Notes on Transcendental Empiricism

Transcendental Empiricism as Activity

The process of production of this site is called Transcendental Empiricism.  As such--as a process of production--it cannot be discussed; it must be demonstrated.  For example, the two-panel set of texts, The New York Times on Nihilism, assembles "theoretical" and "empirical" texts, these two words in quotes indicating that
"texts" and "data" coexist in a plane of immanence governed by consilience, attunement, and affinity.  The Brandom-Sellars observation applies.

  . . . according to Sellars's view, the difference between theoretical objects and observable objects is methodologcal rather than ontological.  That is, theoretical and observable objects are not different kinds of things.  They differ only in how we come to know about them."

The site as a whole recognizes that the Internet is the techno-cognitive axis of a praxiological revolution in thought, where the extended mind is fused with philosophy  as the critical accompaniment to empirical practice.  It is now possible to do something that a book, by virtual of its technical limitations, could never do. The expanded semiotic capacity of the internet enables a wallowing in the existential muck of political and cultural life.  This wallowing, however, can be done while keeping in mind an ever-expanding array of academic and literary texts.  This keeping in mind is something only a living human, embedded in history and culture, can do.

The point is not to select a particular theoretical perspective as true (e.g., Nietzsche, Freud, Klein, Winnicott, Piaget, Vygotsky, etc.), but rather to deploy it as a productive way of encountering (Deleuze), in this case, the rhetorical performances within the theater of ressentiment of the far right. 

This site is a rhizome. 

Peach flower, fruit, seed and leaves as illustrated by Otto Wilhelm Thomé (1885)

The Absolute



The Cassirer inclusion rule, which itself is a further and more concrete development of the path opened up by Hegel's oft misunderstood concept of the Absolute:

from Ernst Cassirer, The Philosophy of  the Enlightenment

The problem of intellectual “progress” throughout the eighteenth century appears in this light.  Perhaps no other century is so permeated with the idea of intellectual progress as that of the Enlightenment.  But we mistake the essense of this conception, if we understand it merely in a quantitative sense as an extension of knowledge indefinitely.  A qualitative determination always accompanies quantitative expansion; and an increasingly pronounced return to the characteristic center of knowledge corresponds to the extension of inquiry beyond the periphery of knowledge.  One seeks multiplicity in order to be sure of unity; one acepts the breadth of knowledge in the sure anticipation that this breadth does not impede the intellect, but that, on the contrary, it leads the intellect back to, and concetrates it in, itself.  For we see again and again that the divergence of the paths followed by the intellect in its attempt to encompass all of reality is merely apparent.  If these paths viewed objectively seem to diverge, their divergence is, nevertheless, no mere dispersion.  All the various energies of the mind are, rather, held together in a common center of force.  Variety and diversity of shapes are simply the full unfolding of an essentially homogeneous formative power.  When the eighteenth century wants to characterize this power in a single word, it calls it “reason.”

The Cassirer rule is that there is a set of authoritative texts--authoritative in the sense of being highly respected state of the art works, not in the sense of being canonical (i.e., the misuse of the writings of Marx and Lenin)--and that these texts must be taken into account, or good reason given for not doing so. 

An application of the Cassierer Rule: The Quantum Heterogeneity of Dasein: Five Genetic Ontologies (QHD5) is an assemblage of the current status of the disciplines insofar as they bear upon the problem of Dasein. 

In QHD5 I make no assertions as to the validity of the research therein assembled because that is not the point. These texts represent state of the art as of the early 21st century.  Read the Margolies and the Brandom-Sellars excerpts below to see how this "idealist" methodology is actually superior to the stance of "positivism".  The operative concept here is Deleuze's plane of immanence (a further development of Hegel's concrete universal).  Levi R. Bryant (above link) provides a very useful account of Deleuze's thought.  Plane of immanence as an organizing principle is evident in The GOP as the Stupid Party and Ressentiment and the Mechanisms of Defense.

An exception to the Cassirer rule is provided by the Margolies exclusion:


 . . .  Simondon’s perspective entails the full acceptance of the achievements of the empirical sciences and the integration of evolutionism in the philosophical worldview.  This means not only the acceptance, of course, that homo sapiens are an animal species, but also the clarification that political problems do not strictly pertain to a species, because societies are complex systems made of so many differently evolving processes taking place at so many different levels, that they cannot be reduced to any ultimate ‘model’.  Finally, such processes can only very approximately be qualified as ‘human progress’.  And, more importantly from a philosophical point of view, this allows for a rereading of all that has been traditionally referred to as ‘human nature’ in terms of a complex intertwining of processes, that it makes no sense anymore to reduce it to any supposed stable identity, whether individual [Roth] or collective. p. 230

The Limits of Philosophy

  . . .  can be demonstrated by taking Levi's comment on Simondon's an singularity, metastability, and becoming.

Joe Adams, Ch. Steward, Trim Dept., Dodge Main (UAW Local 3):

plane of immanence

Individuation/Associated Milieu
Lacan and Trump
Inter-subjectivity and shared intentionality: the Interviews (associated milieu and individuation-Schiller

TE and Literary Texts

Claire Colbrook, Gilles Deleuze (Routledge, 2002) WSU ELECTRON

Flatiron Building, circa 1903

Lacan and Trump

Why facts don’t matter to Trump’s supporters    this article is innocent of any conceptualizing of psychological depth and contradiction.  Its sensibility is similar to that of Jamieson on Limbaugh, who is at a loss when faced with the what is the essence of the appeal of the ultra-right--sado-sexual; theater of revenge; prmitive identification with/proto-Dorian; cognitive performativity--individuation and associated milieu

Jamieson on Limbaugh

Here is another example of the active, anti-exegetical use of a set of texts/concepts/formulations.

Another example of TE as process of production: The GOP as the Stupid Party?  An Inadequate Conceptualization.  This is a toccata on the Atwater-Lacan Signifying Chain

Exposition: Bernard Stieger/Vygotsky/Alcorn /Bronfenbrenner


process of transindividuation; circuits of transindividuation; otium, studious leisure; long circuits of transindividuation; a process of dissociation leading to demotivation (61); the bourgeoisie is swept away by themafia (62)

Memoir/Biography: Opopenheimer/Sacks/Kalanithi

Novel: Lahiri/Roth, American Pastoral

Interview: UAW Interviews


Another example of TE as process of production: The GOP as the Stupid Party?  An Inadequate Conceptualization.  This is a toccata on the Atwater-Lacan Signifying Chain