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Preferred Citation: Bencivenga, Ermanno. My Kantian Ways . Berkeley: University of California Press, c1995 1995. http://ark.

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My Kantian Ways
Ermanno Bencivenga
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA PRESS Berkeley · Los Angeles · Oxford © 1995 The Regents of the University of California

Preferred Citation: Bencivenga, Ermanno. My Kantian Ways. Berkeley: University of California Press, c1995 1995. http://ark.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/ft9j49p35z/

Preface
The early 1990s will forever be, for me, the Hegel years, the years of Kierkegaard and Nietzsche and Heidegger. And, of course, of Anselm. Years in which I stretched my resources and taxed my energy to the limit trying to cover more ground—and not minding how thinly. Yet, as I look over the musings and reveries and venoms collected here, I find Kant's majestic figure imposing itself once more. I can't get away from him; nor, for that matter, do I want to. The challenge of coping with him without being swallowed whole is enough of a motivation to develop a vaster array of tools than I ever dreamed I needed; the depth into which he throws the most marginal, humble occurrences is more of a reason for thinking that the world around me matters than I ever thought was possible. Some of these pieces deal with Kant directly; others are written in his wake. In all of them, my greatest debt is to him; if such are indeed my ways, profound gratitude is felt for the one who marked them. IRVINE, JUNE 1994 ―1―

Introduction
I've had my share of abuse over the years. It comes with the territory. In this racket (maybe in every racket) you have your basic choice to be either a good boy or a power player, and if you

choose to be neither you're going to make some people mad. So they will send you "messages," or make you offers they couldn't refuse, or, again, abuse your work—usually under the hypocritical guise of anonymously refereeing it. It didn't prevent me from publishing anything I wanted, but it sure was entertaining. It is comical to see these stuffed animals catch fire and be stupefied by their own rage, and stutter their awkwardness as they find themselves in an unfamiliar passionate mood—one for which they have developed no new moves since high-school dances, and those old ones are rusty. More comical even than watching them trot out their formless grey suits, legs hopelessly short, during the morning session of some silly conference, and then sport their flaccid bodies in Hawaiian shirts at night, when it's time to socialize and have fun, and maybe do some power playing too—for, after all, that is the most fun. So I amused myself discovering that my "reading [of Kant] . . . is in such direct defiance of the plain sense of the text that [the referee could] only attribute it to willful perversity," or that my "complaints and observations . . .add up to a jumble that points to no plausible, specific conclusion of the slightest novelty." Amused myself lightly, for this was no Cervantes or Molière, and then tried to see if anything could be learnt ―2― from it—which sometimes was the case, when fury had not struck the unlucky reviewer totally dumb. One of these enlightening cases had to do with my Anselm book, and with a particularly unappreciative judge of it who "would have [had] difficulty approving it if it were submitted as a Master's thesis." In a suggestive passage of his/her/its scathing indictment, this individual described me as "playing a kind of self-indulgent intellectual peekaboo with the subject, and with [my] readers." I've been reflecting on this remark ever since (it's been well over two years now), and I think the time has come to articulate my reflections in public. The remark was supposed to be a harshly critical one, and, as I see it, there are three possible elements of criticism voiced. There is play, peekaboo, and self-indulgence. I will begin with the last one. In my Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary , self-indulgence is defined as "excessive or unrestrained gratification of one's own appetites, desires, or whims." (A whim, incidentally, is "a capricious or eccentric and often sudden idea or turn of the mind.") Which, in general and in the present context, is supposed to be a bad thing. But it will take some work to understand what is supposed to be bad about it. The present context is one in which I write—"creatively," of course, since it's from "original work" that you are to get your mileage here. And everybody knows that creation most often issues from gratifying one's most capricious or eccentric or sudden turns of mind—if one is fortunate enough to have any. So is it my appetites and desires that I should leave at the entrance of my study—and my balls too, maybe? Should I forget my passions: what gives me joy, or frightens me, or makes me want to cry, what defines me as this pained or elated body and soul? Should I pass in silence my daughter's slender figure—how warm and pretty it is as she drapes and layers it with stockings and socks and skirts and jackets and ribbons, how elegantly she pushes it forward on those long legs of hers? Should I swallow my tears for The Siege that will not be, because Sergio Leone was betrayed by a failing heart at age sixty and no one is left with the courage and vision to attempt his impossible project, and I will never sit

in a corner of a dark theater and forget my misery for three hours watching it? I don't think I should; I don't think anybody would recommend that. What would be left of me, of my "creative powers," if I forgot everything I am, the terrain on which I grow, the aromas brought by my winds? I shouldn't forget it, the answer will go, but I should "restrain" it. It's unproductive to let oneself loose. One should draw whatever force or ―3― motivation one can from this humus but then use it to address common issues, matters generally recognized as important. One should look at a picture of one's family and smile reassuringly and then plunge into a corporate raid, or a committee meeting, or whatever other ambush or make-work counts as respectable these days. There is a hell for people corrupting intellectual work like that, torturing it on the Procrustean bed of professional competence, freezing it with the stiff iciness of their blank stares. In hell, they are forced to spend what time they have reading and praising other people who didn't want to leave their lives at the door, and chanced their irrelevance, and exposed them in sordid detail. Hell, of course, is where the corrupters do time now, before their afterlives, occasionally consoling themselves with the suggestion that they are oh-so-much-smarter than those other shameless shams, so much more in command of an established Lebensform —but still nailed to the shams' splintery cross, still bleeding on the splinters and the nails, and still getting no wiser for it. If I had wanted to be established and respectable, I would have gone into banking, I guess, or law or something of the sort. Done my quota of slavery on borrowed money to earn the appropriate degree and then made others pay for it, with interest. Bought myself a mansion, cash, some place nice, and parked my boat at the local harbor. But I decided I would do philosophy, you see: the sort of thing people were executed for, the "business" that makes housemaids laugh and institutions tremble. I decided I would question standards and challenge received opinions and be a gadfly, and he/she/it who wrote the merciless indictment I'm debating decided that, too, I take it, so he/she/it knows that you can only do this thing with full commitment, throwing all of your weight on the scale, appetites and desires and whims and everything else, and if there is nothing there then there is nothing there and that's that, but what in the world is he/she/it doing accusing me of lack of restraint? Who would have wanted Plato or Spinoza or Hume or Sartre to restrain himself? Where would this "profession" be without their unrestrained appetites and whims? And, if I'm not like them why doesn't he/she/it just say so? Why this detour through self-indulgence? What exactly is wrong with self-indulgence anyway? The other words of condemnation may be of help here, so let's turn to them. I'm not just being self-indulgent, my critic says. Self-indulgence comes in various forms: I could, for example, make a scene, or regurgitate for the nth time a joke no one finds funny, or vent my personal irritation under the convenient guise of an anonymous referee. None of ―4― that, however, is what my critic accuses me of; he/she/it says rather that I play a self-indulgent game (peekaboo is "a game for amusing a baby in which one repeatedly hides his face or body and pops back into view exclaiming 'Peekaboo!' "—more about these details later). So

overgrown child who turns to his private delight the sacred tools of the trade. getting lost in my own rhetoric. pleasure tends to be closer to the surface. but still not performed for extrinsic utilitarian reasons. the vertigo that got you in here in the first place. I don't know that Plato was especially sad when writing dialogues. The suggestion. desires. frustrated. We want you to write footnotes of footnotes for a dozen years. stern lessons. by explicit admission. or you wouldn't be caught in its snares: you would find better (more profitable. Unless they acquired the proper discipline. The image is a realistic one. Not the sort of thing a good family man would do. all those days of their lives wasted in self-sacrifice and self-denial adding precious bits of knowledge to the common store. period. or any of the other crap we threw at you in your intro courses. so that alibi won't work. For any self-indulgent practice is already gratuitous: performed not so much for its own as for one's own sake to be sure. and if you do that you'll become like us. with play. more fun) ways of spending your time. Maybe all self-indulgent behavior is pleasurable: "pleasure" is plastic enough to cover even morbid nostalgia or temper tantrums. let alone embraced freely? Tell them: never mind the meaning of life or the ultimate foundations or a just society. how it uses all the right words to get you to nod. ―5― never mind the excitement. is that what is disreputable with the specific brand of self-indulgence my writing amounts to is the obvious pleasure I derive from it. the ambition. and follows him all the way to the gingerbread house. unmistakable. anything that brightened their lives—make them proficient at a tedious routine they might not even have associated with their calling. You must like it.let me rephrase my question: what's wrong with playing a self-indulgent game? A game that gratifies (in an excessive. And entrap your own share of bright kids. not aimed at some extrinsic utilitarian goal. or whims? What self-indulgent play adds to self-indulgence. So what a reference to play must be doing here is bringing out the pleasure that accompanies this particular kind of self-indulgence. you will say: letting my passions run unrestrained. For. apparent. and when you have nodded yourself to sleep you will not even know what . and avenge your ruined life by ruining theirs. and cheated of a future. and be able to attend conferences and get tenure and sit on boards and sport a Hawaiian shirt over an extended belly. the suggestion makes sense. then. enthusiastic kids and drive them away from anything they were enthusiastic about. as contrasted with a "serious" activity. unless they were taught some hard. their "enthusiasm" would dissipate and leave them empty-handed. As is always the case when one listens too closely to a demagogue. But. cannot be play's gratuitousness. Here I am overdoing it again. but play is the weekend. Why should I call this "entrapping" and "ruining"? All it is is the channeling of intellectual and emotional resources toward the production of something that students themselves can be proud of. one enjoys it. isn't the rite of passage into the profession supposed to be a painful one? Aren't we supposed to take bright. more valuable. With everything else one can give oneself the (often disingenuous) alibi of being forced into it and waiting for the weekend. their labor and sweat. The problem with this rhetoric is the superficial sense it makes. Play is an activity one indulges in because . unrestrained way) one's appetites. what others took pains to develop and practice. but put that aside now: the image conjured here is that of an irresponsible.

We will rather use it to make a clear. and we won't waste it. surely it's not painful either. ―6― cheap preaching. the "commitments" that will nicely fit in your calendar. or to think that calling it that is calling it names. any quiet settling down. the extremeness of one's desires. The Gay Science . you want to fight. how much was stolen from you. One doesn't have to. indoctrination as teaching. complacency as achievement. probing the robustness of one's appetites. gloomy. toward uncertain destinations. leaving you pointlessly tired. any self-righteous disparagements of those who would rather "play" far from the beaten tracks. And loving it. what they should be doing—pursuing whims along meandering paths. gayly. will add no special value to their sorry lives. I'll say then. It wasn't any kind of game I was blamed for playing with my subject and readers.[1] at that caricature of seriousness which will be ridiculed by the energy. any dismal calls for the "family values" of accountability and thrift are but stratagems to mask a reality of irresponsible squandering. The reality of an easy life for the few who jumped on the right train and held tight to the rails: verbiage sold as research. We need to get to that last word of invective. But we don't have time for that sort of thing: our time is finite. of futile expenditure of precious resources—including young people's enthusiasm and ambition. Nor will it authorize them to call selfindulgent play any names. because that's when the real discipline shows: when your feet or fingers or words can jump effortlessly. creaking machine" intellect is for most. it takes a tremendous amount of discipline. And to do all this with merriment and love. But enough of that. to take the path of least resistance. to do what's easiest anyway. one knows not why. comfortably drugged. biased. Of course this is hardly an "argument": it doesn't proceed by repeated applications of modus ponens to prove what was already obvious. when you can afford to stick your tongue out at the "clumsy. one thing deserves notice: peekaboo games are highly pleasurable for both . That's what it takes to play both ends against any middle. to force all issues until they break. which is precisely why they have to look downcast as they make their move: they just want you to fit the crowd. the concentration. that serves them right and gives them no moral edge: their gloominess. and if there is nothing thrilling about that. expropriating it with a smile. I'm not going to stand for their puffing up their chests and uttering wartime calls for blood and tears. It isn't: selfindulgent play is what philosophy is all about. To begin with. real or pretended. Sunday supplement puzzles as depth. to betray any expectations. There is nothing especially excruciating to what they offer. "language writing you. Yes. arrogance as expertise. or maybe even with them. the seductive "work" forever available to fill any time you might be troubled enough to have. any dead center. remember: it was a game of peekaboo. it takes teaching oneself the hardest lessons. to be able to keep one's excitement and ambition and vertigo. others' or your own.damage you suffered. Any goody-goody references to the profession's unpleasant necessities. and face the solitude of a page that is not always already written because you've decided you don't want to be a footnote. controversial point. 257. Busywork will be your passport to mindlessness. If indeed none of this privilege gives the cheats joy. however hopelessly." That's what it takes to refuse the easy allurements called discipline in Newspeak. I'm not going to let these poor excuses for humans get away with their [1] Nietzsche. and the joy of any child intent on beating a videogame.

slimy creature were watching in. yes. "Look at the self-indulgent game of peekaboo that father is playing with his little child!" You do feel the evil radiating from this remark. Then I would be depicted as some sort of fraud. communicative) success. Eventually. Those who are ready to put out all the effort.parties. Some will scar them for life.[3] . There are all sorts of dirty. But we won't. now as a few times before. So. and the hiding may be part of an effort to make ―8― the reader more involved in the search. self. in general. is what sort of criticism this is: where the punch is supposed to hit. So if I do hide it's not to keep anything for myself. to deny anyone access. I'm going to take cover behind my words and not reveal what I'm up to. and only surface unexpectedly. Not all readers. at any time. its spoiler's tone. As if some foreign. to learn some further evil twist from it. if it is this kind of game that I play. It might be that the hiding part is a problem. everything is going to appear. those who are going to take my hand and try this dance. all cards on the table. most of them they won't like at all. When you look at it that way. it's one that is only going to worry a Humean: it's going to be hard to unconvince them that objects continue to exist when they're not looking. it sounds like I'm not only self -indulging: it sounds like my readers and (who knows?) maybe even my subject might find themselves happily indulged. and clearly not the one who brought up this issue. and repeat this trick over and over. if (as is often suggested) this kind of active involvement is essential to pedagogical (and. no less than the adults treating them to it. unpredictably. on a rainy night. not just yet.and other-indulgent) game of hiding and then showing oneself. But peekaboo they enjoy a lot. undergo all the training needed to make sure that. I myself will often be under the table.[2] And. They enjoy it so much that they go on to play it themselves. if for nothing else than to make himself look more interesting. and then suddenly flash it in people's faces. It may be that I really want my readers to get what I'm up to. 14ff. in fact. But my readers. ―7― scar. forever attempting to deprive others of a clear view into his shabbiness. perverse games one can play with babies. So a very specific intimation is given here of the silly charade I'm trying to get my readers and subject involved in. it does feel as if something dirty were going on. not the ones who have bowed out. if it does leave a [2] Beyond the Pleasure Principle . and then go secret again. more of a participant in it. I'm not going to play a fair and square deal. whatever dance we decided it was. in defiance of rules. its envious anger. enforce all the discipline. and mumbling to itself. what genre this piece belongs to. of course. You do wish you could send the creature on its way and be left alone with your joy. however few of them there are: the people for whom I write. with people and even with objects: Freud is our witness here. The question. that indeed would fit the general propaganda well—the emphasis on truth and transparency and illumination professionals are so fond of. Except that peekaboo is also a game of showing. the next step might always contradict our decision. First we need to excavate the remark further. For peekaboo is a (mutually enjoyed. the joy of all of you. however much trouble it is to figure out what dance it is.

call it peekaboo: this inconsiderate. then. a welcome part. if that's your life. But that I don't want to fool anybody either: whether or not you take it and run with it—and I hope you do. if that's who you are. So. like nothing at all. and so much the better if it sounds like the distance is established because of how much this other . If. but it's part of me. I'm not showing any taste. and the fun will continue whatever you do with it. in bus terminals or subway stations. Could it be that that's what my critic is so upset about: the revealing. why would you want to show it to anybody? Why wouldn't you rather resist showing it. Even the hottest topics. since peekaboo is a game of showing oneself . of lack of restraint. that the object of this game is to eventually show one's face. this awful stew. for its sake—it didn't just "come" to me. And I rejoice in it. of blaming the opposite. in full light—which may well be what my critic is afraid of. in a "disinterested" way. and run with it—and forever forget my importunate presence. The fact is that "peekaboo" is a very economical term of abuse. and removing it would make me a lesser being. the sins that stained him. how to hide behind impersonal words—words that could belong to anybody and hence do not especially belong to me. you do put some pressure on it. of anything that might make it (whatever it is—a dinner. [3] See chapter 11 below. They have no personal histories. So. where one is going to lose one's money betting on something one thought one saw. It feeds on what I feed on. the stiffness of the movements. is largely a disappearing act. just as mandatory. neutered language. in this day and age (and country). They make cozy remarks in the preface—a luminary has even theorized that. it warms itself at my fire. and this play is fun. with the scares that humbled him. and being conducted straight into the dining-room. take it. They look more and more like Matt Groening's "Gone Mom"[4] —that is. by moving very gently around the issue. the inexorability of the ritual. being found out? Peekaboo. If you don't put pressure on it. you realize that no money is involved here. Like in that other game played with three tablets. indecent exhibition of one's private parts. on the other hand. ―9― while giving the impression of blaming something else—indeed. Call it that and establish your distance from it. a book) worthwhile. not the hiding? It's not implausible: it would fit with the earlier suggestions of excessiveness. I bring it out once in a while and play with it. display no emotions. the mirages that delighted him. more than just "my claims" are going to appear. said that he's "always disappointed when a book lacks a preface: it is like arriving at someone's house for dinner. of trickery. they address in a corporate. one gets in fact to voice one's real anxieties. even the matters of life and death.Indeed. of swindle. the complaint would go now. it uses my own lymph to grow. It may be that I don't want to deny the point its chance. indulgently) remind my readers that under any philosophical "point" I happen to make there is this person making it. just because I happened to make it: I want to phrase it in such a way that you can find it attractive. take no risks. when one does get to the dinner table and faces the coldness of the food. to blame what one really intends to blame. What so-called philosophers are engaged in. It may be cancerous. so it may be that I also want to (playfully. one realizes that the earlier chattering was just as glacial. and the point means a lot to him—it connects not only with many other points but also with the juices of his life. this incestuous flirting. you come away with a general suggestion of concealment. I don't know how to make myself inconspicuous."[5] But then. Just as devoid of any humanity.

guy is trying to hide : that way you can continue to believe that you have nothing to hide. I'm going to get from my own life: it will be things that puzzled me. [5] Dummett. I do enjoy making dinner for myself too. however far this joyful practice may take those themes away from me. Frege: Philosophy of Language . in a sense. and set the dinner table next door. ― 11 ― Chapter One— The Electronic Self Recent literature on the social effects of computer networks[1] has brought out the following features: (a) Communication through computers tends to become "unregulated. I'm going to give myself what I want here. I'd like to think that there is no time when "greetings" are over and "dinner" begins. But that's not the reason I cooked them. from having me hide behind abstract themes—briefly. and McGuire. freer. or intrigued me. However much pleasure we can all derive from playing little games of peekaboo. going from the . I like to have dinner in the kitchen. how much we resonate with each other. or irritated me. and I wouldn't want you to think otherwise. in connection with the phenomena discussed here." These people "become. and munch something in the process. and Siegel. impulsive. ix. and prove them to have a life of their own. Kiesler. Because. and sometimes instead to scald. "Response Effects in the Electronic Survey". for example. is indeed the case. 3. I can get more or less of what I want. and slowly spill that way. Sproull and Kiesler. of course—and then show up again. "Group and Computer-Mediated Discussion Effects in Risk Decision Making. and depending on how close I am to the people there. I'm going to try to serve them in such a way that you might want [4] See Childhood Is Hell . chap. and have a beer or a glass of wine."[4] [1] See. I'm going to assume that you and I resonate together. see. uses of computer networks can be arranged in a spectrum. the cooking needed no such motivation. I like to do my cooking with them. Which."[2] (b) The behavior of people involved in it "becomes more extreme. and selfcentered. If that is impossible. computer-mediated decision making is "slightly risk seeking no matter what the choice was. that they could be to your liking. Things I needed to come to terms with—to simmer slowly sometimes."[3] (c) As opposed to face-to-face situations. The ingredients." I should emphasize from the beginning that. ironically enough. because there are too many people. Kiesler. "Reducing Social Context Cues". ― 10 ― to make them part of your metabolism. "Thinking Ahead". Kiesler and Sproull. and give you the sort of dinner I would enjoy.

playful. "Reducing Social Context Cues. an act of repression is in order to keep it separated ("abstracted") from that behavior. "Group and Computer-Mediated Discussion Effects. this exercise of power) is what establishes the difference "in principle" (the dualism . and McGuire. The basic tenets of the theory are as follows: (1) Originally. "Response Effects. but it is still fair for me to refer to computer networks at large because it is the availability of this general tool that makes the radical consequences possible."[6] and the point is convincingly illustrated by reference to the surprising social impact of such other technological advances as the elevator and the telephone. Sproull and Kiesler." 52." 927. Kiesler. (2) Because this mental play undermines the blind efficiency that is associated with unreflective. where people ("adults") do things for real. It is the radical consequences that I am interested in. Kiesler." 1497. forcing the new structure away from itself). See also Kiesler and Sproull. disconnecting the nursery where things are first tried out from the rest of the house."[5] A general conclusion of a leading researcher in the field is that these social effects "may be far greater and more important than you imagine. Still. (3) Among the strategies deployed to implement the repression of play. The background to the effort is constituted by a theory of subjectivity that I sketched out in my Montaigne book. the most effective and conspicuous utilizes the "lucky hit"[7] that made available to our species the very articulate medium of language. and Sproull and Kiesler. See also Kiesler and Sproull." 48. "Thinking Ahead. until the time when it might be of use." 927." but it "may also contribute to organizational instability. wildly) speculative effort to chart such effects. This chapter represents a highly (some might say.quite conservative to the radical (the latter is especially apparent with bulletin boards). the distinction between physical and mental activities is nothing but the distinction between customary. 411. in which complex models for (that is. as a possible preliminary to the establishing of new automatic concatenations (at which point "the mental" will already be somewhere else. if you will) between the physical and the mental. [3] Kiesler. and Siegel. ― 12 ― (d) Electronic mail "could contribute to organizational strength. [4] Kiesler. "Response Effects." 405. transgressive forcing of such routine practices away from their structure. "Thinking Ahead. This political act (that is. "Group and Computer-Mediated Discussion Effects. See also McGuire. [2] Kiesler. "Reducing Social Context Cues." 48. breaking the continuity between custom and innovation. these results and examples per se do not help us stretch our imagination and conceive of what exactly the ultimate effects of computer networks might be." 405. automatic concatenations of moves and the exploring. 1500. thereby generating a destabilizing situation of anxiety and guilt. and Siegel. substitutes of) ordinary practices can be constructed and then violence be done to these models instead of to . automatic behavior. "Thinking Ahead." 1495.

in Sproull and Kiesler. [10] This explanation is proposed. both favor higher risk taking and the contemplation of more extreme options. Still. See also notes 13 and 18 below. it is improper to think of these activities as constituting an object—a "mind. expressive of the conflicting points of view involved. it counteracts the consequences of the abstraction process. ― 13 ― the practices themselves.[5] Kiesler. One might say that such similarities are a natural consequence of a point explicitly brought out in (a) through (d): that the behavior of people involved in electronic communication is more "self-centered. by the end things should get clear. . Both are less regimented than ordinary practices. people tend to concentrate more on themselves." a "subject"—belonging to the same world as what is the case.[10] This is [8] It is only because of the rashness with which our species indulges in experimentation that dangers arise." And one might even find an obvious explanation for this point: when social reminders are lacking. With this background in mind. return to (a) through (d).[8] But still a problem that we might want to keep on having as a critical reminder so long as the Übermensch is out of the picture. they are also interconnected. and then again that it is. and then that it is not. Mind and body are not just two. "Reducing Social Context Cues. Any such operation is bound to bring forth conflicting statements. but if the risks involved in real violence are too great. and both may spread into the "public" sphere with destabilizing effects. a "language lab" may be the best we can do. and hence fear of those dangers. and the problem is posed of understanding how." 1495. (4) Since the concern of mental activities is with what is not (yet) the case. and hence the necessity somehow to relate the things we divided. There is no guarantee that the consequences of such substitute violence (of this play with words) will be at all informative if and when the violence occurs of which it is a substitute. Hopefully. to overempha-size their importance. An ideological problem if there ever was one: a problem that can only arise at the shaky point of equilibrium between rashness and fear where our form of life is situated. See also Sproull and Kiesler. "Thinking Ahead." 46. [7] This expression is self-consciously Nietzschean. So I will say that something is private. "Reducing Social Context Cues." 54. [6] Kiesler. such an improper constitution has a fundamental political significance: by reifying transgression. when seen in the proper (that is. and hence the necessity to cope with fear by (among other things) dividing and conquering. indeed attributing to it as much "substantial" weight as to the whole world of ordinary practices and things (a "thinking thing" materializes side by side with the "extended" one). the new) way. to bring out more of their personalities. [9] A large part of what I do here may be thought of as reconceptualizing privacy and extending it beyond human beings. for example." 149 8. There are interesting similarities between a computer network and the "privacy" of a human being[9] —between computermediated activities and mental ones. "Thinking Ahead.

And the same is true for the quasi-thing that goes under the name of "self ": in this case. the term "self. It is certainly possible to play with alternative states of affairs and try out various resolutions of them at any speed. a . when this happens. I do not start out by saying. a battery of defenses is called in place to neutralize it and save traditional routines. more basic behavioral stability. moves that have not been repeated yet—and it is only (logically) later that such moves are made to cluster around a "substantial" term. And there is nothing wrong with it. by inquiring into the conditions of application of key terms: in the present case." In the course of this account. Enter electronic mail. see my Kant's Copernican Revolution . what there is first is moves—novel. Of course. some transformations become standardized and hence recognizable. more risk taking. one that accounts for the data by mobilizing a spatiotemporal statistical regularity: if x happens.[12] but placing defenses is a process that takes time and effort. but there would be no such projection of an ontological stability if it weren't for a deeper. more occasional irresponsibility. at least. Because of this general feature of my framework. each individual human facing a screen and nothing else. one that accounts for the data by raising issues of legitimacy. more things can be said than can be done. too. too. that is. electronic mail is text-based. under these conditions it would be appropriate to bring out the same contrast between mental and physical activities. and then (if the political motivation were there) to [11] For this notion of realism and its idealist counterpart. and things only enter the picture later. It then often becomes possible to describe the outcome as the result of a set of interactions among relatively stable objects. that is. they may eventually get ahead of the opposition. But in principle there could be a self wherever the same conditions arose. and that humans have available a linguistic medium in which to indulge such freedom without suffering too much damage. that is. At least three features of it play an important role here. Third. it is quick. thus sharing in the liberating effect that language ordinarily has: for reasons mentioned above. we may be able to throw a different light on the empirical explanation. what kind of thing (object) the self is and then proceed to derive from this categorization some notion of how that particular thing might act and react. One fundamental feature of (1) through (4) is that they are not couched in the realist vocabulary of things . more playing with fire—than the behavior of other organisms or entities. much like each human occasionally faces his own unspoken words and nothing else.― 14 ― an empirical explanation. revolutionary ones. it happens in private (but see below). if at all.[11] Mine is a vocabulary of moves. of transformations of a manifold: such are my primitive terms. advantageous outcome. then y tends to happen. But what I am interested in is a conceptual explanation. more precisely. when a behavioral sequence crystallizes. It just so happens that the behavior of individuals of this species shows more "freedom"—that is. ― 15 ― phrase the contrast in terms of an opposition between two kinds of things. the more potential impact it will have. First. there is no necessary connection in it between the notion of a self and that of an individual of the biological species Homo sapiens . Second. Some moves are repeated. Any time a "deviant" move is suggested. as far as it goes. and if deviant moves pile up quickly. but the faster the game is. it is usually because the sequence tends to produce a predictable.

and an activity during which they display more freedom than when they do other things: things like driving and shopping and mailing conventional letters to each other. See chapter 3 of my Looser Ends . it is no wonder that the activities involved exhibit the characteristics that I decided to call "mental"—that is. Whose game is it then? An alternative suggestion might be "the network's. (Alternatively. our fundamental problem is finally allowed to emerge: whose activities are these. and the reason why it is not is precisely that the moves preparing that event involved so many other organs. too. it will take work. the fact that some human in particular plays out the consequences of the mental game is not decisive in establishing that it is his game. and silence. and it might take an effort to keep it in focus. transgressive (occasionally quite inflamed) experimentation that takes place involves. all of them. it will be possible to rewrite these features. and no longer attribute them to the participants. potentially at least. as I pointed out earlier. Once this is clear. whether or not computer-mediated activities are. if anybody's? It is not true here. Clearly. as it is for the realist. Then my argument would be that there are so many similarities between mental and computer-mediated activities because of how "private" (in an ordinary. the one causing a bomb to go off). [13] If I were trying to defend the empirical explanation suggested above (see note 10 and the attending text). but a conscious effort must be made to remind oneself of it: the situation emphasizes loneliness. uncontroversial sense) they both are. separation. see note 18 below. for him. and if you are not. it will be his right index finger that actually does the pressing. Individual users are connected: that is what the network is all about." The whole network is private: either you are a member of it or you are not. But. their most intense social experiences. and the playful. play that involves various components of an individual human being. that they are transgressive and innovative. my goal here is more radical. it would be natural for me to insist on these features.[13] With all these conditions in place. a private one—that is. for example.community is connected through the network. There may be few reminders of this fact. After all. it will be irrelevant. if a thing is to be reached at all. If my account is accepted. that activities must be conceived as somebody's activities: things are no longer primitive here. But one aspect of the [12] Some of this defensive process is realized at the linguistic level (as are most of the attacks). but this is not to say that the action belongs to the finger. It is certainly possible that the subjects of these activities are the individual humans constituting the network. but it is a fact nonetheless. the situation in which an individual faces his screen is not . using the network is something they do. for the individual participants. I want to account for the similarities by challenging. but this case is not essentially different from the following one: after a lot of play with the consequences of pressing a certain button (say. what "private" is—and related matters. and the process of reaching it might involve some surprises. when it is a matter of translating some of that experimentation into action of sorts— of taking risks instead of toying with the idea of doing so—it will be individual people who do it. the features brought out here will become irrelevant. however. and makes me wonder whether a different choice might be more reasonable: contra the appearances. too. So. Thus in the present case.) ― 16 ― situation gives me pause here. you are not . it is not neatly separated from the activities of other individuals. and ultimately rewriting.

inquires into. an electronic self. at what level shall we understand the deviance he is instrumental in realizing? The crucial point to be kept in mind in answering this question is that a self is not just a way of releasing excess energy: it is a lab. And it sounded right at the time. each the consequence of one of the two parties in conflict emerging as the clear winner. it is possible that (different?) moves of one and the same body may be attributed to different private spheres. into a set of new routines.[15] and the same is true with the self: there must be potential returns for the deviance. since my new understanding of what it is to have (or to be) a self brings out a conflict that was not visible before: whose self is the user centered on? Or. thinks may become part of a future stage of that body. In particular. but then it's not the tantrum itself that is that: it is the way the child uses it. In conclusion. This is the connection between a human self and a human body. observable. Now. it seems that the "self " manifested here has no special association with a human body. this is the reason why the former is not just lodged in the latter "as a pilot in his ship": what the self experiments. and to the empirical account of his "self-centeredness. And the decisions that occasionally surface within this activity—those decisions that involve more risk taking than in conventional cases —are a joint expression of the wisdom (or lack thereof) of several members. make it a different body. a differently behaving structure. of the [14] One might object that the network is not private because its members are not exhausted by it. A chain-reaction effect may be realized in a network that would be impossible if the resources available were merely those of the individual users (or the collection of them): one small deviant move brings another. they have other connections and dealings. and appropriately so: nothing is tried out then. the conflict I was hinting at may be recognized. we don't call that play. But this objection presupposes that a human being's privacy is conceptually basic. one abusive word a more vivid profanity.[14] You may be experiencing some of the impact of the game. so they. So the conceptual landscape is being reshaped. The empirical situation has no such . and this is play. more precisely. much in the way another human being might experience some of the impact of my mental game without being a player in it. And the network's behavior may be more transgressive and destabilizing than that of any of its members (or even the collection of them). nothing that could possibly be used under the right circumstances. things are no longer so easy. real behavior and make it into something new. and that the privacy of anything else must be defined in terms of it. (Or maybe something is. ― 17 ― control that could be exercised by any individual). and soon you might be out of control (out.) In other words. but only as an outsider. To make it clearer. too.in the game. that is. When this point is appreciated. The same issue could be phrased and addressed in different terms. Return to the individual user. which "mess up" the neat separation between inside and outside the network. or indeed with a biological organism of any kind: it is a "thing" of a higher order of magnitude. See also below. do not belong to any one of them in particular." That was a consequence—the account claimed—of the lack of social. note 18 and the attending text. and new aggregates and "essential" distinctions may issue from this operation. I will now introduce two opposite scenarios. When a child vents its drive to transgression by throwing a tantrum. there must be a learning element for us to say that somebody is playing. I am denying this presupposition: I am defining privacy in terms of transgression and political separation. which is a different set of moves. ways in which the deviance can impact public. public reminders. however.

The network is (collectively) the community's lab. anxietyridden. each player will profit individually from the practice." See my Philosophy in Play . the play has no recognizable impact on the participants (for reasons already suggested. and the self on which each individual participant centers is the electronic one. the configurations explored in private are in fact occasionally tried out in public. In the second scenario. so if any learning ever follows for them from activities of this sort it will be the painful discipline of those who are trying to cope. and such things spread outside the network: they become new policy. but. a new fad. each member of the network plays for his own sake. and the relevant private-public distinction in no way coincides with the distinction between the aggregate of them and the rest of society. The game is (distributively) everybody's. [16] A new running or jumping technique may be thrown in the next time a trophy is at stake. [15] Though not all the playful moves practiced and learned during childhood end up contributing to one's adult form of life—and the same is true for intellectual "play. I might be taken as saying that the new emerging self is the collection of all individual users of the network. But. When all is said and done with such nonsense. a new behavioral mutation. on the other hand. But this would be amistake. against their best intentions. ― 18 ― In the first scenario. it would be wrong to call them "the players"). or is "the community's. and will be seen in the end as a (temporary?) compromise between the two theoretical pictures. [17] This sentence might be misunderstood. can be sensibly credited with such an attempt: at that level. they are behaving like King Midas's barber: digging a hole in the ground and whispering in it. felt like an extraneous body trying to invade their lives and ruin their "ordinary" efficiency. only to then close it and bury all that the whispers implied or promised. they go back to their traditional moves purged and relieved. The emerging self is a "collective" one." only in the sense that it is brought about by activities performed by various members of that community. or a riot. so are the selves ). There is a common area of play. ready to put up with an even greater amount of mindless orthodoxy than they would be without this outlet.[17] Those who think otherwise are being led astray by [16] For this example to work well. When they flame their anger by posting outrageous abuse. when they elaborate the most intricate stories. These outcomes may surprise the participants and even be resisted by them. one must of course forget about relays and team spirit in general." not the breathtaking. when they follow up the wildest associations. some of their abuse gets out of hand.clarity. some of their stories and associations occasionally ignite. and so is the self (or rather. as there is a common field every time a group of track athletes come together to practice. just as a new response or mannerism may be staged at the next staff meeting after being tried out in the "privacy" of the network. the mental activities displayed in front of a screen are the community's. as with track. those individual users are not exhausted by their network-related activities. to be sure. but such expressions are to be understood at best as colloquial approximations to an adequate description of the new quasi-thing—which may be . As I pointed out in note 14 above. but possibly exhilarating attempt at generating a new creature. on whom moves are imposed "from the outside. The community that expresses the network. and get a shot at impacting upon customary behavioral patterns.

than a chance of eavesdropping on somebody's daydreaming aloud. On the other hand. and the episode will be "boxed" somewhere by all involved. In this sense. it was far more than the nothing one could usually hope for when going the other way. The new possibility now created will bring to fruition all the untapped resources of laziness." more control. the potential revolutionary significance of the human tendency to displacement. thus eventually burying the dinosaurs who still want to play it out in their heads before going public on anything. . for developing the structure of somebody else's behavior. as it might well be.[18] There have always been holes in the ground where people vented their frustration. "gratuitous" trips that they took with no desire of ever crossing paths with the established course of their lives. ― 20 ― two. but then such features would not belong to the human : they would rather belong to the network. to inject an ethical code into it. the situation of a human facing his screen can indeed be seen as one of loneliness. If they never come back to their senses. Those who take this story seriously might come to see the current situation as one in which we are moving from scenario one to scenario [18] It may be useful to point out explicitly how matters stand in this second scenario with the empirical explanation of notes 10 and 13 above (and the attending text)—how. There are still many such dinosaurs around. flaming in a network represents nothing new." that is. separation. there is something new in a network: we have a third way in addition to mental experimentation and stupid discharge—"stupid" because nothing is changed by it. when the proper vocabulary has not yet been developed ― 19 ― the "natural" association which I am resisting here: that between mental activities on the one hand and the kind of being to which so far such activities have been ordinarily attributed on the other. Nothing newer.the best we can get at the present stage. that is. A fundamental driving force in this move is inertia. and the adventurous cravings of timidity. and they are putting up a brave. and silence. my conceptual account does in fact shed a new light on the empirical one. that by yelling in holes without hope of ever hearing an echo—indeed. and more energy. learned through it. or than the painful spectacle of a fit of rage: those people will come back to their senses. We have the possibility that the stupid discharge by all individual participants will result in mental experimentation on the part of the network itself. even with the hope of never hearing one—the participants will be working for somebody else's "benefit. They want to regulate the network. remembered as an embarrassing intrusion on the part of something that should have been kept inside. On the other hand. they will be boxed in a transcendental cage of insanity. Within the new understanding of privacy. Which is not to say that this possibility will be realized but is to say that it must be considered when one sets out to imagine the potential significance of the phenomenon. Stupid daydreaming has always been more common than mental experimentation: the latter requires more "wiring. not to increase. fantasies whose purpose was to minimize. the importance of the latter was preponderant: whatever little was achieved that way. honest fight against windmills—I mean "giants": it's just that they will look like windmills if the fight is lost. that is. the inarticulate mumbling of choler. because the former never came to anything much.

networks may have to find their own (analogous?) control mechanisms. for example. it is not necessary that the member entering this state be the one originating the move.to make sure that people feel observed all the time just as they do in ordinary social situations. instead of the other way around. of an order of magnitude far too great for the brutes handling the keyboards. they have no bargaining power. enough nightmares have been entertained. "How To Use USENET Effectively." See. as a public. it doesn't take that kind of self-conscious effort: rambling will do. and possibly think that God has spoken.[19] But their position is weak. But the important point is that these new mechanisms may be entirely orthogonal to the distinction between one human and another. at least. Now. stale mythologies. there will be no more learning from one's mind at an individual level. the brutes will be retooled and retrained. How? I claim that my discussion of the electronic self suggests an answer for this question. not a private one. Some might see this analogy as a reductio of my conjecture. in fact. . Bishop. There will be a bunch of automata reiterating perfectly predictable moves and occasionally screaming into their computers just [19] Such is the goal of many attempts to convince us to use networks "more effectively. a pattern will appear. What Invasion of the Body Snatchers and similar productions brought out in the fifties was the anxiety generated by the cold war: the aliens invading the States were fictional representatives of an all-too-real "evil empire. there will be no more individual minds at all. when experimentation and play could only happen inside individual minds. But I would like to turn such a judgment on its head and use the conjecture to look at this antique piece of science fiction with new eyes." [20] Individual human self-consciousness. a dangerous one) made by the network (and a state that has that move as its intentional object). provocative extrapolation from the available data. I mean. and self-consciousness may go the same way mortars and pestles did when blenders entered the kitchen. even assuming that one such mechanism manifests itself by some individual member of the network entering some state analogous to current human consciousness as a consequence of a "move" (say. They used to. For example. or that he be in any other way connected with it—other than by becoming aware of it. an unfortunate outgrowth of too much familiarity with B movies. but rather a regurgitation of old. hence the only ones that had a credible chance of establishing such contact. so theirs were the only resources available for initiating the changes that after-the-fact rationalizations usually label "progress": their minds were the only ones that tried to make contact with what is not mind. and that pattern might then be acted out.[20] The kind of picture that emerges when scenario two is pushed to its ultimate consequences reminds one of Invasion of the Body Snatchers : after the last dinosaur has died. however. In this case it would be unreasonable to attribute the state to him as a manifestation of his self-consciousness. and hence treat this situation. or even a way of ridiculing it: what is expressed in it is not a subtle."[21] Now anxiety is a signal that your individuality is at stake and on the verge of crumbling. ― 21 ― as others might take a sleeping pill. too. so clearly those aliens did more than threaten our shores: they challenged the particular kind of anthropological construction that went with our form of life. When enough screams have circulated. If it is. and indicated a new way.

Not that this is right in any absolute sense: my survival is going to be detrimental. and my individuality is at stake. and it won't do to ask me. too: all of them indeed. see the introduction to LaValley's Invasion of the Body Snatchers . not necessarily with a malicious intent: perhaps only in the way in which a more successful species undercuts the livelihood of a less successful . at least this much political motivation is there. But I doubt that I would have seen it at all unless such an effective (and hence. as I bring my reflections to bear upon past occurrences. the same struggle being fought now. but it is certainly true that with a slower process I could not see what. but it makes no difference to my present point.This is not the first time in history that collective minds have appeared over the threshold. Probably. Well. I said earlier that when mental activities emerge a self may also arise if the political motivation is there to phrase the contrast in terms of an opposition between two kinds of things . As I perceive that my structure is challenged. even better.[23] It is just that the process was too slow: it took too long for the "neurons" of those other gigantic brains to respond to one another for me to appre[21] Of course. My first act of war will be—in fact. which then often proceeded to impose it on its members as the next orthodoxy. so that it could not be put to such a use). or whatever) before it could be put to individual use (or. It means fragmenting the current association between selves and human bodies. I realize that most of the traits that give a collective self a fighting chance in the computer case were there in other cases. dangerous) case as that of computers had presented itself. Now.) I would in general sympathize with this deeper analysis. and finding some other arena for playing out the public consequences of "the mental. except a higher level of speed and efficiency. interrogation. and that their responses might have a sense and an effect that totally escaped the neurons themselves. [23] In fact. but there has often been a struggle. The separation between a public and a private sphere. oozing out of Trojan horses like appliances and tract houses and monthly payments—and Un-American Activities Committees. I will have to get involved. was happening. the releasing of all deviance into the "network" (through confession. [22] I must insist on what "taking over" means here. is—the identification of the enemy. since seeing this phenomenon in the case of computers. And if there is a struggle. to the new form of life.[22] I don't know that they ever did take over. I need to think that somebody is working at it. one might want to go deeper and think that the evil empire itself was an excuse: that at some level people sensed (with anxiety) the similarity between the enemy outside and the one that was already within. however. for me: I need an enemy to fight against. for that coexistence might well be a peaceful one (see the following note). It is possible that unless the process is fast enough nothing will happen. for example. the appropriation and capitalization of all that deviance by a larger body. What I am is a teller of conceptual stories. But you can't ask dinosaurs to just roll over. if anything. (For some account of these alternative readings. disqualifying humans as the empirical carriers of privacy. and as such I can now explain to myself why I never saw the threat as clearly as when I began to think about computers. and hence might well go unnoticed. poised and ready to take over. which has as much (or as little) of a right to subsist as mine. or in the secret records of Dead Poets Societies. I am no historian. and of how they might well coexist in the movie. I happened to see it all over the place: in the ever-growing graffiti on a bathroom wall. ― 22 ― ciate the fact that they were responding. if in a small way." It does not just mean the coexistence of play at different levels. no scenarios two have ever developed yet.

Knowing the structure of this table means knowing what I can use it for. here. a bulletin board— constitutes something closely analogous to a human self. It seems best to me. and fear the coming of. much like there is to any other thing. Things have a structure. leaving nothingness unsaid. I don't think what I am looking for is reentering the Garden of ― 24 ― Eden. . you prefer to think of this as guerrilla warfare rather than as an all-out war. so it is supposed to refer to a species of things. A: But "self"—the word. I don't think any crystallized means of expression would do. A: So. or hurt me. the negative image of things: that background of play against which things emerge. How is this different from simply saying that there is a structure to it. B: I don't deny that. of thinghood. and thereby make it a "thing". of forcing it away from itself. A: So you would need another language. But a self. B: Precisely. reveal their limits and inadequacies: specifically. of course. the electronic self. I mean—is a common noun. but not limited to. It is the contradicting of any expectations. So I will call this "thing" a name. B: I'm not sure. and puzzle over. the calling in question of any structure. if you will. simply to accept the means of expression I find already in use and put constant pressure on them. human selves? B: What I am saying is actually the opposite of this. is not a thing. Which also means that we have definite expectations about them. inarticulate. how it can help me. It is the negation of things. so I will talk about. but that's because of the repression of the nothing ness that the self is: because this repression begins with the very language we use. It is.one. most faithful to the vocation that I am trying to voice. talk about a "thing" that contradicts our ordinary conception of a thing. the capacity of doing violence to it. as you said elsewhere. explode them from within. for me. including. and which continues to oppose whatever emerges. speechless. ― 23 ― Chapter Two— On the Electronic Self Again: An Interview A: So you are saying that a computer network—more specifically. They are in some definite way.

your selfhood. that your indictment of any fixity. ultimate abuse. A: But this seems to be quite arbitrary. to be discarded. Now I would not want to give up any of these experiences as relevant to the self. What it tells me is that the semantics of "self " is supposed to be given by a collection of traits. but I wonder whether it makes sense. contradictory features one associates with it. or responsibility. Or I privilege some traits as giving me the essence of a self and adopt what Quine would call an invidious attitude toward some others: specifically. that its nature is violated and turned into its very opposite. I would think. think that any trait contradicting the essential ones doesn't really belong there. in which case I end up most likely with no interesting collection of traits—nothing that distinguishes a self from a number of other things I do want to keep distinct from it. To begin with. People use the word "self" with a certain meaning. I think of a specific individual. analytic. is exposed to this most extreme. and is not a role. a play. and certainly of any philosophically important. not even in the ballpark. But a self is not a character. I would consider my position a failure if any of these experiences were not "covered" by it. Hegelian way. and it's confusing to think that it does. Aristotelian logic. for example. A: So how would you think of a self instead? B: The way I would think of the semantics of any other word. your transgressive. inclusive of everything that I would want to be part of a self and ― 25 ― common to everything that is to count as one. But the question is: how exactly does the "covering" work? And here is where the violence occurs. when I think of myself . a story that would have to declare bankruptcy if any such feature were missed along the way. from whom others may expect this and that. and not expect something else—just as they would in the case of a table. There are a number of experiences that people are used to describing by using the word "self experiences of role-playing. a story. and one that in its development captures everything one associates with a self—including all the conflicting. I would think of it in a dialectical. say. indeed. But then many of these traits would seem to contradict each other: the role-playing and the sub-versiveness. B: What makes you think that way is the repression I was talking about: the objective repression that will only acknowledge things . So I can either let any two contradictory traits cancel each other out. or of consciousness. I would think of the meaning of such a word as provided not by a collection of traits at all. if it were not reached by the plot. to be rebelled against. and now you come along and decide to use it with an entirely different one. Also . if anything. It is because of this repression that your subjectivity. any determinacy. After all. What authorizes you? Is this nothing but an act of violence on your part? B: That it is an act of violence I will be the first to admit. it is a theater—or. . I refuse to deal with the problem by means of the ordinary. but rather by a narrative. or intimacy. But we have to get clear as to where exactly the violence is situated. Indeed.A: Your position is clearer now. It's nothing specific to this problem: I simply find analytic logic a very poor tool. I would want to capture them all. experiences of subversion: of feeling that others' perception of oneself is intrinsically inadequate. complicated word. irresponsible playfulness get translated into the horror of a fixed and determinate character .

and develop them beyond what is possible to anyone of them in isolation? Shall we talk about a postal self as well then? B: Why not? There are empirical characters to the electronic situation—its speed and its efficiency. and also for it. The specific violence comes about when I select the beginning of my narrative. the more so when it can evade the opposition—which it will be easier to do in a medium less filled with anxiety: a linguistic medium of substitutes of things instead of a substantive medium of "real" things. say. of an act of denial consequent upon the anxiety generated by that transgression and subversiveness. or a clear-cut set of expectations—as the outcome of a defense process. that profit from the play. Nothing that has to do.A: I can certainly see an element of violence in your refusing to adopt the same logic as most of the opposition. But. or even turned into its contradictory nature by a powerful and suspicious "objec― 26 ― tive" opposition. how it is that "self" came to be used. with the self. but the opposition is not going to like that . specifically." that is) at all these different levels. and to see other uses of the word—those referring to a consistent structure. that "learn" from it and consequently grow and develop. The general moral emerging then would be the following: there is play going on at different levels and involving this body ("mine. even a long . Then subjectivity is transgressiveness. intricate developments. I can certainly explain. primarily—that made it possible for me to identify its relevant similarities to a human self. and take up each other's suggestions that way. I don't see why it shouldn't be applied elsewhere. or at least at more than one of them. often. if two levels coevolve for a while. but that would be a contingent matter. and one that can easily turn around. Or it's also possible that one level of play may simply take over. A: So it's possible for the "postal self" to evolve side by side with its users. and the like—possessed by the "winning" level. So. Couldn't I still ask essentially the same question I asked at the beginning? That is: What's so special about a bulletin board? Why wouldn't the postal service work just as well? Can't people freely communicate with each other by writing conventional letters. so that the various levels of play belong to their respective structures. very far from original clarity and simplicity. of speed. efficiency. or to a definite role. And it's possible that there are structures at all these levels. B: Yes. but I insist that there is nothing specific to this level of violence. deep down the line of epicycle building—though of course for a Hegelian such epicycles are just as "necessary" as the origin itself is. after going electronic. once again. to continue to evolve while inhibiting the evolution of the users. however much this transgressive nature is covered up. to refer to something quite disparate from what its logical origin is. There is potential competition between any two levels of organization of the same materials: their goals might be perfectly consonant. say. that one structure may capitalize all the creativeness of play and stunt the growth of every other structure. when I decide to assign the origin of the self to transgression and subversiveness. and in this connection it helps to point out that peaceful coexistence is not the most natural outcome. A: OK. B: Yes. And what makes the difference between these two cases may be the inordinate amount of power—that is. hidden. Suppose I buy all of this. The opposition is not going to like being inscribed in my story as one of its many tortuous. And transgressiveness/subjectivity plays itself out freely and infectiously. once the idea has come together. in my story.

but that's not part of its contribution to conceptual development. instead of accepting the challenge of restructuring my form of life altogether. an equilibrium of opposing forces. they are not so intense and passionate. Or that I suddenly lost my familiar pathological projection—the demonized "evil empire"—and I am frantically working to fill that empty space with a new demon. But note that I make no empirical predictions as to how in fact it will turn out. B: It does. of course. They laugh a lot. But now let's go back to the anxiety. A: I see. A: But your original statement contains more than this scheme: it contains anxiety. If the interpretive scheme makes sense. It's a compromise of original play with the defensive structures play evokes. A: And beginning to play. except that for me play is a very serious thing—the most serious there is. mine is not the only possible explanation. B: Precisely. and questions such that making sense of them is the main point of accepting the scheme in the first place . And of course. but one that provides me with an interpretive scheme within which to read whatever happens. emerging subjectivity. ― 28 ― . B: That's not play. for that matter. that it will. Lots of people take themselves lightly when they play. and one that emerges much later in the narrative of what "play" means. and pose questions like: what is it in these situations that makes it easier to control subjectivity? Questions that only make sense once the scheme is accepted. really involved with her bricks? And have you ever tried to distract them from it? To make light of what they are doing? Have you noticed their reaction when somebody does that? A: That seems to be a limit case. regulated and dull. Or. Have you ever seen good chess or card players really involved in their game? Or a child. I should say in accordance with my Hegelian strategy. for example) in the same way. Anything that destabilizes the situation might make it impossible to reach any other equilibrium point. and that I am myself playing a repressive role as I try to put them back in their place. then when computer communication becomes. the fear of this particular. rather than taking yourself so seriously? B: Maybe. A: And electronic communication is a destabilizing factor. this is best read as a compromise. Others might say that I feel challenged by a new generation of computer whizzes who are quickly making me obsolete. people might also begin to look at other forms of communication (conventional mail. And. say. people might read that as showing that the new emerging subjectivity was successfully resisted against.while. My anxiety is more like a piece of data that I am trying to understand. Mine is a conceptual story: not one that tells me what will happen as people use computers more and more. the sense that this is an enemy worth fighting against. I don't say that in this case an equilibrium point ― 27 ― will not be reached—or. it's not original play. for that matter.

A: Again I think we are digressing. The objective structure that has come to be identified with my social persona. I need to think this through. ." and the like. A: But if playfulness and subversion are your values. B: You don't seem to understand that values are just as much in question here as everything else. and in this conversation I have no comment to make on it. and has been able. It simply is. a paranoid one: the point of view of a structure that feels on the verge of collapse and finds something to blame for it. doesn't in and by itself make the story less interesting.B: Actually. B: I find that there are stories where the phrase "absolute truth" makes for interesting developments. B: Yes. And there is no place to stand to decide which ones are right. I would agree entirely. you should resist this feeling: applaud the quantitative leap. My objective structure has a concern for its self-preservation. and stories where it doesn't. A: Easy to do. then your moves to fight them are indeed repressive ones. Which. What I am interested in here is the light it throws on the meaning of such key philosophical words as "self. A: I think I understand your general framework now. A: So. as part of my data. I take it as given—literally. you are indeed taking a reactionary stand against the "infection" of play. and you feel anxious about bulletin boards. and I must say I ― 29 ― . ultimately. feels threatened by a quantitative leap in the scope and power of play that it does not feel capable of controlling. The defensive structures I was referring to are evoked precisely by anxiety: the anxiety that accompanies any subversive—that is. A: But then it is from the perspective of this structure that you tell your "story" about the electronic self. Which. to profit maximally from the subjective play that goes through this body. incidentally. . and if you mean to add that this makes the story an unlikely candidate for some sort of absolute truth. of course. B: It is. destructive— move. quite plausibly. happily let yourself—sorry. A: Wait a minute. so far. and this is neither right nor wrong. for you. Each party in this confrontation has its values. B: No question about it. B: And again you want to enforce consistency on our conversation. If anxiety is a response to play. we never left it. . Such as play is. since you have no commitment to any such absolute truth. I'm perfectly happy to see: this sort of give-and-take is precisely what play is all about. your objective structure—be swept away in the process. of course. going back to the point of view expressed in the story." "privacy.

since I can deal with it along the general lines of the dialectical logic I am recommending. a barrier against the subversiveness of play." I have a hard time fitting together all your various claims about. that it will be let do its thing in that space. Much the same is true of subjectivity and privacy. Confines are drawn for this activity. So let's concentrate on the particular story you are telling within this framework. A: You mean the form of life that writes this story. and its results are admitted into the "public" arena only with great caution and after long testing. and hence of a direct way of playing itself out. and I find it easier to begin with the latter. it becomes too strong for the ― 30 ― space to contain it. And it does so by letting the virus do its thing. and involving. But the virus is very resourceful. this word. that transgression will not be brutally denied and canceled right away. subversiveness will find ways of allying itself with them. Bulletin boards are very dangerous. more specifically. play with itself as it were. this may be an effective way of controlling transgression: anyone who feels frustrated and rebellious can discharge his feelings into the network and go to bed happy. Privacy is a safety valve. But this also means that there will be a space for subjectivity. and the barriers erected. What you've offered me is something that looks like a straight contradiction together with something that looks like an inconsistent triad. this is it: privacy and subversiveness are in opposing camps. of becoming stronger through them. But after enough back-and-forth inside. in passing—the word "privacy. letting it experiment until it's come up with something deadly enough—indeed. its attack on the organism can be more catastrophic than it would have been otherwise. The latter is a way of fighting the former—worse still. but in the end it creates an environment where the virus's destructive capacity is exalted. away from any immediate attention. and this is the relevant point here. When it finds it. B: Exactly. this process may find strategies deadlier than anything the current form of life has defenses for. And. If you reason in an Aristotelian way. A: So the triad is not inconsistent after all. deadlier than what was there before. Can you help me make sense of all of this? B: I'll try. and then privacy will reveal itself an unwitting vehicle for the very party it was supposed to control. . The one that feels anxious about its impending demise. Let me give you an example of what I mean. Bulletin boards play much the same game as individual people: there are private dealings that are carried out inside them and are not supposed to emerge in the public awareness. let me bring out for consideration a word you've used before. B: Not in a dialectical sense. Subjectivity is now supposed to be used only to make objects more powerful.don't find it terribly interesting. The drug was originally opposed to the virus. Bulletin boards may be the most intense public experiences their participants have. But that's not a productive way of reasoning. Let me review the main ones. privacy is indeed a defense against subversiveness: subjectivity is literally deprived of direct access to reality. maybe. of making it subservient to the opposition. Until. I've been told that the drug AZT works by inhibiting the replication of the AIDS virus. Once the confines are drawn. so for a while it tries various ways around the drug: it mutates in search of a reproductively advantageous variety. To begin with. wherever and as soon as it emerges. For a while. Bulletin boards have a lot in common with private human experiences. Bulletin boards are private.

it's certainly one possible result of this play of forces. it will also control its individual members —those of this latter kind.A: It looks like this line of thought might help you address the other apparent contradiction as well. If you mean something that fulfills the functions my consciousness does. and one that can find application at different ontological levels—indeed. Whatever their individual. when one is supposed to switch back to normalcy. if you prefer. a public eye that exposes. it seems that the privacy of the network may be synergic to its subversiveness. that is. Which means that. they will have no place to "infect" others with it except the network itself . B: Yes. Here. but in how entertaining this possibility tells me something about the concept of consciousness— or. B: That's right. originally. of course. A: As I understand it. if "the system" can control the network effectively. private craziness. People. will this electronic self come to look more like our selves? Will it develop a consciousness? B: If you mean something that "feels" like the consciousness I have. confirms something about that concept that I believed all along. A: As people have done for centuries in the "privacy" of carnivals and the like. But are you sure you don't want to venture any ― 31 ― prediction on how it will turn out? For example. you don't identify with your consciousness. the reality of subjective subversiveness. and even that the network will be ideologically identified with it—with the consistency it can distill out of the subject's messy activity by various selective. repressive moves. I don't have a way of even addressing that question. Hegelian—consistency to your position. and often denies. B: What I think is that consciousness is primarily. one whose various applications may be in conflict with one another. and what's the other way the roadblock works? B: It's the one that was suggested more directly by the "contradiction" you brought up. And I think that considering consciousness essential to the self is a classic case of the defense mechanism known as "identification with the aggressor"—one that is instigated at least as much by the aggressor as by the victim. a certain day of the year is "separated out" and people are allowed to indulge in "insane" behavior then. it can certainly happen that a similar "watchman" will be injected into the network. It can let the individual participants lead a perfectly conservative public life. For you are focusing not so much on the empirical phenomenon of privacy as on privacy as a general conceptual strategy. once purged of their subversive tendencies in the privacy of the network. With that in mind. more accurately. and the roadblock can work in a couple of different ways. A: There is a certain perverse—or. . at least. Until midnight. while it's working as a roadblock for the subversiveness of its members . A: OK. may be simply swallowed by the network. I'm not so interested in whether it does. for example. A: It's a peculiar sort of "confirmation": one that is obtained by telling a story. Once again. an institution of control.

is bring him out in the light. is what is ordinary in philosophy these days. You and I. talking about dissension and fragmentation is not going to get us anywhere—or it will take a long time before it does. But note that this "example. The first thing you need to do with an enemy. ― 33 ― Chapter Three— The Metaphysical Structure of Kant's Moral Philosophy For some time now I have been working on the following project: how to understand Kant's moral philosophy within the general framework presented in my Kant's Copernican Revolution . after all. is just as well for you. clear as far as it goes and promising as a research program. or what? B: Its content is such that it's usually only played out in private. ultimately. among other things. it will limit itself to the most basic—indeed. of its previous related moves. of course." as all the other structures we've considered. A: Do your beliefs have enough resourcefulness to account for the situation you and I are currently in? Is this private. in light. and will not engage the secondary literature. metaphysical—aspects of my understanding of Kant's moral works. say) are freer to spread the virus of dissension by fragmenting in public. and their dialogue developed there. which party to side with. I would hope to produce a monograph on the subject. at least. these various characters are entertained in thought . before the body decides. according to Kant.B: I'm not sure it's very different from any other case of confirmation. So what we are doing is using the infection of some traditional and some contempo― 32 ― rary examples to provide ourselves with a behavioral genre where "siding with a party" is not a stylistic constraint. It wasn't always like this. This. if I understand you correctly. Eventually. of course: there were times when multiplicity and dialogue were more publicly displayed. The way it confirms my beliefs is by showing their resourcefulness. before dissension and fragmentation become real. As such. and it is a formidable problem. And even today other social agents (artists. the present chapter is intended as a prolegomenon to this effort. a conceptualization of cognitive contact with the world (and hence. My goal is that of providing a sketch. are characters animating the same body. A: Which. So realizing them by one's actual behavior is quite an improvement. their capacity to survive in very different conceptual environments. Chapter 7 of my book argues that. B: Of course. of the world . And ordinarily. and may end up being more easily defended against. its subversiveness will no longer operate along mysterious paths. Once the behavior is actualized and played out in public. Two Notions of Cause The fundamental problem left open by the first Critique is that of understanding the notion of action. their wide applicability. can cut two ways. though certainly it doesn't fit the ideology usually superimposed on all such cases.

itself: in the Copernican paradigm "objects conform to knowledge") requires bringing in the concept of an act of synthesis: an element of choice is inextricably linked with the selection of the ontological level at which to "read" experience. But this choice seems to have no place in the world as reconstructed conceptually: what makes the world one world (and makes experience one experience) is the connectedness of events, the fact that all of them can in principle be accounted for as necessary consequences ― 34 ― of their antecedents, thereby justifying that precisely that event had to be part of this world, that one should not have expected any other, that not only is the event no disruption of the identity of the world, but in fact it is an integral part of that identity. Therefore, the arbitrariness that is prima facie associated with the notion of a choice, the idea that a course of events is thereby initiated , on no other sufficient ground than the choice itself, appears to be an absurd one. And so is the notion of action, insofar as it is dependent on that of choice. Therefore, if one attributes freedom to a being whose existence is determined in time, it cannot be excepted from the law of natural necessity of all events in its existence, including also its actions. Making such an exception would be equivalent to delivering this being to blind chance.[1] So it is an intrinsic development of Kant's own views that makes it mandatory for him to face the perplexing cluster of concepts action-freedom-choice, and to acknowledge all of its perplexing character. He could not escape into an easy determinism because (as a consequence of the antinomies) some sort of free, active choice had to be postulated to explain the possibility that there are any objects at all. And he could not escape into an easy admission of freedom either, because reality had come to mean for him necessary integration into a unique spatiotemporal structure, and hence what by definition is not so integrated could not, by definition, be real. But if it is some of Kant's own views that create this problem, and make it as much of a problem as it is, it is also other views of his that make a solution seem possible. I argued in my book (chapters 4 and 5) that two notions of necessitation (or cause)[2] surface in the first Critique : that of imposition (an event literally forcing another to come to pass, thereby manifesting its "causal efficacy"), and that of regularity or rule-directedness (events of certain kinds following one another in predictable ways, according to patterns that can be recognized). And I also argued that a large part of what Kant is doing in the Analytic of the first Critique is rewriting the more "naive" notion of imposition as regularity—that is, [1] Kant, Critique of Practical Reason , 98. [2] I take causes and effects to be events, and necessitation (or determination ) to be a key characteristic displayed by their relation (but not only by it: I want to allow for the logical possbility of an internal sort of necessitation). Thus different construals of the cause-effect relation (more loosely, of the notion of cause) will often issue in different construals of necessitation. I take explanation to be, first, an activity that one performs on events (another phrase for it is "accounting for" events), and that amounts to showing how they are necessitated (possibly by other events). Second, I also use "explanation" for any propositional outcome of this activity. ― 35 ―

establishing that, whatever empirical content there is to a claim of causal efficacy, it is to be found in the bringing out of regularities of various sorts. The relevance of these points will begin to appear when one realizes that, whereas causality as imposition makes an at least prima facie claim to uniqueness,[3] causality as rule-directedness makes no such claim. If we conceive of an event being necessitated in terms of its being kicked into being (note the strong agonistic resonances of the metaphors used), and find that there is more to what brought event a about than just, say, the previous occurring of b , it will be natural to think that whatever other c we find it useful to refer to acted in conjunction with b to produce a . In other words, either b was sufficient to make a happen, or one was just wrong in calling b the cause of a and one would have to think of something else instead (b and c , perhaps). If, on the other hand, no such kicking plays any conceptual role, and we just think in terms of the emerging of regular patterns, then there is no problem in principle in thinking that one has fully explained a by reference to b (because the pattern consisting of b followed by a is a regular one), and then turned around and proceeded to equally fully explain a by reference to something else. In this scheme of things, overdetermination would not have to reduce to several causal factors jointly determining an event: it would be perfectly legitimate to allow for several factors each independently and completely determining an event. Then, of course, it would make little sense to speak of the cause of a in general, though it might make perfectly good sense to speak of the cause of a within a specific explanatory context (where one concentrates on regularities of a specific sort). It may be useful to insist on this crucial point, and articulate it by way of an example—which will also bring out the sort of explanation (and regularity) that is relevant, according to Kant, to moral contexts. So suppose that a game of chess is played, and at some point the black queen is moved from D8 to E7. Suppose we are asked to account for this event. We could answer by referring to electric impulses firing in the player's nervous system, muscles contracting, a hand moving and grasping the black queen, and so on. We could also answer in terms of the player's [3] The qualification "prima facie" is essential here. A number of philosophers, of course, have brought out an element of multiplicity within causal explanation—for example, on pragmatic grounds—without self-consciously and deliberately abandoning the imposition reading. From my point of view, they are trying to introduce a Kantian element within a structure that is still non- or even anti-Kantian: they are stretching their conceptual tools (often beyond recognition, and with awkward results) instead of simply changing them. I, on the other hand, need no such stretching, so I can face the imposition reading in its most natural and plausible form. I make a similar point about the relation between Kant and the rationalist tradition in my book (pp. 102–103). ― 36 ― psychology, of his aims and strategies, of his understanding of his opponent, of his competence and skill. And we could also answer in terms of the game itself, by pointing out that the move is the rational one, the one one would have to make under the circumstances. In preparation for things to come, note the following feature of the last answer. Both the preceding alternatives have a potential for spreading indefinitely far from the present context, one explanation always leading to another and implacably extending the range of our concerns. The physics and physiology of the player's nervous system are in a relation of continuous interaction with the physical environment and with the rest of the player's physiology: innumerably many stimuli impinge upon (here come the agonistic resonances again—language has a way of resisting conceptual reform) that nervous system at any one

time, and all contribute to the outcome. And of course all those stimuli are themselves effects of physical or physiological causes. Similarly, the player's psychology is not exhausted by this particular game: for one thing, his attitude—whether aggressive or cautious, solid and firm or wildly imaginative—has been shaped by his innate resources and by innumerably many outside influences (education, society, and so on). The explanation in terms of the game, on the other hand, need not spread outside the game itself: more generally (and relevantly) it is at least possible to think of it as ending somewhere. If a move is indeed the rational one under the circumstances, we need only reason about the game to come up with this sort of explanation of the move. Interestingly, one would feel the need of going outside if a move was not rational; then one would think that some disturbing factor had intervened (lack of attention, fatigue, or whatnot) and would be looking for an explanation that is not entirely in terms of the game.[4] Question: Which of the three explanations mentioned above is the correct one, the one that brings out the true causal factors of the event? This question is (in the present framework) based on a misunderstanding. When causal necessitation is construed as regularity, each regular pattern provides an equally legitimate causal account. Question: In how many regular patterns would Kant say that our behavioral moves fall? A first answer is that they must fall in a natural pattern (be integrated in the one spatiotemporal nature), or they would not count as real. It seems also possible, however, that—just as the move [4] Here I won't be pursuing further the analogue this point has within Kantian philosophy (but see note 9 below); so let me just note in passing what the analogue is. Kant's account of freedom has the consequence that either one acts rationally or one does not act at all. Therefore, if one does not act rationally, a certain sort of explanation of his moves is simply inapplicable—just as in the chess case. ― 37 ― in the chess game—they fall in a pattern of rationality: that they are the moves one (could conclude by reasoning one) would have to make under the circumstances. At which point the conceptual analysis in the Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals becomes relevant: the "positive concept" of freedom turns out to be autonomy—that is, being guided by an inner, intrinsic law—and autonomy turns out to coincide with rationality. In conclusion, a behavioral move that, besides exhibiting the connectedness that accounts for its reality, was also such that reason could recognize itself in it—such that, abstracting from all external, contingent features of one's physical and psychological makeup and basing oneself only on one's capacity to recognize universal and necessary connections, one could establish it as the move to make —well then, a move that exhibited that character too could legitimately be called an autonomous, and hence a free one. It could be called not just a move, or an event, but an action . We cannot call it moral yet, because we have not (and will not here) introduce any evaluative words and show the connection between such evaluations and the metaphysics articulated so far. But once that connection is made, and freedom is proved to be equivalent to morality, we will be able to call it that, too. If , that is, we can find a move like that—a move that is also an action. Which, as it turns out, is more than we can hope to find. But to the law of freedom (which is a causality not sensuously conditioned), and consequently to the concept of the absolutely good, no intuition and hence no schema can be supplied for the purpose of applying it in concreto .[5]

this explanation appears to have a feature that the other ones lack: it seems that here. This remark . Suppose you want to prove that a is the rational move to make. The example suggests that you would have to consider all the possible alternatives. by just reasoning about it. I said earlier that in principle you could accomplish that without going outside the game. won't do. Therefore. this unwelcome development will be the consequence of other factors not yet uncovered. it is essential to emphasize that at this stage the rationality explanation has a definite and promising distinctive feature—and one that will remain a distinctive feature of it even after those other factors have largely undermined the promises made here. For they sought an object of the will in order to make it into the material and the foundation of a law (which would then be not the directly determining ground of the will. It is only the (presumed) law of a move (in Kantian jargon. it will become less and less likely that the rationality explanation of a move can really be as conclusive as is suggested here. so after following out all of them and comparing the outcomes. But now let us ask ourselves how in fact this sort of reasoning would go. There may be staggeringly many of them. But this. explains once and for all the reasons which occasion all the confusions of philosophers concerning the supreme principle of morals. There would have to be a winning of sorts to be striven after: some sort of final state of affairs which is to be approached.Objects of Thought Return to the move in the chess game and suppose you want to provide the "rationality" explanation of it. I must bring out a crucial difference between chess and the Kantian analysis of human behavior. 71. something like the above following out of consequences is going on here. But applying this notion of rationality to a Kantian analysis of human behavior would at least have the effect of turning Kant into some sort of consequentialist. turn now to an analysis of human behavior in general—of any human behavioral move a . where we have an answer that raises no further question. as opposed to the other cases. A move in a chess game has a definite goal: that of bringing the mover closer to winning the game. instead. I also said. by itself. To understand how. we can get to a point where we need no further explanation . and follow out all their possible consequences. they should have looked for a law which directly determined the will a priori and only then sought the object suitable to it. compare them.[8] Still. follow out their consequences. No one move. [6] [5] Kant. . In theinterest of clarity. we could prove that a certain move is the best (the rational) one. And it would be hard to reconcile all of this with Kant. . Critique of Practical Reason . but not infinitely many. and so forth. and one's approaching which is crucial in establishing the moral significance of one's behavior.[7] With this example in mind. and then to show its relevance within the metaphysics of morals. its . could according to Kant even conceivably be proved the rational one. but only by means of that object referred to the feeling of pleasure or displeasure). map out all the possible moves one could make. Still. in and by itself. So a move in a chess game is the rational one to make if it best approaches that goal. ― 38 ― We would consider the present position on the chessboard. [6] As we proceed to articulate the answer to this question.

a maxim is a principle that is supposed to explain that (alleged) action. [11] Ibid. Critique of Practical Reason . b. . so there is no way that any move can—in contrast with the chess case—be judged in isolation. d . One might have thought that all those acts of donating money dis[9] When somebody's behavior is taken to be an action. c. after all. . no single move will emerge from this analysis as the rational one—that is. Mine is. but Kant.[11] By a strange dialectical twist. donating money to charity will be a generous or a self-interested one depending on what one's other moves are. [10] Kant. once more. involves an egoistic element—an influence on the part of p 's psychological makeup—that might at first have gone unnoticed but is clearly revealed once the succession is compared with the alternative a. that two or more moves will be proved equally rational. . . despite his occasional slipping into a compromising mentalistic jargon. Philosophers of a mentalistic orientation would look for this law in the mind of the (presumed) agent. In line with what I said in note 4. ― 39 ― maxim )[9] that is a plausible candidate for any such proof. . . without yielding himself up either to pleasing or to anxious fantasies. for example. [8] Kant. . 65. sees it very differently. and when we turn from the example to the real thing it will become apparent that (as was suggested in the previous note) the uniqueness of the rational move is the last of our problems. this disanalogy with the chess case forces an analogy in how to deal with both cases.. can gain . In and by itself. . But I will disregard this possibility. say. once again. . But this principle only acquires independent explanatory value (it is a law ) if it is rational. For. . And how would this sort of judgment come about? One might.[10] One's move of. 66. otherwise. . that p also makes. in some circumstances. and hence I will be freely talking of the law of a move. that they draw. whatever the "agent's" subjective persuasion. but as to how a move could be placed in context. I will be leaving this issue aside here. c. his "action" is one more case of nature working itself out. only an example. point out that the succession a. . b'. 62. and may be offered as an explanation by the (alleged) agent. we are down to considering alternatives: not as to how one could maximize a certain outcome. . c. . of its maxim). by comparing the course of his life hitherto with the resolution which he has adopted. . Intentions play no role for him. Say that p makes move a . confidence [in his moral disposition] . d . Religion Within the Limits of Reason Alone . [A] man . when in fact I could only talk of its presumed law (that is. for this we cannot scrutinize: we must always draw our conclusions regarding it solely from its consequences in our way of life.[7] It is of course possible that. [W]e cannot base such confidence upon an immediate consciousness of the unchangeableness of our disposition. d . Its rationality can only be judged—if at all — within the context of one's whole career. . except insofar as the word "intention" is understood as shorthand for the ways in which one's moves come together—for the pattern. a cannot be judged rational: such a judgment only applies to a in conjunction with all the other moves b.

the "character" of an "efficient" cause is "a law of its causality. For talk about such possibilities may turn out to be just that—talk . but such an extension is delusive: we will never be in a position to tell that things really could be that way.[13] But. concrete sort of happening." See the first Critique .[12] And judging of such a character involves comparing the succession of which a is a part with all possible alternatives also including a and deciding through this comparison what the law of a was. are the actual ones. before we even worry about that. He could have answered differently—indeed. any such move corresponds to a definite sequence of positions on the chessboard. come to think of it.― 40 ― played a law of. indeed about possible events in general. presume to extend that range by introducing this variation and that. See notes 16 and 17 below. you are rather inclined to a less favorable reading of them. without which it would not be a cause. and if one had enough time one could give physical representations of all such sequences. We can. After all. ― 41 ― concluded in the first Critique . possibility period—something that is more than an . we are going to bump into another of Kant's conclusions. then talking about "possible moves" would be tantamount to talking about these representations. say. he should have answered differently— which throws an entirely new light on whatever else he has done or will do. whereas establishing its ir rationality appears not to be (one piece of contrary evidence will be enough). 468. as I indicate later. which makes this program unfeasible—just as it had made his epistemological program unfeasible. And this asymmetry will eventually play an important role. (For Kant. when you consider the way p answered his neighbor yesterday." used near the end of the first section in an ordinary colloquial sense. and playing with how things could be different. since establishing the rationality of a move might be an open-ended task (it might require comparing a sequence with indefinitely many others). But (whatever the case ultimately is with chess) there are problems—big ones—in talking about possible behavioral moves. when by event one does not mean something as abstract and sterilized as a move in a game but a full-blooded. generosity. comes to coincide for Kant with a moral stand.[14] There may be no problem in talking about all the possible moves in a chess game. in my interpretation. [13] The asymmetry will surface again in the suspicious attitude that. but actually. one might say. has now come to be used as a Kantian technical term. Real possibility (that is. The only events or things whose possibility we can assert. where one can also find an articulation of the points made below about real possibility. of course. So the following has surfaced as a program for how to account for the rationality of human behavior. Kant has [12] Note how the word "character.) The slippage between the two uses is a good example of the sort of "rewriting" (keeping many of the same terms. An asymmetry threatens here. but giving them a different semantics) that Kant's revolution consists of. [14] This point is argued in chapter 1 of my book. and the attending text. You cannot judge the rationality of a move a but only that of the character displayed by a .

and in some sense (the natural one) I had to. It does indeed seem as if we were justified in extending the number of possible things beyond that of the actual. All I am left with is the possibility of dealing with my behavior as if a judgment of rationality were possible. except that there I did this other thing instead. Return to my analysis of my move a and think of the dialectic that must be going on in me as I carry out this analysis. translator's brackets." And. on the ground that something must be added to the possible to constitute the actual. for the moment. Everything actual is possible. ― 42 ― this. I am interested in saying more about what sort of attitude it is. of course. can be the law of some happening. Say that I have just done something a . or for any outcome of it: rational inquiry is reduced to a play with words. 250. in the face of the conceptual limitations just uncovered. I see a lot of what I have done. And it shows up with the same devastating effects: reason will never in fact find those traces. Such a proof could only come from being given an actual example satisfying the description. Critique of Pure Reason . Not surprisingly. can find its own traces out there. Is there any other sense? Maybe I am describing a possible world just like this one. but what does that tell me? I need to bring some generality into the matter. There comes to be no conceptual room for this activity. I will be my own prosecutor and my own defense lawyer. Could I have behaved differently then? What does that mean? I know of one sense in which I could not have: what I did was. my italics. but note how unfair the setting is for these two roles. the same problem shows up in the present context. that some possible is actual. and this would seem to mean that much is possible which is not actual. naturally determined. like everything else that happens. the merely particular proposition. as I say [15] Kant. what am I talking about? I did what I did. too." insofar as the latter is supposed to be concerned not just with what there is. because if I were not I would have behaved differently in such and such circumstances.[15] This conclusion has devastating consequences for philosophical "knowledge. But is this world really possible? How would I know that ? And if there is no way that I can ever know that. but with what must or could be or happen. In the next section I will address the question of what makes it legitimate to adopt such an attitude. and I am trying to satisfy myself that it was or was not the rational thing to do. that is). I am this way. there is never going to be any establishing that our words in fact describe anything (anything possible. the lawyer . there is no way to cash it out." that is. short of that. and however plausible the descriptions sound. I find myself not making sense. Whatever the circumstances. can issue in action. this is the context in which reason inquires upon how it itself "can be practical. in accordance with the logical rules of conversion. or what happens. from this proposition there naturally follows. behavioral moves). to say things like. As for this other sense I am trying to capture. So I put a in the context of my other behavior and try to understand how I work. what my character is. we are never going to be able to produce a conclusive proof that these plausible descriptions do not hide deep-seated inconsistencies. maybe even all that is relevant. But this [alleged] process of adding to the possible I refuse to allow . However many words we use to attempt to describe alternative possible situations (worlds. after all. of course.appearance of possibility) collapses for us into reality.

" But since this is not an option. but then again. make sense. to stretch my sense of what I can or cannot do in ways that are beyond anybody's capacity for conceptual control. it does. of course. because we may well decide in the end that it is impossible for them to go that way. but we cannot . ― 43 ― one element. might not—the asymmetry that threatened earlier surfaces again. the attitude I am describing—that of proceeding as if morality were an issue— comes to be a critical one. It has its own ready-made answer. The other party16 must establish a universal statement (no possible sequence of moves is more rational than the one I realized). but so as to make the very notion of "right" lose any content. and hence fighting to extend the domain. I know that I cannot so convince myself but I do it anyway. but keeping it open is entirely the burden of the party that wants to prove me wrong. any of my own sincerest pronouncements. I will test it against my understanding of what other patterns might be relevant. It is indeed at times the case that after the keenest self-examination we find nothing that without the moral motive of duty could have been strong enough to move us to this or that good action or to so great a sacrifice. If a significant range of possibilities could be determined once and for all. I will look for clues that might give away the selfcentered nature of the pattern. It won't be enough to sketch out another way things might have gone. according to Kant. It is not just that proving rationality is an open-ended task: one has to work to keep it that way. As a pattern seems to emerge in some things I do.in me has it easy: there is no way anybody can establish that I could have behaved differently. and what other pictures I can come up with. however. for this is what a moral stand toward one's own behavior is . The lawyer might want to engage the prosecutor in a debate and try to rationalize what I did. what picture all of these data draw. but that would just be a concession on his part. if he were ever to stop. looking for tensions. and a universal statement is more easily established the fewer elements there are in the domain—and becomes trivial if there is only [16] I cannot quite refer to this party as the one that wants to prove me right. in essence. I will play devil's advocate and refuse to take any of my own words. the defense need not even worry about any of this. with a vengeance. In a way. and one that he could always take back if things got out of hand. for lapses: if I could ever convince myself that I have found one. I will want to see how those words fit my other moves. unless somebody insists on making a fuss. at face value. The field of the possible must be kept open if moral concerns are to be an issue. and it can well be content with it. and hence no way anybody could have sensibly asked me to behave differently. of trying to find fault with my behavior. requires establishing an existential statement (the sequence of moves I realized is less rational than some possible ones). on the other hand. On the other hand. I will keep on worrying.[17] So. and yet another one. Proving me wrong. this whole enterprise would fold: just because of how unfair the setting is. The prosecutor. an attitude of suspicion. I would know that my behavior then was not rational. since all we have is verbal descriptions of possibilities—descriptions that might. He is trying to give content to something that is intrinsically empty. we will have to try harder and sketch out yet another possibility. faces an impossible task. See also the following note. one would have a neutral ground on which to sit and happily "calculate. combing my behavior patiently.

But Kant gives the regularity reading of necessitation. seem advisable to encourage . and shouldn't any claim of responsibility. something I can contemplate within the delusive realm of philosophical reflection—that silly realm where I detach things from some of their traits. .[17] One might argue that this is not the same asymmetry noted earlier. not even of possible experience. 62."[19] As for giving an object to my suspicions. it is in general easier to argue for an existential statement on that field than for a universal one. We are pleased to flatter ourselves with the false claim to a nobler motive. when the field of the possible is kept indefinitely open. since in that reading there is only one way anything can be necessitated. and within this reading both assertions must be proved if the incompatibilist's determinism is to be established. . . but what about the second one? We got disappointingly negative results in the previous section. any of that is just an object of thought. been the cause genuinely determining our will. since that asymmetry favored irrationality (irrationality was easier to prove). for example). From Kant's point of view. The first assertion Kant would have to accept.[18] [I]t does not . But the lawyer's "ready-made answer" in the present dialectic only establishes rationality in a trivial sense—a sense that makes the whole enterprise worthless. Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals . ― 44 ― infer from this with certainty that it is not some secret impulse of self-love which has actually. whereas this one seems to favor rationality (rationality now seems easier). and can see nothing wrong with the outcome. but in fact we can never. rather it is advantageous (to morality) to "work out our own salvation with fear and trembling . as a simple consequence of what "nature" has come to mean for him. why don't I just give up? Why don't I admit that I am not an active character in what I may have thought was my own story? Why don't I settle for being one of the many ways in which nature works itself out? Isn't determinism right. and [18] Kant. under the mere show of the Idea of duty. I cannot claim that these objects of thought will ever become objects of experience. [19] Kant. Religion Within the Limits of Reason Alone . and recombine these abstracted traits in ways that I find entertaining. a state of confidence. 74–75. insofar as proving one right is more than proving the insignificance of saying he is wrong. Anybody giving the imposition reading of necessitation. the party that wants to prove me wrong—and consequently tries to open up the field of the possible—also acts in the interest of proving me right. not at all. get to the bottom of our secret impulsions. be ridiculed as conceptually confused? Not necessarily—in fact. would find the second assertion redundant. Thus. any praise or blame of human behavior. even by the most strenuous self-examination. . the incompatibilist's determinism is a conjunction of two assertions: that everything occurring in nature is naturally necessitated and that it is not necessitated otherwise (by a free choice. of course. ultimately. substantiating them or resolving them. And. . of course. Room for Faith But then. and then feel like I just proved something to be .

but we might later. found it necessary to deny knowledge . But. So. Because of its intrinsic limitations. all explanation comes to an end as well. If I have good. But I will never know that my behavior is free or moral. or. I will trust that my suspicious attitude toward my "motivations" is not . 127. ― 46 ― agent in the real world. either. [21] Critique of Pure Reason . and that two plus two equals four. But where determination by laws of nature comes to an end. . in effect. in the process of thus giving up hope we gained the right to shut up our opponent. reason is doing more than reconstructing something else: it is looking for itself as a possible [20] Kant. However. no rational argument can rob me of this belief. as I noted earlier. Our results were negative in the sense in which undecidability results. . is not denied." Kant says in a celebrated passage of the first Critique . since it can never by any analogy have an example falling under it. . But the one negative result we did not get is that one can know that one's behavior does not display autonomy. a metalinguistic version of this claim. not inconsistency ones. Knowledge of tables and chairs. since he will never be able to conclude that our freedom is un real either. 29. not surprisingly. Thus the Idea of freedom can never admit of full comprehension. . and one that we share with the incompatibilist. It is only when I try to understand what that means that I end up invoking things I cannot be said to know. We are certainly not invited to have faith in the possibility of things in themselves. are. of mathematical and physical laws. to repel the objections of those who profess to have seen more deeply into the essence of things and on this ground audaciously declare freedom to be impossible. reason will never know that indeed it is—or even can be—an agent in the real world. in order to make room for faith . Because we could not conceptualize the comparison class needed to flesh out our rationality explanation of a move.― 45 ― we concluded that one can never know that one's behavior displays autonomy (in other than a vacuous sense). for that matter. Faith will be more than an inevitable component of any rational reconstruction: it will be the essence of the attitude with which an imperfectly rational being of the sort we are must live its own experience. The one we found was a conceptual impossibility. is that philosophical reflection comes to see its own cognitive limitations. And this is not just an empirical matter: it is not that we have not decided the issue yet. .[20] "I have . and hence how much of a fideistic element there is in any attempted rational reconstruction of knowledge or anything else. Nothing is left but defence —that is. not just because of practical limitations but because of the very nature of the case. practical reasons to believe it. Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals . for the same reason. we end up with an object-language version of the same claim about knowledge and faith. For all we know.[21] But in that work we find only. I know that the table is brown. or indeed of insight. I will never even know that it makes sense to say that. it might: we simply have no way to tell. on the other hand. In the moral works. We had to give up any hope of ever concluding that our freedom is real. we cannot deny it. how much of a leap one ultimately has to accept within the texture of any project of making the world intelligible to oneself. instead. and where knowledge is denied—knowledge of things or principles that are unconditioned in a way that would satisfy reason—faith is not invoked as a substitute for it. What happens there. we could not assert that explanation.

and scholarly. consume. It will rather fade away. methodological. but analytic philosophers have no such recognizable programs. of course. and devour more and more land. merciful death: there are no standards by which it can fail. Ralph Walker raises a number of important stylistic. if a suicidal leap. refer to one another in their work. and—who knows?—one day it might be Paracelsus or Schelling. new associations are . some sort of general training in (usually infant) logic. But such generic qualifications cannot bring into relief a philosophical school any more than a scientific project or a political party. publish in the same journals.groundless. Nietzsche here and Heidegger there. of course. the secret of its success must be found in the looseness of its defining features. The ways they identify themselves are largely sociological: they go to the same conferences. provided one paraphrases it in the right manner and gives their "arguments" some standard form. and substantive issues. To slow that painful process there is only one strategy at hand (the same one soldiers. as old soldiers do— drown in its own boredom. An aggregate of this kind will not die a quick. streamlined and normalized to make them sound like the last issue of the Philosophical Review . Discussion of these issues will allow me to highlight and develop both my position in the book and my more general philosophical stance. and hence within the wide—and monetarily rich and academically powerful—world of ana― 48 ― lytic philosophy you can find pretty much whatever you want: from metaphysics to theology. and shown some strength on the European continent as well. The sad reality of this race toward the abyss has begun to sink in with some members of the aggregate. a penchant for clarity of exposition and commonsensical views. A tight. Which is sometimes difficult to bring about. professional. Style For some forty years now. and suchlike. are members of the same associations. and involves doing some violence to the texts. I will—that my despairing opponent is in no better shape than I am. that my efforts in that direction are not entirely delusive. New jargons are becoming fashionable. but when Sherman said that war is hell. he was not thinking of life in the barracks. that my sense that I could be doing better is not absurd. and I will know —this. and never mind if what they say is crazy. and a conception of their discipline as cumulative. All. analytic philosophy has dominated the Anglo-American academic world. So it's Husserl today and Hegel tomorrow. are limited to): conquer. To some extent. ― 47 ― Chapter Four— Kant Is on My Side: A Reply to Walker In his review of my Kant's Copernican Revolution . that his is as much of a leap of faith as mine. young and old. ambitious philosophical program such as that of the Vienna Circle (from which analytic philosophy somewhat loosely derives) was bound to fail quickly. new journals emerge. at least. from aesthetics to animal rights. They also have.

." There follows an accurate reconstruction of some of the problems I find in "pre-Revolutionary habits of thought. to remind them that this is so "for most of us. Up to this point. in a minute. It is silence or derision until it works. Walker has not said a word about my interpretation of Kant. indeed. given the kind of commitment one has to a paradigm (incidentally." readers are reassured that there is nothing to worry about: my treatment "betrays an insecurity of touch which recurs whenever [I attempt] to tackle contemporary analytic thought. again. and those words are provided: "extremely brief section. he thinks." But by now he must feel that he has a firm grip on his readers: it is enough. . He is going to. here is a good example of doing maximal damage with minimal effort). the amusing paradox is realized of this cocktail-party sort of network suddenly acquiring a strong sense of its identity and values. or that when I claim that my ― 49 ― dismissal is not definitive I also explain why nobody could do any better. is on Walker's side. then. and what better way of doing that than by having readers take sides. it is negotiations (doesn't Derrida. or to leave it as it is: to do things. about one-third of the way through his review." but when it comes to the way I treat "modern attempts. but readers need not know that. are obvious. after all. When the latter happens." How that insecurity is displayed readers are not told: the only thing close to a criticism here is that I deal with such modern attempts very briefly." assigning me. it is open confrontation. and the threat is clear: soon the wise guys might have no market for their wisdom. these are serious and difficult problems. To make this foreign character more apparent. It teaches me something about how words are in fact used to change the world. In his first paragraph. talk much like Wittgenstein?) and. it will be easier to make them swallow the idea that Kant." Why do I want to beat this dead horse? Why do I not let Walker and his acolytes go the way dinosaurs did? Because I find it fascinating to explore how rhetorical means operate within a philosophical form of life that has made formal logic its flagship discipline.formed. and that I develop my approach "from a side of Kant's thought that some writers in the analytic tradition have found unfortunate and have tended to play down. Walker suggests the threat: "[Bencivenga] believes that the analytic philosophy of the present day remains grounded in pre-Revolutionary habits of thought. . he clearly thinks he has managed to divide the world into "us" and "them." After these soothing words. Walker almost gives himself away when he acknowledges that "one can hardly dispute Bencivenga's claim that . before saying them. in sum. with others (usually those perceived to be weaker). in all of its modesty." which makes it sound much less serious. What they need is some little words to exorcise the threat. And. to the foreign camp." "insecurity of touch. he goes on to point out that he has a hard time following me. It is this mythical battle of gods and giants that is fought in the background of the modest occurrence of Walker addressing himself to my Kant book. with some. the occurrence is a paradigmatic one. and that Kant's Copernican Revolution is as much needed as ever. an opposite side from me? After that. Walker puts quote marks around the word "definitive. Nor are readers told that my treatment has only purposes of illustration. too. and the things he will say are of sweeping and destructive generality. he must establish his credibility. But." By this and his previous moves. The reactions. of course.

the value-ridden nature of this judgment becomes apparent: to be recognizably Kant is (at least) to fight what Walker (or the tradition he identifies with) conceives as worthy battles with what he (or it) conceives as formidable weapons." I will have something to say in the next section about the substance of his claim." and hence we wouldn't know how many (or which ones) we can discount and still have something that is "recognizably Kant.As it turns out. by putting your value judgments where your sweat should be. fighting Kant's battles with Kant's weapons. I admit. my Looser Ends and The Discipline of Subjectivity . it is not "us" and "them" for me: it is rather what I can learn from it. I am rather interested in what seems to be a tension in his conception of the enterprise of Kant interpretation—or. and tak[1] See. But then. more or less vaguely characterized. once again. and that some things are profitably left aside. of the history of philosophy in general. for that matter. something will count as recognizably Kant if it fights worthy battles with formidable weapons. and being largely synonymous with the previous expression "major philosopher. But then. I think.[1] It is not promoted. "left us with what was still recognizably Kant. I think that taking sides is doing a disservice to philosophy. and that requires more discipline and training than being proficient in one. Philosophy is an interminable—and interminably destabilizing— schooling and experimenting. Clearly. we look at the whole corpus or the whole text and try to . how is one to decide what counts as Kant and what "hardly" (which is. Method Walker has just acknowledged (and apparently endorsed) the fact that there are parts (or "sides") of Kant that the analytic tradition has tended to play down. To excise transcendental idealism from Kant. for the moment. this time applied to a historic and interpretive task. after some reconstruction of my interpretation. Walker does not think that it is profitable to take into consideration all that Kant said. In some of my other works I insisted that philosophy is promoted by foreign insemination and cultural transplants. The tension is this. for example. ― 50 ― ing sides is a banal attempt to find a shortcut. of course. he claims that the position I describe "is hardly Kant's. So. But later. and how I can play with what I learn. since Walker and the tradition he belongs to have already decided to discount some of Kant's battles and Kant's weapons as "unfortunate." This is not going to help if we take the last two occurrences of "Kant" as proper names. Is there any alternative to such a confrontation? I think there is. by simple anarchy: to transplant a tradition onto another." We can go a little further. or any other such movement. for it left us with a major philosopher. he claims. So when it comes to analytic philosophy. of course. if we see those last two occurrences of "Kant" as doing the work of common nouns. we are back to a ― 51 ― confrontational mode. or something of the sort. And I will not enter a battle whose use or legitimacy I don't recognize. given that we can so pick and choose." This way. one needs to be proficient in both. less serious than hardly) does so? Walker himself provides the beginning of an answer later. If we decide that a certain author or text is worth looking at.

It is these critics. again. and when we face our next theoretical issue their voice will be one more to listen to. Of course. It is this kind of operation that I tried to perform in my book. Through an operation of this nature. that what I come up with "is no longer Kant at all. on the other hand." though I "cannot deny that Kant uses them. from simple value judgments—for saying. With Walker's (and the analytic tradition's) pick-and-choose attitude. And by going through these options and complications and strategies we learn to appropriate that author or text. or sometimes deny." . A transcendental argument for Kant is. but the options that they were facing. and of course the theory can be wrong. those we judge illuminating and those we judge blunders. as Walker suggests at one point. but at least there is a definite sense in which it is a theory of that text or that author. In conclusion.explain its occurrence: to explain why those words were written—those we find fortunate and those we find unfortunate. or spatiotemporal experience[2] —and Kant's occasional suggestions to the contrary are evidence of some of the tensions I intimated above. The first one has to do with transcendental arguments." Substance There are two substantive objections Walker makes to my account. we do more than "play them down"). have premises like those mentioned by Walker—that there is experience. The outcome of this operation is a theory of the text or of the author. Here Walker claims that I "systematically [play] down [!] the role of arguments of this kind in Kant. we really get the most out of an author or a text: not just their superficial consistency or inconsistency. and those tensions and frictions will offer precious glimpses into how the underlying conceptual machinery works or doesn't work. I deny that he uses what his analytic critics (including Walker) call transcendental arguments. Among those he uses. by Kant's own lights. the complications into which each option led. simply a conceptual argument: an argument that requires nothing but the mobilization of concepts and depends on no appeal to experience. those complications. That philosophy is limited to arguments of this kind is a consequence of its purely conceptual status. some such arguments are better than others. not Kant. their journey one more example to consider. but that there is such synthetic knowledge is no philosophical matter: it is an empirical matter and hence does not belong in Kant's transcendental concerns. because our explanation is likely to reveal some underlying tensions or frictions." Now this is confused (perhaps it is one of those points where Walker had a hard time following me). as I show in the book. I don't deny that Kant uses what he calls transcendental arguments. So no transcendental argument can. to make them participants in our internal dialogue. some Kant endorses and uses. and that is why I had to concentrate on some of the most obscure and controversial passages—not to emend them. but rather to learn from Kant's own awkward handling of them through the two editions of the first Critique . . that is. as we painstakingly try to find our bearings within the matter at hand. and they strike at the very heart both of my book and of Kant scholarship. In fact. to know not just what they said but what they would have said if . . and some he does not. the strategies by which they tried to handle. that I have a tendency to "play down. so let us try to set the matter straight. some attempt to establish the possibility of some synthetic knowledge. I don't see what ground there can be— apart. and as such are discussed in some detail in my book. . So ― 52 ― they need to be considered with some care. explaining the blunders will often be more instructive (if. as he does.

and is not interested in what things there are.The second criticism is that in my view "it is facts about human thoughts and experiences. [they] are a particularly satisfactory way of replying to sceptics" (p. which determine the truths about objects in the world—insofar as there are determinate truths about these at all." As for transcendental arguments. but once again I must emphasize that Walker's contentions turn on taking philosophical sides. It is clearly facts about objects that in general determine (that is. and only when that is done will I be in a position to justify the attribution of mental occurrences to this object which is myself." But that is exactly the kind of place the thing in itself can have within transcendental philosophy. this "leaves no place for the thing in itself. Within transcendental reflection. things (res ) are what constitutes the empirical realm. is confused. in his view. And note: not human representations. 15) that with these premises Kant is not going to go very far in what Walker conceives as Kant's task. He does not. and therefore a "major philosopher" for them is one who has found a more clever way than most to force his opponents to accept a given claim. however. which has no things to deal with. While formulating his second criticism above. stories) are at least as important as arguments. . and Kant is an empirical realist: for him. and in fact Walker's judgment on what he calls transcendental arguments in the Critique is ultimately quite negative. more provocatively. Nor is there anything that is wholly independent of us which our thoughts or experiences have to match. and try to provide a conceptual account of this possibility. or to which they are answerable in any way. except as an Idea—the conception of something objective and independent. That is why suggesting that for Kant theories (or. It [2] In his own Kant . And yes. but the fact of the matter is that. 14). ask whether Kant might possibly have had some other weapons (and battles) in mind. The best he can say about them is that "[i]f they can be made to work . Kant's transcendental arguments don't work. I will have to invoke the same patterns and the same properties to make philosophical sense of the claim that I am an object at all. again. And. but representations period. Analytic philosophers think of arguments necessarily establishing their conclusions as the ideal philosophical tool. representations) become the dominant factor: the legitimacy of calling something an object is accounted for by bringing out certain properties representations have and certain patterns they follow. and "Kant's battles" issue in proving somebody definitively (or "definitively") wrong. is equivalent for them to attempting to deprive Kant of the "major philosopher" status. the issue is a fundamental one. cause) facts about human thoughts. Walker points out (p. but in how the concept of a thing is related to other concepts. and these alone. by driving a wedge between Kant and Fichte. but only conceptions. we ask ourselves how the empirical realm is possible. and he would have said the same of Bencivenga. ― 53 ― is in such an account that thoughts (or rather. and creativity and imagination at least as valuable as logical cogency. . however.[3] Clarifying these substantive matters is helpful. That is why "Kant's weapons" must be arguments of some sort. or my representations. Humans (including me) are as much in need of a philosophical account here as anything else. . he throws at me a couple of menacing references to Fichte—one of those authors who have not yet been successfully conquered by analytic philosophers. Facts are the matter of experience. Even with myself. he extends that wedge to include me: "[Kant] thought Fichte had no workable account of the given." This.

I use the following abbreviations: P for Marasco's Child's Play. . but finds it totally comfortable and relaxing. my italics). . but is not impressed by this outcome: for him. Darwinian view of language" (E 3) and other matters (O 60). N for Orwell's 1984. where "how we get from here to there . naturalistic. my italics). is a happy fellow. and the thing doesn't seem to touch him in the least. He has no explanation for anything much. his is "a philosophy of solidarity rather than of despair" (O 33). I am afraid I am much more troubled than that. and thinks of this liquidation and of the "[l]ovably old-fashioned [metaphysical] prigs" (E 86) who are to suffer from it as "the only excuses which [he has] for staying in business" (E 86). a philosophy devoid of tension and pain. . no story to tell to reconcile the various conflicting aspects of his or anyone's personality. is the only sort of justification we are going to get" (C 57. that his own efforts "may by now be irrelevant to contemporary high culture" (E 101). where "society as a whole asserts itself without bothering to ground itself " (E 176. but is not worried by it. Irony. and Solidarity. and that one should shrug off "the idea that there is something called 'philosophy' or 'metaphysics' which is central to our culture" (E 104). but this suggestion hurts me: the idea that I will never be able to argue for the correctness of my views in any noncircular way is one that I cannot comfortably stare at. "no deep premises to draw on" (O 110) to establish the superiority of his beliefs to those of others. Indeed. morally as well as politically." than one to humankind (C 191). But this claim does not belong to the initial characterization of Kant's transcendental idealism. it is rather the conclusion of a complicated conceptual path —and one to which Walker devotes no attention here. he criticizes others for "their failure to take a relaxed. I understand that the systematic unity my philosophical heroes worked . He thinks that philosophy—his line of work—is no big deal. ― 55 ― in the process of closing down" (O 218). he contributes enthusiastically to the process by adopting a "therapeutic" approach that denies most traditional philosophical problems instead of addressing them. my italics). without worrying much about their relation to one another" (E 127.[3] Of course. "no special duty to construct" the relevant idealizations (O 68). C for Rorty's Contingency. Relativism. In sum. the conception of a thing in itself will turn out to be one that can have no experiential realization for Kant. E for Rorty's Essays on Heidegger and Others . ― 54 ― Chapter Five— Rorty and I The other one. He "frankly recognizes" his ethnocentrism (O 3on). He lives in a world dominated by contingency. is just the way things happen to have fallen out" (C 182). where "[o]ne will be content to use lots of different vocabularies for one's different purposes. it merely proves "that one of the less important sideshows of Western civilization—metaphysics—is In this chapter. and Truth . and that in some sense there may be "no conditionless conditions" (E 55). He thinks that a reference to us Americans may be "much more persuasive. and O for Rorty's Objectivity. and whose heroes "would happily grant that a circular justification of our practices . In fact. . the one named Rorty. I realize that self-referentiality may be the (insoluble) problem of contemporary philosophy. but somehow feels no urge to come up with any of that.

possibly the Übermensch 's ironic. with characteristic geniality and untroubledness. between neutrinos and winged horses. I mean. live in the midst of irreconcilable differences and be perfectly tolerant of them. The more I think about it. a philosophy—or at least a condition—of despair. apprehending—their time in thought (in fact. think that there is nothing ultimately wrong with Hitler and still be ready to die for his own views. [at one pole of which] is the desire to attain a God's-eye view . the intellectual honesty to admit that we are socialized through and through. yet I still find myself attempting elaborate distinctions between some intentional objects and others. everybody else kept looking the other way. "a failure of nerve" (E 63). We are still longing for fetal repose. and I can't help feeling that this theory is right and the others aren't. But wait. I accept the view that "the only notion of 'object' we need is that of 'intentional object' " (O 106) and that any more realist construal of what is out there is bound to failure. [and at the other] the thought that this ― 56 ― attempt is impossible" (E 131). pursue the search for his own perfection without any attempt at proselytizing. . The myths of the past—of the metaphysical infancy of our species—would be forgotten and." we are told.for is at best a focus imaginarius . I guess. First. if not to climb out of my own mind. at least to describe what that would be like. I agree that a theory is not a way of representing the world but a way of coping with it. and yet I can't quite let different spheres "coexist uncompetitively" (E 170): I feel inevitably led to bring them together. the more it seems that this guy Rorty is made of different stuff altogether. for parental guidance. more distinguished colleagues. and so much the worse for those of us who find ourselves competing with it. but I am strongly tempted to say that there is something wrong with this lack of interest. finally. And ascetic priests are always after what cannot yet be said. . we would have grown up. by falling in wells and stuff. because it is only sad for those who have our childish expectations. joyful stuff. ask no question unless he can find an answer for it. Maybe my problem is. that there is no residue to the conditioning process to which we have been subjected. Mine is. "[A] lot of small contingent facts" (C 188) must have brought about this fortunate mutation. There may be trouble in paradise. I know that philosophers have mostly provided just a minor source of entertainment. we would do it with a smile. my theory. If we could get rid of those expectations and have therapy come to its happy end. We haven't woken up to the reality of an adult world—not the sad reality of it. and that when they announced the end of this or that. the maturity to accept a groundless form of life. and would let "transcendence go" (E 181). say. . It comes in three steps. as with other. to make some common sense out of them. "have at least a bit of the ascetic priest in us" (E 71). My "desperate anxiety" (E 63) matches Heidegger's as he wants to think of himself as offering more than "simply a history of the alterations in human beings' self-conceptions" (E 63): we don't have the guts to look into the void we have discovered. but I can't avoid making this statement part of another theory. We would "no longer hope for world-historical greatness" (E 81). He can stand a conflict between private and public matters without being bothered by it. for God-given bliss. that people ought not to have laughed at the philosophers' doom and gloom. the mutant acknowledges quite another excuse for "staying in business"—other than "the only" one of ganging up on old metaphysical prigs. not only would we be able to stare into the void. "All we philosophers. I still try. they don't seem to be content with too . that this theory tells me how things are and the others don't. . I share de Man's and Sartre's "sense of human life as a perpetual oscillation . they are not content with regurgitating —sorry.

quasi-philosophical claims. they come from somebody else: "[T]o spell out my fantasy in detail. . . "For the result of trying to find a language different from the tribe's is to enrich the language of later generations of that tribe. ― 57 ― And lo and behold. When they come from inside philosophy. after all. The more ascetic priests a society can afford to support. seamless activity in which the divisions are merely institutional and pedagogical" (O 76). inspiring world would look like: "They would be liberal ironists . quasi-philosophical claim . Donald Davidson" (O 103). abstract. Since novelists are role models here.much at all). Theorizers are not to be taken too seriously. from physics to poetry. but are to be kept around. intended to keep some distance from its scary historical source. too. to "persuade" us (O 220). But no details are forthcoming: only large. everyday common sense. people who combined commitment with a sense of the contingency of their own commitment" (C 61). nononsense. and in fact this Kantian relic. after all. We might even think of doing something with those wells for which they seem to have a leaning. there are only platitudes. . "old. and occasional "persuasive" moralizing matched with the conviction that . we might expect to get a lot of details about the liberal utopia. You might say that this is just an unimpressive bit of doing Nietzsche on Aristotle. too concise. the more surplus value is available to provide these priests with the leisure to fantasize. nowhere to be found— which is now supposed to "lift our spirits" (O 212). and sheltered from the storm. Consistently with this picture. "[i]f Freud [another role model] had made only the large. and theorists at best an antiquarian curiosity (and at worst an embarrassment). . I shall use strategies suggested by my favorite contemporary antiessentialist. inconclusive" arguments (O 67). or whatever. politics. abstract. and later he provides a powerful summary of what the citizens of this dreamy. Now it looks like traditional theorizing (recycled as storytelling) is not to be terminated. a "thinking of the entire culture. is by resurrecting old foci imaginarii . or a speech inspiring—are to come from the outside: sociology. Only "amateurish" guesses (O 53). still chastised in its Habermasian version on C 67 and wearily accorded a courteous bow on O 100. And so does the more realistic. as a single. familiar. but it sure forces me to reconsider the agenda of my formidable adversary in the struggle for philosophic (and academic) life. the richer and more diverse the language and projects of that society are likely to become" (E 72). this misguided activity pays some dividends. . "The important thing about novelists as compared with theorists is that they are good at details" (E 81). but rather encouraged. utopian version of it—a focus imaginarius is. continuous. the creature considers it one of his aims "to suggest the possibility of a liberal utopia" (C xv). As far as the creature is directly concerned. history. and to give us "visions of glorious new institutions" (E 121). . Which means that divisions and distinctions and details—the sorts of things that make a story worth reading. The natural way to have your cake and eat it. a blurring of ― 58 ― distinctions (O 83). "spiritually comforting" fuzziness (O 44). fed. . he would not have startled. The problem with this summary (and here comes the second station of the calvary) is that it is too powerful—that is. They want "a language entirely disengaged from the business of the tribe. as seems to be the alien creature's new goal. gets a new lease on respectability on C 195 and C 196—though with sundry qualifications. What is new in Freud is the details he gives us" (C 31). irrelevant to the mere pursuit of pleasure and avoidance of pain" (E 71).

After some devastating criticism of what he calls "the School of Resentment." he says. "If my criticism of this School seems harsh. of course. [theirs] are a lot better than the actually existing competition" (E 179). We don't even have that. "[T]he only difference between us and the Resenters is that we regret our lack of imagination. not for his own ethnos at least—the audience he is supposed to address and persuade—but it provides an explanation of sorts. and my (tenured) professor told me that I was lucky to have nothing. it's because they are. name [of philosophy]" (E 23). By the end of this three-step process. and decided to take a chance and go to Canada on a fellowship. They have come to the end of their day. but he sure has a point. but that's another story. our childlike. even though frequently falling over its own feet" (E 180). Or. He knows. and that we haven't got it. There is. but for him. decrepit species. it is because one is always harshest on what one most dreads resembling" (E 184). theirs is an Alexandrian culture that can only cling to its privileges. . our mutant has turned into an endangered. Or it's the same sort of trivial generalities as everywhere else: "In such a [utopian] community. Not even in regard to his own source of livelihood does the creature have anything detailed or inspiring to say. Which reminds me of when I was unemployed in Italy. in my middle twenties. and content them― 59 ― selves "with saying that. He may not be inspiring. this might be taken to mean: They at least have a metastory concerning why they have no story to tell. The metastory says that American "tragic liberals" have gotten complacent and lazy. It is these liberals—people like our formerly happy mutant— who are now to be "berated" for their "failure of nerve" (E 180). all that is left of philosophy is the maxim of Mill's On Liberty . . the prophet of a new millennium. . a bit later on. "In time it may seem merely a quaint historical accident that [these] institutions bear the . "Being a political romantic is not easy these days. whereas they make a virtue of what they think a philosophico-historical necessity" (E 84). that one of the main consequences (and goals) of a utopia is the sense it makes of the past . as institutions go. Richer. Now this is a curious reversal. I didn't like that. in other words. from places like Brazil. maybe better. Somehow. He's a dinosaur like all of us. If statements like this sound disappointing."revolutionary politics in [North Atlantic] countries can be no more than intellectual exhibitionism" (O 221). more inspiring narratives must come from somewhere else. It's not an inspiring one. but enough to admit what it takes to get there. his "nerve" is not enough to make him enter the Garden of Eden. the creature does have a metastory after all. And then he adds. or of a Rabelaisian carnival: everybody can do what they want if they don't hurt anybody else while doing it" (E 75). Presumably it helps a lot to come from a big. not just for the occasional reader but for their own author. a vast landscape of boredom. As it turns out (so goes the third movement of our sonata). where there is more at stake. backward country with lots of raw materials and a good deal of capital accumulation—a country that has started to lurch forward. even when it comes to philosophy. that he could not have taken that step. We only feel bad about it. more detailed. but a more perceptive specimen. the guy who must die minutes before the promised land is reached. it's contingency all the way down. joyful. happily schizoid god has turned into an announcing angel. Construed unsympathetically. The sort of preposterous romanticism that makes stories intricate and surprising is no longer accessible to them: "[W]e Alexandrians no longer have the strength [for it]" (E 192). desperately defending its ecological niche.

no cautionary side remarks. the Alexandrians. albeit unjustified by the evidence. On C 104. and let others take it apart. no tongue in cheek. he has to worry about the so-called problem of selfreference—the problem of ― 61 ― . because he wanted to demonstrate his own awareness of his own finitude through what Kierkegaard called 'indirect communication'—by an ironic gesture rather than by putting forward a claim. One can only surmise what the "evidence" might be. majestic "evidence" is thrown in to scare you out of your wits. of the irredeemable quality of your ethnocentrism. and the philosopher who would succeed Hegel. quasi-philosophical claims. It is for them to keep you honest: if you do it yourself. once more (there must be a reason for courage being so central here—maybe later I will understand it). You can tell it as if it were the ultimate story. but somehow our fellow dinosaur thinks that there is something deeply wrong there. or expressing your regret. your story. detailed narratives. tell it straight. detailed narratives. and that makes it more convincing. you don't. of most or all of the meta things he said. who refer to his proposals as preposterous. general. about the definitive character of the latter)? I will put it in a different way: "Because the theorist wants to see rather than to rearrange . or is just another dream? It is the others . The two sentences are built in such a way as to strongly suggest that the hypothesis they entertain is false—"it would be charitable. intricate problems were finally being resolved ― 60 ― by their novel." "it would be nice. They do so because they make bold claims and sustain them by clever. "preposterous" approaches. rather than as an arrogant assumption that nothing more could possibly be done. They thought they had the definitive truth. such as Hegel. For. perhaps. for instance? They made bold claims and sustained them by clever." There is a wonderful rhetoric to this passage. It comes down to a matter of nerve. to rise above rather than to manipulate. That is all fair and good. from how good they are at doing their job (the ascetic priest's or whatever else we want to call it). with no qualifications.Or does he? Brazilian neoromantic politician-philosophers like Roberto Unger may well stir people's juices more than yet another analytic philosopher's analysis of the paradox of analysis. their community (or ours) might end up having no use for them—but none of this detracts from how exciting their stories are. they could be wrong—that is. but what about some old-fashioned romantics. you will end up stuttering to no purpose. believed that long-lasting. Is it things that Hegel said? But why should we not interpret the things he said so that most of them turn out true for us—to the exclusion. the things he said about other things he said (for example. But does Unger perhaps think that what he says is wrong . It would be nice to think that he deliberately left the future blank as an invitation to his successors to do to him what he had done to his predecessors. or writing footnotes on those others who still (delusionally?) believe they have stories to tell? No. Reference to some unspecified. the enlightened dinosaur considers a similar suggestion: "It would be charitable and pleasant. Of course." and all that. he considers them wise and rational. to believe that Hegel deliberately refrained from speculating on the nation which would succeed Germany. it must be the way "persuasion" works. as far as I can tell. You can still tell a story. what comes next? Do you then have to go on reiterating the same boring. suppose you have "persuaded" yourself of the optional character of all your "basic" beliefs.

but this is just as it should be. unless a theory is entirely self-contained and self-standing. The dinosaur is a philosopher. imaginative. Consider this: Nabokov "was the son of a famous liberal statesman who was assassinated when his son was twenty-two" (C 156). For the (pragmatically) enlightened dinosaur. the son abandoned all "hope for future generations" (C 156). strange families (the Karamazovs. audacious tales. one would think that they can be of as much help as anybody in weaning people who are "stuck in the vocabulary in which they were brought up" (C 80). as most of our theories are not. so he beats on philosophers with a stick a thumb wide. then. the dinosaur thinks otherwise. it's going out of business. Of course most people don't say that. But this is too boring. it's closing down. or having been. you smart dinosaur. and urge the old prigs who still read and value Catullus or Shakespeare to close shop for good. But suppose now that he has no solution for it: he can't think of a reason for "his own unprecedented success. the answer is still "no. yet still thinks that we have a lot to learn from looking at them. Julien Sorel). the Casaubons). at least he wanted to do nothing evil. Nabokov." since a theory is a tool. Maybe so. the answer is "no": it just means that his theory is not complete. Why? Because each philosopher thought of himself as the last one and couldn't explain why. as just taking their best shot and challenging others to do better. "It's obvious it's your opinion. is this problem as devastating as the dinosaur makes it sound? Only. imaginative.explaining his own unprecedented success at redescription in the terms of his own theory" (C 104). tell me another one. so why should we read anybody—Hegel. if they can. Since philosophers (or theorists. he retained the more negative side of his father's concerns: if he could do nothing good for humankind. For whom. too quasi-philosophical. Philosophy is out. in spite of himself: "He would like to see all the evil in the world—all the . for some sort of hypertheorist who claims that. "It is clear from his autobiography that the only thing which could really get Nabokov down was the fear of being. On the other hand. When I was younger. if you prefer—if you do. But. 'poets never kill' " (C 159). Possibly as a result of the assassination. audacious views. But Nabokov is more lucid than that. there must be interesting details to our invidious distinction somewhere. for example. But this position is foolish. say —as committed to it? Why should we not read them. make the appropriate substitutions below) are as good an example as any of deluded seers who came up (usually for the wrong reasons) with very strange. instead. it is as good as nothing. and encourages getting acquainted "with strange people (Alcibiades. he would laud Plato and Kant. is one guy who's done a lot of good with his fiction though creating a crazy "private mythology" (C 168) to make sense of it. maybe this is one of the many problems the theorist must face. and a tool may well be good for some purposes and not others. if he were a poet. Why are these delusions to be treated so much more harshly than any others? ― 62 ― Maybe the answer is to be found in a remark I already quoted: one treats most harshly what one most dreads resembling. in case they are fictional. so just say it. the mandarins of the Sung)" (C 80)." What this comes down to is a peculiar situation. I used to preface lots of things I said with "in my opinion" or suchlike. cruel" (C 157). until somebody older and wiser told me. their authors) may have been entirely deluded in their pursuits. somehow. too abstract. The dinosaur thinks that society can profit immeasurably from diverse. the Nuer." Then what? Does that mean that his theory has no value? For the theorist. Now. Part of the strategy by which he defended himself from this fear was the claim that literature can do no evil: "[A]s [his character] Humbert says. He recognizes that all those strange people (or. I guess. and strange communities (the Teutonic Knights.

. will tell none of those brave stories that might very well bring about a brave new world (here. hypnotic comfort. But I can't help sympathizing with the weakling. O'Brien had pushed the lever of the dial up to thirty-five. his characters show how "writers can obtain and produce ecstasy while failing to notice suffering. The book is dedicated to lots of relatives: parents and grandparents—all liberals. but no details are given. but now we can do more than stigmatize it as one of the many strange things our dinosaur is happy (?) to live with. that is. too. 'You should know better than to say a thing like that. just as in Nabokov. ― 63 ― The clues are there. isn't it? So let's tiptoe out of here. is where the issue of courage might come to a head). about delicate. I mean—is not private at all: it carries a public message. 'That was stupid. The object . of how the thing is supposed to work. people kill concepts" (C 134). Why should I mess up the weakling's "private mythology. whoever) do this sort of dirty work? I am certainly in no position to throw any stones here. in a very powerful summary.failures in tenderness and kindness—as produced by nonpoets. and that it serves the same purpose: that of convincing a beautiful. by generalizing. fortunately for all of us. while being incurious about the people whose lives provide their material" (C 159). hallucinatory wish fulfillment. The moral of this intellectual journey is obvious: Nabokov was afraid of betraying his father twice. sensitive. But he knows that this is not the case" (C 159–160). stupid!' he said. and seeing the point of his inconclusiveness: he is so afraid of hurting that he will do nothing at all. gifted people like Humbert who end up wasting and abusing others." which he might need in order to reconcile himself with the memory of his liberal ancestors? It's his own business. even themselves. he was in practice to give out a lot of details of how it is possible. and blow out the candle before closing the door. We can provide a charitable reading of it. things do not add up. that nobody is going to get hurt. is the lucidity Nabokov had in spite of himself. and what sort of message is that? That there are questions for which it would be a mistake to think that there could be answers. tenderness. facts for which it would be a mistake to think that there could be any explanation. if he'd rather have somebody else (poets. a utopia whose structure resembles Nabokov's quite a bit: a world where things come together which it is not clear can come together. is doublethink. he will try to "persuade" us to close down this whole enterprise once and for all. . is just as bad as the one quoted earlier about poets. just as in Nabokov's case one could be a gentle artist. So he goes on to write his best novels about poets who kill. Winston. of course. So one ends up with the impression that this. and ecstasy come together naturally and inseparably in art. In fact. of course. look at it as an ironic gesture of the kind Hegel was denied: an invitation to do to its author what he does to Nabokov. then. all "people who are more afraid of being cruel than of anything else" (C 192). Keep all that in mind and turn to the following: "Concepts do not kill anything. . one could be a philosopher without hurting. What seems to be missing here. This statement. writers. warmhearted. And yet. kindness. So he concocted a bit of doublethink to convince himself that the latter was impossible. If they did. incurious vulgarians. the details he gave us about how poets do kill. somewhat weakly soul that everything is going to be all right. The book sketches. ("A pang of pain had shot through his body. first by abandoning his ideals and then by being cruel to others in the name of his art. . Nabokov's practice disqualifies his belief that curiosity. . For this object I am looking at—this book. He knows that it can do some good—that indeed it has done some—but can I blame him if he can't stand the evil it has also done. .

as for public purposes. But we create human nature. so they are just going to refrain from it. Men are infinitely malleable' " [N 222]. So the weakling is aware of the horrid reality that is emerging here. but it leaves untouched the problem of what to do with this document.) "The point that sadism aims at humiliation rather than merely at pain in general. they will have to be one's own.) That all the multifarious private stories must "coexist uncompentively" not only outside but also inside one—insofar as one reads. what pain and cruelty are. The object of torture is torture. period. This move. just entertain themselves. They want to be taken on their own terms—taken seriously just as they are and just as they talk. if ironist philosophers were to now withdraw to a cave. There is something potentially very cruel about that claim" (C 89). They are going to do their irony in private and. this public object which I have in my hands. takes him seriously. It's a fair game: there may be a loser. and humans will turn into whatever they happen to be conditioned to be. But most people do not want to be redescribed. however. Now do you begin to understand me?' " [N 216–217]. and given the sort of book it is. look after their own happiness and perfection— this thing doesn't do.of persecution is persecution. just know . and so also shows him respect. and faces it: "Ironism. as I have defined it. The ironist tells them that the language they speak is up for grabs by her and her kind." the weakling says. the last (ironist) philosophy book? But. (" 'You are imagining that there is something called human nature which will be outraged by ― 64 ― what we do and will turn against us. child" (C 89–90). What it does instead is spoil all hope and break down all unity. Which may well be all right.) That there is no such thing as unsocialized human nature. misses the mark by a mile: the metaphysician takes his opponent at face value. they will acknowledge being "of no use to ― 65 ― liberals qua liberals" (C 95). cut our minds to pieces and leave them that way. she cannot reconstitute herself " (C 177). The object of power is power. wouldn't it have been better to leave it unwritten? . . he brings out his other ploy: liberal ironist philosophers know. if it is. though the ironist has no special inclination to humiliate. richer. perhaps. It is a consequence of Scarry's argument that the worst thing you can do to somebody is not to make her scream in agony but to use that agony in such a way that even when the agony is over. . he can be blamed for "an inability to empower" (C 91). and hence "possible humiliation [is] no more closely connected" with the latter than with the former (C 90). liked for no other reason than that. that there will never be any ground on which to argue that one story is better than another. Two moves are made to defuse this potential. tries to prove him wrong. The weakling eventually connects with this point. results from awareness of the power of redescription. " 'Power is in tearing human minds to pieces'" [N 220]. we are told that the metaphysician redescribes just as the ironist does.) That. Upon recognizing that. . but there is not the sort of thing that "happens when [a child's] possessions are made to look ridiculous alongside the possessions of another. that any of them is more than arbitrary or "contingent." ("[T]he aim of this [torture] was simply to humiliate him and destroy his power of arguing and reasoning" [N 199]. "has been developed in detail [!] by Elaine Scarry. as far as there are stories still to be told. many books—and no attempt must be made of bringing them together. ("In the end the nagging voices broke him down more completely than the boots and fists of the guards" [N 200]. or writes. What ironist philosophers are supposed to do— not bother others. and phrases it by saying that. Is this. First.

the affection of all those boys. wants others to go easy on them. his malevolence. "going at one another" (P 20). so long ago that it seems to have happened to somebody else. half-dinosaur that disconcerted me so much. young man. So I watched this play. You know me. . It's made it an issue for me. at least. but is this. but to an unwitting execution of it. The result is . he's happy if he teaches them "[o]bviously nothing" so long as they don't suffer (P 11). by the name of Joseph Dobbs. He excuses everybody—every one of his boys. when another avuncular character refuses to play the game and resorts to deciding issues "on a high metaphilosophical plane" (O 146)—"You're still a freshman to me. It's you. and things were never the same again. all two thousand of those whom he'd taught: "I've always valued it. And. one step truer to himself: his practice would amount not to an unwitting description of the threat he has in store for us. and it was pretty scary. and I often find him. Descartes faces an embarrassing situation: As if I did not remember other occasions when I have been tricked by exactly similar thoughts while asleep! As I think about this more carefully. of this half-mutant. . all those boys" (P 87). of this liberal who will sacrifice his own form of life in fear it might hurt—is this the practice of a cruel torturer after all? Of a fragmenter. . I mean.I watched a play long ago. . . It is something evil. if that were the case. not to "push them too hard" (P 21). What this something is. Dobbs is a "kindly. You're all freshmen to me" (P 83)—I look for malevolent Mr. could this be. affectionate soul presents itself as too weak or good to stand anybody else's pain. He wants to give them another chance. plucking their eyes out. He loved his students and remembered all their names. There was this schoolteacher in it. The title was Child's Play . . only a private matter? ― 67 ― Chapter Six— The Irony of It In his first meditation. way back then in another life. but then. years of it. I know it's done something to me: it's made an issue of my cruelty ("Is that what I tried to tear out of myself. to tear themselves" (P 106–107). Not myself. as I close it. When another gentle. never mind what he says . well covered under his genial affection: the malevolence of his unspoken acts . The hate?" [P 108]). As far as he's concerned. you I trust. in another life. Dobbs. a tearer-apart. Did I find him once more? Is the practice of this Protean creature I've been examining with ― 66 ― so much passion. "Something's come into this place" (P 87). someone who will never let us reconstitute ourselves? Ironically. something that has "[k]ids fighting for bits of broken glass . their friendship . "rumpled and comfortable" like his "old corduroy jacket" (P 6). it turns out. but you. I am an impressionable guy. I am going to close this book now. I didn't sleep that night. you boys. paternal" figure (49). I see plainly that there are never any sure signs by means of which being awake can be distinguished from being asleep. as in the end one closes all books. And then there is also something else in the school. "[T]his sort of leniency has a way of getting back to the boys" (P 47). is Dobbs's hate. the creature would be one step ahead of Nabokov. . to regard their misdeeds as innocent adolescent pranks.

we might find ourselves in much bigger trouble. in that dreams are never linked by memory with all the other actions of life as waking experiences are. That resolution consisted of bringing out the disconnected. 13. to resolve his embarrassment: I now notice that there is a vast difference between [being asleep and being awake]. of course. If. in the sixth meditation. Where does this man come from? Did I see him before? How come he looks familiar? What is his address. so that I could not see where he had come from or where he had gone to.[4] Keep all of this in mind and turn to the following passage from Kant's first Critique : The empirical truth of appearances in space and time is. the embarrassment is caused.that I begin to feel dazed. [1] Note two features of this situation. He feels dazed. sufficiently secured. and (we may imagine) is also likely to be pragmatically quite ineffective. at least in part. it is adequately distinguished from dreams. his occupation? And so on. and this very feeling only reinforces the notion that I may be asleep. His confidence is thus restored: he is back on his feet and can dismiss "as laughable" his former "exaggerated doubts."[3] Indeed. what can Kant . There is also. while I am awake.[5] This passage gives us pause. What if we went to sleep and dreamed a perfectly reasonable continuation of our waking experience. and that is precisely how we decide that they are not (really) people or things . incoherent nature of dreams. the additional fact that he is unable to tell dreams and waking life apart. as happens in sleep. is in a state of confusion. And by working on this aspect of the situation he will eventually be able. First. No matter how perceptually vivid a dream is. as compared with waking experience. But when I distinctly see where things come from and where and when they come to me. the one he seems to be making in correspondence that he is never deceived by dreams. he is so confident now that some of his current statements sound like exaggerations: for example. however. ― 68 ― be unreasonable for me to judge that he was a ghost. anyone were suddenly to appear to me and then disappear immediately. and when I can connect my perceptions of them with the whole of the rest of my life without a break. perfectly coherent with it? How would we then tell that it was a dream we were having? How would we then resolve our embarrassment? But now. of course. a conceptual argument has convinced him that facts will have to continue to be so favorable. then I am quite certain that when I encounter these things I am not asleep but awake. if compared with Descartes's earlier resolution of his problem. In less fortunate circumstances (with a less benevolent God). as a matter of fact . No answers to such questions are forthcoming for the "people" or "things" that populate a dream. rather than a real man. or a vision created in my brain. And. Second. it would not [1] Meditations on First Philosophy . we can always call its bluff by asking a few pointed questions. in accordance with empirical laws.[2] He "notices" that. if both dreams and genuine appearances cohere truly and completely in one experience. Descartes's embarrassment has a number of empirical consequences and manifestations. by the empirical presence of dreams: by the empirical fact that dreams occur in Descartes's experience. dreams and waking life can be told apart.

Dreaming. . .. and more basic. but then it cannot be given on Thursday either. . and using them in certain ways. . . As it turns out. that certain difficulties simply will not arise (there will not be coherent dreams).possibly mean by saying that "the empirical truth of appearances is . and often interacts with other aspects of that life with significant consequences. 61. One way in which this can happen was illustrated by the example of Descartes: one convinces oneself. It cannot be given on Friday because it would not be a surprise. the teacher comes to class. the one that we must hope and pray will never be realized? Forget about dreams for a moment and turn your attention to the surprise examination paradox. 241–242. Which conclusion makes us feel more decisive. It would be nice if the various levels of our activity were neatly separated in the way in which Tarski separates his language levels.. together with studying (or not studying) and preparing (or not preparing) for the exam. . then little Tom could establish his conceptual conclusion at a metaexperiential level (an exam of this sort is impossible) and return to his ordinary experience in an enlightened state. but they [6] This interpretation was first suggested. in a note to chapter 5 of my Kant's Copernican Revolution .[6] Consider a situation in which you face the totality of your experience and find it to be very confusing. 61–62. gives the exam. Little Tom spends the weekend convincing himself that no such exam is possible. [4] See my "Descartes. and Tom is very surprised. The teacher announces in class on Friday that next week an exam will be given. What Kant is doing. by a conceptual argument. Tom's establishing his conceptual conclusion belongs with that very ordinary experience. There may be some other student waiting in the wings. But the interplay between the conceptual and the empirical need not be so disconcerting. in the passage quoted earlier. On Monday Tom is as unprepared as he is unfazed. is indicating that we may get empirical help from our conceptual friends also in another. [3] Ibid. makes our life (our empirical life. What this paradox does for us is illustrate forcefully how whatever use we make of our conceptual (Kant would say transcendental) tools is itself part and parcel of our empirical lives. way. adequately distinguished from [2] Ibid. and that. I mean) easier. ready to use this very knowledge the teacher has to play a fast one on him . Some patterns can be identified. in passing. 440. the exam will come as a surprise. when given. ― 69 ― dreams" if the two cohere with one another ? Isn't the hypothesis of such coherence the most dreaded one." [5] Critique of Pure Reason . maybe even elated. however. Sometimes having certain concepts available. the teacher knows all about that (and about Tom) and uses this knowledge to play a fast one on Tom. and Professor Wilson.

By and large. and of similar ones: their pacifying. Calling some parts of our experience dreams is an effective strategy for restoring (not challenging) the coherence of that experience. and confidence-building use. the presence of the concept of a dream in our logical space) makes it possible to resolve the confusion we might be involved in. more fundamental. as far as we can tell") into an unconditional. ― 71 ― ested in the first-order. of course. The empirical presence of dreams may well give rise to an empirical difficulty: dreams are a mess. tentative adoption of some behavioral strategies ("This is how it pays to respond most often. but is it legitimate to do so? How do I know that dreams are incoherent? [And that waking experience is not?]"). this is how he would analyze the situation. When one already has the concept of a dream.[7] But here I am inter[7] Such second-order problems are not foreign to Kant. of any confusing element. but broken ones. can only do so because he has the concept of a dream (and the related one of being awake) available. His dumber friends will take the teacher's statement at face value. are always at a risk of becoming dysfunctional when the "general" patterns explode. one may get into the second-order problems Descartes is concerned with: second-order in the sense of using a tool that was originally of help in resolving a confusion as an occasion for generating some new confusion ("I now know that I can use the word 'dream' to label whatever doesn't fit with the rest. Not he: his argument is his downfall. This is what Kant has in mind. where the ability to use a concept makes one a lot stronger. the conceptual presence of dreams (or more explicitly." But the passage from Kant also lets us bring out the other. of course. use of this concept. Because of this confusion. we can always say. and possibly do well in it (if they are not too dumb). though of the opposite sign. A "Cartesian" analysis of this situation might be the following: you have not learned to distinguish dreams from waking. and finds himself "dazed" by such reflections. so you don't know what to take seriously—what requires a response and what doesn't." And by this maneuver we can turn the conditional. however. For. There is all this other stuff that doesn't fit. and in any case disconnected from the larger picture. and it is difficult to tell them apart from waking life. I am interested in it because I find it instructive to unearth some related paradoxes—not unlike that of the surprise examination. as it were. by and large adequate as they are. And having this concept is the solution of a problem. selfassured endorsement ("This is how one must respond whenever a response is called for"). as is indicated byhis requirement that the coherence of dreams and appearances be realized "according to empirical laws. "It is only a dream. a criterion such as coherence must be provided. But this analysis leaves out an important aspect: the person who wonders whether his is waking experience. In the surprise examination paradox. more basic role of the concept of a dream. To repair the confusion. You don't know when dreams stop and waking begins. but such responses.― 70 ― don't last forever. little Tom is made weaker by his conceptual abilities. There are cases. you would want to follow the more general patterns and develop responses on the basis of them. On the other hand. a much . not (only) the origin of one. study hard for the exam. you also don't quite know how to move. that has maybe little patterns of its own. so they make everything a mess and get us very confused. resolving.

. groundless and finite. statements of regret surface (indeed. we had to give up His point of view. or even "preachy. their arbitrariness. the real thing seems to be absent. revealing the thinness of the scar tissue (of our pathetic accommodations. the postmodern credo goes. occasionally. didn't "notice" how much the arguing and concluding fed on each other. too: different personas regulating the proceedings at different times. Take. but. the rules for negotiation. just as with irony. however troubled the reality designated by the concept is supposed to be. Similarly. The world we live in is one of empirical subjects. Richard Rorty makes substantial use of it. But this explanation doesn't seem to work. fully aware that other similarly lim[8] See the previous chapter. and regrets it. and there to stay ("We have met the enemy and he is us. the concept of irony. appeasement. the black humor of those who know that the enemy is inside."[8] Irony. of course. a cruel surgical probe painstakingly and painfully testing the extent of our wounds. and liberal democracy is at best a tiny bit less rotten than any alternative system. situational perspective. since no regret ever surfaces: on the contrary. we are constantly surrounded by self-satisfaction. with so much fragmentation going on around each subject. Self-inflicted pain. of how he satisfied himself with his logical argument and conclusion. illuminating the points where the tissue will break again. I mean. among other things. that is). Science will not harmonize nature with our needs. He's not like his ideal. Note also that. expose and exploit their vacuity. Irony will be a natural outcome in these circumstances: a merciless. which sounds indeed like the very opposite of anything even remotely tongue-in-cheek. and didn't see the necessity of making room for that very argument and conclusion within the argument itself. isn't it? Yes. reassuring answers. there will have to be fragmentation in it. It will be possible to assume any such position and look at the others. lucid insight into the reality of our disseverance. 58 above). submit ourselves to our "thrown" character. constantly negotiating with each other about. A clear and credible picture. which once more reminds one of little Tom. except that it doesn't have a place for itself.[9] So one wonders: what exactly is going on here? Our experience is fragmented. derelict God have themselves gone out of business and left us without final." One might blame this earnestness on a constitutional defect: maybe the guy just doesn't have it in him. the proletariat will never come of age. indeed names his ideal humans "liberal ironists. and even if the user finds himself well within the range of this trouble. different positions available in existential space. embodied and local. maybe. [9] The significance of this attitude was examined (from a different but related point of view) in the previous chapter. Try "deadly serious" instead." as Pogo said once). on the other hand—the real thing.more formidable competitor. detach oneself from the others. too. their ultimate lack of justification. contentedness. as little) "right" as ours. not the concept of it—is conspicuously absent from his work. ― 72 ― ited perspectives are just as much (that is. not even any uncontroversial notion of rationality that we could use to attempt such a proof. The comprehensive metanarratives that took the place of old. After giving up God. And. for example. now. and ended up being only the first one to laugh. that there is no common ground on which we could rationally prove the legitimacy of the latter—indeed. our limited. one of them was quoted on p. mostly: self-directed irony.

on your situation. and the answers tend to be quite repetitive. of course. few are as powerful and all-inclusive as his. the imminent collapse? That part of us is looking at some other parts of us and finding them gross and stupid and perverted. we know. But it is also the case that the empirical phenomenon of having concepts like those of irony and fragmentation available is a major remedy against the fragmentation. It may very well be the case that. But these are answers nonetheless . not direct: if you ask what policy is right. The empirical phenomenon of irony may well be the consequence. There was a habit once of systematic philosophy. the more of a chance it has not to be challenged by recalcitrant data. everything has a place. indeed. without shame. just as in the case of dreams. and every question an answer? The places tend to look a whole lot alike. but answers and places they certainly are. 73. If you ask him how any particular thing will turn out. the postmodern thinker will tell you that it depends on your point of view. you might not share it. not to have its systematic character called in question. Would you deny that everything has a place for him. In a system. [10] Consistently with a suggestion by Freud. when we feel like we no longer have any ground to stand on. A paranoid schizophrenic who blames everything happening in the world on the fact that people hate him has a system: a perfectly comprehensive structure encompassing the whole of his experience. You might not like it.[10] Consider now the postmodern thinker. and shifting ground has become a fact of life. Totem and Taboo . and the expression. The very concept of fragmentation is working here as the best connecting tissue plastic surgeons could dream of. but does this mean that our experience while we so talk is indeed fragmented? Does it mean that we painfully feel the fault lines. Poor and uninformative they may well be. some of what each of us is) take whatever we are doing. psychotics who are most proficient at system building. ― 74 ― . but you can't deny that. come to think of it. Most of the answers are corrective. and of its subject. without qualifications. and every question has an answer—potentially. For we can always call upon these concepts to do the unifying for us: the unification of a fragmented field. Having that concept makes it possible to generate as unified and connected a picture of our experience as the most extreme "modern" thinker could ever hope. and the answers not necessarily interesting. But the important thing here is that the places are not necessarily distinct. they are usually given without hesitation. Here. as systems go. at least. such a distinguished representative of modernity as Kant even made it the character― 73 ― istic feature of human reason. or what statement is true. of a fragmentation of our culture. of its objects. he will invariably answer that we should wait and see. Maybe it's small children or. the tensions. one major (maybe even the only) advantage we gain is the comic relief we experience when seeing how seriously some of us (including some of each of us. by return mail. but they certainly come quickly. and issuing an ironic smile as a result of this unsympathetic realization? Far from it. Indeed. Or maybe they never die: it's just people who do. Habits die hard. the more elementary and unsophisticated a system is. then. is the irony of it. Indeed.we may be talking about fragmentation for days on end.

When the pressure is too strong. even temporarily. would be a way of beginning to deal with your predicament. which indicates that the token reference to fragmentation is not enough and more expert. fair terms. When you describe yourself as ethnocentric. weakening content while at the same time performing a reassuring. So he refuses to label his position ethnocentrism. But Rorty has learned a trick or two from Jacques Derrida. and maintain balance thereby . then bringing fragmentation into the picture. seeing the situation as fragmented is possible only for somebody who sees it from the outside. Most often. of course. expressing a disconcerting. Another example is the concept of ethnocentrism. Being ethnocentric includes believing in the absoluteness of your perspective and the definitiveness of your values. it sounds like a limitation. I think. But then you ask yourself: who is saying this. There would then be something you do: describing the situation as fragmented. occasionally will go to war against them. let us ask ourselves: who exactly sees the field. Rorty—who claim that each of us ― 75 ― is inevitably stuck with the perspective and values of his culture. as fragmented. at other times you will feel differently. and where is he situated? And. he insists. and act just as decidedly on this different basis (where your "act" may well be smiling ironically at what you just did). enable you to do other things as well. an anti-anti-ethnocentric one. specific help is needed. interestingly enough." and feel the pressure of your other selves. that there is no way out of them. on the other hand. and how? The answer may be surprising. and might utilize that outside view within the situation to repair whatever disturbance arises there. To put it in extreme but. strengthening function . it is possible only for those who observe the situation from a God's-eye point of view. the whole position unravels. and relieve that pressure by vaguely bringing in your situational being. an assist from Derrida might be unnecessary: old Pyrrho was more than enough) that . our experience. you will feel like you are doing the right thing whatever it is you are doing— except that. you have already taken a point of view outside your ethnos. a crack in your precarious composure may develop and you may slip into bottomless anxiety and lack of decisiveness. energy. once again. If this is indeed your state. maybe. the concepts of fragmentation and irony are not alone in playing this ambiguous role. Alternatively. it is rather. Which means (and for this. your state will be a mixture of all of these possibilities: you will usually act "in a situation. you won't be able to describe yourself as such. but seems inescapable. not for somebody who experiences either the alternation of equally legitimate points of view (each legitimate when assumed ) or the painful incapacity of assuming any (and hence doing anything) which the fragmentation is . And. unable to favor. And your emotional state. outside all ethnoses—one from which your ethnocentric character and that of others can be seen (and disarmed). when you talk like that. will be harshly critical of them. In any case. describing the situation as a fragmented one. eventually. If you are the fragmented counterpart of a fragmented world. This person will experience the other ethnoses as wrong and as a challenge. with this question. As I suggested earlier. you may become entirely ineffective and spend your time in a perpetual state of puzzlement. And this might be a useful first step and help you to break out of the impasse and. and commitment. There are those—among them. Whereas you will be entirely relaxed about the whole issue: the smile with which you look at the nice checkerboard the world has become for you will be not an ironical but a contented one. If you do anything. once you have taken this point of view.To see more specifically how the ploy works. will be very different from that of an ethnocentric person. any of the conflicting claims being made on your time. if the fragmentation does not destroy all of your efficiency.

and what little it says can at best encourage intellectuals to become critical of each other : certainly not to devise absurd utopias to expose the absurdity of everydayness. postmodern world: he will make his own statements and face the opposition. they will say nothing at all—bold or otherwise. It says very little. in making the experience (as Kant suggested in the passage quoted earlier) no longer fragmented . Specifically. and. will be perfectly at home in his "fragmented" experience: the very notion of fragmentation will be of great help in achieving this comfortable stance—that is . and even propose one or two social changes. is an uninspiring. He will. deflationary one. Which may be just as well: maybe there can't be any more myths after Auschwitz. and of how long it will take showing their unwarrantedness one by one. The postmodern thinker.you don't say any thing positive about where you stand. and find that he has no conclusive argument for it. The postmodern metanarrative. but make the rest of us so much more so. most important. Maybe we better give it up. write). better than any words they might utter (or. cheap entertainment: no longer a challenge for anybody. you have a ball revealing how much trouble he is in. the self-assurance and stability that accompany their anti-anti-whatever. uncontestedly. right at the time when the penultimate deconstructive movement—analytic philosophy. It makes its adherents a perpetual source of self-generated and self-enjoyed. that indeed are a consequence of their smart references to their anti-anti-whatever—that make them. God help us.[11] I have been arguing that these two postures are not just always there: they also have a way of dialectically involving one another. in either its analytic or its "French" variants. looks clever. reactionary business takes hold of a new unfortunate generation. Both positions have. this is Auschwitz. but the moment your anti-ethnocentric opponent makes his statement. the dernier cri in this self-destructive. therefore. important political implications. you don't say that you are ethnocentric because the logic of that statement might get you into trouble. on the other hand. just maybe. not to be identified with any particular historical age. simpleminded strategy of turning philosophers against themselves begins to lose the attractiveness it briefly had on young. in painstaking detail). bright men and women. in the end. there will be: intellectuals must keep themselves busy. And. Which strategy has all the features needed to become an industry: it is simple. Or maybe. If the new poor wrecks are smart enough. we have fallen into it . The modern thinker will live in a fragmented. And he will occasionally change his mind." Indeed. Indeed. either—that his new self is just as unwarranted as his old one was. but simply wait for others to say something and then show their statements to be unwarranted. live in a modern world: one in which fragmentation and irony simply are the metanarrative ruling the field. So. anything but poor wrecks. But their practice and their attitude will reveal. as I suggested. vehemently so—always an effective tactic to conceal deep-seated synergisms. that is—begins to be out of breath. hair-splitting. and make a new statement. otherwise. the logic of this move becomes apparent. and often find that he has no conclusive argument against it. When the dust is cleared. has an unlimited range of application (think of how many things people have said by now. and no longer of interest. when its clever-looking. And raises a lot of dust by ― 76 ― being very confrontational with the fading fad. they might get involved in something that matters. they must be kept busy. they will never say anything as bold and stupid as "Everything is language. if there can be such an industry. Jean-François Lyotard thinks of the modern and the postmodern as permanent tendencies of the human mind.

in countries not quite good enough to play the game. except it be the suggestion of Hume's doubts. that something like it was never tried before: "[I]t is a perfectly new science. To this idealism there is opposed a transcendental realism which . so far as I know. one and all. ." without wanting to notice the systematic slaughter that happens away from sight. 9–10. 345–346. . the very idea of which was unknown. just maybe. and specifically all those who either accepted or seriously entertained a skeptical outcome of their philosophy. ― 78 ― Chapter Seven— Kant's Revolutionary Reconstruction of the History of Philosophy Consider the following three facts: (1) Kant describes what he does in the first Critique as transcendental philosophy. a distinction is made between transcendental realists and idealists: "By transcendental idealism I mean the doctrine that appearances are to be regarded as being."[1] (2) Within this new discipline. all [1] Prolegomena ."[2] (3) Most of Kant's predecessors in the history of philosophy. he thinks. [12] I realize that. ― 77 ― without "noticing. some may find this statement excessive and disturbing.[12] And maybe. in spite of all my qualifications. [2] Critique of Pure Reason . interprets outer appearances (their reality being taken as granted) as things-in-themselves. and which are therefore outside us—the phrase 'outside us' being interpreted in conformity with pure concepts of understanding. ― 79 ― . not things in themselves. of which no one has ever even thought.[11] See The Postmodern Condition . are regarded by Kant as transcendental realists—in fact. a world that includes (at least) what is happening today in the former Yugoslavia is just as bad as one including Auschwitz. . But I must insist that. one or two myths might help: it might help to talk less about our limitations and feel them more—feel them as we painfully work against them. . And he insists that this discipline is entirely new. in my view (and one that I cannot defend here). representations only. which exist independently of us and of our sensibility. . this is why they ended up accepting or seriously entertaining a skeptical outcome: "Since. and for which nothing hitherto accomplished can be of the smallest use.

on the basis of how much better or worse a system based on his vision works. The more an interpreter of Kant stresses the revolutionary aspect of Kant's thinking. not correct. he depicts himself as playing an entirely new philosophical game from the traditional one. since the bearers of the two paradigms see altogether different worlds. as one of the problems in regard to which the human mind is quite at a loss how to proceed. and a decision between his vision and theirs can only come. on the basis of global considerations—that is. then he has no relevant vocabulary in common with his "normal" predecessors."[6] I intend to raise it and resolve it here. [4] Prolegomena . was real—that is ."[4] then how could Kant's predecessors have gone wrong in it? Any further fleshing out of the perplexity is bound to be controversial. let alone deal with. Analo[3] Ibid. The problem is a general one. their standards of accuracy are different. It seems that Kant should make up his mind. the more the interpreter will have to face this problem. In my Kant book I have stressed the revolutionary aspect a whole lot. so. And they might or might not have come up with a satisfactory resolution of that issue. well illustrated by Thomas Kuhn's notion of incommensurability between different paradigms. or something in general. as some have said. if at all. For how can Kant blame other authors for taking a questionable position on an issue that."[3] The conjunction of (1) through (3) generates a prima facie perplexity. that book "shouts for [the problem] to be raised.[5] A revolutionary scientist's "new vision" cannot be compared with the old one. but they certainly cannot be criticized for a stand they did not take on an issue they could not even phrase. they have certainly proceeded quite consistently in ascribing great importance to empirical idealism. [5] See The Structure of Scientific Revolutions . by his own admission. 26. If he chooses to emphasize the extraordinary novelty of his philosophical concerns. But probably it won't be too controversial to say at least the following. existing "independently of us and of our sensibility"—a distinction on which the very definition of transcendental realism seems to depend. since the exact nature of transcendental philosophy. In any case. whether it existed independently of us and of our sensibility. and there is no notion of success or failure that applies within both their visions. 347. it is unfair of him to question the attitude of previous philosophers regarding issues that make sense only within his vision. hoping that it will eventually catch on and supplant. and .psychologists who adopt empirical idealism are transcendental realists. Many of Kant's predecessors would have had no conceptual room for the distinction that he wants to make here between something being real ("their reality being taken as granted") and it also being a thing-in-itself . ― 80 ― gously.. if Kant is a revolutionary philosopher. referring explicitly to Kuhn's work. They would have seen themselves as addressing the issue of whether something specific. and transcendental idealism is a highly controversial issue. they did not even address? If indeed "we have hitherto never had any transcendental philosophy. But then he should give up calling the tradition to task on any specific point and simply develop his new game side by side with the tradition's. transcendental realism. the tradition's.

"[9] This totality. in my reading. after doing Kuhn on Kant in the book. the Prolegomena inform us that nature.) "By nature. the unity of nature (that nature be one) is required for the unity of the knowing. This rewriting has an important. is [6] Mark Glouberman. But. in the sense of acting in the wake of a total structure which is never directly accessible). several different systems of regularities including all phenomena. we do not even know that it is really possible—as opposed to being something whose contradictory character we have not yet been able to expose. in a way in which it cannot be for those who do not accept that conceptual priority of experiences (or representations) over objects which constitutes. But multiple causality is there. Because it is never given. in his conceptual repertory. ― 81 ― never given: it is an object of thought that guides our understanding as it painstakingly establishes local connections within experience. consequence: the same event may be fully necessitated in more than one way. his transcendental idealism. personal communication. as it were. [7] In chapter 3 of my book (pp. in the formal sense. indeed startling. But we should not take this Kantian thesis to imply (or presuppose) what it cannot possibly imply (or presuppose)—that is.[7] One of my conclusions in the book is that Kant rewrites the notion of necessitation as regularity or rule-directedness. Kant makes use of this multiple causality in only one context: when presenting his peculiar form of compatibilism between physical and rational determination. logical possibility is in any case the best we can get here) of several different natures—that is. Clearly. So all Kant means—and can possibly mean—is that."[8] Even more directly. if the empirical carrier of subjectivity has access to more than one nature (in the sense in which one accesses something like that—that is. in the empirical sense. in the sense in which (the concept of) nature does play a role for us—as a noumenon that organizes our limited. but such empirical matters are out of order within the present. equally complete." Kant says in the first Critique . is "the totality of the rules under which all appearances must come in order to be thought as connected in experience. as events of certain kinds following one another in predictable ways. 237. 65. 76–80) I point out that many of Kuhn's points can be made in Kant's own language. "we understand the connection of appearances as regards their existence according to necessary rules. depending on whether or not it makes empirical use . One could conceivably give a complete causal story accounting for the event and then turn around and give another one .in the process bring some additional light on Kuhn's position—do some Kant (as I understand him) on Kuhn. then it carries more than one subject—and may or may not have a fragmented experience as a result. It is the transcendental subject that is in question here— that is. of course. the concept of the subject. according to patterns that can be recognized. There may be one empirical object that we identify with the carrier of subjectivity. [9] Prolegomena . that is. experiencing subject. that is. [8] Critique of Pure Reason . (The significance of this "presence" for the very operation I am now involved in will become apparent by the end of the chapter. contextual research projects— there is no denying the logical possibility (and remember. that the subject is one and therefore nature is one. and then proceed to do some Kant on Kant . according to laws. transcendental inquiry.

I mean) that I access two different natures. 121). that I display when I move in the former's wake. It may just happen to me (to the empirical me.of various transcendental maneuvers which are constantly available to save superficial consistency. Confronting the same constellation of objects as before and knowing that he does so. is that he is writing in the middle of what he perceives as a paradigm shift. doing research in physics) in the wake of a certain idea of the total structure of experience.[11] For inhabiting a [10] I mean maneuvers like "It's only a dream" or "It's only a hallucination. it finds a much more natural place and a much clearer formulation than in Kuhn's original language. If understanding is grasping an objective meaning. the scientist afterward works in a different world" (p. he nevertheless finds them transformed through and through in many of their details" (p. that is. perhaps even at will. among other things. Most often. And any claim that I cannot intelligibly think or talk about the different "conceptual schemes" involved here (or even about my own)[12] is just the result of a misunderstanding—that is. Whether my empirical psychology will then go to pieces is an empirical problem. but always somewhat reluctantly). as he himself notes. I may go back and forth between the two natures. and blamed on a persistent attachment to realism. I (the empirical I) am. however.[10] Similar maneuvers may convince distinct empirical carriers of subjectivity that they share the same nature—whether or not a less sympathetic transcendental construal of the data is logically possible. 121). inclusive of suggestions of distortion: "Rather than being an interpreter. So any suggestion that there be a distortion involved in going from a world. [11] Part of Kuhn's problem. including intellectual behavior. of a basic confusion between transcendental and empirical subjects. and the world you then inhabit is the noumenal object of that idea. Within the logical space I just sketched. to a world as viewed is to be firmly rejected." See the previous chapter. Kuhn's position finds a natural place. What about the incommensurability thesis. but clearly. ― 82 ― world here means acting (specifically. which is highly ambiguous between transcendental realism and idealism. then? The best way to see it. and words are tools for crystallizing such grasp and allowing others to share it. is as a strategic tool to undermine and explode the realist notion of what it is to understand something. then words will turn out to be systematically ambiguous in different paradigms and there will be no hope of using them to . 122). as long as it does not. in this logical space. So he ends up saying things like the following: "Though the world does not change with a change of paradigm. do not just have different world views : they literally inhabit different worlds (a conclusion that Kuhn suggests at times. Aristotelian and Newtonian physicists. determines the uniqueness and totality of a subject which. period. he dodges the issue of the revolutionary character of his own discourse and reverts to the familiar viewing metaphor. And he comments that "we must learn to make senseof statements that at least resemble these" (p. I may get to the point of finding a place for one nature "inside" the other. in its totality and uniqueness. In fact. It will then become possible for me (the empirical me) to think or talk about a nature which. just as I may speak two different languages. from this perspective. After going back and forth for a while. the scientist who embraces a new paradigm is like the man wearing inverting lenses. of coordinating in a way that I judge (temporarily and contextually) adequate one whole nature with part of the other—adequate in the sense that within the latter it helps me account for the behavior.

see Kant's Ground-work of the Metaphysic of Morals . specifically. For a Kantian passage that brings out clearly the connection implied here between understanding something.[14] The story Kant tells may be more or less convincing. and Kant shares that understanding. quite a different concept of philosophy. anybody could object to this practice in principle . ― 84 ― ." or whatever). Some things will be easier to understand than others. shallow. understanding some[12] The obvious reference here is to the debate initiated in Davidson's "On the Very Idea of a Conceptual Scheme. 310. on the other hand. and establishing its possibility. If. and there is no way that. [15] Critique of Pure Reason . They had their own understanding of what they were doing (of what philosophy is). in his world. by deriving them from the hypotheses of transcendental realism. on the other hand. as part of an empirical enterprise that they called "philosophy" (or "metaphysics. one could definitely raise such objections in the world the transcendental realist lives in. within Kant's liberating idealist perspective there is room for a sense in which one can. in his world. however. he can find room for a different understanding of his predecessors' practices." ― 83 ― thing is explaining it. On the basis of this concept. and will not necessarily involve a delegitimation of the opposition. But that is all the problem there is in this area: an empirical problem. for example. unproductive a way) understand himself. and hence arguing for an understanding is automatically also arguing against the other. uttered sentences and wrote texts. If pushed to an extreme.[13] then no such problem arises. 127. He can explain those practices. Because of this feature of the situation. it will be hard to account for a whole form of life very distant from ours. let us now return to Kant's predecessors and to his criticism of them. since he's been trained that way himself. intricate. They. [13] This Kantian notion of understanding is articulated in chapter 5 of my Looser Ends . reconciling oneself with its consistency. by bringing out its relevant structural features. [14] As will become apparent shortly. Those predecessors performed various empirical activities. For the realist. this is going to imply that no two people can understand each other. In conclusion. to use his own phrase. the understanding Kant reaches of previous philosophical practices does not have to do violence to the understanding the previous practitioners had of them: the legitimacy of either understanding will have to be defended in positive terms. a unique matter of fact does decide the issue. "understand [an author] better than he has understood himself.communicate any understanding across such paradigms. and within the general conceptual framework of which the concept is part and parcel. but that is as far as we can go in judging it: there is no delegating a final word here to some "objective matter of fact" that supposedly decides the issue. and connected. He has also gained. explaining it. Within this logical space."[15] and yet this does not entail denying that the author did indeed (in however limited. proving it to be possible .

when it comes to reinterpreting the Aristotelian philosopher himself—that is. a proposal for a possible law of it. This will amount to reinterpreting various key statements about material objects. at least) that they would not have described themselves this way. whether it necessitates (in the Kantian sense) our behavior—we can never establish."[16] But here I am concerned with the theory of it (though see below). and so on and so forth. better) than he himself did. So. I have argued in chapter 3 that intentions cannot play for him the decisive role mentioned above. but they are [16] Within the enterprise of Kant interpretation in the Anglo-American community. It's a different story. the intentions are most often entirely mythical: most often. once the idealist position is accepted. such a reinterpretation can raise nothing but empirical trouble. Specifically. I am concerned with whether or not Kant can call his predecessors transcendental realists once we assume (for the sake of argument. that is. but what about Plato's understanding of his own relation to his assumptions and tenets? Can we understand that relation better than him? Can. can use the distinctions to articulate certain definitions. The basic point here is this. is perfectly compatible with there being several legitimate intentional accounts of what we do. and even acting in the wake of such talk or thought. anything different from his own understanding of it count here as understanding at all? Clearly. ranging (at least) from Kemp Smith's subjectivist/phenomenalist readings of the first Critique to Guyer's uncovering of Kant's "intentions" in the Refutation of Idealism. As I noted in chapter 3. just as with that other object of thought which nature is. Our best bet is to put that talk in the context of everything else we do and see how it fares. Here another aspect of Kant's picture becomes relevant. Whether the maxim is really a law—that is. In the context of interpreting a text. it seems. Suppose you take the Aristotelian world and find room for it within a Newtonian framework. constantly referred to. Kant says that . or maybe even that they would have rejected the description if it was proposed to them. and we may take it that.But now a complication arises. that is. It seems that here there should be a unique matter of fact that decides the issue: that this philosopher should know whether or not he has certain concepts available. talking or thinking about intentions. What we say to others or ourselves concerning our intentions is part of what we do. indeed. what one does is interpret the text in a way that one finds satisfying and then project the interpretation onto the author's intentional state. this move has a long history. with how attributing to intentions this decisive conceptual role bars the way to multiple interpretations of anything that we construe as a voluntary performance on the part of an intelligent being. accounting for his philosophical practice in terms of concepts that were not available to him. is prepared to make certain distinctions. and is to be taken as no more revealing or transparent than anything else we do. of course. It expresses at best a subjective maxim for our behavior. in some sense. these questions raise the issue of the privileged access one allegedly has to one's own mental life. such privileged access surfaces by locating "meaning" at the level of the author's "intentions. ― 85 ― also inaccessible: a pure object of thought. They are. claiming it to be faithful to "what the author really meant. It seems that we might be able to understand what Plato said about ideas differently (and maybe." In practice.

and things might well stand in a totally trivial or disconnected way. For a realist. the practice of most of the interpreters who would [17] Religion Within the Limits of Reason Alone . In general. If an author sees things a given way. or maybe remaining within the general scope of what Kant would call transcendental realism. Various trivial maneuvers are used for this purpose. how Kant's predecessors would have described themselves. it is only how things stand that matters. because of the particular kind of revolution Kant realized (because. would indeed have to face the problem formulated at the beginning of this chapter. Sometimes. that is. More specifically. and detail. of course). no such criteria are going to impress him. however. of course. in a more or less explicit form. is beside the point. as I pointed out in Kant's Copernican Revolution . he did not have a problem accounting for the possibility of establishing a meaningful dialogue with the tradition (meaningful for him and from his revolutionary perspective. and if that way of seeing them makes it impossible to even phrase a given issue. criteria like connectedness. and "one"[20] relies on the common practice of not facing it as a justification for an additional example of the same practice. ― 86 ― be regarded by Kant as transcendental realists is far more liberal than these conclusions suggest. As I already noted. Such interpreters feel perfectly entitled to making their way of seeing things relevant to an interpretation. Which in turn indicates one more difference between him and the idealist—a difference of strategy this time. the deceit is self-inflicted. you cannot call the author to task on that issue. and possibly that of the unconscious quality of some of the fragments. are only going to matter to an idealist . How you would see things.[18] More often. A revolution going in the opposite direction. there is only one way things can be. provide the basis for a refutation of realism. which would make one favor transcendental idealism in this case. 65. is certainly relevant but by no means decisive. the issue is not faced."[21] The trivial character of these maneuvers cannot. or whether they would have accepted somebody else's description. or even whether or not they would have accepted a given description if presented with it. the notion of a fragmentation of the author's personality. if the realist is convinced that he has got hold of the Truth. so. "what has thus been covered up gets passed off as something familiar and accessible to everyone. How they would have described themselves. but it is not especially fundamental either.[19] Even more often. and that includes how different people see things. finally. or what sort of sense that author's practice makes in your way of seeing things. one invokes deceit. of the transcendental idealist outcome of it)."[17] In the light of these considerations."we cannot scrutinize [our disposition]: we must always draw our conclusions regarding it solely from its consequences in our way of life. is (if we take such counterfactuals seriously) part of the data: it is not to be discounted. in which case one ends up using. articulation. . nothing could provide such a basis. In Heidegger's terms. The most general sense of this discussion is that. Within transcendental realism. and would have no natural solution for it. occasionally in direct contradiction with the author's own statements concerning his intentions.

When I first made this point. and ultimately leave the reader with one less thing to work with. So it is indeed true that the realist will not (necessarily)[23] be impressed by the idealist's invocation of criteria of connectedness. deconstructing somebody else's position is going to have little or no significance. and that he would only be impressed by an apparently successful refutation of his own position. negative slant of a lot of realist philosophy: its emphasis on what is impossible—or. This accounts for the deconstructive. ― 87 ― more likely that you hit the bull's-eye. so whatever mistakes others may have made in coming up with their pictures of reality will be irrelevant to whether or not your picture has any credibility. or comprehensive. arguing for a position is automatically arguing against all alternatives. however. and leaves the reader with one more thing to work with. It is equally true. 105. [21] Being and Time . for that matter. He might. but that its opposite could not be . [19] In "Kant's Intentions in the Refutation of Idealism. There is also. 331n). in the so-called esoteric-doctrine interpretations. or whatnot. but rather a matter of displaying certain structural characters. Clearly. or deep. for example. for him. well enjoy a situation in which several positions stand unrefuted. But it will not be the disheartening deconstruction of Socrates or Derrida: it will not amount to infiltrating the other's position to make it fall of its own weight. is one way of arguing for your own. on what is necessary . I emphasized that. using each other as a challenge to further articulation. See. or in any way attractive. indeed. you will weaken the hold that they might have had when they were the only ones around. the closer you will get to the ultimately unreachable ideal of truth. and the more you maintain logical consistency throughout. or refuting them.[22] What a realist is most concerned with establishing is not that his position is interesting. himself) that there had been no change in his view when in fact there had been" (p. more often. to make it sound less negative.I pointed out earlier that the realist framework is committed to uniqueness. [20] The significance of this Heideggerian expression emerges in the next sentence. For the idealist. that none of this is going to impress the idealist: he doesn't care about impressing anybody. Arguing against an alternative position. of course. You will have to work in a constructive vein to articulate the picture in detail: the more articulation you carry out. is not a matter of matching some external standard. so narrowing down the possibilities makes it [18] Most notably. Caton's The Origin of Subjectivity . one way. For not only can he live perfectly well with this . detail. and as a consequence tends to produce confrontational attitudes. It will be an empowering deconstruction that substitutes free competition for tyranny. on the other hand. Things are a certain way. that is. Reality." Paul Guyer lumps together deception and self-deception as providing motivations for a Kantian statement in this remarkable passage: "Kant's well-attested desire to appear consistent could easily have led him to use the rhetorical context of a preface to attempt to persuade his reader (or. the opposite side of the coin. this constructive work will have a secondary deconstructive effect: by placing your picture side by side with the alternative ones. for the realist.

and in particular no fact about Kant's own psychological convictions. I would argue. though he has a hard time accounting for their crucial importance. Specifically. or that they would use some of Kant's own statements to refute me. ― 88 ― situation (whereas the realist would have problems with it). but there are things that such answers could not prove to me."[25] Where this conception of history can well (in my own case does) see itself as being possible only as an articulation of the "disclosure" contained in Kant's texts. have admitted the possibility of different. In Heidegger's words once more. for that matter. the criteria guiding his own work. What I said is self-applicable: I can only judge it by the very criteria it expresses. in which historiology first of all arises. but not what he can say .) [25] Being and Time . and in which alone it is . and if no clear winner is yet emerging among several competing stories. as I argue in Kant's Copernican Revolution . right. that is. 447. after all. But a final remark is in order. in practice. "historiological disclosure temporalizes itself in terms of the future . or. they could not prove that my reconstruction is wrong. For truth is for him a question of who can tell the best story at a given time . ― 89 ― . But there is no necessity that things go this way. and quietly develop his own point of view without being at all troubled by the existence of alternatives (except insofar as he can learn from them). this is exactly what the realist. be a relativist. [24] Some qualification is in order concerning the sense in which the idealist can "live perfectly well with this situation. That others do not share such criteria. and of his articulation of that position as attempting to substantiate this claim. most often does . is an interesting but ultimately irrelevant consideration. all-inclusive natures that I defended and utilized above? I would clearly be interested in knowing the answers to these questions.) Analogous remarks apply to the idealist. who (at the empirical level) might well be impressed (contra what I say below) by the lack of impact of his proposals. and I would have to balance them against everything else there. history period) can only be done Whiggishly. but he will be better equipped to make theoretical sense of this practice (will "live perfectly well" at that level). One main aspect of this issue is discussed in the next note. see chapter 3 of my Looser Ends . No "fact of the matter" is going to be decisive for me. [23] Not. that only means that more work needs to be done on his own story. he can also see it as a concrete realization of his empowering notion of truth. The moral I draw from this analysis is that the history of philosophy (indeed. at the conceptual level. They would immediately become part of what I have to interpret. Then he will share. for example. the realist's agonistic attitude. Would Kant have accepted this reconstruction of his own position? Would he. though as an empirical individual the realist may well be impressed by the idealist's criteria. (Once more. (They are. but the issue also brings out how much realism and idealism are both present (and. necessarily present) in all of us." He may. The 'selection ' of what is to become a possible object for historiology has already been met with in the factical existentiell choice of Dasein's historicality.[22] In this connection. It is also possible that the idealist conceives of his position as in some sense a better one.[24] This is as much of a story as I need to tell here. of course. too.

Critique of Pure Reason . independent of the manner in which we refer to them.. they are objects of intention only with respect to particular descriptions. . .e. is viewed as their object. since it is only through this permanent that my existence in time can itself be determined. That is to say. which are never to be met with save in us. . . notwithstanding that it is nothing but the sum of these representations. i. [3] Ibid. see my Kant's Copernican Revolution and Aquila's "Intentional Objects and Kantian Appearances."[3] it is a hopeful strategy to construe Kant as groping for an expression of the directional character of some of our experiences. but they are also independent of our conception of them.. as lacking the language for such expression. and as consequently getting confused. Undeniably. 348. to be sure—that straightens out this confusing situation. between the content and the object of an experience. This sort of independence precedes any further question about the reality of such objects (the criteria of objectivity that they must satisfy." "phenomenon. ― 90 ― some one particular mode of connection of the manifold. this conjecture makes for a plausible reading of such otherwise frustrating passages as the following one: That which lies in the successive apprehension is here viewed as representation. viewed or represented as such objects. [O]bjects (however tied to our representations) are "independent of us" in Kant's view in a two-fold sense. objective judgments are "about" the same object differently described. But there is a problem.). because they are not independent of our conception of them. or are objects something in the appearances? The conjecture above provides an approach—regimentary."[2] and on the other hand that the permanent in space "cannot .[5] . like so many before and after him. . . . etc. can be represented as an object distinct from them only if it stands under a rule which distinguishes it from every other apprehension and necessitates [1] For some such attempts. ." [2] Kant. But then "intentional objects" cannot possibly play the right sort of role for Kant.[4] Are appearances representations. be something in me. most recently signaled by Gordon Brittan. in contradistinction to the representations of apprehension. while the appearance which is given to me. In his own words. sums of representations. [A]ppearance. .Chapter Eight— The Conceptual Independence of Kantian Appearances The notion of an intentional object is a promising one in attempting to make sense of the textual morass surrounding Kant's use of words like "appearance. . objects of representations. 245. [T]hey are independent of our perception of them .[1] When facing the conflicting claims that appearances are "mere kinds of representation." and the like. The object is that in the appearance which contains the condition of this necessary rule of apprehension.

[6] An example will help clarify his point. as it is here. That is why I added the parenthetical remark "in some sense" in the previous paragraph: as an indication that. and Britian's notion occurs as a chapter in this history: x is (for me) conceptually dependent on y if y occurs somewhere in the narrative specifying "what" x is.. Appearances are conceptually dependent on experiences because the narrative constituting the semantics of "appearance" originates with experiences —and they remain so even if that connection between experiences and appearances (which is precisely the connection Brittan is talkingabout) is eventually aufgehoben .E. And the relevant thing here is that "to exist. appearances are conceptually dependent on experiences in the sense that the concept of an appearance (not what it applies to) is defined by an essential use of the concept of an experience. no intentional brown table would be experienced unless. there is a lot of work still to be done here. one that is going to provide our most basic philosophical words with a new semantics. Brittan. Q. ― 91 ― I am currently having the experience of seeing a brown table." So. seems to have in mind what I would call the empirical dependence of a specific intentional object on the specific experience of which it is the object. But we assume that the intentional object of an experience could not be if the experience had never been. say. or experiences of any sort.A terminological issue must be addressed before I discuss this problem. Therefore. then. this is a conceptual revolution. a seeing of it were experienced. would be to say that here. Note also (to anticipate themes on which I will focus at the end of this chapter) that my notion of conceptual dependence is defined in an essentially historical way. the understanding is doing its usual work of separating and distinguishing (different senses of "conceptual dependence"). [4] Ibid. contra what Brittan seems to believe. Indeed." "to be (such and such). Then it must (in some sense) exist and be what it is (a table. they are at the very center of it. and that its structure is determined by the structure of that experience. Suppose now that this brown table is a Kantian appearance. But note that empirical dependence in this sense can sometimes be conceptually based (say. whereas by the end reason will have brought out the identity of those distinct moments (and justified the fact that a single expression has those different senses). in the case to be mentioned shortly. A large part of what makes this argument convincing is lack of realization of the scope of Kant's revolution. thoughts. based. and sometimes empirically based (as when I say that there would be no child without a mother). a brown table is the intentional object of my current experience. at the beginning. say) whether or not I perceive it. For me. it must be such that it would still exist and be what it is in a world without intelligent beings." and "to be independent of" are not exempt from this overhauling operation—indeed. since in Kant's Copernican Revolution I use the phrase(s) "conceptual (in) dependence" in a different sense from the one relevant to Brittan's argument. So the appearance brown table cannot be identical with the intentional object brown table. As I pointed out in my book. [6] "Empirical" means here (in accordance with Kant's usage) "belonging to the field of experience (hence not to a conceptualization of this field). [5] Review of Kant's Copernican Revolution . on the other hand. A specifically Hegelian way to construe what is going on in this chapter. .D. 742. and whether or not I ever thought of it (as a table or in any other way). on what kind of thing an intentional object is ). 220.

I have seen people in different but related contexts argue as follows. An object could not be a set of sense-data because then a sentence like (1) The wall is white would be meaningless: a set is not the sort of thing that can be white, or any other color—a set is an abstract object. Which is cute, but unfair, since if we give a different semantics to the nominal phrase "the wall," then we must extend the same treatment to the predicate "is white," and come up with reasonable conditions of application for this predicate under the new interpretation of what it is to be a wall, or indeed an object in general . The situation is analogous here. Of course, by the end of the day Kant will want existent objects to be independent of anybody's conception of them. But we cannot expect this to happen while the traditional under― 92 ― standing of "existent" and "independent" remains untouched: the outcome would be as much of a category mistake as in the example above. What makes the present situation (and, possibly, the one in the example) somewhat confusing is that traditionally there was virtually no unpacking of the key words involved: they were very close to primitive terms. Objects exist, period; objects are independent of one another because they can exist apart, period. Such is the transcendental realist's conventional wisdom. And a term that is primitive in one framework (especially if it is your framework) might be naturally thought of as requiring no analysis anywhere . Whereas in Kant's framework terms like "existence" and "Independence" are going to require extensive and detailed analysis. I am not going to provide this analysis here; I did so elsewhere.[7] But one element of it deserves mention, since it explicitly contradicts Brittan's claims and further detracts from their persuasiveness. Because Kantian objects must "conform to knowledge," not (as was traditionally the case) the other way around, that something a is an existent object—or an object simpliciter —will be defined in terms of a being the intentional object of an experience that qualifies as cognitive. So I start out with a statement of the form (2) I represent a I rephrase it less controversially as (3) I represent-a to signal that reference to a is still only an internal feature of the experience I am having; I study this experience closely, and possibly decide that it has those characters (coherence, connectedness, determinacy) that make it a cognition.[8] I summarize this conclusion by reformulating (3) as (4) I know-a And then, since objects now conform to knowledge, I conclude that I do have a case here of genuine reference to an object, which I express by dehyphenating (4): (5) I know a

[7] See my Kant book and my "Knowledge as a Relation and Knowledge as an Experience in the Critique of Pure Reason ." [8] No experience (or object) has such characteristics absolutely, but only relative to a context, as I argue in my book. But this qualification is irrelevant here. ― 93 ― Finally, after thus detaching a from the experience that first brought it in play, I will be able to refer to it in a variety of contexts, independently of the cognitive relation I have found I have with it. Consider the most delicate and difficult step in this process: the one from (3) to (4). A substantial portion of this step will amount to establishing identity statements of the form (6) a = b for various b 's. I will have to decide, for example, whether the brown table a is identical with the brown table I saw yesterday, or with the brown table John sees now, or with the table Mark cannot see (he is blind) but can feel. For certain kinds of table there will be no sensible criteria for answering questions like this. If, say, I dreamed of a brown table very different from anything I have ever seen, and you did the same, and the table you dreamed of was descriptively quite similar to the one I dreamed of, it would make little sense to ask whether we have dreamed of an identical table or of distinct ones. When, on the other hand the questions do make sense, it is usually because we can project both a and b into a common spatiotemporal framework, and there resolve our worries. For example, we can say that the tables you and I see while in each other's presence are identical because they occupy the same spatial location, and that the table I saw yesterday is identical with the table I am seeing now because there is a continuous space-time trajectory of which they are both members.[9] So identity statements do play the crucial role Brittan attributes to them, and they share this crucial character (as he suggests elsewhere in the same piece) with the "intuitions" of space and time. But it is a mistake to think that the truth of identity statements must be decided before (and hence, I take it, independently of) "any further question" about objects— specifically, before criteria of objectivity are applied to them. Deciding these statements is an essential part of what it is to decide on the objects' status: to a large extent, the criteria of objectivity amount to criteria of identity. Brittan's is not just any mistake. It proves that he is still committed to a realist framework. For there objects are the conceptual foundation: nothing can be done before the objects are given. Thus, in traditional [9] Note that it is not part of Kant's transcendental philosophy actually to decide such identities. He need only tell us that deciding them is what it would take to establish objectivity. ― 94 ― formal semantics, one needs a domain of objects to get started; one needs to know how many (distinct) objects there are, and then one can go ahead and define all sorts of useful notions, including truth and validity. Without objects one would be stuck. In the idealist picture, on the

other hand, the identifying and counting of objects is part of what requires conceptual articulation, part of what will eventually make us say that it is objects that we are dealing with, that they exist and are independent of experiences. But this is not all there is to Brittan's point. Even after his argument is defused, there remains a feeling of puzzlement surrounding the whole discussion. For good reason: the qualification of conceptual independence (that is, independence of any specific characterization) that we must be able to attach to an intentional object after the long and difficult work I described is more than some new qualification or other. If, say, I consider an object and spend some time deciding whether the criteria apply that would make me call it living, and conclude that they do—hence that the object is living—this conclusion is not in conflict with anything I thought of the object before. The object was not, supposedly, considered non living before; I just did not know which it was. But an intentional object is concept-dependent to begin with; so when I decide that it is concept-independent after all, I contradict my earlier characterization of it. The issue is a logical one, indeed strikes at the very heart of what logic is for us. Most often, logic is defined as a theory of argument and reasoning, but before there can be any such, there must be a theory of words, and since words are words (as opposed to marks, or sounds) because of their meaning, this must be a theory that tells us what sort of thing the meaning of a word is—a semantic theory. The traditional analytic (that is, Aristotelian) semantic theory proceeds (not surprisingly) by analysis: by dividing further and further. The meaning of a word is something like its dictionary definition, which proceeds by identifying a genus and then a species and a subspecies and so on. "Human," say, means "rational self-moving living substance." Crucially, none of the more specific traits denies any of the more general ones it is attached to. Each such trait enriches our description, does not throw it in disarray. This logic, however, is not the only one on the market. Everybody knows that, though one usually does not mention it—not in Anglo-American philosophical circles, at least. So, to spell out what everybody knows but few tell, there is also dialectical logic: Hegel's. And in dialec― 95 ― tical logic the traits composing the "definition" of a term do not peacefully proceed to focus our attention more and more on smaller and smaller portions of the semantic field. They are rather constantly at odds with one another; they fight, and do violence, and demand inventiveness and creativity of those who would accommodate their disputes. Consider an example. Say that you naively oppose being and nothing; you think of them as excluding each other. Then you reflect on how exactly this opposition is to be cashed out, and realize that there is no way: pure being simply has the same conceptual content as nothing. So you are led to think that the two must come together, but how can you possibly make sense of a being that is also nothing, a being that is also non being? One answer is: Dasein , a form of being that itself consists of opposition—the form of being that something has when it is only insofar as it excludes something else, as it is not that something else. I am not asking you to buy any of this. I just want to point out how different (and harder, and more questionable) it is to connect the qualification "nonbeing" to "being" than it is, say, to connect the qualification "living" to it. Hegel, of course, thinks that it is the former kind of connection that rules our language, our experience, and our history, whereas peaceful analytic connections can rule at best in cemeteries—of people and of words. But, whether or not Hegel

but still is the same as being. and at worst one of fooling ourselves. however. however obscure the metaphor still leaves the field. unless we can persuade ourselves and others that it makes sense to call all of the above "conceptual independence. which may make us reconceptualize all of his rewriting—make us "rewrite" it." and how different that was from what he had at the beginning. and unless the story is plausible. At some point. we can get a long way toward an understanding of the new picture Kant is drawing for us. but still he wanted it to be the same thing. the presumption of identity will not be vindicated. And we can get a lot of mileage from this straightforward reading. Which is not going to be an easy matter. it does not help to the extent that we are only used to them—we do not understand them. or what have you. By the end of the day. is there to prove that. Unless we can justify our continuing use of the same phrase here. Hegel's main source of metaphors is biology. that is. Aristotle's metaphysics. The problem comes to a head with the conceptual independence of those intentional objects that are to qualify as appearances.is right (and this is certainly not the place to decide that issue). connectedness. too. when the new character of conceptual independence is laid on them. we will have to face the puzzlement behind Brittan's objection. constantly revising and contradicting themselves (their earlier phases. and hence concept-dependent . but still is the same as the boy. But." And. evolving much like organisms do—and. unless it makes sense. A boy evolves into something that is not a boy. A simple substitution. Kant wanted something that was the opposite of what he had at the beginning. It is not going to reduce to drawing a few dividing lines on a piece of land already conquered and made forever still. So. it is natural ― 96 ― to try it in Kant's case. I did it above when I stated what Kant wanted "by the end of the day. Just as Hegel faces the challenge of making sense of a nonbeing being . it will tax his imagination to come up with chapters for a plausible story. as Aufhebung never is. with all its troubling questions about substantial change. What I did not point out then but has emerged now is that it was not just different. a seed evolves into something that is not a seed. what matters for us is that Kant's treatment of objectivity proceeds along the same general lines. to the extent that we are used to such growth. to make it work. since here the overwriting is obvious: appearances do not cease to be intentional objects." ours will be at best a case of confusing ambiguity. to such cases of "identity within difference. much like organisms. His concepts are live structures. that is: something in place of something else . but still is (Hegel would say) the same as the seed. conceptual independence (and dependence) will have to undergo a transformation and resurface as a conjunction of coherence. rewriting causality (formerly construed as imposition) in the new language of rule-directedness. We will have to face the fact that some of Kant's rewriting is an overwriting. and the problem behind that puzzlement. There is much talk in my book about Kant "rewriting" this and that—for example. as we might want to say less controversially). All this talk can be read in a straightforward way: within his new language (and conceptual framework) Kant provides a new construal of causality after junking the traditional one . being evolves into something that is not being (it is nothing). Kant owes us a credible account of objects that are both concept-dependent and concept-independent. but—and this is the crucial point—a transformation that can still be seen as of the same thing . Adding a temporal dimension to the picture helps. of course. .

Here. of how it is best to let the seed of imposition grow into the tree of regularity. which will typically begin with the traditional notion. without some such narrative as I tried to provide. this narrative is provided in my book—in its attempt to show how traditional objectivity is constantly involved in the Kantian project. So. . Once this conclusion is reached. Kant's operation would reduce to sticking an arbitrary label onto a foreign. Every Kantian rewriting shares the same fate. at some point. Unless the narrative is constructed right. here I am about to make another related one. I am perfectly happy to let the old construals fade away from consciousness—however much they helped in arriving at the new ones.The required justification will take the form of a narrative. concentrating on some aspect of it which the narrative suggests is the essential one and which can be used as an Archimedean point for a revolution in our understanding of the same notion . and determines its categorial structure. It is the narrative's task to avoid this. There is nothing "analytic" about this process: no perpetual return of the same thing. it will stay manifold. it will not hold together: it won't be one story and one character (that is. it has failed to engage the interest of Anglo-American commentators to a comparable extent. I argue there that. But my emphasis there is different: I am more concerned there with the heuristics of sketching the new framework than with the issue of legitimizing the use of old words within it. say: if imposition is to be replaced by regularity as an interpretation of it. Not just the rewriting of conceptual independence requires the tiresome work of Aufhebung —indeed. Be it as it may with that claim. opaque object. and the narrative will do a satisfactory job of it to the extent that it is convincing. then imposition must still be in the picture somehow. it can be extended to the less superficially troubling instances of rewriting. For whatever it is worth. has made scholars pay scant attention to the logic of reason's many conflicts with itself. rather than seeing reason as a wild extrapolation from the understanding's sensible claims and modes of operation. The Transcendental Dialectic takes about half of the Critique of Pure Reason . To causality. supported in part by the discussion above. There must be some convincing account of how what matters about imposition is best understood in terms of regularity. It will disintegrate. it won't be redeemed by synthesis. and to how this logic is a necessary preamble to Hegel's. is that work. Focusing on the limiting outcomes of Kant's inquiry. with the skill and flair of a good writer. this ap― 98 ― proach is more faithful to the text's logical structure. My procedure in the book reversed traditional tendencies by making the Analytic dependent upon the Dialectic—by seeing understanding as a projection of reason into the limited field where only (reason itself has concluded) it can get work done. The Anglo-American general disregard for the Dialectic has led to misunderstandings not only of Kant's oeuvre but also of the way it relates to subsequent idealist developments in German thought. point to some paradoxical ― 97 ― consequences of it. and slowly turn our attention away from that whole notion. as I noted in my book. Here my point is that. But. though not being faithful to the order of the text. guides its articulation. my interest lies precisely in this development. one notion). on the "bounds" he discovered for "sense" in its various senses. and especially to Hegel's dialectic. on the other hand.

the backward-looking approach recommended here helps see what is important about the issue. got stuck in my mind. a growing. it is also no criticism." But. Pippin's Hegel's Idealism and Wood's Hegel's Ethical Thought ." And the sentence. What I am saying. like Locke or Hume—than with the ones following him. Kantian appearances make a lot of sense in the language of intentional objects. To say that our biases are our starting point is trivial. For then we can see a natural progression from separately facing individual cases of the same problem to eventually seeing this problem in full generality and addressing it at its proper level. With that general problem in mind. and then. is how to do justice to the "historicity" of our concepts. to their having an element that is not properly temporal—though. so be it: that stuff is bad anyway. for example. It is also useful to see Kant's text as a whole from the point of view of what comes later in German philosophy. Most important. when Brittan's puzzlement arises. "This is what Kant had to say." and still is for most members of it. rather than a forward-looking. See. I will not deny that mine is a biased account. plain and simple. That is. [10] So. is this. on the basis of what. The problem. "They bother me. or existence. causal explanation. I found myself thinking what it means to bother . For a long time. somehow. Let us see what "the opposition" can do with all of this. a development. ― 100 ― Chapter Nine— The Thickness of Words "There are more typos than I can stand. we can see Kant's various attempts at a rewriting of causality. and how it can be approached. of course: ideology plays a major role in them. the proper thing to do with him was to connect him more with the philosophers preceding him—better yet if English speakers. what matters is where we get from there. a plot. for example. for example. it [10] But there begin to be exceptions. a temporal articulation of it is what best helps us visualize it—but certainly has a timelike structure: the structure of an unfolding. ― 99 ― does not take the form. or independence. given the temporal character of our experience. as inevitably leading to a recognition (not by him. It is not just useful to see the Transcendental Aesthetic and Analytic from the point of view of what comes later in Kant's text. of course. both recent books. if that requires us to draw attention away from a large portion of what the man said (and mattered to him a great deal). it is biased in taking the Hegelian form of a reconstruction ex post facto: an a posteriori rationalization working backwards. And. as it turned out) of what is common to all of them: of how all of them are cases of identity within difference. since Kant was respectable (sort of). on the basis of what. "This is what Kant had to say.These are not just misunderstandings. Hegel's name was anathema in "the profession. Hume had said. Specifically." but rather. with the privilege of hindsight." said my friend pensively. Hegel was going to say. where we get in drawing a sympathetic and comprehensible picture of Kant's efforts. once this is clear.

say. and all is forever well.one. what it means to stand something—eventually. and the promising land will pale beyond hope of recovery. Flies must be kept busy somewhere else. sandy. Then a typo or two might be a welcome source of entertainment. The fly tickles you. Except for the fly. that is. Think of those hours and days when you first discovered books. There are ways to achieve this. The fly rings in your ear. You might begin to see where typos come in. and ring. It's largely an effort of denial. must be felt irrelevant—better still. or to the beginning of the next one. say. and are ready to lose whatever little acuity you have in your brighter moments. . and carefully. long-taught ways of minimizing intrusive factors. You might not yet see the connection with typos. It still looks like you've had too much food and drink for your ― 101 ― own good. to take its hand and go to the end of the world. and your antennae will come back into play. rubbing its velvety legs. inattention. lovingly unrolled. must be felt nonexistent. if needed. But there is a fly. of fulfillment. Or you might not. It's three o'clock. But think again. Other than killing it. The distance of your lack of concern. It's still three o'clock. sits on your arm. won't let you lie there. something that promises rainbows and shock waves but won't deliver unless it's taken seriously. You've decided to close windows and doors and withdraw to your inside room. you've bracketed everything except for this creature of mystery and fascination. and are now ready to listen to it. An indecent. Vague reminders of earlier commitments are becoming irrelevant. your brain absent to any worldly affair. a defense mechanism. And then going back to inactivity. if your idea of reading consists of forcing your eyes open and pinching your cheeks and taking several cold showers to stay awake through the latest issue of the Philosophy Journal (please fill in your favorite title). heartless terrain you're so unfortunate to roam. with your antennae disconnected. There is a train of thought you intend to follow. after a good meal and a little more wine than is good for your liver. It's hard to deny the presence of a fly. at least for a while. and your eyes imperceptibly. I found myself traveling a long way. or the table. aggressive pleasure within the stony. But those ways are not foolproof. Other than coming out of catalepsy and tensing all your muscles and nerves and waiting for a promising opportunity and moving with feline swiftness to smash it on the chair. for as long as it might take. The fly will fly. You sit in the sun. Until the next fly shows up. uncivil insect that won't get the message. history must lend a hand. darkness and unattachment. of your forgetfulness. Flies are typically bothersome creatures. to stand for something. or whatever. implacably start to close. Concentration is hard: it takes painful striving to separate one line from the whole maze and keep it in view. So you've created silence and peace. let alone walk it. Of this scrap of death in midafternoon. The fly exists. unlife. to do it justice. to get a clear shot at that elusive line. books that mattered: The Count of Monte Cristo . and you still look passive from the outside. this nirvana too easily acquired. any little red flags are hard to see in the distance. so let me change the example a bit. or Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea . a refreshing oasis of genuine. and tickle. Everything else must be found irrelevant. There is no getting rid of it. But it's a sham. the deck must be stacked in your favor. for them to work. of your appeasement.

Indeed. Pressure must be applied to it. at least among philosophers—those enlightened creatures so supportive and understanding of winners. "rable" would mean rable. in that other language born out of our decision. like "table": we could just as well have decided to use the word "rable" instead. a scream makes our blood boil. the concrete. and the legs. spatiotemporal embodiment of that sweet dream of yours. or any other mechanical concoctions to count time. they're now . the physical character of its (faulty) composition. Now what does it take for a scream to work like that? A scream is full of anguish. But it's a popular story. for her character and for herself: it was a narrow escape. and silence them. Think of those old. Language has meaning. a bit of shameful propaganda to cover up political abuse. a scream makes us want to help. and emerging victorious. and a torch was lit up on their head. or reads. Forced you to face the reality of ― 102 ― the object-book. She's given us a passionate rendering of woman battling man. it bends and folds easily. "Snow is white" is true if and only if snow is white. or watches. Or: I'm sitting in the dark in a tent structure. And his scream would stand for a time interval. Existing. I'm not saying things don't go like this. When there were no clocks.Think of how you got lost in them. about how it works. unbracketing a world well-lost. it shows no effort. of how much you suffered when the insults of time or the original poor workmanship forced you to confront broken words. muscular body glows with sweat. imposing an unwanted presence. those putting you in contact with the ordinary world—a world you were not missing. I'm saying it's not that easy. that I always found preposterous. "chair" means chair. Denying your denial. choreography by Béjart. irresistible power must be applied to the anguish. It goes like this. And it doesn't matter that "table" sounds. We are still so glad to be alive. "Table" means table. For a scream to be converted into a signpost. and hence they've ceased to be arms and legs. panting. You forget that a body is there: arms and legs can get anywhere. and make them stand still. only the time interval matters. and when the fire reached the slave he would scream. and sometimes they had to pull your hair to make you come back to your senses. now it offers no resistance. I found it violent and insensitive. Language will not be so subservient by itself. faded or missing pages. words refer to things. Slaves were forced to count lentils. and the pulse." Her lean. Her body was conquered long ago. Béjart knew what he was ― 103 ― doing. all other context must be annihilated. It bothered you." music from Bach. didn't it? It annoyed you more than ever a fly will. Your ordinary senses. So that only the time interval is left. of pain. she's out of breath. people found the most creative ways to get the job done. but much the way a fly does. and that's what language and words are good for. Or they were chained motionless. where nonexistence was merciful and gay. created especially for her. violent pressure if needed. or turn wheels. at any angle. and wouldn't hear when they called you for dinner. It's not been easy. Worse yet. or climb stairs. it must be forced. a hot summer night. of fear. Some were truly sadistic. Katarzyna Gdaniec has just finished dancing "Voyage. and we are all still in pain. entirely under control. she's "the Moon. There is a story about language. and then "rable" would mean table. decrepit editions. our legs run. Now comes Luciana Savignano.

I like Gdaniec better than Savignano. then beaten words may turn out to be priceless gifts: you climb on them without even seeing the steps. On what they're associated with. are in a position to "mean. Maybe they bother me so much because there are so few flies in my life. they're right. by disobeying our rules. while those adventures or thoughts take the whole stage the whole time. Which makes me have second thoughts about flies. But when it does see. It's the same thing with language. powerful doesn't mean existent. wasted exchanges. brings to mind equally thin and transparent nothings. is getting too much attention. Loud doesn't mean perceptible. and know that you won't. correct them automatically. and throw them out effortlessly. it takes chaining them irrevocably to the same tedious. It was as hard for them to notice flies as it is for me not to. . It's a matter of being clearer as to how transparency is achieved. Most often. as if nothing happened. it doesn't like it. unconsciously. A case with no obvious violence might be the best illustration yet. It takes beating words to a pulp by repeated. and rights. predictable sequences. or at the flea market. it's a matter of what's going on.segments of line. The second day you find yourself hearing your neighbors. within a week you can pick up distant conversations. Say a shrill. before any respect and appreciation is lost for them. having no reaction to their presence. That's the point with typos. on what they now. finally. I now remember seeing people— peasants on a farm—going about their business in rooms full of flies and being entirely oblivious to them. declaring independence and originality. The first day on the job you don't know how anybody can stand that. before their thickness is no longer noticed. their substance is gone. as long as it doesn't kill you. Older hands tell you you'll wise up: it only takes time. Make a stimulus as loud and powerful as you wish. that's why they're so irritating. transparent medium is associated with garbage. . it takes a lot of fast talking and reading and writing (the kind Nietzsche hated). So it's not a matter of values. is getting to be the message. And guess what. hues in a masterful fresco. on the images and experiences they're ready to bring to mind once theirs has become a mindless presence. thoroughly violated.) Sure I despise the obtuse language of the news or of most philosophy papers. you'll get used to it and no longer feel it. compositional elements. . What the eye doesn't see. Only the moon is visible. but that's because this thin. vulgar use. (Yes. it takes legislating their proper spelling and grammar with more determination and thoroughness than in any other field of social activity. persistent noise occupies the perceptual field: say you work in a loud factory somewhere. in seedy parts of town: they do nothing. done with. thoughts to be explored. before one can see through them and concentrate on something else. It's asserting its existence. the same useless. then. In a month the noise is gone: you can now hear through it. ." Notice that my values are completely orthogonal to this phenomenon. They show language rebelling against our curfew. The medium is getting out of control. They've been so cruelly crushed into shape that only the shape matters. we just disregard them. but I wouldn't call that a value. It's the same thing the police do. and anarchistic freedom. When there are adventures to be shared. ― 104 ― provided it's regular enough .

two different notions of existence will confront each other: one "internal" and one "external. there may be more of a warlike character to it. of intuitions and concepts in his technical terminology. It's natural to think that he "rewrote causality (and. and a less tame. and whereas this doesn't necessarily mean that he will lose (the strategy could after all be a good one). Suppose there are two players to a game and one of them plays a ― 105 ― regular. What if his opponent told him. And now suppose that the regular. Seems to me. to turn the other from a mysterious. it does mean that he's no longer needed. if its behavior fits the lawlike behavior of everything else. exceptionless player does make an exception. then. The player who was just betrayed will still want to have his little scheme work." When the fit explodes. Not surprisingly. abandoning the imposition model and replacing it with a model of regularity. uniformity. but if enough external pressure is exercised on it then the scheme itself will have to go. at least." You would find it funny. and might end up making his attempt at denial more and more explicit (and pathetic)." as we could say out of respect to Carnap. I'm sure. is a main strategy to make something go away. To put it otherwise. Remember Kant rewriting the notion of causality. existence) as ruledirectedness" because the earlier reading as imposition was inadequate. by implication. It looks like one or the other claim will have to give: regularity can be a defining trait of existence or of nonexistence. And here is where the problem is. he's been internalized by his opponent without residue. appreciative of disciplined effort. After the figuring out. could just as well leave—for all the difference he makes. Kant also claims that nature. if you think that something exists if and only if it has causal power. potentially bothersome presence into a character of his own "play. Knowledge requires for him a balancing of passive and active factors. he's become a well-defined problem in his opponent's framework. yet still one whose formulation promises no more surprises. is not a set of things but rather a system of laws. something seems to be amiss. more basic. however.Now. And. an intentional object may be as vivid as you wish. ununderstandably changes the nature of the "problem" he represents. to make it as good as non existent. The other player has complete control over him. Unless perhaps our whole perspective is wrong—our whole point of view on Kant's operation. because we've just concluded that regularity. Kant is a philosopher of shaky. of course. spontaneous or contrived. Only conformity with a general. It takes only some figuring out of what the strategy is and this player will cease to be a factor. and opened the door to unwanted paradoxes. the world. rule-directedness? Well. delicate equilibria. the being of objects requires the same kind of . exceptionless strategy. whereas the new reading is exempt from some of these problems. but not both. but there is a moral to this funny development. that he unpredictably. such that you can't entertain it without having your heart skip a few beats and your saliva run. but none of that will make it existent. predictable scheme will. It's in a player's interest to fit the other into a scheme. more menacing "reality" will surface in full armor. skeptical of final solutions. A problem for which there may or may not be a solution. incorrect. that amounts to rewriting existence as regularity. and I would have to declare you nonexistent. since in the Copernican framework objects are supposed to conform to knowledge. For then you wouldn't fit the system of regularities I've just established. "You can't do that. given what I said elsewhere. I insist. So for him (in my reading) something will be part of nature if it belongs to nature's regular structure. But the matter may be much less sanitized than that.

Matching existence with regularity is a form of colonization. of gross incoherence. before that and to make it possible. something was done to the (other) things. to have eaten Him up. And vice versa. irrational ones. an unknown quantity to be deciphered. and systematize material received from elsewhere. order. Those who were once bad are now good. But the sillies were wrong. as a shrewd military tactic to survive in unfriendly territory. grabbed. and hard to swallow. It is sensed but not understood. The sillies thought that this was. What was once existence is now the lack of it: evidence of dreamlike quality. to make them fall from towers and slide along inclined planes and burn and crash and freeze. in the perpetual game of competition with the environment—human and otherwise. Locked. It's not wrong. And. then you give a clear and accurate description of the world. imprisoned. and the good of old have turned into evil. there is a mysterious sort of being. Commenting upon the oddities of quantum mechanics. It urges. handle the baffling questions any such description will generate (such as how something can change over time and still remain identical ― 107 ― . The one thing you know for sure is that it's a jungle out there. unpredictable events. Something was done to the words to bind them to such new. a scandal to be silenced. And. try to inscribe your opponent within your own strategy. of insanity. to "conceptualize" it (him. one knows not what. a "refutation" of Kant: here you have something undeniably existing. a label is pasted on it. They were hoping to be rid of Father. For two thousand years the order of business was set in stone.balance: there will be objects to the extent that we are able to grasp. it pesters and cries. As much as you can. be on your toes: nothing is as dangerous as a ― 106 ― strategy with no default mechanism. Not yet. consequently. unpredictable. falling under no concepts. at least. But don't get lost in your own pretense. the dialectical process. no room for revision. her) so as to be able to anticipate its each and every move. has no dignity as one. one knows not where. To begin with. instead. they argued ("science" proves it). Totally random phenomena occur. Or. gagged. First you learn to reason. but. not because it's right. we know. yet obeying no rules. finally. And a "theory" allowing for this embarrassment is no theory. as they always are. Kant wins not because genuine chance has no currency but because it's denied currency. a proud declaration of the power now acquired over it. Once again. this could be seen as a disinterested description of a peculiar state of affairs. manacled. He was still going to be the winner. because irregular. when it's overcome. random existence is now a problem to be solved. An emblem of ruthless sarcasm. is at best a temporary stage toward complete explanation— toward pax Romana. grasped. It is because it hurts. handled. inimical resonances. It demands. but He was poisonous. to rule on them. fitting no intellectual schemes. but because it's not the sort of thing that can be wrong or right. What the sillies were missing is the struggle element. Then this being is attacked. it bothers. held. David Lewis said once that there's such a thing as genuine chance in the world.

to make them do things. to see it like that. who recognize and proclaim the war bulletin character of any metaphysical pronouncement. stinking) order. Again. It's the kind of thing you live and die for. to bring their emotions to the surface. it's not the kind of thing that can be wrong. and then into an epoch of humankind. the driving force. sustained by blind. But it's a thing that needs repeating. and make their success look like destiny.with itself). Empedocles said it already. for no apparent reason. walls come down and the immutable mutates. the temporary. But there is a way of turning it around. there's nothing wrong with any of that. in both of its contradictory senses. metaphysics is the hourly report of who's trying to convert a temporary advantage into a historical victory. including the politics of words: the ways in which discourse can be used to influence people. it's mostly feminist writers who do this dirty job for us all. like the alpha and omega of it all. of making logic. Politics is no inessential application of our conceptual understanding of the world. Or it will be easy to conquer it—to make Strife into yet another concept. any categorization of the landscape. what makes for a good community? Politics comes at the end (just like death. inventing the tradition anew. eternal. And there is a way of making politics the start of it all. They look immutable. Politics is the roots. as everything is standing still. What makes for the good life. To keep it as a nonconcept. brutish tyrants who could make you kill your children at a moment's notice. send you plagues . It's not like it's a new thing. risky. [1] At the end of "Voyage. for a good relationship? Further down the line. or direction? It's politics that grounds metaphysics. a new deal is dealt: new winners will emerge. turn your attention to the human microcosm. None of that will happen by itself: it's going to be a bloody. as the condition of all concepts. finally. into the exhausted rhetoric of words no longer functioning—or finally functioning. into a species of the genus rhetoric. it's a political statement. messy affair. not to see the strife that it takes to give strife its due. possibly without noticing. and. Rewriting "human" in such a way that it includes hoi barbaroi requires canceling old privileges and assigning new rights. for a good person. Then. making the whole history and strength of a word available to a larger group of customers. the eternal dies." the man shoots the woman. say. Rewriting existence as regularity requires throwing gods out of business—those capricious. every generation or so. the beginning of logic and metaphysics. the basis of any viewpoint. redesigning our system of expectations. Because. None of that will stay long unless more blood is poured. cruel power. and a conservative one. did you notice?). baleful condition of all systematic arrangements. of all (deadly. They use this look as one of their best defensive weapons. But his pistol fires backwards and he falls to the ground. that strife is the mother of all academic fields. finally enslaved to functioning. Constellations take shape within the perpetual strife. over and over again. ― 108 ― Rewriting something as something else is a two-part operation. again. of any Begriffsschrift . Nowadays. making them the heirs of a foreign tradition. It requires a canceling and a new labeling—a true Aufhebung . "Writers" like Gdaniec. Cards are shuffled again. I'd say—for why should pistols shoot only straight ahead?[1] Why should movement have a definite velocity. the guiding metaphor. to place-holding for nonwords.

coherent. Possibly saving one of them as the tired officer countersigning your conquest. and objects (the concept of them) is where you start. 104e So you are a realist—a conceptual realist. just as much of a tortoise upon a tortoise upon a tortoise . You think that to explain what anything is (a set. just as ungrounded." "to try. a very strange place. in a house with electric light. The concept of a set you will articulate by reference to the objects having.and famines and droughts. Zettel. one must start drawing one's logical space somewhere. you can't conquer? One that just is. by screens. neurotic humans. all out of their stupid. of course. you must start with one or more res . or objects. an experience. It doesn't always work. boring repetitions of perfectly reasonable patterns. in a mad race without substance carefully analyzed by the new universal doctrine: semiotics. Flies are kept outside. all the power in the world won't make it work all the time. a given property. rubberstamping your "rational" domination of what was once. one you can't see through. with the nostalgia of an irretrievable past. It requires reducing everything and everyone to a sign of something else. all the way down? Does it make any difference that I find myself fantasizing the most sudden outbreaks. The concept of an object you will not articulate. They will have to be corrected. that of an experience by reference to an object of a special kind—that is. I still belong to the same gang. Where do I stand in this war? Let me answer with another question: Do I have a choice? Does it matter that I resent the emptiness of the "existence" traded down to me? That I long for a thicker form of being. the most insane responses? No. Comes with guilt. a subject. since their freedom has now suffered the same fate as God's: they're free insofar as they're predictable. . that arrogantly presents itself as "I am who I am. in any of its various incarnations. arbitrary whims. say. to be sure: your philosophical enemy. There will be irritating exceptions: wistful phenomena. Words are thick no more." doesn't call upon something else. too." is: what can one not "try to do"! —Wittgenstein. typos are taken care of by the appropriate program. and neither are things. but is no longer. I mean. And so on and so forth. . Spelled out at a computer. shake earth and sea. and running water. starts instead . a society). which sometimes will take generations. I'm still on its side—fantasy and all. ― 110 ― Chapter Ten— Really Trying What a queer concept "to attempt. and comes with a price. It requires keeping things in line—and people. and sometimes will take faith— in the colonizers of an ever-receding future to be smarter than ourselves. and it's just as well. with the torment of a ― 109 ― beautiful soul. and a thousand other documents of existence rewritten. after all. Typos. it doesn't. the idealist. Who said that winning would be easy? And this is winning. It's not the only possible starting point.

. for what about "Sherlock Holmes" then. scientists agreed. and whether they let you reach (that is. or "Vulcan" (in both of its uses)? There is no investigating violinist at 221B Baker Street. but not for the missing planet. and you shouldn't worry about it. there just is no such thing . In general. a planet period—just like Mercury and all the others—and were later considered wrong. and bring fictional "objects" into it. a pattern with many realizations. not a concrete object like the quintessentially philosophical tables and chairs ― 111 ― and not a highly abstract one like a number or an ideological constraint: something in between. if we allow nonexistent objects unrestricted currency. For. utter incomprehensibility[1] Not to mention the problems this approach would create for our own specific area of concern. so explaining everything in terms of objects. So the failure of establishing a relation of reference cannot be what makes something not a name. Do you want to expand your horizon. if objects can be like that . and gets to objects (if at all) only at the end of a long. and possibly for the unfortunate crippled progeny of Zeus and Hera. and there would be nothing wrong in principle with that claim. And here you run into problems. for. and claim that "Sherlock Holmes" refers to some such creature? Maybe. a type with many tokens. Just as there never was an object #*$. but in general nonexistent objects are needed. but notice that this will work for the fiddling sleuth. It's enough to worry about consistency and completeness: whether your conceptual elaborations hold water." "Sherlock Holmes. don't they? Well. and may consequently leave unexplained." "Vulcan" (the Greek god—by his Latin name). But if now "there are" nonexistent objects. how can we tell that #*$ is not [1] For more on this point. that is. But saying that is hardly enough: now you need to attach the genus a differentia. and claim that not just fictional. you think of your primitive notions as something you have definite intuitions about. they will just sit there and. see chapter 2 of my Looser Ends . or experiences. Nobody ever thought of Vulcan as a fictional planet. consider the concept of a name. as they say in California. But you must resist this temptation. tortuous route. But uniqueness is not an issue here. in many different media. except that the foundational character of objects would come under pressure. a concept that applies to such varied morphemes as "Hillary Clinton. account for) all the concepts you need. You could insist on the same strategy. Hillary Clinton—a relation (call it reference ) that "#*$" has to no object at all. and that the relation is established cannot be the differentia we are looking for. at one point. will amount to reducing everything to total opaqueness. work on their tan. There were those. what exactly is the basis of your conceptual framework? Most of the objects that do not exist will never come into contact with anything else. What you would want to say is that "Hillary Clinton" is a name and "#*$" is not because of the relation that the object "Hillary Clinton" has to another object. How do you explain what a name is? You will of course begin by saying that a name is an object.with ideas. just as there never were Greek gods. Which they do. specify what makes a particular object a name . who thought of it as a real planet. and "Vulcan" (the presumed planet once taken to determine the oddities of Mercury's orbit and eventually judged to be nonexistent and unnecessary). or representations. and there never was. or planets between Mercury and the Sun.

a tenth planet. he is not always that subtle. however. Nobody speaks your perfect language." But there may be no way of cashing out the me taphor. "intend. 197." with sets of properties. he continues by saying that a name (in his terminology. everybody thinks of "Vulcan" as a name. in the expression itself. On the same page referred to in the previous note. if the name cannot do what it purports. it's rather people who purport (or intend. one in which every name does refer to an existent object and problems never arise—just as they never do in Disneyland. You will say that a name is an expression that purports to refer to an object." or simply "Vulcan doesn't exist. but rather "correlated. I take it. one might say. what makes the difference between those objects that are names and those that are not is not that the former have a relation to another object and the latter don't." Clearly. One last avenue is left. it does). you will find those problems waiting for you. the reduction is left hanging in the air: nonexistent objects are not identical. no sympathetic reader will want to put pressure on this language. and there is no Vulcan. Methods of Logic . where. that gives substance to the "purporting.[3] "Hillary Clinton" purports to refer to Hillary Clinton (and. as it turns out. For. [4] Though see note 6 below for a more appreciative view of Quine's subtle strategy here. they will all understand it to be "metaphorical." And what could that be? Let's focus on this strange sentence: "A name is an expression that [2] See Parsons's Nonexistent Objects .― 112 ― one of them. existed. a singular term ) "is powerless to guarantee that the alleged object be forthcoming. then there is no object—to refer to. or to purport to refer to. "#*$" does not purport to refer to anything. as a matter of fact. Now that's a strange way to put it. so it's no name. when you come back to earth. it cannot do)." or "It was once thought that Vulcan. will make the whole game unravel. Unfortunately. that's not the point) that there is no Homer or Vulcan to refer to—existent or nonexistent—and still recognizing "Homer" and "Vulcan" as names." "try") to do anything.'" Of course. so they are both names. [3] Quine. "Vulcan" purports to refer to Vulcan (which. But. or try) to do things. as I understand it. A bound variable ranging over objects . possibly by using expressions." while being perfectly convinced (rightly or wrongly. for example[2] —and to deprive them of their primordial status.[4] So why couldn't you just say the latter? The answer. So it must be something in the name . witness 'Cerberus. 18. Or you might change the subject: dismiss your current language as a mistake and daydream about a "perfect" counterpart to it. and hence that "#*$" is not a name after all? Which explains the drive to reduce objects to something else—sets of properties. Expressions don't "purport" (that is. is that it wouldn't work. however. So the way to read the sentence must be: "A name purports to refer-to-an-object. but rather that the former have a complex property that the latter lack. Often people purport to refer to nothing whatsoever when they use a name: they say things like "The Greeks believed that Homer wrote the Odyssey ." That is. ― 113 ― purports to refer to an object. and you will take it—which. the occurrence of "an object" here cannot be de re .

What. Shall we say that a statement is an expression that attempts or purports to describe a state of affairs? Maybe that's what we will have to say eventually. a less extended range would leave us with an irredeemably notional (not relational) context. and say that a statement is an expression that describes a state of affairs. of course. . of course—Hegel would have loved this) both the resonances of purposive. at least as far as accounting for names goes. and no challenge to your sham realism. is where you would start articulating this portion of your logical space. And you don't want to do that. but let's try some epicycles first. Before we do some such stopping and thinking. do nothing—nothing substantive.[6] You could say that some parts of speech are simply designated to fulfill certain grammatical roles—to be subjects of propositions. not objects. if anybody were to stop and think about it. purporting.does occur in the specification of what the complex property is. will you say astatement is? Remember. On the other hand. it conveys together (not by coincidence. One must admire Quine's sensitivity to language in choosing such an exact word—if only to seal the problem the word dramatizes. say—and that "purporting to refer to an object" is a colorful way of expressing that. to purpose" and "to have the often specious appearance of being. maybe it's even doing it to an extent . But this alternative would force you to give up the primacy of objects for good. or intending to do something (in this case. see Quine's "Quantifiers and Propositional Attitudes. A totally unrestricted range of values (including all objects. but trying to get to that variable would involve us in all the nightmares of quantifying in. possible and impossible) would probably let us reach that position from the outside. raised. Note also that "purport" is an ideal word for playing on the ambiguity between the two construals (and hence for exploiting the plausibility of the second one while never espousing it). you're a realist. or claiming (sometimes implied or inferred). so if doing it is out of the question you might try the next best—attempting to do it. intelligent behavior and the suggestion of a phenomenon that simply tends to be read in a certain way. So the word allows one to get away with (in effect) utilizing structural considerations (which would be the idealist tack) while still giving the impression of relying only on "intended" objects . and to embrace a variant of conceptual idealism: language.[5] So it's hard to see how in practice this recipe can help us discriminate between names and nonnames." That is. he might happen to convince himself that trying and purporting and attempting are very queer notions indeed. a very resourceful word. let me throw a few more examples at you. A nice way to go about it would be to characterize the notions of a state of affairs and of a relation of describing. that is. If you make your move quickly and confidently you might get no eyebrows. refer to an object) is very closely related to doing it." See note 10 below. so you want to start with objects. but it would also (as per the argument sketched earlier) turn every expression into a name. You simply (and this is the main point of my example) paper over your embarrassment by a very convenient ploy. For it does sound [5] For this terminology. because of its own intrinsic properties. There is. because there are false statements. Something similar (though not quite so forceful) is true of the word "claim. an alternative." [6] Spelled out in more detail in chapter 9 of Looser Ends . But we know we can't do it that way. existent and nonexistent. or cluster of words. For "to purport" means both "to intend. in effect. intending. So you. ― 114 ― like trying. then.

too. since there are statements "about" Ajax). Is a world to be defined starting with language (the idealist option) or starting with objects (the realist one)?[8] And. "The sun rotates around the earth" is a statement because it describes not something that is the case (a state of affairs period) but something that could be the case (something that is not a state of affairs. "purports" (or "attempts.Epicycle one: You say that there are two objects. but a statement nonetheless. here or in any other world. we couldn't just disregard on account of its "wrongness. [7] After a detour through "reference. but could be one). see chapter 9 of my Looser Ends . say. Shall we say that "The Pacific Ocean is thoughtful" is not a statement? We would certainly say that if we were in the business of evading the issue—of sketching an imaginary. and the same basic conceptual options must be faced in addressing both problems. For what about statements with no truth-value—category mistakes like "The Pacific Ocean is thoughtful. is it just ordinary. and statements describe the latter. and a relation (of meaning?)[7] that expressions can have to them. we are stuck with the insoluble problem of identification through possible worlds—with deciding. but before you do that let me tell you why it would get you nowhere. But we decided to discount such cheap tricks. What a world is is just as much of a problem as what a statement is. if we are trying to understand what statements are. The Pacific Ocean is simply not the sort of thing that could be thoughtful or nonthoughtful. "formal" situation in which the issue does not arise. but a question nonetheless. correctly) decided to translate Frege's "Bedeutung" in Frege's Collected Papers . Or we might avoid any such appreciation. we will have to appreciate this fact and see what follows from it. But that's not all. But. T(rue) and F(alse). "The Pacific Ocean is thoughtful" is a statement: a meaningless. truth-valueless one to be sure. and one that. if these statements can't possibly describe anything. A statement. so wherever it exists it will make no sense to either attribute it or deny it that property. if the latter. Just as "Have you stopped beating your wife?" is a question even when asked of a bachelor. ― 115 ― existent objects that we want to use or also their enigmatic unreal cohorts? If the former. to be sure. in my view. If the latter. [8] On this matter. we will say. or a devotee to nonviolence: the wrong question to ask of that person. here it gives no help. but made it no more approachable. if we were trying to understand what questions are. and you might contemplate admitting impossible worlds." this is how Max Black finally (and. what actual object Ajax-in-nonactual-world-w is identical to (an issue we need some way of addressing." So." or "intends") to . artificial. without having the faintest idea of what men and women are. we're back to the problems those enigmatic characters gave us before. The expressions that do are statements. we can't just disregard "The Pacific Ocean is thoughtful" and the like. whatever other merits this suggestion might have. That there are statements describing impossible states of affairs might give you pause. It's like explaining what a human being is by saying that it's either a man or a woman—and. And." or the "Colorless green ideas sleep furiously" of old?[9] They don't even satisfy the basic requirements for describing anything. Epicycle two: You say that there are possible worlds and possible states of affairs. You've now divided your task. which is where the cop-out mentioned earlier becomes relevant again. of course.

"talk" instead of "tall"—or maybe rather than no word at all— say. and even conflicting. "talk" instead of "talt"? You might answer: not a conscious intention. revisable nature of any such judgment is argued for in my Kant's Copernican Revolution . and find that some things look like exceptions to the patterns. let me tell you how the idealist would go about it. The idealist would start with the notion of a text. but still an intention. But then the popular trick is available to the realist of distinguishing the ontology or metaphysics of truth (or objectivity) from its epistemology or methodology . what is mistaken and what is not—conceptually dependent on factors originating with that interpretation (its coherence. Choice and Chance . do you mean that the author literally had an intention to write one particular word rather than another—say. of course. [10] An example among many: "Let us call a sentence that makes a definite factual claim a statement " (Skyrms. at least. or were appropriately questioned.[12] So how else will you do it? You will probably say that the typo is a typo because it doesn't match what the author "intended" ("purported. and look for regular patterns in it. 2). since there are indefinitely many overlapping. as we all know. so what looks like an exception might eventually turn out to prove the previous regularities exceptions.describe a state of affairs. And. not on its adequacy to any objectual standard. eventually be revealed as the basis of a whole new exciting reading of the text. [12] This. We'll stop a second to point out the peculiarity of your agreeing with Freud all of a sudden—that shady character who. which . that there is something intrinsically paradoxical about notions that are too large. Any such judgment. of what counts as a typo and what doesn't. poor thing. is precisely how claims of objectivity are assessed within ordinary interpretive practices. 15. Suppose you tell me what a typo is. since it would make the objectivity of any interpretation—and. But it won't wash—not so baldly stated. however. of course. patterns to be found in any text. based his wild theories and practices on no objective evidence whatsoever—and then we'll let your answer go. of course. So suppose we try a more modest notion—something indeed we've al[9] Chomsky. before you start. so you don't think I'm just giving you a hard time. for the time being. one that the author could become aware of if he wanted.[10] Even "The Pacific Ocean is thoughtful" tries to do that. persuasiveness. and even the excitement it might cause). Because there is something else to worry about. would be inherently temporary and revisable. ― 116 ― ready worried about in this book. A number of redoubtable philosophical careers have staked their credibility on this trick." "attempted") to say." "tried.[11] This particular avenue. You might think that that's the problem. specifically. I'm sure you've had your share of dealings with copy editors—those sacrificial offerings on the altar of "authorial intention" who are most [11] The essentially temporary. and call some of these exceptions typos. We're talking about monumental matters: worlds and truth and meaning and all that. too bad it can't. is not open to you. For. Syntactic Structures .

you might say at this point. was not. You didn't want a repetition there (or anywhere): echoes you find annoying. more than once. together with assorted companions and stepkids and friendly alligator pets. you like to think of yourself as somewhat stylish. mean) something: our philosophy is not expected to forget (indeed. do you? Well. as well as unconcern or loathing for any such attempt. they look like any other philosophers: I don't know a single figure in the history of our discipline—be that Hegel or Hume—who hasn't at times made decisive references to the "man in the street. you write the same word again." that is. mean) to write those two words? . you actually meant "persistent. and wanted to make sure it was the right one. So. "continuing or inclined to persist in a course." Maybe the person asking had never heard or used such a word. after all. I will first give you a little lecture about Heidegger's "idle talk" and then point to the disingenuousness of this appeal to common sense. perfectly spelled and grammatically inflected." We might even assume that in both cases." and immediately you're bothered by it." You didn't mean "implacable" here. After all. I'm sure they pointed out to you. "what you meant. Commonsense philosophers. I believe your answer would have been. isn't it? So consider this other small matter. Except that. I won't buy it. or a cognate word. Now. and you don't really mean that there is such an agency here. "Yes. it is expected to presuppose) ordinary commonsensical understanding. if you do say that. strain and abuse the "ordinary" understanding of words and phrases as much as anybody." So let's forget about common sense and bring the humble practice of writing back into focus. or for whatever other reason have decided to leave alone. but the word that expressed it best. did you or did you not intend (purport. since it's not something that you could have brought up to consciousness at will. I believe you might even have considered giving the guy a little lecture concerning the unexpected resources of the language. after considerable reflection. you had convinced yourself that that was not just a word that expressed what you meant. but rather something that it took expert help and argument to make you aware of? Come on. since "implacable" is defined as "not capable of being appeased. however. purported). ― 117 ― often liquidated with a blanket word of thanks in the preface. significantly changed. suppose somebody asked you—before this illuminating discussion—whether you did mean to write "implacable. In this maneuver. You write a word here and then. and only resort to hiding behind common sense when there is something they cannot justify. a few lines later. that a certain word. And. incidentally. we all know what it means to intend (purport. now. If you were asked of each word. your copy editor points out the "unintended repetition. that's what makes much of the sub― 118 ― stance of our lives. or mitigated".lets one insulate one's wildest "metaphysical" dreams from the necessity of providing any responsible defense of them. I will tell you. "Yes". however." For "implacable" entails an agency attempting to placate. it was not the word you meant (intended. "Is this the word you meant?" you would answer. So what exactly is going on here? Shall we get one step closer to Freud and recognize not just a preconscious intention but two conflicting intentions: a preconscious one to write "implacable" as well as one to write "persistent"—one that we would have to call unconscious now in the technical sense.

this is what Kant does in the Antinomy chapter of the first Critique . but I did not intend the repetition. we are still debating it. progressive world of intellectuals. But it's a troubled family: one that can't help itself. I could go on. so it's not the sort of thing that could be drawn.[14] Suppose you try to draw a triangle. but do not succeed. Did the guy who stabbed Monica Seles intend to do something evil to her. of course—but what you say will not sustain a tiny bit of scrutiny. is that when you sit down to write something you have a general and sometimes quite vague idea of how your argument is supposed to go and. But. it may be time to phrase the issue in more general terms. All this is fine: you know what it is to do these things. of how far one intends the consequences of what one admittedly intentionally did. that is. and focusing and concentrating on it—really trying . an equally general intention to do the best you can. As far as you are concerned. maybe drawing a very long one—the longest you have ever drawn. or whatever. on the other hand." And this will get you into a fine mess—the problem. But now suppose you try to draw a straight line. your answer has had the brilliant effect of explaining a mystery by reference to something just as mysterious—or more. Maybe a . and can describe your current interrupted activity as an imperfect approximation to what in other circumstances was carried out to completion. you will quickly recognize it as "what you meant" and incorporate this unacknowledged coauthor's work. Does a flag burner intend to offend people's patriotic sensibility by making a figurative statement about the politics of his country? Although the issue has been resolved in the courts. in my reading. You might describe what you do as drawing a segment of a line. A number of concepts that present no special problem to the idealist behave ― 119 ― like anomalies in the realist universe of discourse. "Of course I did. for sure. You will say that that's not the word you meant (purported. which means you also know what it is to try to do them. Did the doctor intend to kill or maim his patient by proceeding as he did? Maybe.You might answer. A straight line is infinite. Undeniably. but by now you can see the logic of my examples. So. a strong piece of evidence that you don't have a workable notion of what a typo is. your pencil breaks. We have seen some of the specific troubles the family brings in its wake. The phone rings. or just relieve Steffi Graf from harsh competition in the most efficient possible way? Who knows? The fact is that he's out free now. A good example of how exploitation proceeds in the liberal. since his insurance had to pay. know exactly what that activity amounts to. the only credible picture of authorial intention you might honestly conjure. at the present stage of conceptual elaboration (or lack thereof). more relevantly to our discussion now. what does that amount to? You can't draw a straight line. for example. Can you still make sense of your attempt? I'd say yes: you have drawn triangles before. of course. Nobody can. your buzzer goes off. anyway. tried) to write. and for this purpose the family of concepts centered around trying and purporting provides very expedient devices. often amounts to sweeping them under the rug. But what is it to try to draw a straight line ? Is it to draw a segment while having a straight line in mind. the reverse is also the case: think of how problematic the notion of an object is for an idealist. if the copy editor convinces you that a given turn of phrase is "better" than the one you used. let alone rescue others.[13] What realists do with their anomalies. trying real hard? But what do you have in mind when you have in mind a straight line? Not the real thing. as for specific words. that is. But idealists may have been more forthcoming in bringing up such complications. The fact of the matter is that you end up with no triangle. In conclusion.

believed himself to be smart. a symbol for it? So trying to draw a straight line is drawing a segment while at the same time clenching one's teeth and having the phrase "straight line" clearly before one's mind? You will notice that we're traveling in familiar Wittgensteinian territory here. to pass mediocre judgments on. and his character and methodology. was not "carefully worked out. There were two schools of thought (there always are): one praising the guy's "originality. An agony deciding whether to extend their agony.[1] One of these unfortunate young people. of pointing at their incompatibility. The point. with a sad look on his face. And. is that it makes sense to talk about trying to do x when one can think of such an attempt as possibly (indeed. ― 122 ― . and its author. ― 120 ― cover up all sorts of conceptual inadequacies. simply put. he would have realized he had nothing to say. But "trying" and the like are very plastic verbs: they easily and unnoticeably slip beyond the realm of possibility. As one realizes wishes in a dream. There were things [1] Lest those who care more about gossip than about philosophy draw any conclusion here concerning my judgment of UCI students. we do know what we mean. I am not telling which one I am talking about. He announced. without wondering whether it adds up. [14] A similar attack is made on a specific case of attempting the impossible in chapter 1 of my Logic and Other Nonsense .name. as occasionally) succeeding. after all. And it went on and on. don't we? ― 121 ― Chapter Eleven— Deadly Clear It was one of those department meetings when you wish you had taken up mountain climbing. and had written a "stimulating" and "controversial" piece of junk. found a way of clashing the two points of view. alas. I remember. notorious for having trouble publishing anything. "If he had been clearer about it. realize all sorts of hopeless philosophical projects. but one that. of course. putting too much pressure. A bunch of mediocre students to evaluate. were carefully belabored: a good example of what he should have done—if only he could listen in. to get them one step closer to joining a mediocre profession—where they probably belonged anyway. Until this one colleague." A "lively discussion" ensued as to what this guy's fate should be. on a mediocre afternoon. where a lot of "fine points" about the paper. or crochet. and from then on the meeting was lost on me. by fiat. For. without asking too many questions." the other stigmatizing his lack of deep analysis. so I won't press the point any further. so they can be profitably used to [13] This point is argued in chapter 6 of my Kant's Copernican Revolution . let me hasten to add that not all meetings on them are like this." He announced it softly. pay off all sorts of intellectual mortgages.

" he said. you were born clear. my first year teaching. "What is complementary to truth?" His answer was. There is Kant." And his biographer calls this "a response that tells more about him than many a lengthy essay. the ascetic exercise that would have revealed all his presumptuous emptiness. perhaps. "There is a disadvantage. I'm sure what he meant was something like. and thus avoiding the clarity that really matters. among many others. argue one point at a time." Now these two remarks were made years apart. Once his reaction was. of course (there always is): "[M]any a book would have been much clearer if it had not made such an effort to be clear . And there is discursive clarity (also called "logical"). And I told him. dejected tone—but what it suggested to me is that the good clarity. It may have been the tone with which it was uttered—that sad. ― 123 ― myself. I sat in his course. a highly respected one—by [2] Critique of Pure Reason . italics in the original. There is intuitive clarity (Kant also calls it "aesthetic"): the clarity of examples. the one missing from the student's paper. there will be no surprises later." The other time it was more elaborate. Examples might confuse us. make us miss the forest for the trees. that there is no such thing—in the philosophical sense: in the sense that there can't be. trying to get friendly with his readers by throwing a lot of images at them. our agenda clearly set (ha! ha!) by a few elongated tongue twisters. tell about clarity. and found him wonderfully clear. the one Kant will stick to. Niels Bohr's Times . bury us with colorful. Right. "Clarity. inevitably has destructive consequences. 511. something they do not understand. is inevitably deadly. the second one provides food for reflection. the one being disputed. "The guy should define his basic terms."[2] But this statement brings out two kinds of clarity. the student might well have been (mis)using a lot of intuitive clarity. without the delusive familiarity they intimate. incidentally. and learned a lot from him about doing things in a classroom. "to being too clear. You want the students to realize that there is still something above their heads. on two separate occasions. of course)? . but at least the hardship will show. the first one is highly complimentary. to have our strenuous work face us mercilessly. [3] Pais. more sweeping than that. things I needed to get clear about. way back. 13. To dissolve them forever. Except that the statement that intrigued me seemed more general." In the process of thus deceiving himself and others (not everybody all the time. and then he would realize that his attempted construction is an impossibility. disturb our concentrated effort to penetrate high-powered conceptual structures. resonates with other similarly disturbing suggestions. Could there be something to this suggestion? Which. But what if I bring them together. It will be hard to say "transcendental unity of apperception." let alone use it properly. Once they asked Niels Bohr. when we least need them. and about truth? There was this other colleague. display all relations of logical dependence. which I'm sure is what my colleague had in mind. You don't want the course to close the issue for them.I needed to work out then. useless detail. make my reflection relevant to the compliment? Doesn't the latter begin to appear left-handed (not intentionally. "Ermanno. Better to do without them. and it's important to get clear (ha!) as to how both are relevant here. perhaps. fortunately)."[3] Does it also.

Once unleashed. Dialectic of Enlightenment . [5] See Horkheimer and Adorno. leaving everything spotless. one's own presence? You might not have to kill your children. of course. So you come upon some unfamiliar area of your thoughts—unfamiliar. Maybe it's because I am fascinated by guilt—the cobwebs'. clearing the field for the impeccable. Powerful light rays chasing darkness away from wet. And you find the area suggestive. and it will have enough of an incapacitating effect.[4] Critical reason eventually falls into a perverse cycle of destruction. [6] Adorno. under the cordial appearance of infectious. just as rapidly." It's not like I'm lazy: I work like a madman. graceful structures. exciting intellectual exchanges with students: reading groups have been meeting at our house since I can remember."[6] How come nobody ever wants to work with me? I have been in this business almost twenty years now. it's a story we heard from Hegel. by what happens when indeed the light or the water meet the cobwebs. ― 124 ― don't have fruitful. Guilt is something you feel in private. 359ff. That's where it all comes from. Which means that some of those students did think they would want to work with me. his eagle's view I find overwhelming. You would want to sit in that peculiar light for a while. Could it be that precisely clarity is a problem? That. into systematic slaughter. one will have a hard time figuring out what else is required. there will be no controlling it—until a very tragic end. debating Deleuze or Searle or Judith Butler or whatever and drinking red wine. sanitized. efficient servitude. just because of the strange angle from which you happen to be looking. or eat them: you might simply blind them. But cobwebs are delicate. inborn clarity? The Enlightenment. how to justify one own's contribution. of course.[5] But Hegel's Prussian armies march too fast for me. or the peculiar light that happens to be thrown on things. musty corners. Sometimes they even left philosophy for good: two of the best are now an engineer and a poet. into Terror.Doesn't something dirty and dangerous surface. and I have directed no thesis. vanish without leaving an address.[7] Suppose we take this unsympathetically. as it turns out. all concrete responsibility vanishes. richer that way? To some extent. until its pretense shows: until its call for liberation dialectically turns into a more systematic. I am fascinated by details. pure. once given a clear picture of the situation. 25. And it's not like I [4] See Phenomenology of Spirit . as others have added. "In the abstract conception of universal wrong. away from it all. unstoppable progress of reason. Minima Moralia . by how all of them feel. continuing well into the small hours of the morning. keep on looking from that ." Wittgenstein says. clean water flushing out the dirt. "I was born clear. Or. but eventually changed their minds. or the light's—and guilt gets lost when the perspective is too vast. ruthlessly exposing the cobwebs that inhabit them. It's not like I'm a bad teacher: I won awards and stuff and. and what if it takes darkness and mold for them to be? Isn't the world better. "Only the accustomed context allows what is meant to come through clearly. You don't quite know suggestive of what yet: it's one of those hunches that rapidly cross one's mind and most often.

of what we've always known. Though it seems to favor everything I always hated: obscurantism. Respect for those delicate. You can do this kind of stifling. since cleanliness is an enemy also. the sort I often depicted myself going for— . and the Enlightenment. where the sort of clarity Kant. how you find yourself in another place. pursuing their silky threads at leisure. holding your breath to give them a chance to breathe. how you make yourself a stranger to it. to spin some time around. indeed into their opposites—which once more reminds one of Hegel. spin away with a vengeance. But suddenly it's over: the earth's axis shifts by a minute fraction of a degree and you find yourself facing quite ordinary surroundings. as it's killed many a budding passion: the vulgar recognition of the identical. and cobwebs.strange angle. It takes looking away from them. It takes patience and care. You have in fact never left home. wherever they might lead. if we do forget. graceful structures that will be blown away by the faintest breeze. We'll sit in the dirt. to grow. Maybe that way we'll forget we're home—which is how you leave it. not just a few thousand miles away and still horribly familiar. complicity. knowing looks. The ideal of a life without shame. until the web is so thick you would have to cut through it with a knife. in the mud. 31e. keep our tongue still. banished by the quickest glance. invading their elusive privacy with some bottom-line. Maybe. It takes a while to leave home. until you can no longer deny that it exists. smothering job on others. by now no longer peculiar) environment? The problem is that these things won't stay put. we need to practice obscurity: too much light is bad for that piling up of cells which is required before anything can face the light. For what about this now. Is this different from any other kind of getting used to? Is it not familiarity in the familiar sense—familiarity to darkness . of the usual. had in mind. hoped for. And you can do it with yourself: mutilate your own hopes. tedious motives. to silent spinning of ethereal thread. So we'll shut windows and doors. Which is one way to read the intimation I had of a connectedness between clarity and destruc[7] On Certainty . obvious. old. of what has always been. So let me try again. will turn into other things. It's hard to keep them straight. and not dust the floor either. The plan this reading sets is clear enough (not again!). that our hunch has happened. really other. Who knows?—at the end of this road I might find that the Mafia is not so bad after all. dried up by the most timid sun. drown your own omens. and unkemptness. I guess what I'm saying is that there may be cases. many cases. in the swamp. we'll cultivate our hard-won distance. Or I might not. And. we'll cherish that. refuse to relate to all that is ancient and stupid. spend precious time spinning a few cobwebs of your own. To be creative. And maybe we'll get lucky. adjust to the few leftover photons. ― 125 ― tion—an intimation I decided to give a chance. crass remark. loud familiarity will kill them in the bud. Suppose you got used to your limited harem of photons. Obtrusive. worked at. sideways looks. and spiderwork? Have you not just gotten absolutely clear about what it takes to live and practice and be efficient in that peculiar (indeed. to sitting around unkempt wares. and wait. worn-out faces. to become. Though it goes against everything I ever believed in. without under-the-table arrangements.

luxuriant undergrowth. this is just as bewildering a gesture as in some other cases the shutting of the light could be. For consider: a roundabout. careful arguments—is very unfamiliar. and totally lost within the rarefied elegance of a mathematical proof. There's probably no amount of light you can't get used to. truth. Which creates various problems. When . And sure all this can be destructive. the shade down there is no longer making anybody uncomfortable. And there is clarity as a behavioral matter: how clear you are. unpreparedness. and hence if you throw it at people. "I don't have another get-up-and-go left in me. says to him. inanimate routine. and do the expected thing." So. It's time to do so. Or even for old ones. by trying to focus on it in spite of its blinding force. and vicious. it's all these straight lines and sharp angles and clear-cut figures unexpectedly thrown at them that give them trouble—and that's OK. and receive the expected response. but I don't think I sympathize with its victims too much—not at this stage. at least. or into that swampy. At some point this boy's mother. This Boy's Life . an "ambiguity"? ― 127 ― Or can I tell a story connecting the two meanings—one that makes it look sensible that they would belong to the same word? Maybe I can. More important. ambiguity. Just as there is an obscurity made of fuzziness. But now it seems that clarity is fragmenting again for me. that's the sort of trouble we need. again. It's from this daze that spring the ideals I worried about earlier: of justice. they tell me. Where the two (meaning both the two kinds of clarity and the two kinds of obscurity) are independent of one another: you can be totally slick at political nonsense. and move effectively. indeed by using ― 126 ― it to blind you. if we don't want to get stuck with the same luxuriant undergrowth forever. anyway. For one thing. Because you're blind to the present. it was called. so that. you can tell the future. why are these two different qualities given a single name? Is it just. and can be pursued by pursuing that light. when the time comes you don't have another get-up-and-go left in you. it's time to go back under the trees again. There is clarity as a matter of style: the sharp angles and explicit definitions and all that. Of clear rules for a fair game. . about how to read your surroundings. If anything. the future that suddenly looks possible to you. the possible future. When that happens. I'm gonna make this marriage work. ineptitude. I was watching this movie last night—a great one. deadly clear. unaware of the present. if you still have it in you. and arrogant. who's been skipping one town after another and now finds herself locked in a hellish marriage. . or at yourself. even the forest gets complacent. dusky room. explicit definitions and premises. I guess I'm saying that some hunches can come by being invaded by light. everything will forever be perfectly. Even the forest gets boring after a while. and one made of embarrassment. going two different ways. wandering movement is precisely what you are forced into when you don't quite know your way. as it turns out. automatically in them. The victims belong to a well-established. . and doublespeak.neat structures. or are not. a decent life. no lofty ideals that can't become insensitive. But you must be careful. looking for new ways of giving oneself trouble. as long as you've gotten rusty enough at them.

elusive jargon got the job done in no time at all! Each space has its own geodesics. inexorably bring about Orwellian or Huxleyan nightmares does nothing to infect the purity of its dream when it was first conceived. So this. or what. now. to travel some new paths with confidence. which is where the confusion starts. . effective ways. might be very obscure (and it's probably at its best when it is). borrowed pun hid his usual witty cleverness. that is. Clarity. or that it will work—when indeed nobody would even recognize its (not) having worked if it did(n't). Then there will also be a confrontation between an existing. say. where there is still plenty of time before the tragedy turns into a farce. our eschatology too self-assured. of course. could be part of what Kant meant—even the most important part: the stale. use the fewest words and moves. fully formulated. it leaves its purity intact when it is still first conceived. whereas the most convoluted. a plan to make us all obey rigorous. but also times when the confrontation is between reality and the idea of such a space. Shifting paradigms will also involve shifting senses of clarity. sharing a certain agenda. taking it for a ride into oblivion." or "logic. than to the idiotic implementation of a ― 128 ― well-entrenched form of life that has followed from it. with those ephemeral experiences that will go unnoticed—worse. Moreover. it sure is that way. Which brings me back to my concern with details. will get raped—when our vista becomes too powerful. Many a book would have been much clearer for some if it had not made such an effort to be clear for others. And I guess I've been on a specific side in this war. There will be times when two existing." or "art"?). And this confrontation will consist. intricate. to Frege's project of making everything absolutely clear. and Euclidean straight lines are not always the shortest distances. all his "the concept horse is not a concept" stuff. feeling the agenda more. with all its awkward complications and contradictions. before the Washingtons and the Jeffersons turn into the Bushes and the Clintons. More to his uncertain notion of clarity. with passing moments. pushing a certain way. which hid his usual startling revelations. on the other hand. than to its terrifyingly lucid fallout. of a war over who has the right to use the word "clear. How many times did I speak in what I thought was a straight manner. public laws might itself be formulated at a time when nobody really knows how it's supposed to work. Or the Russells and the Carnaps turn into those others whose names are best consigned to silence." or "scientific. its own sense of what it is to be clear.you do. its own familiar. but tries to sell itself as clear—or between two such hopeful prospects. will have the status of a program—with Kant. painstakingly acquiring the ability to make some new moves without pain. has the right to be called "human. the right words and moves. at least. you take the shortest route. feeling closer to it. when it was still only an agenda. In other words. Being more sympathetic. maybe. but ended up stalling the process. realized clarity and something that is not at all clear yet. fully realized "spaces" confront each other." as is always the case with momentous words like that (who. Though. inevitably. in fact probably will. then. A lot of what's involved here. That the rationality of the Enlightenment might. and in some sense it was. Except that right angles are not always the right ones. its own notion of straightness. to a large extent. all his fuzziness about being saturated or grasping thoughts or what in the world identity relates. or even between two such ideas. however oblique the paths might look from the old point of view. for there are many places where we still need it to do its work.

of course. The sin of being the one who does the playing—whatever the game might be. giving way." He will never reveal his secret. or care. another lair." Enlightenment structures. all his resources to make him into an interlocutor. I thought. Diagramming and defining and schernatizing may well scare shy jewels away. But now it looks like even that is too sanctimonious. logic or non― 129 ― sense. Those mediocre people I now realize I shouldn't be so fussy about. expert moves? Is it mathematical rigor or professional deftness that they are afraid of? The species or the genus? Better. So. making himself into nothing. But sometimes I feel. as a species of it? Earlier I was afraid it would be the (alleged) species. There are. and think of all the reasonable things a reasonable man like him is supposed to do and. the fullness that formerly invaded it and had now painfully retreated. do nothing of the sort. than accept the compromising gesture of establishing contact. cogency to silliness. Which makes you want to leave and find another place altogether. and flabbergasted repeatedly. that this is indeed the formula of creation: you create by making room. far from here. By your absence. If. will not cooperate. He will use all his wits to fill the emptiness at the core of the scrivener's being. He will be bewildered. burst the bubble. Rather go out as a heap. will not comply. Or concern. with uncharacteristic generosity. Bartleby the scrivener will not speak. now. maddening formula. what one would like to present. or the one of comfortable. I should not rush giving a limpid picture of the situation. A place where you can practice what moves are still left. For. But there will be plenty the good-natured Master in Chancery will do as a result—against his own intentions. or you can come up with. a collaborator.[8] To every such request. a bundle of dirty clothes thrown on the stones of a prison yard. reveal it to be nothing but gas. makes them want to leave? The clarity of "rational. history or theory. well-kept highways. and displaying its nonsensical character prematurely will deny it that option. Making nothing's desire work something out. analytic or continental. I fear .And it also brings me back to guilt. "I would prefer not to. you're the sort of person who misses having moves of his own to make. I thought. which clarity gives them more trouble. having nothing desire fullness. that is. and incensed. without worrying constantly about preemptive strikes. stunts them. Of being the one who has the slick moves whether the subject is hard or soft. he will find himself behaving uncharacteristically. he will rather have death in prison than any of that. turn nothing into something. most often. he will respond with his opaque. You want to have leisure to work out your nonsense. his own better judgment. until perhaps it reduces limpidity to nonsense. letting be. and more honestly: the genus or what would like to present itself. too respectable: it looks like what's involved here may be an even more lurid sin. and students. Whether he did it by receding. to give it an opportunity to develop into something better than nonsense. . I should let the nonsense play itself out a bit longer. I don't know that this is how God created the world from nothing. all those other people who are happy to follow the leader along wide. maybe even a friend—because the kinds of things the Master will do for Bartleby only a friend does. never come out in the open.

Translated by E. Jephcott. An environment where fast. or someone else's effort. ———. practiced articulation takes time and effort: if you spend your time watching someone else's display. Bencivenga. 1987. Don't we learn a foreign language more effectively by imitating a stereotype native speaker? A stereotype German officer. and silence. that is what I'm saying. no time is left for your own. Logic and Other Nonsense: The Case of Anselm and His God . ———. Aquila. Say [8] Melville. A thing is supposed to be determined once and for all: definite. before it gets too damn clear." ― 130 ― your thing quietly. 1978. except perhaps how to be a spectator. and enthusiastic? Sacrifices his subjectivity? Yes. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Nothing is learned by watching spectator sports. settled. refuses being provocative. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Dreaming. and can do the most damage.The genus clarity is skilled articulation. A subject. put it down in a corner. New York: Oxford University Press. say? A thing is a stereotype—or. "Bartleby. of entertainment around the clock. And I think it must be said now. Even stereotyped behavior wouldn't be such a bad idea. So am I saying that a truly inspirational teacher is one who accepts total relfication. and let others decide what to do with it. "Intentional Objects and Kantian Appearances. and Professor Wilson. and exciting. "Descartes. in this environment of sensorial overstimulation. Skilled. Kant's Copernican Revolution . 1990. London: Verso. it's rather reserve. ———. or even whether to do anything with it at all." Canadian Journal of Philosophy 15 (1985): 593–615. Theodor. I must sing the praise of awkwardness. Richard. ― 131 ― Bibliography Adorno." Journal of the History of Philosophy 21 (1983): 75–85. of tentative. articulate speakers like myself adapt easily. And then I must stop. So it's not so much darkness and mustiness that I should teach myself. Minima Moralia: Reflections from Damaged Life . shameful moves. is supposed to be open and surprising and challenging. ———. of colorful display. maybe. . that's the stereotype of a thing. The Discipline of Subjectivity: An Essay on Montaigne . "Knowledge as a Relation and Knowledge as an Experience in the Critique of Pure Reason. if I want to be able to teach. on the other hand." Philosophical Topics 12 (1981): 9–37. Ermanno. 1993.

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34 -37. 96 . R. 20 n Black. J.. 11 -32 conceptual independence.. M.. 94 .appearances. 56 . 102 Bishop. 31 courage. 89 -99 Aquila.. 62 causality.. 63 cruelty. 11 -32 Butler. M. 56 -57 B Béjart. 60 . 89 -99 consciousness. 86 n Catullus. 62 -66 . 33 -46 Chomsky. 121 -130 computer networks. 92 . 122 Brittan. 105 Caton.. 89 n Aristotle. M. 95 ascetic priest... G. 97 .. 90 .. 114 n Bohr. H. 104 Cervantes. 124 C Carnap. 99 bulletin boards. N.. 96 . M. N. 20 . 1 choice. 93 . 94 . R. 115 n clarity. 57 .

.. 9 n E electronic mail. 75 . 127 Freud. G. 124 de Man. 58 ..D Davidson. 103 -108 F familiarity... J. G. M. 114 n.. S. 9 . 128 ethnocentrism. 80 n Groening. 48 . 91 -93. 67 -71 Dummett. 123 . P. 6 . 67 -70 dreams.. K... 102 -103. 71 -74 freedom. M. M.. 124 -130 Fichte. 73 n. R. 11 -32 Empedocles.. 116 . 82 n Deleuze. 107 Enlightenment. 55 Derrida. 87 Descartes. 74 -76 existence. D. 117 G Gdaniec. 125 .. 53 fragmentation. 33 -46 Frege. J. 107 Glouberman.

T. 94 -95. 127 Kemp Smith. G. 1 . N. 113 n. 82 -83 intention. 86 n H Habermas. ix . 89 -99. 125 . 117 Horkheimer. M. 93 incommensurability. 57 Hegel. 48 Huxley. 84 n.. ix . S.. 117 Husserl. 12 n. A. 123 . 60 . 56 . E. 62 . 78 -88. 39 -40. 99 . 92 -93 Kuhn.Guyer. S.. 98 . 84 -85 intentional objects. 117 . J.. 25 . 48 . 79 -80. 104 -106. 104 irony. 84 n Kierkegaard. 128 I idealism. 79 -82 L . 110 -120 identity. 123 n ― 136 ― Hume. 62 . 48 . D. 30 . 27 . 98 .. 64 -65. P. M. 60 Kiesler. ix . 88 . 61 . 125 Heidegger.. 76 .. 68 -71.. 33 -53... 71 -74 K Kant.. 119 .. ix . 90 n. 3 . 86 . I. 78 -99. 99 . 72 . 122 .. 11 n. 13 n knowledge. 57 .

M. 2 Lewis. S. 106 liberals.. 129 n mental.. 94 -95 Lyotard. 24 -25. 72 -77 Molière... 103 O Orwell. 12 morality. 1 Montaigne. 58 modernism.. 61 .. 35 . A. 110 -113 nature. 54 . 54 McGuire. 80 -81 Nietzsche. 66 names. R.. 62 -65 Locke. 128 overdetermination.. 12 -13 Mill. 57 . 98 logic.. 63 . H. 62 . 11 n Melville.. 12 n... T. D. J. 48 . ix ..language. 21 n Leone. 5 n. J. F. 102 -104 LaValley. 33 -46 N Nabokov. J. V. 76 M Marasco. G.

4 . L... 98 n Plato. 71 -77 privacy. 78 -88. 15 . 112 n peekaboo. 19 n. 3 . 74 ... 104 -109 Rorty. 96 -97. 58 rationality. F. 80 . A. 75 S Sartre. 15n.. 71 . 34 -35. 122 n Paracelsus. 92 . 29 -30 Pyrrho.. 36 -46 realism. 48 Parsons. 84 play..P Pals. 102 -103 . 107 possibility. 110 -120 rewriting. 17 . 6 -7 politics. 55 Savignano. 4 -6. 27 pleasure. R. 40 -46 postmodernism. 25 . 3 . 75 Q Quine. W. 13 . 93 -94. T. 113 n R Rabelais. 6 -9 Pippin. 62 . J. 16 . 54 -66. 14 . 112 n. R..

2 -4 Shakespeare. W. 87 Sorel. J. 11 n... 47 -53 . 62 Sherman. 12 -13 surprise examination paradox. 13 n statements. 108 . F.Scarry. 11 n Skyrms. 64 Schelling. 48 Siegel. R. 129 -130 transcendental arguments. 61 Spinoza. L.. J. B.. 115 n Socrates. 59 -60 utopia. 114 -115 subjectivity.. 3 Sproull. 12 n.. 124 self-indulgence. 110 -120 typos. 48 Searle. 78 -88 trying. 100 -102. J. R.. E. 57 -58 W Walker. B.. 69 .. 116 -118 U Unger. 109 .. W. 71 T teaching. 104 .. 52 .. 53 transcendental philosophy.

48 . L. 98 n ― 138 ― Designer: U.whim. Inc. A.org/ark:/13030/ft9j49p35z/ . Preferred Citation: Bencivenga. Inc..cdlib. 2 Wittgenstein. Binder: Thomson-Shore.C. Berkeley: University of California Press. Press Staff Compositor: Wilsted & Taylor Text: 10/13 Sabon Display: Sabon Printer: Thomson-Shore.. 119 . c1995 1995. 124 Wood. http://ark. My Kantian Ways. Ermanno. 110 .