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Showing posts from November, 2012

Badiou Explained in 1000 words

Badiou’s philosophy rescues ontology form being either a pseudo-problem (Wittgenstein) or a tragic story of finality and withdrawal (Heidegger).   To do this Badiou solves the basic problem of the question what makes a thing the thing it is, which has been handed down to us from the Greeks.   The totality of ontology is basically contained in Aristotle’s consideration of categories through the idea of divisibility and commonality or species and genus.   To work out what a thing is you need to name its ontological specificity, this is a closed off thing, and its ontological generality, this is a single example of all such things.   Thus the specificity of a thing is its species, and its generality is the genus.   This should allow us to differentiate one thing from another in terms of what is unique to the thing (species) and what it shares in common with others (genus).   Problems always arise at the upper and lower limits of course.   What, Aristotle asks, is the genus of the g

Agamben's Potentiality Explained

Potentiality Contrary to the assertions of many, Agamben's is not a philosophy of potential or impotential but a critique of the Aristotelian category of potential when applied to the signatures of thought and actions. Summary of Aristotelian Potentiality in The Metaphysics: Potential is the capacity to do something as the basis for the principle of change of state. If A changes to B how can we be sure that B was once A, how can we trace causality? Not just the capacity for child say to grow and learn to speak. You must have acquired a potential through skill. To prove you have this potential you must first actualise it. Megarans argued you can only prove a potential when it is in operation. Thus all potentiality is actuality. Aristotle argues against this sophistry. He accepts that actuality precedes potentiality. One cannot think potentiality without actuality but you can think actuality without potentiality. But if potential only existed when actualised,