Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Composure

The empirical concept of a plate is homogeneous with the pure geometrical concept of a circle. The roundness which is thought in the former can be intuited in the latter. (KRV A137/B176)

That's how it looks from the point of view of "pure reason". Passion would demand the introduction of a craftsman of some sort, an artist.

The normative (e)motion of the potter's wheel is homogeneous with the pure sculptural emotion of the cylinder. The spinning that can be felt in the former can be instituted in the latter.

The book I want to write, called Composure, would begin with this image of a plate on a wheel, this homology (a homology of two homogeneities), and then develop about twenty-five of its moments of reason and their twenty-five homologous moments of passion. E.g.,


concept/emotion
intuition/institution
seeing/doing
thought/feeling
perception/action
fact/act
given/taken
appearance/surface
sensation/motivation
thing/person
space/time
relation/position
object/subject
picture/diagram
world/history

.../...

I will confine each moment to the space of a single page, and arrange the homologous expressions on facing pages (a "parallel edition" of reason/passion). I know that such symmetry does not appeal to everyone, but I need to see how it works out on the page.

[Update: Either I or Norman Kemp Smith seem to have mixed up "former" and "latter" in the above quote. I've fixed it now and it makes much better sense. Also, I think it might help to rewrite Kant's formula as follows: Our empirical grasp of a plate is homogeneous with the pure geometrical concept of a circle, for the roundness that is thought in the former can be intuited in the latter. This allows us the following variation: The normative motion of the potter's wheel is homogeneous with the pure sculptural emotion of a cylinder, for the turning that can be felt in the former can be instituted in the latter.]

[Update 2: Norman Kemp Smith's 'misreading' follows Vaihinger. It appears in the footnotes to both the current German (Felix Meiner Verlag) edition and the Guyer & Wood (Cambridge University Press) edition. Presskorn has a plausible explanation for Vaihinger's reading in the comments below.]

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Motivation, Surface, Image

The Pangrammaticon posits a Critique of Pure Passion to serve as a shadow cabinet (of horrors) to the Kantian critique.

Separate from any possible representation, people impinge upon our lives as motivations.

In so far as people are "represented" to us (in conation*) as subjects, whether correctly or incorrectly, we call our relation to them surfaces.

A surface with its motivation removed is an image.

Now, such immobile images of course don't actually exist. But the image is that component of the surface that is separate from the motivations that occasion it.

Literature is the cultivation of imagery through the very minimal motility of letters.

The white page with black marks on it is all the "motivation" we are offered.

This is still not pure imagery. Reading involves anticipation: projected motivations.

The image is "sticky", as Kasey might say. It will always be composed in a field of motivation. And yet, each image will have its own degree of articulateness. It will occupy experience more or less intensely, i.e., it will be a better or worse product of the imagination.

Even as we acknowledge that images owe much to motivations, it is important to keep the possibility of a life of minimal imagery in mind: the complete absence of any artifice in our motivations (and thus the dissolution of the difference between a person, a motivation and a surface). Such a life might, of course, be fun. But it would be demonstrably illiterate; it would be inarticulate.

The next post will introduce a book-length project I'm working on under the title Composure. My aim is to provide a complete pangrammatical articulation of a single image, viz., Kant's plate. "The empirical concept of a plate," he says, "is homogeneous with the pure geometrical concept of a circle. The roundness which is thought in the latter can be intuited in the former." (KRV A137/B176) In the shadow critique of passion, we would read the following: "The normative emotion of a sling is homogeneous with the pure chronological emotion of a cycle. The revolution that is felt in the latter can be institutionalized in the former."


------------
*My Concise Oxford Dictionary is remarkably "pangrammatical". Conation is the homologue of cognition. The COD defines the former as "the desire to perform an action" and that latter as "knowing, perceiving, or conceiving as an act or faculty distinct from emotion and volition". The homologue of the COD definition of conation (and thus a definition of cognition) is "the belief in the representation of a perception"; the homologue of the definition of cognition (and thus a definition of conation) is "mastering, acting, or emoting as a fact or activity distinct from conception and intellection". It's a bit rough, but it provides a useful analysis of the "stickiness" of the imaginary field.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Sensation, Appearance, Image

I think the following determinations are vaguely Kantian.

Separate from any possible representation, things impinge upon our lives as sensations.

In so far as the things are "represented" to us (in cognition) as objects, whether correctly or incorrectly, we call our relation to them appearances.

An appearance with its sensation removed is an image.

Now, such insensate images of course don't actually exist. But the image is that component of the appearance that is separate from the sensation (in fact, sensations) that occasion it.

Literature is the cultivation of imagery through the very minimal sensibility of letters.

The white page with black marks on it is all the "sensation" we are offered.

This is still not pure imagery. (To my mind, the Critique of Pure Reason fails precisely to establish the "purity" of any of the faculties convincingly.) Reading involves memory: recollected sensations.

The image is "sticky", as Kasey might say. It will always be composed in a field of (in part) sensation. And yet, each image will have its own degree of articulateness. It will occupy experience more or less clearly, i.e., it will be a better or worse product of the imagination.

Even as we acknowledge that images owe much to sensations, it is important to keep the possibility of a life of minimal imagery in mind: the complete absence of any artifice in our sensations (and thus the dissolution of the difference between a thing, a sensation and an appearance). Such a life might, of course, be fun. But it would be demonstrably illiterate; it would be inarticulate.

The next post will repeat these determinations in terms of motivations and surfaces. An image is a surface separate from its motivation.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

ABC of Imagery

From Ezra Pound's ABC of Reading:

Date says: 'A canzone is a composition of words set to music.'

I don't know any better point to start from.

Coleridge or De Quincey said that the quality of 'a great poet is everywhere present, and nowhere visible as a distinct excitement', or something of that sort.

This would be a more dangerous starting-point. It is probably true. (31)
To tonight's post:

Wittgenstein says: 'We make ourselves images of the facts.'

I don't know any better point to start from.

Kant said that 'the image is a product of of the empirical faculty of reproductive imagination', or something of that sort.

This would be a more dangerous starting-point. It is probably true.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Sense, Image, Motive

The image is an artifice between sensation and motivation.

It is sense imitating motive.

And vice versa.

More later.