Active Accretions

100 years before the Kant accretion (that is, the tentacle concepts of Kant – albeit fictional or non-fictional) there came the Shakespeare accretion and in many ways it was a dark precursor to the Kant accretion and the Enlightenment assimilation (assimilation = the conceptual machinery they openly engaged within and co-created) . Why? Shakespeare gives us a clue in one of his famous quotes – “there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so” (Hamlet). If we take this passage seriously it really is a precursor to Idealism in general; “there is nothing but what thinking makes as such”. Shakespeare may have realised not only that conceptual signifiers and signifieds determine how we view the naive ‘innate’ properties of the natural world but also that it is such a technology of conceptuality that causes us to think such. Now Shakespeare seems more like the precursor to a deterministic, animistic, vitalistic theory of concepts (the philosophy of neurosis espoused by myself and affiliated with Graham Freestones notion of the relative autonomy of accretions). If we exchange the term ‘thinking’ in Shakespeare’s quote we get the history of philosophy (a history Heidegger would have said was a history of ‘being’). For example; “there is nothing but what God makes it so” characterises the various strands of Christian-Platonic thinking. “There is nothing but what Johnson makes it so” (Johnson being simply a me, an ‘I’ or a human being/civilization). This characterises the subjective and social ontologies which have scraps of Descartes and Nietzsche. If Johnson makes it so then there is a relatively simple causal hypothesis that Johnson causes thoughts. If we substitute Johnson for a verb (like running) we still have a causal hypothesis which now involves engaging in an event in order to produce results ( i.e if we start to run we will start to think). It becomes a bit more tricky if we replaced Johnson and running for the original term thinking (or for a bit of fun let us use the word emergence). For example; “there is nothing but what emerges”. A somewhat tautological or circular statement – “emergence emerges” and that is its own condition of possibility.  If this were even slightly true then the emergence of an idea does not simply designate a ‘thing’ or ‘function’ in the world but actually makes itself ‘real’ at the time of its generation in a ‘human being’, and if reality (‘reality’ even in the soft sense of a ‘reality-for-us’) is the engagement in concepts, then reality is literally changing with every tectonic movement of concepts. Philosophy has to acknowledge this and begin to start engaging actively with the reality of concepts as reality (oh, was that a bit tautological …?).


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