Transcendental materialism? No, thanks!

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communistingoodfaith
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May 9 2010 15:28

The deadlock is that there is no REALITY without SUBJECT. There is no count of all the elements AS one without an operator, which is the subject. A "chair" does not exist in and of itself. It requires the subject to count all the elements, the cushions, the wood, the nails, etc., AS one. The deadlock is WHY there is subject in the sense of WHAT IS MISSING, which is precisely any mandate of nature in regards to the "human". The deadlock is that there is NOTHING where we presuppose SOMETHING. How is that unprovable, when Malabou is the one who specifically cites concrete examples of where the mandate is missing? I don't understand why this isn't clear. The genetic material ground of nature is INCOMPLETE, and the subject is precisely what ASSERTS this incompleteness and ASSUMES it. "One" isn't disappointed, YOU are. I'm not disappointed because I understand it, because it's written again and again on this page. Lacan's personal itinerary doesn't enter into it. It's precisely because the only way for us to have any access to anything Real is only via the symbolic.

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May 9 2010 17:28

To direct the debate back to its true stakes (also so that others can follow); my argument is not so much with the unintelligent tautological axioms of TM, as the fake problem for which they were asserted, namely the problem (of the emergence) of free will (cf. the last part of the Johnston article). Dialectical materialism does not need any sort of 'extra push' towards this existentialist topic, the fact that so many are pushing for this is exactly one of the reasons why "Marxism" got in a "crisis".

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May 9 2010 18:37
revol68 wrote:
i'd just like to say fair fucks to communistingoodfaith for putting up with this muppet who clearly hasn't even grasped the very fucking basics of Zizek's arguments.

My thinking as well. Chapter 4 addresses some of the stuff you're struggling with Noa.

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May 10 2010 19:14
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The deadlock is that there is no REALITY without SUBJECT. There is no count of all the elements AS one without an operator, which is the subject. A "chair" does not exist in and of itself. It requires the subject to count all the elements, the cushions, the wood, the nails, etc., AS one. The deadlock is WHY there is subject in the sense of WHAT IS MISSING, which is precisely any mandate of nature in regards to the "human". The deadlock is that there is NOTHING where we presuppose SOMETHING. How is that unprovable

And you accuse me of not being able to express my thoughts. What are you trying to say here? I encourage you to try once more, although really, there is no need to improve on Johnston's exposition of TM. Those who keep ignoring criticism merely for a supposed lack of expertise understanding of TM, clearly don't accept the entire point of 'The ignorant schoolmaster'. All you're doing is putting up an elitist bluff.

As I showed in the OP, Zizek just frightens us into accepting his axioms. I don't accept this blackmail of either you follow Lacan or else you're an idealist-second-international-crude-positivist.

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May 10 2010 21:44
Noa Rodman wrote:
First, to CRUD. Transcendental materialism is how some describe Zizek's ontology. American transcendentalism is not the same thing.
.

My philosophical give a shit meter has been broken for a while. I think transcendentalism I think of Emerson and Thoreau. You obviously understand the connection they being the "fathers" of transcendentalism and all.

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May 11 2010 13:45

Revol, you'd better let communistingoodfaith himself explain what he meant.

Let us not get stuck on the 4th chapter of the Parallax View or Malabou and her book about the brain. We're talking philosophy here. Zizek claims Schelling is the origin for dialectical materialism in his 1996 'The Indivisible Remainder'. But Zizek was a Transcendental Materialist already in his 'Sublime Object of ideology':

Zizek wrote:
Is it necessary to point out how this Schellingian determination of an
original, atemporal choice corresponds perfectly to the Lacanian notion
of the Real as an act which never took place in reality but which must
nevertheless be presupposed, 'constructed', afterwards to account for the
present state of things?
We could now return to our unfortunate student:
his deadlock is precisely that of the Schellingian act of freedom. Although,
in the temporal reality of his life, he never chose his country, he was treated
as if he had already chosen - as if, in an atemporal, eternally past act, he
chose what was from the very beginning imposed on him - the allegiance
to his country.
The Real is therefore simultaneously both the hard, impenetrable kernel
resisting symbolization and a pure chimerical entity which has in itself
no ontological consistency.

This is what my criticism is about. And the example of belonging to a nation shows what reactionary conclusions TM allows for.

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May 11 2010 14:16

If it justifies reactionary conclusions, as it clearly does, it should fall down at the first revolutionary upsurge against the existing history of nationalism!

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May 11 2010 15:39
revol68 wrote:
Your argument is as absurd as throwing out the whole discipline of meteorology because it rained on your picnic.

A nationalist ideologue makes the argument that all citizens should sacrifice themselves for the country's sake because in an atemporal past they freely chose to belong to the country. But of course the citizens did NOT chose their country, NEITHER did you chose your parents (the example of family is also given by Zizek). So ideologues for nation and family are themselves using the logic of transcendental materialism. And instead of criticizing these ideologues for their (repressive) sophistry, for Zizek these examples actually justify his philosophy.

So Zizek provides no explanation of free choice, it does not exist for him.

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May 11 2010 19:56
revol68 wrote:
Essentially the birth of the subject is a necessary fiction, an inescapable myth of origin born precisely of our excessive lack.

Necessary for an ideological apparatus (Lacanian psychoanalysis itself). The deadlock is only within Lacan's theory. I presume by 'excessive lack' you mean "a pure chimerical entity which has in itself no ontological consistency", well how can something come from nothing? Remember that Schelling came with this stuff in order to explain why god created the world. God is a myth, not free will.

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May 11 2010 20:39

Have you seen the real?

Joey OD
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May 12 2010 02:56

confused must grab my dictionary and come back to this.
I have a book by Colin McGinn called Problems in Philosophy. He bangs on about something called Transcendental Naturalism. I've had this for 17 years but never get beyond the first few chapters. He seems to be saying that the human mind is not equipped to answer certain questions, suggesting we should just give up. I disagree, think he's being pessimistic about future possibilites in the expansion of our knowledge and basically what a loser for giving up and suggesting we do too. Course I'm a loser too but at least I don't use fancy jargon to dress up a pretty basic argument.
All very fun but fuck all to do with class struggle (am I wrong?).

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May 12 2010 13:52
Joey OD wrote:
All very fun but fuck all to do with class struggle (am I wrong?).

There is class struggle within philosophy (cf. Lenin's Materialism and Empirio-criticism).

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May 12 2010 15:54

You'd like it revol, Lenin uses lots of quotes from Marx and Feuerbach and rallies against both crude positivist idealism and mechanical materialism.

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May 12 2010 17:38

The fact that for marxists (from Korsch to Althusser) there is a (to put it in Adornian terms) non-identity between praxis and theory asserts precisely the need for class struggle in philosophy. Why else would Lenin have written a philosophical book?
The only one who is an idealist is someone who believes philosophy exists as some neutral field above class society.

communistingoodfaith
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May 13 2010 12:28

I don't understand why Noa accuses me of ignoring criticism. It's NOT criticism, since these petty and weak arguments are already dealt with in the body of work being discussed, which is why I don't understand, Noa, WHY YOU DON'T GET IT. This isn't elitist anything, and Ranciere doesn't even enter into it. I'm not FRIGHTENED into accepting Zizek's arguments. It's simple logic, which manages to elude you somehow. Why would I be scared into a philosophical argument? That's just ad hominem on your part for even accusing anyone of such.

Why do you choose to ignore chapter 4 of the Parallax View, when this is the very book you're discussing? And why are you throwing aside Malabou? Is it because they refute the argument you never really had in the first place?

I don't see how you draw a conclusion from TransMat that it somehow is a justification for reactionary or nationalist sentiments, and this is in spite of the citation you presented. Using "belonging to a nation" to explain a process doesn't make TransMat reactionary or nationalist. The problem is you cite something without citing what's around it, and you therefore miss the point that is being made (among other things). It does NOT justify reactionary conclusions, you simply have a reading comprehension problem. A nationalist ideologue who argues that citizens should sacrifice themselves for the country's sake IS NOT BASED ON TRANSCENDENTAL MATERIALISM. At all. I don't how you're making this conclusion other than a horrible horrible misreading of the material. Zizek has never justified nationalism. You confuse an example with the extensive truth of the notion. Why can't you read?

If there is class struggle in philosophy, which, first of all, there isn't, then you're on the wrong side of it anyway.

Angelus Novus
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May 13 2010 12:52
revol68 wrote:
And yet he still hadn't broken from Kautsky on "Trade Union Consciousness" and the idealism that saw Socialism as a product of bourgeois scientists and intellectuals.

I'm no big fan of Lenin, but this is a misrepresentation of Lenin, albeit a fairly common one.

Daniel Bensaid is good on this matter:

Quote:
Thinking that he was paraphrasing a canonical text by Kautsky, he distorted it significantly as follows. Kautsky wrote that 'science' comes to the proletarians 'from outside the class struggle, borne by "the bourgeois intelligentsia''.' By an extraordinary verbal shift, Lenin translates this so that 'class political consciousness' (rather than 'science'!) comes 'from outside the economic struggle'6 (rather than from outside the class struggle, which is political as much as social!), borne no longer by the intellectuals as a social category, but by the party as an agent which specifically structures the political field. The difference is pretty substantial.

I also like the implications Bensaid teases out of this, which I think are too seldom addressed by self-described "libertarian" types:

Quote:
For Lenin everything leads to the conception of politics as the invasion whereby that which was absent becomes present: 'The division into classes is certainly, in the last resort, the most profound basis for political groupings', but this last resort is 'established only by political struggle'. Thus 'communism literally erupts from all points of social life: decidedly it blossoms everywhere. If one of the outlets is blocked with particular care, then the contagion will find another, sometimes the most unexpected.' That is why we cannot know 'which spark will ignite the fire'.

Whence the slogan which, according to Tucholsky, sums up Leninist politics: 'Be ready!' Ready for the improbable, for the unexpected, for what happens. If Lenin could describe politics as 'concentrated economics', this concentration means a qualitative change on the basis of which politics cannot fail to 'have primacy over economics'. 'By advocating the fusion of the economic and political standpoints', Bukharin, on the other hand, 'is sliding towards eclecticism'. Likewise, in his 1921 polemic against the Workers' Opposition, Lenin criticises this 'wretched name' which once again reduces politics to the social and which claims that the management of the national economy should be directly incumbent on the 'producers grouped together in producers' unions', which would come down to reducing the class struggle to a confrontation of sectional interests without synthesis.

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May 13 2010 14:35

Instead of referring to how Malabou's book or the 4th chapter has all the answers to my doubts and minsunderstandings, tell me how do you as an advocate of TM address these problems:

Zizek ADMITS that he cannot explain the negativity of thought without having to CONSTRUCT "a pure chimerical entity which has in itself no ontological consistency" (=Schelling's god) afterwards. Is it necessary to point out that the Real (first axiom of TM ) is thus a typical case of god of the gaps, even admitted so by Zizek?

To illustrate the emergence of the negativity of thought (aka free will) Zizek quite inexplicably gives only cases where there is no free choice. The case where an unfortunate student who in "an atemporal, eternally past act, [..] chose what was from the very beginning imposed on him". If Zizek is thus aware that the Schellingian act of freedom is nothing but an imposition, how can Zizek still speak of free choice as we normally understand it? So by these examples (of family and nation) does not Zizek himself refute in the most clear way his own advocacy of a Schellingian act of freedom?

communistingoodfaith
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May 14 2010 01:21

Why, if I'm an advocate of Transmat, are Zizek's problems therefore my own? Especially when I don't see a problem. Instead, you've chosen to only creatively cite particular parts of what he writes, conveniently leaving out explanations, and willfully misreading the text given to you. In fact, the definition you cited is only half the definition. Apparently you feel no need for any integrity. Also not my problem. If you recall, the Real is the "hard, impenetrable kernel resisting symbolization" as well as what you mentioned. But I don't see where he said he couldn't explain the negativity of thought without recourse to the "chimerical entity". You are conflating negativity at the precise moment where he's discussing the Real.

Nothing is lacking in the Real. It's in reality where there's a problem.

Unfortunately your example of the young Yugoslav called up for military service does you no justice. It was an example, an illustration, not a definition.

Until you learn to read the material, I see no point in carrying on this discussion. You have a personal vendetta against Zizek that I can't help but see as boring and whiny. And I know for a fact you are intentionally misreading what's written.

If you don't like Zizek, fine, don't bother reading him. But your arguments against him are shit. And no one's forcing you to accept it anyway. Move on.

Joey OD
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May 14 2010 02:26
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Joey OD wrote:

All very fun but fuck all to do with class struggle (am I wrong?).

There is class struggle within philosophy (cf. Lenin's Materialism and Empirio-criticism).

I know there's class struggle in philosophy. I was talking about their being none in Transcendental Naturalism and was wondering if the same was the case the Transcendental Materialism but I dunno so I look to be enlightened.
Lenin eh? Bless.

Joey OD
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May 14 2010 02:33
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I know there's class struggle in philosophy.

In the sense that I know certain tracts of philosophy take issue with class struggle. I don't expect self-described philosophers to take to the barricades any day soon.

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May 14 2010 11:30
communistingoodfaith wrote:
In fact, the definition you cited is only half the definition. Apparently you feel no need for any integrity. Also not my problem. If you recall, the Real is the "hard, impenetrable kernel resisting symbolization" as well as what you mentioned.

I don't need to be recalled that the Real is also the "hard, impenetrable kernel resisting symbolization" (I posted the definition). Add it in to my last post, it does not change the problem with the first axiom. Can you really do nothing else but accuse me falsely of distortion and pulling words out of context?

Quote:
But I don't see where he said he couldn't explain the negativity of thought without recourse to the "chimerical entity".

Not in those exact words, but the entire philosophy of Zizek is just about this point of how one can't understand the Symbolic (second axiom) without seeing it as an emergence from the Real (first axiom).

Quote:
You are conflating negativity at the precise moment where he's discussing the Real

No I am not. Again, the negativity of thought (second axiom, Symbolic) is a consequence to the Real (see Johnston's first axiom).

Quote:
Nothing is lacking in the Real. It's in reality where there's a problem.

I responded to revol68 who mentioned 'excessive lack', and I didn't know and still don't know what the fuck he was on, so I presumed he meant the Real. What problem is there in reality? The problem is with Lacan's theory, he can't explain the symbolic so he constructs the real (typical case of god of the gaps).

Quote:
Unfortunately your example of the young Yugoslav called up for military service does you no justice. It was an example, an illustration, not a definition.

It was an example where there is no free choice to illustrate Zizek's Schellingian notion of a free act. Even if you could give an example where there was free choice (maybe look in the area of love or art), the fact that Zizek uses these examples of no free choice (family, nation) as well, completely renders meaningless the notion of free choice. Incidentally, revol68 already said how this is ordinary existentialist stuff (non-choice is also a choice) (~Sartre's existentialism).

Quote:
If you don't like Zizek, fine, don't bother reading him. But your arguments against him are shit. And no one's forcing you to accept it anyway. Move on.

If Zizek wouldn't dress his Schellingian/Lacanian (Kantian/Heideggerian) philosophy up as marxist dialectical materialism I would have considerably less reasons to wage 'class struggle' against his transcendental materialism.

communistingoodfaith
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May 14 2010 12:06

I'm not falsely accusing you of anything, I'm very accurately accusing you precisely of what you're guilty of. You are misrepresenting the material, to yourself and to everyone else, in order to save yourself the pain of thinking through it. I have no problem with the symbolic as a product of the Real. The negativity of thought is possible since the biological body is precisely Not-All. I still don't see the problem you're attempting to construct.

The problem with reality is that THERE IS NO REALITY WITHOUT SUBJECT. If you think Lacan can't explain the symbolic, then you obviously haven't read Lacan.

Zizek elucidates free choice precisely in the middle section of Parallax View. I'm not here to hold your hand, the material is obviously right in front of you. I'm not responsible for your poor reading comprehension.

I'm not sure Zizek presents dialectical materialism AS marxist. If anything I would say that marxism is beholden to dialectical materialism. The problem is, there is no class struggle in philosophy, and if there is, you're not on the right side of it anyway.

Maybe your conservative marxist friends at platypus are impressed with your performance, but so far all over this blog, as has been pointed out by everyone who has been contributing, you're doing a shit job. Best of luck, but this argument is boring and a waste of my time and yours.

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May 14 2010 13:40
communistingoodfaith wrote:
You are misrepresenting the material, to yourself and to everyone else, in order to save yourself the pain of thinking through it.

Hit the ball, not the player.

communistingoodfaith wrote:
I have no problem with the symbolic as a product of the Real. The negativity of thought is possible since the biological body is precisely Not-All.

Ad nauseam.

communistingoodfaith wrote:
I still don't see the problem you're attempting to construct.

I'm not going to hold your hand to understand the problems with TM. I raised the problems. You can either address them or leave them standing unchallenged.

communistingoodfaith wrote:
The problem with reality is that THERE IS NO REALITY WITHOUT SUBJECT. If you think Lacan can't explain the symbolic, then you obviously haven't read Lacan.

That is a problem only if you accept TM, which I don't. It's a fake problem created by Lacan because he believed he couldn't explain the symbolic without it.

communistingoodfaith wrote:
Zizek elucidates free choice precisely in the middle section of Parallax View. I'm not here to hold your hand, the material is obviously right in front of you. I'm not responsible for your poor reading comprehension..

And he does it in a lot of other places as well. Again, all you're doing is expecting me to become a believer by reading more of Zizek's books. Really like a Christian or Muslim quoting from his holy book as if that's proof for his message.

communistingoodfaith wrote:
I'm not sure Zizek presents dialectical materialism AS marxist. If anything I would say that marxism is beholden to dialectical materialism.

I agree, but marxism is not beholden to transcendental materialism, except if you do not take marxism serious in itself, but instead are interested in "the idea of marxism" whatever that is. This is Zizek's philosophical privilege of buggering "dialectical materialism", others see it for the distortion or revisionism that it is.

communistingoodfaith wrote:
The problem is, there is no class struggle in philosophy, and if there is, you're not on the right side of it anyway..

Call it not 'class struggle' if that sounds old fashioned to you, call it a fight against obscurantist reactionary theories, which (to use Zizekian pathos) is today more necessary and useful than erecting barricades on the streets.

communistingoodfaith wrote:
Maybe your conservative marxist friends at platypus are impressed with your performance, but so far all over this blog, as has been pointed out by everyone who has been contributing, you're doing a shit job. Best of luck, but this argument is boring and a waste of my time and yours..

More of your helpless meta-commentary on a debate in which you're still not participating.

Zizek presents his TM as an attempt to save the idea of marxism by returning to the great names of Schelling and Lacan - that's to sell it as radical and exotic to the public. In reality his banal philosophy is about the standard issue of free will.
His question is; what will it mean to be 'human' in a future where there will be technology that controls peoples' will with through a chip in their brain?

And Zizek adds as a self-conscious charlatan (in the sense that almost every philosopher is a self-conscious charlatan) this will allow philosophy departments to remain busy for decades with work on this 'problematic'.

communistingoodfaith
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May 14 2010 18:42

"Hit the ball, not the player".

There is no ball, that's my point.

"Ad nauseum"

Then stop asking to have it repeated.

You raised problems that were merely not in your interest or revolting to your tastes, but you presented no philosophical dilemma. But yet for some reason you maintain that you did. You are presenting problems that do not exist.

No one's asking you to accept TransMat. Don't. I don't care. Nor is it a problem created by Lacan, nor was Lacan unable to explain the symbolic. Nor have you demonstrated either. I've showed you where the answers are, and I demonstrated them myself.

Philosophy is not about belief. I'm not asking you to believe anything. I'm telling you where to read the answers to your questions, which you seem unwilling to do by yourself. And the only one excessively quoting from any books is YOU.

Do you realize when you attempt to insult Zizek that it's not the same thing as a coherent argument? It's pointless whining. If others see it for the distortion/revisionism it is, then why are "they", like you, unable to argue it through?

You also attempt to lambaste Zizek, but yet you agree with him on theoretical struggle?

I have never seen Zizek present TransMat, which isn't even his, as an attempt to save the idea of marxism, at all. If it's banal, this doesn't explain why you can't stop talking about it. If it's banal, then WHY THE FUCK DO YOU CARE?

I currently know of no philosophy departments engaged in Zizek's work, perhaps you could enlighten me, but let's face it, even if you named some faculties, that still wouldn't mean you have a point, which you don't.

You can't draw connections between simple ideas, you may as well not draw any connections between words and sentences (which you don't). Regarding Johnston's axioms, I don't see why the second presupposes the first, or, further, why that matters. You go on and on about how boring and banal it is, but here you are, not able to shut up about it. You're self-defeating.

redtwister
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May 14 2010 20:03

Not that I have a lot of time to indulge in this, but why dialectical materialism or transcendental materialism or transcendental realism (Bhaskar, et al.)?

DiaMat/TransMat/TransReal all purport to answer fundamental ontological questions. Zizek's claim is that we need to return to something like DiaMat (philosophy of being) and we need a HistoMat (philosophy of society, sociology) to bridge the gap. What gap? Apparently the one in reality. While I find Zizek interesting and engaging in many ways, I have to say that the Worldview Marxism which this represents (a transhistorical ontological philosophy and a transhistorical sociological methodology) is bogus.

IMO, Richard Gunn answers this kind of argument, though not adequately, in his essay Marxism and Philosophy in Capital & Class #38(a version can be found here Marxism, Metatheory, and Critique) and the supplementary essay in Open Marxism Vol. 2 Against Historical Materialism, but combined with Moishe Postone's work on labor, value, capital, etc., a thoroughgoing anti-essentialism is not only defensible but necessary.

Zizek would return us to the world of DiaMat/HistoMat, a definite step backwards on his road back to apologies for Maoism (he and Badiou on the Cultural Revolution under Mao as akin to the Paris Commune and an utopian attempt to immediately create communism.) I relate the two because he takes up this philosophical regression more and more explicitly as he takes up the political regression more and more explicitly.

And yes, a more thorough discussion of this would be necessary, relating it to the text specifically, but I can't at the moment.

Cheers,
Chris

communistingoodfaith
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May 14 2010 22:02

Chris,

What's important is that, ultimately I would hope, we are on the same side of the same fundamental contradiction.

I would only add in disagreement that I think making a declaration 'A' means not shirking from the consequences, and asserting 'B', the terror necessary to uphold this declaration, following out its consequences.

Additionally, the very point of Johnston's work is that dialectical materialism and transcendental materialism AREN'T MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE.

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May 14 2010 22:44
communistingoodfaith wrote:
Regarding Johnston's axioms, I don't see why the second presupposes the first, or, further, why that matters.

Do you have a reading problem?

Johnston wrote:
Two, the subject is genetically produced as a consequence of the fact that the disturbing discontent of this initial state prompts efforts at taming and domesticating this "corpo-Real," efforts that come to constitute and define the fundamental contours of subjectivity itself (as a subject-position characterized by a (pseudo-)transcendence of embodied materiality).

The second axiom (the subject, the negativity of thought, free will, the symbolic, etc.) presupposes the first axiom (nature with its missing mandate, the Real, non-all nature, the internally conflicted libidinal economy, the chimerical entity, the impenetrable kernel, whatever you want to call it, etc.), as far as I can see there is no debate possible on this interpretation. And there is no problem with this. As long as you, as a TMist, make sure that the first axiom is solid you can build your second axiom on it. But the second axiom is not build on a solid base, that's my point;

me in post no. 26 wrote:
The problem is that the first axiom already presupposes knowledge of the second[/b] (that is the tautology, or circular reasoning is the better term).

The first axiom is in fact made SOLELY in order to "account" for the second axiom, as Zizek completely honestly admits:

zizek in the sublime object of ideology wrote:
Is it necessary to point out how this Schellingian determination of an
original, atemporal choice corresponds perfectly to the Lacanian notion
of the Real as an act which never took place in reality but which must
nevertheless be presupposed, 'constructed', afterwards
to account for the
present state of things?

The first axiom MUST "NEVERTHELESS" be "CONSTRUCTED" afterwards. Or again:

zizek in the introduction to the Parallax View wrote:
Without "asserting the gap [..] as inherent to humanity itself, as the gap between humanity and its own inhuman excess" you cannot properly account for "how the gap between thought and being emerges".

The little dilemma here is that there is no argument for the first axiom on which TM rests and Zizek admits as much. No solid base for the first axiom, hence a second axiom can't follow.

The other minor problem which I already mentioned is that the first axiom does not say in what way the onto-genetic base of the subject is internally conflicted or non-all. So there can be no proof from neurobiology to back up the first axiom, because it's a meaningless claim. Also, Zizek's philosophy predates Malabou's book, so it's disingenuous for you to present TM as if it came from a deep investigation into the latest results of neurobiology.

These are the ontological problems of TM, certainly, not limited to Zizek's philosophy alone.

A problem of a different kind with TM, again not limited to Zizek's TM, is the elimination of free choice. Free will is rendered meaningless, because for Zizek there are no unfree acts (and you still haven't tried to find me an example of free choice with which Zizek illustrates his Schellingian act).

communistingoodfaith
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May 14 2010 23:45

I find that hard to believe considering Zizek discusses Malabou's book IN the Parallax View. Maybe you have a problem proving the first axiom, and maybe Zizek does too, but Malabou does not, and neither does Johnston. Besides which, transcendental materialism is much more Johnston's production than Zizek's. As far as I'm concerned, and with the research I've done, there's more than enough information to prove the first axiom. This is precisely the goal of Malabou's book, and she does a good job at it as well. If you would like to discuss THIS, then by all means.

If anything, the first axiom IS the axiom, whereas the second axiom is merely the conclusion to the first, and therefore not genuinely axiomatic. I don't think the second axiom presupposes the first. Nor do I think it has to be presupposed. It's not a matter of presupposition, since many people between psychoanalysis, philosophy, and neuroscience provide a basis for thinking it as such. I don't think the first axiom is made SOLELY to account for the second "axiom". I think this first axiom IS demonstrable. If anything your issue should be focused on the first, and not the second. The arguments for it are thrown again and again. Discussion here is entirely possible. You're assuming that there can be no discussion of the first, and I don't understand why. You say that the first axiom doesn't say in what way this Real is conflicted. Sure, it doesn't say it RIGHT THERE, but it is something that Johnston goes over again and again, and if you WANT, but apparently you don't, I'm sure I can find those sources for you, including primary ones.

In terms of free/forced choice, I think it should be clear that the subject must choose itself, that is, freely assume what is in fact a forced choice, in order to account for choice at all, that is, the first choice of the self as the precondition for choice in itself.

To debate the cracks, fissures, and holes in nature IS a debatable topic, but I don't think you're interested in discussing this part. I am forced to ask, what is, then your operative definition for dialectical materialism? Because to say Zizek doesn't account for free choice, I think you're simply not doing the work. If your argument is with Zizek on this issue, THEN YES, I would encourage you to read Zizek. If the argument is with ME, then I will argue my point, but you need to make a decision here, because for me, I'm not perceiving a dead-lock in the argument itself. And if the quarrel is with Zizek's philosophy, then stop whining about my critique of your citation practices. Zizek's philosophy does not predate neuroscience or neurobiology. If anything the discourse of psychoanalysis is one which endeavors to show the LIMITS of determinism. You need to keep in mind that transcendental materialism is a RECENT development, and doesn't have its origins in Zizek's philosophy from the beginning. I would say Johnston's is the best work for arguing the first axiom, but I'm sure you'll fight me on that. Indeed, his first work, which isn't about Zizek at all, is precisely about the conflicted nature of the drives themselves. I have not had the privilege of finishing this text, however.

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Noa Rodman
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May 15 2010 12:18
communistingoodfaith wrote:
I find that hard to believe considering Zizek discusses Malabou's book IN the Parallax View.

What do you find hard to believe? Zizek has been saying Schelling is at the origin of dialectical materialism at least as early as his 1996 book 'The indivisble remainder' (8 years before Malabou's QFDNC). But it's already there in embryonic form in Zizek's 1989 The Sublime object of Ideology. I know Malabou is mentioned in PV. She is discussed positively for exactly a full one and a half page. So what?

communistingoodfaith wrote:
Maybe you have a problem proving the first axiom, and maybe Zizek does too, but Malabou does not, and neither does Johnston..

I don't have a problem proving it. It cannot be proven. You can't proof that the onto-genetic base of the subject is a corpo-Real non-all. I don't know why you keep directing my attention to Malabou; she is not a Lacanian, she does not prove the first axiom, she is more a theoretical enemy of Zizek. Her point is that the brain has the quality of plasticity, okay, but everyone knows that the spirit is not a bone or clockwork, it does not prove the first axiom. If the non-all nature of the subject is nothing but a fact, it would not have to be made into a philosophical axiom, would it?

communistingoodfaith wrote:
Besides which, transcendental materialism is much more Johnston's production than Zizek's. As far as I'm concerned, and with the research I've done, there's more than enough information to prove the first axiom. This is precisely the goal of Malabou's book, and she does a good job at it as well. If you would like to discuss THIS, then by all means.

TM is the term Johnston gave to Zizek's ontology, that's true. But the 2 axioms of TM are identical to the core point of Zizek's philosophy. If there is so much information, then show the proof, post the quote, whatever, you had to have done this already in the beginning. But you cannot proof the Real. The Real cannot be proven, get it? It's only through the symbolic that we get access to it. The Real has no ontological consistency. You really are a vulgar materialist positivist who thinks that a neuron or a network of neurons will prove the Real. That's not Zizek's argument though. He argues his point about the Real (the first axiom) on the field of philosophy (see his book on Schelling). I don't want to discuss Malabou; because Zizek's TM is not based on it, and second, this is not a debate for the sake of debate, this is only about the validity of Zizek's philosophy.

communistingoodfaith wrote:
If anything, the first axiom IS the axiom, whereas the second axiom is merely the conclusion to the first, and therefore not genuinely axiomatic.

That's what I meant, sorry if this wasn't clear.

communistingoodfaith wrote:
I don't think the second axiom presupposes the first.

Well, then we have different understanding of presupposing. How can the second axiom be a mere conclusion to the first, without presupposing it? THIS is what I meant with a non-debatable interpretation; the second axiom rests on the first. That's what I mean by presupposing.

communistingoodfaith wrote:
Nor do I think it has to be presupposed. It's not a matter of presupposition, since many people between psychoanalysis, philosophy, and neuroscience provide a basis for thinking it as such.

Of course there are people who don't need 'the Real' as the first axiom, to explain the negativity of thought. All non-Lacanians in the world for example. Indeed the first axiom does not have to be presupposed for them. But I'm talking about Zizek here, and for him the non-all nature of the onto-genetic base does need to be presupposed.

communistingoodfaith wrote:
I don't think the first axiom is made SOLELY to account for the second "axiom".

Yes it is. Why else would it be made?

communistingoodfaith wrote:
I think this first axiom IS demonstrable. If anything your issue should be focused on the first, and not the second. The arguments for it are thrown again and again. Discussion here is entirely possible. You're assuming that there can be no discussion of the first, and I don't understand why.

It is not demonstrable (see what I wrote above). I AM focused on the first axiom!
Where are the arguments thrown for it again and again? Then give me one argument, that's all I ask and sure then debate would be possible on the validity of the first axiom.

communistingoodfaith wrote:
You say that the first axiom doesn't say in what way this Real is conflicted. Sure, it doesn't say it RIGHT THERE, but it is something that Johnston goes over again and again, and if you WANT, but apparently you don't, I'm sure I can find those sources for you, including primary ones.

Sorry, but you won't find anything more specific about the first axiom other than 'internally conflicted libidinal economy'. The Real cannot even be conceptualized, really, it's nature is impenetrable, only accessible through the symbolic. The first axiom presupposes the second axiom, and is made solely for that (again Zizek admits this, so I don't know why you protest).

communistingoodfaith wrote:
In terms of free/forced choice, I think it should be clear that the subject must choose itself, that is, freely assume what is in fact a forced choice, in order to account for choice at all, that is, the first choice of the self as the precondition for choice in itself.

Ad nauseam. Give an argument as to why we MUST believe in the Schellingian act of freedom.

communistingoodfaith wrote:
To debate the cracks, fissures, and holes in nature IS a debatable topic, but I don't think you're interested in discussing this part.

As I reject the first axiom about the cracks in nature, yes I'm not interested in a debate which does not question the first axiom.

communistingoodfaith wrote:
I am forced to ask, what is, then your operative definition for dialectical materialism? Because to say Zizek doesn't account for free choice, I think you're simply not doing the work. If your argument is with Zizek on this issue, THEN YES, I would encourage you to read Zizek. If the argument is with ME, then I will argue my point, but you need to make a decision here, because for me, I'm not perceiving a dead-lock in the argument itself.

Why do I have to give a definition for dialectical materialism? My argument is with Zizek's account of free choice. I read Zizek. My argument still is that the Schellingian free act imposes on a subject an atemporal (which the subject didn't make) choice. For Zizek there is no conscious decision made by the subject, so no free will.

communistingoodfaith wrote:
And if the quarrel is with Zizek's philosophy, then stop whining about my critique of your citation practices.

You're doing the whining, with your 'critique' of my 'citation practices'.

communistingoodfaith wrote:
Zizek's philosophy does not predate neuroscience or neurobiology.

I said Zizek's philosophy predates his interest in neurobiology.

communistingoodfaith wrote:
If anything the discourse of psychoanalysis is one which endeavors to show the LIMITS of determinism. You need to keep in mind that transcendental materialism is a RECENT development, and doesn't have its origins in Zizek's philosophy from the beginning.

If you say so.

communistingoodfaith wrote:
I would say Johnston's is the best work for arguing the first axiom, but I'm sure you'll fight me on that. Indeed, his first work, which isn't about Zizek at all, is precisely about the conflicted nature of the drives themselves. I have not had the privilege of finishing this text, however.

You can say Johnston has used the first axiom as a starting point in the most productive way. The first axiom has not been argued either by him though.

communistingoodfaith
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May 15 2010 15:24

I think Malabou's text is important because it precisely shows how the biological body is not-All in relation to the subject, that the subject is in excess of simple biological algorithms.

But I don't see how you can say the second "axiom" presupposes the first, when the first is precisely the production of the first. It's not presupposing the first, the first is owed FIRST.

I think you're confusing the Real tout-court and the biological Real of the body. If you think it's a simple axiom that presupposes an initial axiom, which you could very well argue, I would have to ultimately conclude though, so what? Since all philosophy sooner or later will run into its own unprovable axiom, which is what makes it in a certain sense an axiom. I would say that this first axiom is based in science, at least. This is why I think Malabou's text is important, in her discussion of primarily cerebral plasticity, not the philosophical plasticity of her Avenir de Hegel text.

I think the second "axiom", which isn't an axiom, is the conclusion of the first. That is, I disagree on the order in which you insist. I think the first axiom comes, and we therefore conclude with the second. I don't think the second is put forward and then a first axiom presupposed. I'm not sure how we could argue that point, as it could be simply rhetorical.

I personally am not familiar with the Schellingian act of freedom, but I do understand the Hegelian act of freedom as negativity, to me, there's no problem here. I simply have no read much Schelling.

How can you say you're interested in discussing the first axiom if you simply outright reject it? You switch between saying you want to debate it and you don't.

And I'm not whining. You keep going on and on about Zizek being boring or banal, etc., but for some reason you can't stop talking about it. And I see how often you respond, so for you to tell me it's boring, well, I don't buy it.

Zizek's philosophy does predate neuroscience, as does Lacan's as well, and Lacan was clear to point out that science would bear out a number of his ideas, as has been done with Freud.

But again, there have been numerous biological aspects in terms of the biological Real, neuroscience as foundations for TransMat. To say it hasn't been argued is disingenuous.