Monday, July 27, 2009
"I'm the one who works. I want my money to sit quietly. That's my idea of the value of money. While I work and sweat, I want to think of money resting in a cool steel-paneled room. It's stacked in green stacks, very placid and cool, resting up. I realize this isn't everybody's approach to money. But it's my approach and I like it. . . . I don't like to think of money working. I'm the one who works." Delillo's third novel, Great Jones Street, fails on almost every level and is one of his weakest efforts. Delillo's clinical, intellectual talents seem completely wrong for the novel's satirical account of rock star Bucky Wunderlick's decision to quit his band and hide in a decrepit East Village apartment. Early in the book Delillo gets in some nice Nathaniel West-ish descriptions of the violent impulses lurking beneath the enthusiasm of an audience at a rock concert. But once Bucky is holed up in his home, Delillo is unable to accomplish much with the endless series of visitors who come to visit Bucky or with a plot involving Bucky's mythical "mountain tapes" and a drug that destroys the language centers of the brain. Even the collection of Bucky Wunderlick song lyrics that Delillo imagines fails to critically show much or even be humorous, but perhaps that is exactly Delillo's aim: to demonstrate that pop songs say nothing. Of course this being a Delillo novel, there is plenty on the commercialization of culture, in this case the incorporation of rock music. Bucky's band and wealth is controlled by the Transparanoia Corporation, which functions as a holding company that has diversified its assets into things such as real estate (Bucky is surprised to discover that the corporation owns the building to which he flees). Bucky's freedom to indulge in celebrity decadence is constrained by the fact that his wealth is not immediately available because it is tied up in investments that are supposed to make him more money. Since rock is business, it is not hard to cross over from one to the other. One of Bucky's musician friends has given up music and gone into business, explaining, "I'm into sales, procurement and operations now." As is to be expected, Delillo reflexively comments on the commodification of literature through a character who is a writer. Bucky's upstairs neighbor, Hanes, is an aspiring author who prides himself on knowing everything about the literary "market." Seeing an untapped corner of the market, Hanes plans a work of pornography for children. When that fails, he decides his best chance for success is "Financial writing. Books and articles for millionaires and potential millionaires."
Thursday, July 16, 2009
In Technics & Time 2, Stiegler continues his philosophical examination of the transductive relation of humanity and technics. From the first volume, he takes as his starting point the idea that “humans are prosthetic beings, without qualities, and that temporality . . . emanates from this de-fault of and at the origin, this originary disorientation.” Though disorientation is originary, socio-genesis and techno-genesis can be adjusted to each other, or (re-)oriented, through directional markers that open a “horizon of meaning,” a “space of difference, between here and there.” But such orientation has not successfully occurred today, resulting in the decline of individuation, communitization, and idiomatic difference. The “industrialization of memory” and the speed of “real time” media have caused humanity to perceive the progress that is everywhere as leading nowhere, to lose access to a différance that might open a future, and to suffer from “disorientation as such.” If memory can be industrialized, that is because human memory has always-already been technically synthesized: man’s “retentional finitude” has always-already been supplemented by technics, or more precisely, mnemo-technics. Stiegler therefore proposes to undertake a “politics of memory” that will investigate the history of mnemo-technical supplements and identify what is specific to the contemporary industrial exploitation of memory. The first chapter, “The Orthographic Age,” describes the emergence of orthographic writing, whose exact recording makes possible a new modality of access to the past. Stiegler is concerned with demonstrating “the specificity of linear [orthographic] writing within the history of archi-writing.” He states: “Literateness, as inscription, inaugurates a new age of différance.” As in the previous volume, Stiegler wants to historicize différance, to subject différance to différance. Stiegler notes that deconstruction has avoided examining the specificity of orthographic writing because it overlaps with phonological writing. Derrida aimed to deconstruct the metaphysics of presence that privileged phonological writing as well as to establish a concept of archi-writing that exceeded any particular determination of writing such as phonological writing. Stiegler claims that deconstruction therefore has not understood that linear, orthographic writing is less concerned with representing presence than with an exactitude of recording. In fact, phonological presence is no more than one effect of the technological exactitude made possible by orthographic writing. To make clear the difference between the orthographic and the phonological, Stiegler decides to begin the chapter by looking not at writing but rather at photography, which is a clear example of exact recording. Through a close reading of Barthes’ Camera Lucida, Stiegler shows how photography (and the cinema) is “orthothetic”: it is “exact,” “right.” Photography gives the present access to an exact “that-has-been” that conditions the possibility of anticipation. Like photography, orthographic writing is a “recording of the past as past” that enables “a certain mode of repeatability of a having-taken-place.” Orthographic writing “assumes that in reading I have access, literally, in my thought, to the ‘flesh and bone’ of thought – an apriority that exists neither in prehistoric mysteries nor in lapidary but unreadable inscriptions.” In this section, Stiegler draws heavily from Husserl’s The Origin of Geometry, which argued that writing allowed the creation of universally repeatable and transmittable idealities. The written inscription/sedimentation of geometric idealities creates a communitization by giving other geometers – both contemporaneous and those yet to come – access to idealities as an already-there that can be reactivated, but only through différant repetition. If rationality is treated as dependant on “the ideality of its object” (which is Husserl’s definition), then it can be posited that “The transition to the orthographic coincides with an access to full rationality.” Unlike pictographic inscription, which one must have lived or know the original context of to understand, orthographic writing gives access to an already-there that one has not lived and that can be understood without the original context. In other words, orthography is the birth of a truly iterable writing, though all writing always tended toward such iterability (following Derrida, Stiegler is careful to avoid any clear identification of the origin). Through de-contextualizing reification and the securing of the possibility of exact repetition, orthographic writing opens up a “set of infinite contextual possibilities.” Orthographic writing has a “différant identity”: the exact inscription remains the same throughout changes in context and interpretive meaning. In other words, exactitude is paired with incertitude. Orthographic writing’s “textuality presents itself as a deferred time,” what Derrida termed dissemination. Stiegler will later investigate whether the orthothetic nature of new mnemo-technologies effaces this deferred temporality. The second chapter, “The Genesis of Disorientation,” consists of a close reading of the second part of André Leroi-Gourhan’s Gesture & Speech, whose first part was the central reference of the first volume of Technics & Time. Throughout the chapter, Stiegler mostly summarizes Leroi-Gourhan’s text through a linear reading of it, dropping in large block quotes that are often merely restated by Stiegler’s commentary. This seems to be Stiegler’s mode of composition throughout the book, and it raises questions about the extent of his synthesis of his materials. Having examined the specificity of orthographic writing in the previous chapter, Stiegler now turns to how this evolution of technics changes the conditions of human individuation and cultural differentiation. The “programs” of human life are not stored only in genetics: humanity’s programs have been exteriorized and stored in ethnicity and technicity. Prior to the industrial revolution, human society developed through the individuation of Is whose redoubling of ethnic tradition/programs was a différant repetition. This redoubling always involved technics, which determined the conditions of access to the already-there. But since the industrial revolution, the dynamic of the technical tendency has progressively abolished ethnic difference (and its programs) and decreased the individual’s ability to redouble and appropriate the effects brought about by the technical tendency. If the techno-anthropological evolution of humanity has always occurred via the suspension of operant programs through new programs, the technical tendency today has made programmatic the suspension of existing programs. The exteriorization of the human nervous system (through information technologies such as the computer) and imagination (via the culture industries) has further reduced the ability of individuals to redouble and appropriate the transformations brought about by the technical tendency. To understand the change, consider the transition from writing to mass media such as television. With orthographic writing, collective participation in the production and reception of symbols produced a unique kind of communitization that relied upon individuation for its development. Today, however, even the imaginary has been exteriorized. There has been a split between symbol production and consumption, the former being handed over to a specialized group that serves industrial interests. Mass media such as television pre-synthesize experience for a passive audience of consumers that has suffered from decommunitization and a loss of individuation. The third chapter, “The Industrialization of Memory,” analyzes how human retentional finitude has become “the privileged object of industrial investment.” Stiegler argues “a political economy for today can only be a political economy of memory.” Industry now commands the “mechanisms of retention.” The industrialization of memory produces new, différant identities and new forms of temporal ecstasy that alter the conditions of what Stiegler calls “event-ization.” The most significant development in the industrialization of memory has been the rise of “informatics . . . the industrial exploitation of information’s value.” The dissemination of information, its penetration of all layers of society, leads industry to treat information as exploitable “raw matter.” The combination of “economies of scale” and new technologies that transmit information near the speed of light allows industry to construct the present at a planetary scale. Events are recorded and transmitted without delay. In fact, industry goes even further, attempting to co-produce events. By making what happens “there” instantaneously appear “everywhere,” the industrialization of memory decontextualizes not only the event but also its reception. “When memory is produced at a speed near that of light it is no longer possible . . . to distinguish an ‘event’ from its ‘input’ or its ‘input’ from its ‘reception’ or reading: these three moments coincide in a single spatiotemporal reality such that all delay, all distance, between them, is eliminated.” Recording, transmitting, and receiving information near the speed of light also destroys the “différant identification” and “delayed-action effects” that the traditional “writing of history” had produced. There is “a new collective as well as individual experience of time as a departure from historicity, if it is true that historicity relies on an idea of time that is essentially deferred.” Stiegler again emphasizes that written language required both the ability to read and to write. Contemporary media instead lead to a “memory consumerism” in which the expertise and skill of composition are delegated to machines and specialists. Media consumers do not need to possess any literacy to access the media. Instead, the purchasing of media devices takes the place of the acquisition of any form of literacy: “With technologies of light-time, ‘competency’ has become buying power. . . . The minimal reciprocity that connected the reader of a text with its author, namely, that they share a techno-logic competency . . . is severed.” Related to the contrast between orthographic writing and new orthothetic media is the distinction between knowledge and information. Information loses its value in its first use and is not repeatable, which is why industry is always attempting to increase the speed of information production and transmission. “Information can be processed and produced in proximity to absolute time. This processing does nothing but produce new information and augment the amount of available information, which is in turn processed, and so on.” In contrast to this effort to generate new information at the speed of light, knowledge operates through its repetition and deferred time. Knowledge’s “repetition is différant, and interminably calls for its repletion; in the case of information, repetition is indifferent: repetition exhausts information’s difference.” To be clear, Stiegler is not promoting the conservative idea of knowledge as timeless, eternal truth. Through différance, knowledge makes possible “the undetermined, the open, time.” Unfortunately, the “info-performative structure” of contemporary orthothetic media “tends” toward the elimination of “‘deferred time’ – literal, historical time – and of the value of knowledge.” The final chapter, “Temporal Object and Retentional Finitude,” is a detailed analysis of Husserl’s investigation of the consciousness of time. The chapter mirrors the one on Heidegger at the end of the first volume of Technics & Time, with Stiegler arguing that Husserl, just like Heidegger, fails to acknowledge the originary de-fault of humanity, the prosthetic constitution of human experience. In the previous chapter, Stiegler established that the industrialization of memory generates the “becoming-temporal-objects” of all things and events and results in a “generalized performativity.” He now explains that “industrial memory’s product is a flux in which absolutely unique temporal objects appear, objects whose flux coincides with the flux of the consciousness it produces.” A dystopian image of a television audience of millions watching the same program might illustrate this point. Stiegler turns to Husserl’s On the Phenomenology of the Consciousness of Internal Time to explain how technically-synthesized temporal objects could come to “contaminate” consciouness. Husserl drew a division between primary memory (retention) and secondary memory (recall), and an even stronger barrier between those two forms of memory and image-consciousness, which Stiegler equates with tertiary memory, or technics. Throughout the chapter, Stiegler deconstructs Husserl’s phenomenological description of temporality and shows that “primary, secondary, and tertiary memory are co-implicated, the borders between them permeable.” Stiegler’s key example is of listening to the same melody twice on a record. When we listen to the melody for the second time, the secondary memory of the first hearing modifies the criteria by which the fresh memory is selected, resulting in the melody being heard differently. That the same melody is heard differently each time demonstrates that secondary memory and primary memory are rooted in each other. But it is tertiary memory – the record – that makes discernible this intertwining of memories through its ability for exact repetition. Stiegler concludes with some elusive points about how temporal objects intimately interlace with consciousness, pointing towards the analysis of cinema that appears in the next volume.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
“In order to be able to comprehend the disarray of the present ‘crisis,’ we had to work out the concept of Europe as the historical teleology of the infinite goals of reason; we had to show how the European ‘world’ was born out of ideas of reason, i.e., out of the spirit of philosophy. The ‘crisis’ could then become distinguishable as the apparent failure of rationalism. The reason for the failure of a rational culture, however . . . lies not in the essence of rationalism itself but solely in its being rendered superficial, in its entanglement in ‘naturalism’ and ‘objectivism.’” One of Husserl’s last works, the unfinished The Crisis of European Sciences thrusts Husserl’s phenomenology and the transcendental ego into history. The turmoil of German society in the 1930s, which gave rise to irrationalism, mysticism, and Nazism, is clearly on Husserl’s horizon as he makes his argument. Unabashedly Eurocentric, Husserl argues Europe is unique for its “immanent teleology” and “unity of spiritual life." The “spiritual telos of European humanity” is aimed at and guided by the Idea (in the Kantian sense) of Reason, or the Idea of philosophy. This directive Idea sets European humanity infinite tasks and enables the creation of infinite ideals, and unites the intentional life of all of the individuals and nations of Europe throughout history. In contrast to "extrascientific cultures" (i.e., cultures outside the West), which lack an infinite horizon and are limited to a contingent, empirical-sociological finitude, Europe participates in a history whose unfolding is an unending, unified process. According to Husserl, in Europe “there grows a new sort of humanity, one which, living in finitude, lives toward poles of infinity. Precisely in this way there arises a new type of communalization and a new form of enduring community whose spiritual life . . . bears within itself the future-horizon of infinity.” Ancient Greek philosophy gave birth to this European spirit, and science (which Husserl treats as a specialty of philosophy) has carried out its infinite duties. Husserl argues, “Science . . . signifies the idea of an infinity of tasks, of which at any time a finite number have been disposed of and are retained as persisting validities. These make up at the same time the fund of premises for an infinite horizon of tasks as the unity of one all-encompassing task.” But as the book's title indicates, Europe’s “historical teleology of the infinite goals of reason” has entered into a crisis. The problem is not that rationality has failed. Science and reason are obviously growing and more powerful than ever. But science and reason have become entangled with "objectivism" (such as positivism) and rendered superficial. By becoming increasingly detached from the questions of human existence, science and reason have become meaningless. This results in “a collapse of the belief in ‘reason.’” The solution to this crisis is to recover the original meaning and orientation of philosophy and reason, to again open [European] mankind to an infinite task. Of course transcendental philosophy will be the method through which the task of philosophy will be recovered. Husserl traces the foundations of this crisis by examining the history of geometry. He claims ancient mathematics knew “only finite tasks, a finitely closed a priori.” Modern mathematics/science since Galileo has instead conceived of an "idea of a rational infinite totality of being with a rational science systematically mastering it." Geometry is created by constructing from fluctuating and approximate empirically-intuited bodies the possibility of “ideal shapes.” Unlike the objects of empirical intuition, geometrical ideal shapes are exact and have an absolute identity. From the elementary ideal shapes, geometry constructs more and more shapes and sets itself the infinite task of determining all ideal shapes. Through idealization and construction, geometry generates “an infinite and yet self-enclosed world of ideal objects as a field of study.” By showing that universal “ideal objects” could be constructed from the manifold of empirical intuition, mathematics served as a model for all of science. But geometry did not remain concerned solely with its ideal objects: it turned back to the empirically intuited world and used these idealities to calculate, measure, and objectify the world. "Thus ideal geometry, estranged from the world, becomes 'applied' geometry and thus becomes in a certain respect a general method of knowing the real." This practical use of geometry is hardly objectionable, but problems arise when it leads to the "indirect mathematization" of nature. Going beyond just applying the idealities of geometry to nature, Galileo (singled out by Husserl) conceived of reality as of a mathematical order. He treated intuited or subjective qualities as the index of objective quantities that could be measured and determined. This is “the surreptitious substitution of the mathematically substructured world of idealities for the only real world, the one that is actually given through perception, that is ever experienced and experienceable – our everyday life-world.” Though it directly contradicts our experience of the life-world, this is to believe that “Nature is, in its ‘true being-in-itself,’ mathematical.” As a result, the project of the infinite construction of ideal geometrical shapes was transformed into the infinite calculation and objectifying of all of nature. Geometry became increasingly liberated from all intuited actuality until it became arthimetized, which ended up detaching mathematics from the original intuitive thinking from which it derived its meaning. The formalization and technicization of mathematics spread to the rest of the natural sciences, closing off their access to the self-evidence that was their foundation. In particular, the “sedimentation of traditionalization” (which Husserl discusses in The Origin of Geometry) allowed mathematics and science to mechanically grow without reactivating their implications of meaning. The final result is that all non-scientific experience has been deprived of value. Husserl argues that “science is a human spiritual accomplishment which presupposes as its point of departure, both historically and for each new student, the intuitive surrounding world of life, pregiven as existing for all in common.” Because of its entanglement with objectivism, science has failed to inquire “into the way in which the life-world constantly functions as subsoil, into how its manifold prelogical validities act as grounds for the logical ones, for theoretical truths.” Husserl begins a tentative investigation of this "life-world," which needs to be distinguished from the everyday, psychological, subjective, or personal experience of individuals. Husserl hopes that a re-valuation of the pre-given life-world will allow mankind to reactivate the sense of reason and science and reorient itself toward the Idea of Reason.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
"Basically, I am calling my philosophical friends who are no longer with us as witnesses for the prosecution in the case the infinite is bringing against the falsifiers. They have come to say, through the voice that eulogizes them, that the imperative of contemporary democratic materialism - 'Live without Ideas' - is both cheap and inconsistent." Pocket Pantheon is a "set of tributes" to postwar French philosophers who have passed away, including Lacan, Canguilhem, Sartre, Hyppolite, Althusser, Lyotard, Deleuze, Foucault, Derrida, and Lacoue-Labarthe. Originally commemorations or colloquia contributions, these texts are often quite brief and are not new. Although death is the pretext of each piece, Badiou claims "neither death nor depression should be of interest to us." Instead, Badiou graciously extracts the core contributions of each philosopher and enlists these ideas in support of his own thought. The longest and most important piece here is devoted to Badiou's mentor, Althusser. Reflecting on Althusser's work from the 1960s, Badiou aims to investigate "the central enigma bequeathed us by the work of Althusser: the almost undecidable nature of the relationship between philosophy and politics." According to Badiou, in Reading Capital and For Marx, Althusser's "philosophical investigation is of an epistemological nature" and philosophy "exists on the same plane as science. It is virtually the science of the knowledge-effect or . . . the theory of theoretical practice." When listing the different kinds of practices (economic, political, technical, etc.), Althusser strangely links philosophy/theory to science by writing: "Scientific (or theoretical)" practice. Badiou is intrigued by this alignment of science and philosophy through a parenthesis. He claims, "The real question is whether philosophy demands a parenthesis, or is in some sense always in parentheses. All Althusser's efforts are devoted to repunctuating philosophy, to removing it from parentheses, but the blank that is then inscribed in those parentheses can never be completely erased." In Philosophy and The Spontaneous Philosophy of the Scientists, Althusser attempted "to extirpate philosophy from the parenthesis of the theoretical." Drawing from Lenin, Althusser de-epistemologized philosophy and made it no longer a theory of knowledge; instead, philosophy was an "intervention" and held the responsibility of drawing lines of demarcation. Althusser boldly stated that philosophy had no real object and no history. Badiou comments: "This convocation of nothingness, or of emptiness, is in my view essential. . . . The categories of philosophy are empty because their sole function consists in operating on the basis of and in the direction of practices that are already given and which deal with a raw material that is real and that can be situated in historical terms." Along with articulating this new concept of philosophy, Althusser revised his understanding of the relation of philosophy to science, claiming that the former did not exist outside of its relation to the latter, a "conditional relationship" with which Badiou agrees. But because philosophy no longer epistemologically apprehends science, philosophy is not able to think science, only "invent and state names for scientificity" within philosophy itself. That is to say, philosophy can only immanently modify itself through acts of demarcation. Badiou finds this to produce serious problems for thinking about philosophy's external effects: "This double theme of immanence and invention, which internalizes the philosophical act of drawing a line, is coherent. But the price that has to be paid is clear: the effects that philosophy has outside itself, its effect on reality, remain completely opaque to philosophy itself. It is, in particular, impossible for philosophy to measure or even simply to think its effects upon science of ideologies, because measuring or thinking those effects would presuppose that science and ideology are characterized as such within philosophy. And the rule of immanence makes that impossible." Adding to the problem is the fact that, for Althusser, "philosophy is determined not only by its scientific conditions of existence, but also by its political conditions of existence." Conditioning philosophy by both science and politics, Althusser comes closest to Badiou's own concept of philosophy: "The operator that releases philosophy from its parenthetic confinement is politics, which goes under the name of class struggle. This brings philosophy closer to an operation that makes its conditions of existence compossible, and that is my own definition. Without taking them as its objects, philosophy will circulate between political prescriptions and the scientific paradigm." But Althusser moves away from Badiou's conception of philosophy when he claims that politics does not merely condition philosophy but determines the nature of the philosophical act, so that "philosophical intervention . . . becomes a form of politics in itself." The breaking of the symmetry of politics and science is the "suturing" of philosophy to politics. Indeed, the previous parenthesis of science(theory) was a suturing of philosophy to science that has now been displaced by a new suturing of philosophy to politics. Badiou concludes the piece with a list of maxims needed to un-suture Althusser, and finally states his own philosophy directly. Turning to Sartre, Badiou outlines the three practical multiplicities - series, groups, and organizations - that Sartre's Critique of Dialectical Reason exhaustively describes. Badiou claims that Sartre, in his pessimism, locates true humanity only in the violent dissolution of the series into the fused group: "Collective action is the pure moment of revolt. Everything else is an expression of man's inevitable inhumanity, which is passivity." This is why the politics of Sartre, who so admirably supported Marxism in the 1950s, Algeria in the 1960s, and immigrants in the 1970s, was "a politics of mass movements." Badiou explains that Sartre believes that the masses make history, but that this is not the same thing as making politics: Sartre only has an "infra-politics." Badiou claims, "There is within the political subject, and within the process of a new type of political party, a principle of consistency, and it is neither seriality, fusion, the oath nor the institution. It is an irreducible that escapes Sartre's totalization of practical ensembles." The piece on Derrida is surprisingly generous, a genuine gesture by Badiou to reconcile his ontology with deconstruction. Badiou admits that Derrida's deconstruction was not compatible with the "red" years of 1968 to 1976: "What we desired, in poetic terms, was the metaphysics of radical conflict, and not the patient deconstruction of oppositions." Badiou argues what is at stake in Derrida's work is "the inscription of the non-existent" and the recognition that such an inscription is impossible. According to Badiou, Derrida's problem is "grasping a fleeing," the location of a "vanishing point." In particular, différance - the deconstruction of the metaphysical opposition of being/existent - makes it clear that the non-existent is not nothingness. The "slippage" of Derrida's language is therefore vital for Badiou's own project (despite what Badiou has written elsewhere). Badiou concludes: "You must demonstrate the vanishing point by making language free. You must have a language of flight. You can only organize a monstration of the non-existent if you use a language that can stand non-existing." In tribute to Derrida's différance, Badiou coins the term "inexistance," which signifies a "worldly way of non-existing."
Friday, July 10, 2009
This collection of Ricoeur’s essays from the 1950s functions as a solid and safe introduction to Husserl’s phenomenology. Ricoeur was an important translator and regular scholar of Husserl, and these pieces likely were key references on phenomenology for the French intellectual scene of the 1960s (Derrida’s early works on Husserl cite Ricoeur’s book). Most of the articles contained here consist of commentaries on or general examinations of individual works by Husserl, including Ideas I, Ideas II, Cartesian Meditations, and The Crisis of European Sciences. One of Ricoeur’s most persistent interests is investigating the nature of Husserl’s infamous idealism. Ricoeur claims Husserl’s work after Logical Investigations follows two paths: an enrichment of descriptive themes that threatens to “overflow the initial logical framework” and a refinement of his method and presentation of phenomenology. The former sometimes took a psychological/subjective form that might contradict idealism, whereas the latter at times reworked phenomenology into a more pure idealism. Ricoeur concludes, “The fact is that the idealistic interpretation of the method does not necessarily coincide with its actual practice, as many of his disciples have pointed out.” For example, in Ideas I, “consciousness is called a ‘remainder,’ a phenomenological ‘residue,’” and Husserl refrains from “pronouncing on the ultimate ontological status of the appearing.” In doing intentional psychology that is meant to prepare the way for transcendental philosophy, Husserl in Ideas I also does not clearly mark the point in the text at which he is actually practicing the phenomenological reduction. Consequently, there is a vacillation in how intentionality - consciousness’ going outside of itself – is described. Before the phenomenological reduction, intentionality can be described as an “encounter,” as psychological “receptivity.” But after the reduction, intentionality can be described as a potentially creative act, as the “constitution” of what consciousness gives to itself. Viewing this conceptual fluctuation, Ricoeur concludes that in Ideas I phenomenological idealism remains a project or promise that is not fully carried out by the text. But in the later Cartesian Meditations (on which Ricoeur has two clear and helpful essays here) a new idealism becomes dominant, and “Constitution becomes a gigantic project of progressively composing the signification ‘world’ without an ontological remainder.” In that work, solipsism is transformed from an objection into an argument. Ricoeur considers the stronger idealism to be based upon a “non-thematizied decision which may well be called a ‘metaphysical’ decision.” “This decision consists in saying that there is no other dimension of the being of the world than the dimension of its being for me, and there is no other set of problems than the transcendental one.” Yet even this transcendental idealism was contested in some of the works written after 1929. In The Crisis of European Sciences, Husserl’s investigation of the “life-world” focuses on “the primordial evidence of the world. The accent is placed no longer on the monadic ego; instead the accent is placed on the totality formed by the ego and surrounding world in which it is vitally engaged.” Ricoeur makes some interesting comparisons of Husserl and Kant throughout the book. Rather than seeing Husserl simply as Kant without the in-itself, Ricoeur, summarizing Eugen Fink, emphasizes that “Husserl’s ‘question’ . . . is not Kant’s.” He explains, “Husserl’s question . . . is the origin of the world” rather than “the question of validity for a possible objective consciousness.” For Husserl, “the transcendental subject is not at all external to the world; on the contrary, it is the foundation of the world.” Kant is concerned with justifying the universality of knowledge instead of describing how the mind knows. But Ricoeur notes there are passages within the Critique of Pure Reason, such as the investigation of time and space, where phenomenology triumphs over epistemology. Ricoeur claims that Husserl lost sight of ontology and the goals of Kant’s critique: “Husserl did phenomenology, but Kant limited and founded it.” Comparing Husserl’s phenomenology to existentialism, Ricoeur claims Husserl subordinates the “potentiality of intentional life” to the “analysis of ‘sense.’” Rather than pursue how the transcendental ego’s constitution of sense makes possible the creative “project” of existentialism, Husserl more conservatively attempts to establish sense’s systematicity. Ricoeur claims Husserl remains bound to a “latent rationalism” that “never undertakes to consider the creativity of consciousness unless led by a ‘transcendental guide,’ the object.” The flux of consciousness never degenerates into chaos or a “descriptive game” because it is constrained by the “transcendental guide of the intentional object.” “Ultimately one can say that the Idea of the world is the transcendental guide of egology. This Idea structures the ego and assures us that transcendental subjectivity is not a chaos of intentive subjective processes.”
"There is today a conjunction between the question of technics and the question of time, one made evident by the speed of technical evolution, by the ruptures in temporalization (event-ization) that this evolution provokes, and by the processes of deterritorialization accompanying it. It is a conjunction that calls for a new consideration of technicity." In the first volume of what is turning out to be an impossibly ambitious project, Bernard Stiegler attempts to radically rethink the relation between humanity and technics. Drawing from Derrida's grammatology, Leroi-Gourhan's anthropology, Husserl's phenomenology, and Simondon's theory of individuation, Technics and Time 1 intervenes in deconstruction, continental philosophy, media studies, and political economy. Stiegler begins by asserting that "philosophy has repressed technicity as an object of thought. Technics is the unthought." Throughout most of its history, philosophy has considered technics in terms of means and ends. Falling neither into the category of organic living matter or unorganized inert matter, technical beings have lacked ontological status and been denied any dynamic proper to themselves. But the Industrial Revolution brought about such a dramatic technical expansion that philosophy at the beginning of the 20th century was forced to acknowledge and address the growing power of technics. In The Crisis of the European Sciences, Husserl claimed the spread of techniques of calculation caused the loss of science's originary meaning and threatened the West with the loss of its origin as well as its historical telos. For Heidegger, whose thinking about technics remains complex and ambivalent, technics is a mode of disclosure, a way of revealing, but modern technics is a project of calculative reason that aims to master and possess nature and that "completes" metaphysics. Habermas, drawing from Heidegger's student and his predecessor in the Frankfurt school, Herbert Marcuse, also sees technicization/rationalization, which he considers a form of "purposive-rational activity," as a form of domination. Habermas contrasts this purposive-rational action with "communicative action," which depends upon non-technical social norms. In modern society, communicative action has been subordinated to technical and scientific rationality: language and communication have been technicized. Stiegler points out that both Heidegger and Habermas believe that technics has become autonomous and capable of dominating humanity. But Stiegler finds it problematic that they both see "the technicization of language as a denaturation," as if it was "one instance 'proper to humanity' perverting another instance 'proper to humanity.'" On one hand, Stiegler concludes that Habermas considers technics only as "means," a treatment of technics that Heidegger considers metaphysical. Because Habermas treats technics as a means, he wrongly believes that a democratic debate through communicative means will suffice to limit and control technics (something Stiegler's subsequent discussion of the dynamics of technics will thoroughly refute). On the other hand, Stiegler believes Heidegger's existential analytic points towards a drastically different view of technics, which Stiegler returns to and develops in the final section of the book. Stiegler argues that technics today is visibly linked to questions of time, whether through the rapid pace of technological innovation or new "real time" technologies. Today, there is an undeniable "conjuncture between the question of technics and the question of time." After this brief introduction to philosophy's conflicted relations with technics and the contemporary disorientation caused by technology, in the first major section of the book Stiegler begins his investigation of technics and time by focusing on technics in time, that is, the evolution of technics over time. He surveys the theories of technical evolution found in the work of Bertrand Gille, André Leroi-Gourhan, and Gilbert Simondon. His aim in the section is to establish the existence between the inorganic beings of the physical sciences and the organic beings of biology of a third category of beings: "'inorganic organized beings,' or technical objects." The examination of the dynamics proper to technical, inorganic organized beings then serves to demonstrate how technics is not merely in time, but actually constitutes time: technics is time. Stiegler first looks at Gille's Histoire des Techniques, which demonstrates that thinking about technological evolution must start from the notion of a technical system. Stiegler's points out that Gille's notion of a technical system resonates with Heidegger's idea of "Gestell" (enframing), and that technics has always formed a system to some extent. A technical system "is a stabilization of technical evolution around a point of equilibirum concretized by a particular technology." According to Gille, humanity has witnessed the development of a number of technical systems. Though it is not apparent on the surface (or at least in Stiegler's summary), Gille's account of the evolution of technical systems is heavily influenced by and strongly resembles Joseph Schumpeter's account of entrepreneurial innovation and economic development. A technical invention, whose possibility is conditioned by the system itself, is continuously developed until it reaches the limits of the technical system. Innovation is different from invention in that the latter is concerned with adjustment whereas the former destabilizes and disrupts, producing the evolution of the technical system itself. Innovation requires investment and produces a complex conjugation of economic and technical systems. Since the industrial revolution "the economic process has been based on constant innovation, that is, on an ever more rapid and more radical transformation of the technical system." This is the beginning of modern research and development and technoscience, which forges a "new relation between science, technical system, and economic system" and plans and programs technological progress. But there are devastating consequences as the speed of technological evolution becomes incommensurable with other systems. Stiegler then turns to André Leroi-Gourhan's Man and Matter and Milieu & Techniques, which, like Gille's work, examine the dynamics of the technical system, but utilize an ethnological rather than a historical framework. Leroi-Gourhan aims to avoid ethnocentric theories that attribute the creation of a technology to the genius of a specific people (i.e., Europeans). But how is it then possible to explain the emergence of technologies in specific cultures? Leroi-Gourhan's solution to this dilemma is to claim that there are "universal technical tendencies" that are concretized in particular forms by ethnic groups. The relation of the human to its milieu is transformed through the development of technical objects which function as the interface between the two. Specific ethnicities (that is, different interior milieus) in different geographical locations/conditions (exterior milieus) will realize universal technical tendencies in different manners. Since no one ethnicity is the origin or perfection of the technical tendency and since technical invention must be evaluated in the light of the specific milieu, the ethnocentric privileging of one ethnicity is avoided. In Leroi-Gourhan's description of the universal technical tendency, technics acts as a "quasi-organism" with its own evolutionary dynamic, but one coupled closely to humanity. Stiegler then moves on to Simondon's On the Mode of Existence of Technical Objects, which also portrays a coupling of humanity and technics but which gives humanity a far more minor role in technogenesis. Simondon (whose work heavily influenced Deleuze's idea of becoming) claims the industrial revolution produced organized inorganic matter: the technical object. The technical object is not inert matter but rather matter that has its own dynamic that is independent of human intentionality and that teleologically organizes itself through a process of transduction. The technical object is indeterminate and adaptable, and is individuated through a process of concretization that still requires humans to fulfill the function of anticipation and to act as "efficient causes" (the latter seeming to mean humans still are needed to get things done on a physical level). After finishing this survey of theories of technological evolution, which established technics as a system and a tendency, but one even in its most extreme form (i.e., Simondon) dependent upon human anticipation, Stiegler continues with an anthropological investigation of the origin of human anticipation and technics. Stiegler indulges in a long interpretation of Rousseau's Discourse on the Origin of Inequality, which serves little function within the context of the larger volume other than paying homage to Derrida's reading of Rousseau in Of Grammatology. Stiegler's reading of Rousseau serves to set up his analysis of Leroi-Gourhan's Gesture & Speech, which is the dominant and decisive influence on Technics and Time 1. From Leroi-Gourhan, Stiegler derives a theory of "epiphylogenesis," "the pursuit of the evolution of the living by other means than life" (that is, by technics). Before diving into Leroi-Gourhan, Stiegler explains that his reading of Gesture & Speech will also generate a dialogue with Derrida, who is the other major influence on Stiegler's book and whose Of Grammatology also was in dialogue with Leroi-Gourhan's anthropology. In one sense, Stiegler wants to historicize différance and identify what is specific about the written form of the gramme. According to Stiegler, différance is "the process of life of which the human is a singular case, but only a case." The gramme predates the human, but with the appearance of writing the gramme first appears "as such." If life in general is différance, epiphylogenesis and the transductive relation of humanity and technics is a différance of différance. This is a passage from genetic différance to nongenetic différance (this is to extend the characteristics of the organic to inorganic organized matter, or at least to the relation between the two, but it should also force us to consider whether the characteristics of the organic were always in actuality characteristics of the inorganic, that différance should not have been limited to life in the first place). Derrida resisted this kind of positioning of grammatology in the interview which is transcribed in Echographies of Television, and there is an acknowledged but troubled shuffling between (Stiegler surely would consider it a deconstruction of) the empirical and the transcendental at work here. Stiegler closely reads Gesture & Speech to identity a "double rupture in the history of life," which are named by the Zinjanthropian and the Neanthropian. With the Zinjanthropian, life "secretes" tools and acquires the potential for language. This paired appearance of technics and language is in direct contrast to what Habermas and Heidegger claimed was the denaturing of one by the other: "If paleontology thus ends up with the statement that the hand frees speech, language becomes indissociable from technicity and prostheticity: it must be thought with them, like them, or from the same origin as theirs: from within their mutual essence." At first, the brain evolves in tandem with the tool, exteriorization being coupled with interiorization. Stiegler calls this a "mirror proto-stage" "in the source of which the differentiation of the cortex is determined by the tool just as much as that of the tool by the cortex." Stiegler draws from Simondon to understand this as a transductive relation through which technics and the human enter into a process of individuation. This continues until we reach the Neanderthalian, when the evolution of technics becomes independent of cortical evolution. From then on, human evolution occurs not through the evolution of the brain but through the evolution of ethnicity and technicity (Stiegler is careful to argue against Leroi-Gourhan and claim that ethnic social evolution had been at work since the first tool). Stiegler adds to Leroi-Gourhan an emphasis on the brain's capability for anticipation, which is necessary for the fabrication and use of tools with the appearance of the Zinjanthropian, though such anticipation may not have taken a recognizable form until the Neanderthalian. Stiegler also emphasizes how the first flint tools also served as forms of memory that enabled anticipation: such tools are conserved beyond their original use or creators and serve as the "already there" for subsequent generations. "A tool is, before anything else, memory." To understand anticipation and the already there, Stiegler returns to Heidegger's existential analytic, but first he rexamines the myth of Prometheus. Stiegler claims, "The figure of Prometheus . . . makes no sense by itself. It is only consistent through its doubling by Epimetheus." Prometheus/Epimetheus will demonstrate "the de-fault of the origin or the origin as default." Epimetheus was charged by the gods to distribute powers among the animals, but he forgot to save a power for humans. As a result, mankind finds itself without qualities. Prometheus therefore stole the arts and fire from the gods in order to supplement humanity's originary default of qualities. Mankind therefore relies on prosthetics rather on its own inherent powers: "The being of humankind is to be outside itself. In order to make up for the fault of Epimetheus, Prometheus gives humans the present of putting them outside themselves." Stiegler then critically examines Heidegger on inauthentic time. Whereas Heidegger wants to oppose the calculated time of the They to Dasein's authentic temporality, Stiegler argues time is "always already determined by its techno-logical, historial conditions." Tools, as tertiary memory, constitute the already-there of Dasein and are in fact "what give access in the first place to Dasein." Instead of following Heidegger away from the already-there towards a history of being, Stiegler proposes to investigate the dynamics of the already-there, indicating the thematics of orthographic exactitude that is the concern of the second volume of Technics & Time.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
"There's a curious knot that binds novelists and terrorists. In the West we become famous effigies as our books lose the power to shape and influence. Do you ask your writers how they feel about this? Years ago I used to think it was possible for a novelist to alter the inner life of the culture. Now bomb-makers and gunmen have taken that territory. They make raids on human consciousness. What writers used to do before we were all incorporated." In Mao II, Delillo analyzes (as always, through the blunt speeches of his characters) the role of literature in a world not only saturated with mass media but also punctured by terrorism and radical violence. The book opens with a masterful description of a mass wedding at Yankee Stadium of thirteen thousand members of the Moonie cult. In this scene, Delillo introduces the idea that individualism has been supplanted by new forms of collective identity and behavior. In other words, it presents the possibility that "The future belongs to crowds." The participants in the mass ceremony, who have been "immunized against the language of self," are described first as "an undifferentiated mass," but then as "a mass of people turned into a sculptured object." Unfortunately, the first scene's phenomenology of the crowd is soon replaced by a dialogue-heavy narrative that marginalizes Delillo's descriptive skills. A photographer named Brita travels to take pictures of the author Bill Gray, who has not published a novel in decades and who has fallen into a completely reclusive lifestyle in his hidden country home. Brita only takes photographs of writers, despite the fact that writers' works should make their images superfluous. Brita's photographs produce the first break in Bill's solitary routine, a break that eventually sends him into the heart of modern political violence. Throughout the book, Delillo plays with comparisons of writers and terrorists. Brita compares being guided to Bill's secret house to "being taken to see some terrorist chief." Bill's manuscript appears like the aftermath of a bomb's explosion, appearing composed of "the ooze of speckled matter, the blood sneeze, the daily pale secretion, the bits of human tissue sticking to the page." The writer and his protagonists are equated with the terrorist. Someone tells Bill, "isn't it the novelist . . . above all people, above all writers, who understand this rage, who knows in his soul what the terrorist thinks and feels? Through history it's the novelist who has felt affinity for the violent man who lives in the dark. Where are your sympathies? With the colonial police, the occupier, the rich landlord, the corrupt government, the militaristic state? Or with the terrorist?" Delillo goes even further elsewhere, claiming that writing and terrorism are not merely similar but also competitors in a zero sum game: "What terrorists gain, novelists lose. The degree to which they influence mass consciousness is the extent of our decline as shapers of sensibility and thought. The danger they represent equals our own failure to be dangerous. . . . Beckett is the last writer to shape the way we think and see. After him, the major work involved midair explosions and crumbld buildings. This is the new tragic narrative." In other words, the true inheritor of modernism is not postmodernism but terrorism. But like postmodernism, terrorism - or at least the appeal and power of terrorism - is a response to the growing media saturation of everyday life. Bill comments, "There's the life and there's the consumer event. Everything around us tends to channel our lives toward some final reality in print or on film. . . . Everything seeks its own heightened version. Or put it this way. Nothing happens until it's consumed." The novel's title refers to an Andy Warhol image of Mao that crosses revolutionary politics with media culture. One character tells Bill, "In societies reduced to blur and glut, terror is the only meaningful act. There's too much everything, more things and messages and meanings than we can use in ten thousand lifetimes. . . . Only the terrorist stands outside. The culture hasn't figured out how to assimilate him." Shortly after his photo shoot with Brita, Bill gets involved through his publisher in an effort to free a Swiss writer who is being held hostage by an unknown communist/terrorist group in Beirut. Bill agrees to participate in a press conference in London, which would give the new group publicity in exchange for the freeing of the hostage: "His freedom is tied to the public announcement of his freedom. You can't have the first without the second. This is one of many things Beirut has learned from the West." But a bomb threat frustrates this coupling of terrorism and mass media. Instead, Bill soon makes contact with a mysterious man who is in communication with the group holding the hostage. Bill embraces the intrigue he gets swept up in as an opportunity to revise "the terms of his seclusion." The novel's conclusion finds Bill forsaking his writing and traveling to Lebanon to exchange himself for the Swiss writer, a quasi-suicidal rejection of the task of the writer.
“Matter is a philosophical category designating the objective reality which is given to man by his sensations, and which is copied, photographed and reflected by our sensations, while existing independently of them. Therefore, to say that such a concept can become ‘antiquated’ is childish talk, a senseless repetition of the arguments of fashionable reactionary philosophy. Could the struggle between materialism and idealism, the struggle between the tendencies or lines of Plato and Democritus in philosophy, the struggle between religion and science, the denial of objective truth and its assertion . . . have become antiquated during the two thousand years of the development of philosophy?” In Materialism and Empirio-Criticism, Lenin continues his more well-known political activities by making a specifically philosophical intervention. Surveying idealism, empiricism, immanentism, positivism, and “empirio-criticism” (the last associated with the positivist philosophy of Ernst Mach), Lenin discerns underneath the changing labels and terminologies a widespread idealist “camp.” He argues that the various empirio-criticisms of his time merely repeat George Berkeley’s idealism and its attack on materialism. Drawing from Engels’ Anti-Duhring and Ludwig Feuerbach, Lenin asserts that there are two fundamental “trends” in philosophy: idealism and materialism. Materialism proceeds “from things to sensation and thought.” It “takes matter as primary and regards consciousness, thought and sensation as secondary.” In contrast, idealism proceeds “from thought and sensation to things.” For Lenin, partisanship in philosophy is necessary. One must draw a line of demarcation between materialism and idealism and support the former in its fight against the latter. He claims “Marx and Engels were partisans in philosophy from start to finish; they were able to detect the deviations from materialism and concessions to idealism . . . in each and every ‘new’ tendency.” Attempts to reconcile the two trends or to discover a third trend will fail and must be avoided because they weaken materialism (and therefore Marxism) and secretly spread forms of idealism. The opposition of materialism and idealism has important consequences for science. Lenin believes most scientists (as well as “sane” people in everyday life) have an “instinctive materialism.” But too often that materialism is based upon dubious metaphysical notions of the “immutable substance of things.” When this “metaphysical materialism” comes into conflict with the discoveries of modern physics, it appears that “Matter has disappeared.” As a result, many scientists turn to idealism and claim that the theories of physics are “symbols” of matter rather than objective knowledge of it. They confuse relativism with dialectics, taking the admission that theories are only an approximation of reality as proof that there is no objective knowledge. According to Lenin, however, modern physics should not threaten materialism because “the sole ‘property’ of matter with whose recognition philosophical materialism is bound up is the property of being an objective reality, of existing outside our mind.” Lenin’s argument about the fundamental lines of philosophy and the instinctive materialism of the scientists should sound familiar: Althusser’s Philosophy and the Spontaneous Philosophy of the Scientists clearly takes as its model and inspiration Materialism and Empirio-Criticism. Althusser brings out the political consequences of Lenin’s philosophical intervention more than Lenin does himself. Lenin makes a brief reference to the fact that the “general cause” of idealism lies “outside the sphere of philosophy” and in the book’s conclusion he states: “it is impossible not to see in the struggle of parties in philosophy, a struggle which in the last analysis reflects the tendencies and ideology of the antagonistic classes in modern society.” But apart from Lenin's regular assertion that idealism is anti-Marxist, this political context is only implicit in the rest of the book’s argument. The book's orientation towards a very concrete political conjuncture as well as its relevance to our own conjuncture isn't assisted by Lenin's highly unstructured and repetitive attacks on obscure schools of philosophy and on lesser figures such as Mach and Avenarius. One of Lenin’s targets that should be singled out is Alexander Bogdanov, who was perhaps Lenin’s only competitor for leadership of the Bolsheviks at the time. Though Lenin claims only to be criticizing Bogdanov’s philosophy, it is clear that Lenin’s philosophical intervention had exceptionally immediate political effects in regards to Bogdanov. According to Lenin, Bogdanov’s “empirio-monism” appears to correct Marxism, but in actuality it is idealist and therefore reactionary and anti-Marxist. Bogdanov believed that proletariat ideology had to be created before revolution, and he was later a major figure in the development of Proletcult. Lenin objects that by equating social being with social consciousness, Bogdanov denies the primacy of material reality. Lenin contends: “To think that philosophical idealism vanishes by substituting the consciousness of mankind for the consciousness of the individual, or the socially-organized experience for the experience of one person, is like thinking that capitalism will vanish by replacing one capitalist by a joint stock company.” In a recent seminar at UCLA, Nathan Brown argued that Quentin Meillassoux’s After Finitude can be read as a Leninist philosophical intervention, and it is striking how closely Lenin comes to a number of Meillassoux’s claims. For example, Lenin’s argument that the more sophisticated forms of modern idealism provide “loopholes” for fideism is reiterated by Meillassoux’s claim that Kant’s protection of the in-itself secures a space for religious belief. Lenin even seems to anticipate Meillassoux’s argument about the arche-fossil by showing how idealism is unable to respond to evidence that the earth existed prior to man and his perceptions. Brown claimed that Meillassoux, who refutes Kant by passing through his argument rather than rejecting it from outside, contributes a philosophical support for materialism that Lenin, with his limited philosophical training, was unable to offer. Indeed, in Materialism and Empirio-Criticism, Lenin tends to lump Kant together with Hume as agnostics who tend towards idealism, and therefore Kant poses no greater a problem for Lenin than does Berkeley. Lenin’s reflective theory of knowledge, which posits that matter is “copied, photographed and reflected by our sensations,” also does not confront Kant’s challenge. A particularly symptomatic example is the sentence: “The recognition of theory as a copy, as an approximate copy of objective reality, is materialism.” If we substitute photography – one of Lenin’s other epistemological figures – for copy in this sentence, we might ask, is there a difference between a “photograph” and an “approximate photograph”? Does the latter have any sense?
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
In Cartesian Meditations, Husserl makes one more attempt to explicate and defend his method of phenomenology. Husserl claims Descartes induced a radical turn in philosophical thought by moving "from naive Objectivism to transcendental subjectivism." He positions Descartes as the prototype for philosophical meditation, a model to return to today in order to overcome the splintering of philosophy into different schools and to rediscover Western philosophy's historical telos. Philosophy must begin again and start from apodictic evidences, evidences whose "non-being" is absolutely unimaginable. Descartes' turn to the ego cogito identified the ultimate apodictic basis for philosophy, yet, for Husserl, Descartes was too infatuated with mathematics (whose techniques of calculation are critiqued more fully in Husserl's Crisis of European Sciences) and he also problematically converted the ego into an axiom from which one could infer the rest of the world. Husserl also turns to the ego, but then presents his own method of the "phenomenological epoché," which parenthesizes the objective world and treats everything that consciousness intuits as a "mere phenomenon." The phenomenological epoché also reduces the natural psychological self to a transcendental-phenomenological Ego, and Husserl often returns to patrol this border between psychology and phenomenology. The transcendental Ego has a "universally apodictically experienceable structure," most noticeably the immanent temporal form of protentions and retentions that Husserl investigates in On the Phenomenology of the Consciousness of Inner Time. Husserl claims the apodictic certainty of the Ego lays open an "infinite field of transcendental experience" that philosophy can and must explore. He argues that conscious processes are always "intentional." By this he does not mean that we always self-consciously intend our actions or thoughts, but that consciousness is always "consciousness of something." Husserl identifies a "synthetic structure" that gives unity to the intending consciousness and its correlative intended objects. Intentionality always includes a "horizon," predelineated possibilities that accompany every actuality, such as the possibility of imaginary variation or of temporal change. This "horizon structure" prescribes philosophy's methods and makes possible phenomenological investigation. Husserl first examines the object as a "pole of identity." He describes the intentional object as a "transcendental clue" to the multiplicity of possible consciousnesses of the same object. Yet neither the types of objects nor their corresponding modes of consciousnesses are chaos: there is a "universal constitutive synthesis, in which . . . all actual and possible objectivities (as actual and possible for the transcendental ego), and correlatively all actual and possible modes of consciousness of them, are embraced." Husserl then turns to the Ego as a pole of investigation. In order to overcome the everyday, immediate, personal sense of the ego, Husserl introduces his idea of "eidetic analyses." Through variation freed from factuality, eidetic phenomenology allows one to grasp the "eidos ego," the universal, generic form of ego. Eidetic analysis reveals the transcendental ego to have an infinity of forms, but not all "singly possible types are compossible." Certain possible forms of ego necessarily exclude other forms. Husserl claims that "Every imaginable sense, every imaginable being, whether the latter is called immanent or transcendent, falls within the domain of transcendental subjectivity, as the subjectivity that consistutes sense and being." Therefore phenomenology is "transcendental idealism." But having admitted this, Husserl devotes the final meditation, which is as long as the previous four combined, to trying to show that phenomenology is not solipsistic, that it is possible to know other individuals and the objective world. His strategy is not to immediately extend the transcendental subject to transcendent others, but rather to narrow the range of inquiry even further and deliberately exclude from phenomenological analysis anything that is alien or other. This form of abstractive analysis focuses on the Ego's "ownness," which is shown to include a body and a world. How, then, does something other manifest itself in this all-encompassing sphere of "ownness?" Husserl's solution is a theory of "apperception." Through what is made present to my own sense, it is possible to analogically apperceive something that is not present, such as the ego of the other. The other, who is not present, is indicated by what is present. Apperception of the other in fact allows for the establishing of the objectivity of nature. All objects now reveal an apperceptive dimension since they are possibly given to the other Ego. Husserl claims there is a "community of monads," "transcendental intersubjectivity," but all of this is constituted within me. He notes that this theory resembles Leibniz's monadology, which conceives of an infinite number of monads. But Husserl claims that the structures of synthesis set limits on what is compossible: "each monad having the status of a concrete possibility predelineates a compossible universe, a closed 'world of monads' , and two worlds of monads are incompossible, just as two possible variants of my ego (or of any presupposedly phantasied ego whatever) are incompossible." Phenomenology makes possible a "genuine universal ontology," but one that "excludes all 'metaphysical adventure', all speculative excesses."