PERFORMATIVE CONTRADICTIONS IN LEVI BRYANT'S NATURALISMby Terence Blake(1 FOUNDATIONAL NON!FOUNDATIONALISM
There are a number of interesting performative contradictions to be found in Levi Bryant's work. The first I will consider concerns the contradiction between Bryant's desire to inherit and carry further certain progressive post-structuralist themes and his allegiange to the regressive schemas of object-oriented ontology. espite espousing non-foundationalism and conceptual e!perimentation Levi Bryant does have a foundational level and vocabulary" that of ###" which his appeal to the $withdrawal$ thesis illustrates. This is not a semantic contradiction" as Levi is careful to distinguish
epistemology and ontology. Bryant's concepts" while rather unstable" are still foundational due to his having borrowed the form of its metaphysical heuristics from obect oriented ontology" which poses an ontological foundation with its withdrawing objects. Bryant has now %for the time being& distanced himself from ### and the strong withdrawal thesis" preferring to talk in terms of units %instantiated recently by machines and some form of weak withdrawal" a naturalisation of (arman's strong metaphysical withdrawal %which has the disadvantage of subtracting objects from the play of material causality.espite his appeals to science Levi Bryant is still responsible before the )uestion *(ow do you know+" not in the narrow sense of any particular knowledge claim but in the global sense of *(ow do you know your fundamental ontology is true, and is it revisable,$ The )uestion amounts to is your machine-oriented ontology just a useful heuristic that can guide and e!plicate philosophical and scientific research" or is it a new foundation" unrevisable in its basic structure,rom a Latourian view everything is heuristic" but Bryant does not and cannot espouse this non-foundationalism with respect to science. /hat Bryant is doing is metaphysics than science" and bad metaphysics at that. (e is proposing a metaphysical interpretative synthesis based on an e!trapolation of the sciences as he imagines them" and thus he is shielding himself both from scientific testability" and from serious engagement with the philosophical views he wishes to refute or to sidestep. Bryant is speaking from his own personal no man0s land" neither inside science nor inside philosophy.The )uestion *(ow do you know,+ addressed to Bryant does not ask about observable facts nor even about scientific generalisations" but about his ontological foundation. Bryant has occasionally cited Latour0s 12I3423 I4 52TI#4" but the answer that Bryant needs is not forthcoming in that book . The )uestion crops up for any fundamental ontology and cannot be evacuated by semantic word-magic how do you s)uare your ontological foundation with your epistemological non-foundationalism,3ach time the )uestion is posed Bryant displaces the general )uestion *(ow do you know your foundational ontology is true+ onto specific )uestions such as medication versus e!orcism in the case of epilepsy. urther" all Latour0s work on different r6gimes of truth is thrown to the wind" condemned as $relativism$ without being e!plored or even understood./hat remains" in Bryant's case" is a scientistic re-doubling of his non-empirical ontology" as if the one could palliate the deficiencies of the other. The problem posed for Bryant's defence of naturalism is that of the recourse to a non-empirical ontology. I think it is plain for all to see that Levi0s answer to the )uestion *(ow do you know,+ is *I don0t+" and the rest is misdirection.
(" LACANIAN NATURALISM
Levi Bryant claims to build on his $work on masculine se!uation$ and to contribute to an analysis of the pervasiveness of theistic structures of thought" e!tending to cases where the e!plicit content