Sunday, February 25, 2007

Anstalt und Anschauung

In German the difference between a perspective and an intuition is gently blended (at least for me) in the word Anschauung, which can mean "view" (as in Weltanschauung) and intuition (as Kant uses it). Likewise, the German word Anstalt blends the difference between facilities (like asylums, prisons, homes and schools) and institutions (like madness, punishment, family and education).

A perspective is an order of visibility, while a facility is an order of manipulability. Intuitions and institutions are the immediate moment of perspectives and facilities respectively.
A perspective determines what things can be seen, while a facility determines what people can do (mainly in the sense of who can carry our particular tasks). But intuitions and institutions determine the immediate meanings of the available perceptions and actions, their use if you will.

I think they are interdependent. There is no home without a family; there is no asylum without a madman. There is no "what" without a "who" to find it shiny, fresh, salient, and profitable. There is nothing to see if there is nobody to do something with it. There is nobody without nothing comes of it.


Nicholas Manning said...

It sound to me like the imagined meeting-point between intuitions/institutions on one hand and perspectives/facilities on the other might resemble, in an Absolute Idealist tradition, something like Hegel's necessary identity between object and subject, from which the very definition of object and subject arises.

Which would make this interplay profoundly dialectical, and which is probably unfortunate, isn't it? As wouldn't it be often preferable to have "education" not necessarily dependant on its perspective/facility ?

Thomas Basbøll said...

The place to begin is here. When I discovered that différance is to institutions what copula(tion, if you will) is to intuition I had a minor epiphany.

You're right that it would be unfortunate if all reduced to dialectics and some fundamental identity of subject and object. I normally take the distinction between people and things to inexorable. This means I also can't favour history over the world. I just put them side by side, forever playing them off each other like third-rate diplomats.

The Absolute Idealists may not approve; but I'm a real idealist ... a real-idealist. (Therein a nod to the Deleuzian anti-dialectic...but there are other ways about it.)

As for getting an "education" independent of the schools, well, yes, I agree. But that's just "experience", isn't it? And there is no denying the influence of school on "the conditions of the possibility of the experience of objects" (as Kant might put it).

The "imagined meeting point" is, interestingly, the image, which is not both objective and subjective but neither.

Subjectivity is an effect of institutions, just as objectivity is an effect of intuition.

I don't know what came first: but I do know I was born into it, the whole machine already up and running.

I have no idea if this answers any of your questions. And I could probably be a bit more precise.

Nicholas Manning said...

No, not too imprecise at all, it does clear some things up. The part which most interests and puzzles me though is:

"The 'imagined meeting point' is, interestingly, the image, which is not both objective and subjective but neither."

Doesn't "Necessary Identity" imply that the meeting point is both object and subject, and not neither?

Because, I suppose the Absolute Idealist would wonder how the meeting point creates, in dialectic, the initial binary, and yet is then subsequently spared from the binary it itself created.

Is this just because the meeting-point never "takes place", so to speak.

As the Greeks would have put it: when is the pile a pile?

And why "image"?

Thomas Basbøll said...

I'll have to get back to you about why the image is the meeting point. I take the image to be the as yet (or in principle) undetermined presence of any representation, whether empirical or normative, i.e., the occasion of an experience, but not yet the experience. But I'll grant that's cryptic.

Remind me why am I committed to the implications of a "necessary identity"?

The interdependency of facilities and perspectives, and their concreteness, imply that there is no "initial binary" (of, say, intuition and institution). Initially, it's much messier, a multiplicity (not a manifold).

The binaries (pangrammatical homologies) emerge in our mastery of form. They take effort and are achieved only partially, sentence by sentence.

Nicholas Manning said...

"The as yet (or in principle) undetermined presence of any representation, whether empirical or normative"

Fascinating definition of "image", whether we're talking poetics or metaphysics.

Why are you "committed to the implications of a necessary identity" ? Well, you are if you're being Hegelian - the binary resulting as much, if not more, from what is 'same', as from what is 'different'- but since you're not being Hegelian, you're not that committed I suppose.

I get, as you say, that the binary is continual, something like a process.

Do talk more about the image, if you like, and how it can be seen as neither object nor subject. All interesting, in any case.

Presskorn said...

It seems to me, that ‘the Deleuzian anti-dialectic’ has absolutely nothing to worry about here. Actually, it seems that the your notion of ‘image’ is quite similar to the notion of a ‘sensation’ as elaborated by Deleuze in his work on art.

As Peter Hallward remarks, Deleuze conceives of art as creating an ‘echo chamber’ in which pure sensation can vibarate in itself, in its unmediated intensity, free of both subject and object.

Free of any object, because ‘sensation’ has no regard for transient material existence: A smile without a cat(Carroll), a childhood without experience(Proust) etc.. Free of any subject, since the ‘sensations’ presented in art are gestures, that do not depend on who made them: The author is dead and has perhaps always been dead, since works of art are vehicles for an impersonal creativity, which is not an effect of an artist, but rather a force which proceed “through” artists.

That art is dependent netiher on any subjectivity nor on any objectivity, is exactly what allows D&G to write that “art is the only thing in the world that is preserved”(What is Philosophy, p. 169).

So, nothing to worry about. And perhaps a few (rudimentary) clues as to how an ‘image’ can be conceived of as neither object nor subject, as requested by Nicholas. Incidentally, however, some of these Deleuzian twists tend to worry me somewhat. On grounds, which I however should not call ‘dialectical’.

PS: Btw, Thomas, have you changed your mind in the multiplicity-vs.-manifold-department? There was some remark about that somewhere…..