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Tag Archives: Sloterdijk

Levi Uses Greek Fonts Nicely, but…

Chasing Down the Same

In his recent post in support of the difference that makes no difference Levi does a nice job of bringing Greek words into play, gaming with “to be” and “to become” but he runs upon the reef of the Same, something he attempts bridge with the notion of internal consistency…

“In order for an object to be an object, it is clear that it must attain a degree of closure or endo-consistency. It must maintain some sort of identity through time [....] Now, it is clear that “closure” cannot signify sameness.”

So the objecthood of a thing is an “internal consistency” (translating Levi out from his penchant for making up jargon) that persists over time, but yet this is also not “sameness” or something that is the same. One cannot help but feel that we have fallen down the Idealist well here, all the while scraping at the slimy sides of the Same, staring up at the white circle of clarity above. What is an “internal consistency” “identity” over time if not something remaining “the same”? And why in the world would this “sameness” (which cannot be called “sameness” but only “internal consistency over time”) not make a difference to other things? Is it not the case, as Sloterdijk analogizes, that insides determine outsides, and outsides insides just as when soap bubbles adhere in balanced tension?

The interesting thing is that something of these problems also plague Spinoza, or would plague him, if he found “objecthood” (that particular ghost of what he calls “thinking in pictures”) to be one of the primary aims of philosophical understanding. Because one is not looking for a difference that makes NO difference, and is not playing games with the for-itself and the for-others (another anthropocentric projection), this difficulty is parsed out in the idea of a ratio of motion and rest that persists over time. The answer being melodic, rather than ghosting (no lines are drawn through objects). The question of inside and outside is ultimately a question of how things organize, not whether they are or not.

Levi is responding to the provoking thoughts of Immanence

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