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notes and thoughts in philosophy



Last Build Date: Wed, 18 Oct 2017 14:11:14 +0000

 



Comment on Reading ‘A Thousand Plateaus’ #1 – ‘rhizome, root and radicle’ by notebooker

Wed, 18 Oct 2017 14:11:14 +0000

A useful note on the problem of translating 'agencement' as 'assemblage' over here: https://courses.nus.edu.sg/course/elljwp/deleuzeandguattari.htm There's also the curious drawings of Marc Ngui over here: http://www.bumblenut.com/drawing/art/plateaus/index.shtml



Comment on ATP reading notes 2 – the first 4 principles of the rhizome by patricio

Sun, 15 Oct 2017 15:20:52 +0000

thanks for posting this series!! muchas gracias!!



Comment on The ghosts of departed quantities by What did Newton mean by "Ghosts of Departed Quantities" | Physics Forums - The Fusion of Science and Community

Mon, 12 Jun 2017 03:51:28 +0000

[…] answer is here: http://notebookeleven.razorsmile.org/the-ghosts-of-departed-quantities/ The ghosts were the infinitesimals used in Calculus which disappear in the limit.   […]






Comment on Some thoughts on democracy and the death of Tony Benn by Matt

Sat, 06 Dec 2014 23:04:24 +0000

Yeah this was bad news. A bone fide statesman who cared about people. Great to read some of your history with the big man. I wanted to be a bit critical with this one. A freer democracy is achievable, for sure, along the lines you note. It always seems achievable once the dual problems of the politically uneducated masses and the incredible power of those with influence over them have been seen as simple rational calculations that any reasonable person can figure out. I don't know what kind of value fits here, but I don't trust this (mainstream left-wing) line of argument that says we simply educate. I don't know what 'we' means, anyway. Now, I'd wager the corruption of democracy is set within the terms of the debate. An extreme example, but one that could have an immediate response: A politicised group of people decide the details of their working conditions, but never ask why they are working. This second issue is not a political question because it isn't sensible; democracy as decision making, whether in centralised or localised governments, just is conservative by nature. I think this is just because making 'important decisions' rules out decisions that aren't deemed important. I think why we work is a terribly important question. And of course democracy is conservative because of the need for consensus, and which might be bad for more reasons than this (recalling Nietzsche). You write "How might we tell when we have imposed on others our own decisions rather than communicated with them to make a decision? When they revolt, when they resist, when they rebel." - but communicating with people is just the way that they accept violence without resisting. So as long as we 'communicate' and cooperate and make decisions together, I reckon we're non the wiser. I'd much rather people be directly imposed upon and then have a chance to rebel! That to me seems safer (if less safe for 'we' and 'us', whoever they are). I'm also vaguely aware that when I speak for myself it is often someone speaking for me, so what chance do we have to be authentic in any case? I'd also hate politics to have 'my voice' in there somewhere. Gives me a shudder.



Comment on The class war in our heads by Matt

Wed, 03 Dec 2014 15:11:06 +0000

It seems that history had determined that 'working class struggle', or whatever it was, as something very real to me but utterly unclear and attacked on all sides. Workerism never even began to take root with me, ignorant and harmful as working class people often are (not in terms of their redeemable behaviour, that is, just in terms of who - what - they 'are'). So there was the war against the immediate, the look, taste and smell of life. Wanting to 'drop in' to society was always a cop-out; when I started hearing grey people talking about 'opportunities for young people' in the 90s I knew it was a betrayal of how anybody poor actually felt. And yet this weak line is the one people adapted themselves to and continue with today. As long as they reinterpret themselves as potentially happy as long as they have the right values, they are content (and touchy!). Very religious self-betrayal. And the politician-businessmen aren't very good priests, after all. It just speaks to the demand for righteousness no matter the cost (i.e. that your family will always be poor, but the 'biggest adult' has their consolation), and the fear of any large task that real politics would demand. Learning to be more intellectual, which meant initially reading a couple of books, through to fumbling through a BA and MA Philosophy, meant that I encountered the betraying class - the middle class - as a neophyte of its order. Having had no real issue in those years accepting the kind of speaking and thinking required of being a smart member of society, as I grew more it seemed to be very heavily invested in walking a thin line of 'reasonableness' - an unreasonable amount of reasonableness, I suppose. It is the sickly sweet, cooperative, explain anything away nature of the voices, faces, gestures and impostures of the middle class that makes me very sick to look and to listen at them. The ethical line never felt OK that one should simply never take any action unless following some line of authority. Or in fact that all moral virtue is expressed in charity toward others. Given that the upper classes always needed the guillotine meant that there was no 'working class'-ness to care about, no intellectual way out (of the betrayal of the working class), and a country that needed destroying before it could be rebuilt. Political? I have ended up being apolitical, although I still have in my brain all the 'critical' voices of the left-wing books and media I have ever read. At the moment I choose to ignore those voices as being beside the point. Whether people need to learn the standard political, cultural, economic critiques (or be comfortable expressing facsimilies of them) in order to ward off the crushing conservatism and economic, psychological superstitions of our times, I'm really not sure. In fact I feel like there is not time to do this, no time to educate and to learn (whilst always giving that false middle-class sense of self). There is no Zizek-style radical revolutionary warrior that needs to be awakened in each of us (for our own benefit) - Zizek and others have no idea just how bad everything actually is. If he, if the left-wing intelligentsia knew, just one account of a portion of a life, it would amount to more sorrow than is contained in any historical referent of the same, and force them out of study. So Matt yes, I agree, there is a class war in our heads, but only if our heads are not our heads, our thoughts not our own and our feelings needing more than redescription - by Freudian theory, by schizoanalysis etc. In fact they need that performativity, that access to absolute action that is not social that is called upon by schizoanalysis. There are definitely weapons out there - but piecemeal ones. It matters more who wields them, and there is no conceptual landscape to prejudge tha[...]



Comment on The class war in our heads by matt

Sat, 29 Nov 2014 20:55:32 +0000

I'm reconnecting with your writing and musings Matt. After a short stint in the teaching profession I'm undertaking, finally, my philosophical journey. I was a 'thatcher child', as the phrase goes, new town council-estate raised casualty of war. Put another way, I knew I was in deep shit from the start. I avoid saying 'from an early age' because doesn't that imply that there is some horizon of mastery that I could theoretically acquire, or be later analysed to resolve my pain with? No I was simply in the middle of a class war. But how to express the terms of all this? class war is such a clumsy term... on mobile, more later



Comment on Celibate machines and epiphenomenalism by Close though-still-misguided: three schizosophical impressions about Joshua Ramey’s introduction to The Hermetic Deleuze | ~ S c h i z o s o p h y ~

Wed, 13 Mar 2013 07:16:13 +0000

[...] a bit what I just recently commented to Mat Lee in his blog regards to this passage [here and here]: the question concerned to what the celibate machine produces, formulated by Deleuze and Guattari, [...]



Comment on Concrete communism & the problem of the cell and the new organism by notebooker

Tue, 05 Mar 2013 13:11:38 +0000

Some interesting questions that made me think about how to explain some of this material, something I've been trying to do as I teach Marx to second year undergrads at the moment. I will try and develop some of the ideas I'm working on to see if I can answer some of your questions, but I would caution you (anyone reading this) that I am currently working my way through some of the details of Marx again and am quite possibly wildly astray or doing huge violence to Marx. Until I feel like I'm on stronger grounds with my own exegetical work it's a matter of caveat emptor. That said, let's begin with the idea of socialised labour. The idea that capitalism needs to fully socialise labour is intended to indicate the underlying way in which labour is constituted within capitalism. Here the distinction that is important is between concrete and abstract labour. We can see this distinction in considering how much time it might take to do something. Concrete labour is the amount of time it actually takes a particular individual to do some job X. We sometimes use this idea intuitively when we say something like 'it takes such-and-such time to do a job' or ask the question, 'how long can it take' to do something, the latter question often asked with a kind of sarcasm when we encounter someone taking longer than we imagine necessary for something. Let's use a specific example - mowing the lawn. Abstract labour is the amount of time it theoretically takes to mow the lawn. Each individual mows at a different speed. If we took a range of such individuals and averaged out the amount of time each took to mow the lawn we might say that this average is the 'abstract labour time' involved in mowing the lawn as distinct from the 'concrete labour time' an individual takes. Some people will be faster, some slower but there is supposedly some amount of time 'it takes'. Now with this distinction in mind we then need to add the concept of the commodity as Marx develops it in his work, the commodity being the basic cell form of capitalism. One of the central commodities is, of course, labour, bought by the capitalist as part of the production process. Except it's not concrete labour the capitalist buys but abstract labour, this abstract labour often being called 'labour power'. The capitalist doesn't pay me to do a job in my own way but simply to do a job and they pay based on an estimate of the labour power that 'it takes' to do the job. This is easy to see if we simply consider two workers mowing the lawn. Worker X moves slowly, is perhaps a perfectionist, mows the lawn spectacularly well and with great care but takes 8 hours to do it. Worker B does the job effectively, although there may be the odd scrape, and takes one hour. Now the rate of pay is £5 per hour. It seems 'unfair' to us that worker A would get £40 for the 'same job' that worker B gets £5 for. We might defend the difference in terms of quality or some other criteria, but we have problems quantifying the realm of the qualitative, and wages are basically quantities paid for quantities. The quantity that is paid for is 'labour power'. We quantify labour power by the amount of time 'it takes' to do the job and in Marx this is called 'socially necessary labour time' (SNLT). Now the crux here, sorry to be long-winded, is that SNLT is an abstract amount of labour, the quantity of which is determined by the social. The question of why it is determined by the social I will come onto in a moment. If, however, the amount of labour power is quantified by the social in the form of SNLT then it is socialised labour, rather than concrete labour. The more we can socialise labour, the more [...]



Comment on Concrete communism & the problem of the cell and the new organism by Miguel

Tue, 05 Mar 2013 07:27:04 +0000

This is an interesting topic, you somehow are able to pinpoint the problems of the Left and Right and yet you still leave the topic open, unbiased, i think you are a great thinker. But after reading this there are things im not getting. for example: what do you mean by capitalism not fully socializing labor? and why is this central to capitalism? I thought that people in a capitalist society thrive on innovation, and this is spilling with abstract thought. That is, in order to innovate, abstract thought has to be present. Or what am I not getting? I dare to say that abstract thought exists in its own way to each and everyone of us eternally. Therefore abstract thought cannot comply with the most fundamental task you mention: to make social conditions such that each hour of labor should count as equal, because abstract thinking will always emerge returning to individual grounds. Otherwise stop feeding the mind with new thoughts or imaginations and accept social norms without questioning it. An idea I keep thinking is why not make a standard way of living such as a nice house with sufficient needs for a family of say 4 to 6 as a worldly infrastructure, yet whoever wants more, should work harder to get, and if this ambition fails, you could always return to the original infrastructure. But i know you can already see the contradictions in this idea. Well anyways this was an interesting article and all i can say is that in trying to understand and fix the problems of hate and war on earth, we slowly reach peace and equality for all.