 8). Kojima objects to this analysis because in order for it to hold water one would have to imagine "a kind of 'objective,' homogeneous space quite independent of the position of the center," a space in which everything can be seen from a plurality of perspectives "prior to any movement of the body" (p. 8, emphasis mine). The joining of every presentation of There to an appresentation of Here, egologically, means that Husserl's intersubjectivity, according to Kojima, presupposes the existence of other consciousnesses before it thematizes the bodies of others (p. 9). Thus Kojima's critique is twofold.

It's difficult to evaluate Kojima's critique at this point because he has not yet presented his idea of the somatic ego, nor has he elaborated his analysis of the Here, the absolute, immovable center of experience. If he thinks that we can arrive at a spatial schema of interintenionality without presuming other consciousnesses before thematizing other bodies, then he might mean to say that the ability to apperceive the behind of things is a bodily knowledge, and, perhaps, that it is interintentional because it is embodied. We'll see.

Finally, I have to ask whether sounds have a behind. If the answer is no, then I think Kojima's project of philosophizing a space that is neither objective nor subjective might be in jeopardy, because it would appear that acoustic space and visual are constituted differently and quite possibly subjectively–that is, we could imagine a space in which vibrations occured without concern for whether they were heard or seen, but this space would not be consistent with our experience of space. On the other hand, we might answer yes, it is possible to apperceive the rear aspect of a sound. If that's the case, we might wonder about the position of silence in space, whether it can ever be absolute, and whether it is constituted conoetically.

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posted by Fido the Yak at 9:03 AM.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

'As for the objects behind my back, I sense them coming together and forming a world, precisely because they are visible to, and seen by Others. When one complains about the meanness of Others, one forgets this other and even more frightening meanness - namely the meanness of things were there no Other.' (Deleuze, 'the logic of sense, pp. 305-6).

And of course the evening's reading from Palindrome:

'Such a line of culturally dominant thinking abstracted and subtracted from the concept of every psyche the element of its unbarterable existen-tiality, representing every mind as consisting only of its mental contents: a hypothetical mind which happened to differentiate the same mental con-tents as another, would be deemed to be the latter.

This confusion of the mind's presence within reality and her mental contents' structure, viewing the being or enaction of a cadacualtez – which makes an existentiality to exist – as exhausted in the arrangement of features later acquired by the already existing existentiality (rather than by another), made Locke's view, of body-mind relationships as exclusively consisting of efficient causality, appear "logical" and natural.

Just as a domestic appliance that might remain connected or disconnected with the mains, and if plugged in might remain so in a certain wall plug or, indifferently, in any other whatsoever, also such a brain-mind or body-mind relationship was considered to exist only as long as it was working – e.g. while originating mental contents or bodily motions – and the connection was assumed to be Platonically accidental, i.e. an ex-trinsic harnessing together, as if empsycheable bodies and embody-able minds lacked any intrinsic bond referring them one to another individually: as if existentialities might be causally chained or "plugged in" to whatever parcel of nature, in the style of Mark Twain's "The Prince and the Beggar."

So conceived, existentialities are no longer recognized as cadacualtic, brains are believed to be capable of producing them (because what is called "psyche" has been reduced to its acquired mental contents, some of which – namely, the new sensations – indeed are interactively generated by the brain organ) and minds, in good logic, are believed to be clonable.' (M. Crocco, Palindrome).

July 17, 2007 1:13 AM  
Blogger Fido the Yak said...

The plot thickens. We might say the question is, How do I know that the world exists beyond my perspective on it, that my perspective is just that, a perspective and not the whole shebang? Mario seems to be on target about the implications of the alternative view. However, I am not yet sure that Kojima (or Deleuze) is correct. Is perspectivity a quality of our experience of sounds? Of touch? At some point in my blogging I have mentioned Don Ihde's phenomenology of listening. I have doubts about whether he does justice to the phenomenology of sound, and am suspicious of a visualist bias in that work. So I don't really know how to begin to describe sound as it's experienced, lived sound. I suppose I'll have to return to Ihde's text some day and give it a thorough hearing.

July 17, 2007 8:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't agree with Deleuze's comments either. They were inspired by a reading of Michel Tournier's 'Friday' - a novel based on the crusoe story.

I should comment more myself - but at present I find it useful to play with a few quotes from Mario et al.
It helps me understand them - altho I realize that it could be boring and make little sense out of context.....

The logic of sense may also give some other refs - perhaps to Lacan - don't have the bk....but they are arriving soon!

"Thus this sort of imprisoning screenplay “supernaturally projected into our soul” can no longer misrepresent the time elapsing and the present as artifacts of a subjective perspective. This “screenplay” ought to include real novations: namely, other experiencing sources of real innovative actions, or finite inceptors. This requisite graining fractures the “gnoseocapsule.” The act of turning one’s attention inward and observing what is going on in one’s own mind is unstable, and acquires knowledge of time-arrowed extramentalities. Experience is thus found to occur at a plurality of extramental dates and sites.

Therefore the empsyched realities self-adaptively know of themselves truthfully, if scantily, by evolutionarily inserting into their object systems (the “mental worlds” differentiated in their own makeup) some true notices of outer events and of their causal makeup. Semovient minds thus necessarily obtain knowledge through sensible perception, but this is validable.

No longer the whole show could be a dream of whose reality science not cares except as it consistently displays a regular behavior. Semovient minds immediately know parts of reality, without any mediating representation whatsoever; and those parts are installed and interact with the remaining alterities of nature through a unique, shared causality.

Thus extramentalities do not originate in any “prejudice of the (external) world,” as is claimed by those wishing to dismiss the eclosional finitude of animal minds by way of what now should be called to present every life as a role, played in a full-brain videogame by some transcendental commiscuum.
Against what Kant claimed in his Kritik der reinen Vernunft B 303, ontology is in fact possible.' (Crocco, Palindrome).

I also came across an email from Mariela Szirko from some years ago. Horst (Ruthrof) was my v. Kantian academic 'supervisor'.

"Please tell Horst that efficient causality is unique. Then he should recognize the non-inferentiality in his causing the thread of his thoughts.

When ecphorized [P. causing outer behaviour] by a circumstanced mind (as we are) Horst's efficient causality also causes his probing the extramental "noumenon" by semovient palpation.

The results of this probing sediments in his memory along his life and builds his categories, many of which, being similar reactions to similar extramentalities, are shared
with the categories of other semovient agents like, e.g., you.

So he adequately knows of extramentality in conceptual terms ("classes"), and you also do...."

July 17, 2007 4:08 PM  
Blogger Fido the Yak said...

Well, I do a lot of quoting here. I think of it as prepatory, like someday I will summon up everything I've read about silence and all my little questions and work out something that resembles philosophy.

Interesting stuff.

July 18, 2007 10:25 AM  

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