Tuesday, May 05, 2009

For the Intimacy of Ideation to be Grasped

A twist on the problem of the phenomenality of the Other: "For the intimacy of recollection to be able to be produced in the oecumenia of being the presence of the Other must not only be revealed in the face which breaks through its own plastic image, but must be revealed, simultaneously with this presence, in its withdrawal and in its absence. This simultaneity is not an abstract construction of dialectics, but the very essence of discretion" (Totality, p. 155). I don't believe it's so easy to escape dialectics. I say that despite not understanding exactly what Levinas means by "discretion," which I take to function as an antithesis to dialectics. When I say that human contact does not presuppose ideation–the imagination of an other self, for instance, and all that implies– I too am proposing an alternative to dialectics or any comparable totalizing system of thought, though in seeking to hew to the actuals of coexistence I've not yet arrived at a position on the experience of other selves, and, in dodging this issue, I know I'm not giving ideation a fair shake. This is quite damaging. At stake in the problem of the phenomenality of other people is a sure enough understanding of some ways in which experience is shaped by ideation. A caveat: I, who defend the reality and philosophical relevance of the person, don't maintain that ideation is the work of windowless monads or isolated psyches–despite the fact that solitude and loneliness, topics that authoritative thinkers of the present seek to avoid, have emerged as challenges for me–and as much I would resist reducing ideation to dialectic thought (possibly an other of one's felt own understandings), I would resist reducing it to "cognition" narrowly conceived or "behavior" in its most reductive acceptations, that is, as something a monad might do. It might be presumed that ideation begins in coexistence, in living with. . . ; however, the opacities surrounding ideation are such that at this incipient stage of investigations I'd rather not presume to know ideation in any detail except insofar as one must make presumptions, imaginatively, for purposes of exploring various possibilities of ideation.

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posted by Fido the Yak at 9:14 PM.


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