Invisible University


Karen Barad, Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning (Duke University Press Books, 2007), p. 141
 . . . the primary ontological units are not 'things' but phenomena--dynamic topological reconfigurations/entanglements/relationalities/(re)articulations of the world.  And the primary semantic units are not 'words' but material-discursive practices through which (otic and semantic) boundaries are constitutted.  This dynamic is agency.

Miguel de Beistegui, Truth and Genesis : Philosophy as Differential Ontology (Indiana University Press, 2004), p. 244
Deleuze replaces the classical problematic of the transcendental as involving transcendance and possibility with that of immanence and genesis.  Transcendental empiricism is concerned with isolating the genetic and immanent conditions of existence of the real.

Muriel Combes, Gilbert Simondon and the Philosophy of the Transindividual (MIT Press, 2013), pp. 2-3
Simondon's approach entails a substitution of ontogenesis for traditional ontology, grasping the genesis of individuals within the operation of individuation as it is unfolding.

Joseph Margolis, The Unravelling of Scientism: American Philosophy at the End of the Twentieth Century (Cornell University Press, 2003), p. 15
 . . . the great question of history's constitutive role in the formation and transformation of our cognizing powers is now largely ignored . . . 
Two events, the election of Donald Trump  on November 8, 2016, and the release of the PISA tetst scores, released on December 6, 2016

Figure 1 is an artifact of the post-paleolithic development of the primate homo sapiens--of culturally, historically, and politically-based developmental differentiation and divergence that is regressive as well as progressive, pathological as well as creative, and which, as Mary Midgley (The Solitary Self: Darwin and the Selfish Gene, p. 52) has noted, can be called "pseudo-speciation."  Figure 1 should be situated in the context of the sapient paradox.

Figure 1 is an effect of cultural-historical developmental processes, of which schooling itself is only one of several key inputs affecting the cognitive and cultural development of situated organisms (not Cartesian selves).  Figure 1 is about the history and fate of the Enlightenment.  It is also about processes of production, not only of goods and services, but of human beings themselves.

The emergence of the intellectual cadre essential to our present civilization is neither normative nor inevitable.  Logical-scientific thinking (formal operational competence) on a mass scale is very recent (Flynn) and unevenly distributed (Engeström). 

This site take two approaches to Figure1.  The first is associated with and is an expression of the Progressivism of John Dewey and Lev Vygotsky.  Excerpts and comments in this vein will be found in the PISA Results: Evolutionary, Historical, Developmental, and Psychological Perspectives.  The second is associated with and is a critique of neo-liberalism.  That critique begins here.  This critique of neo-liberalism is also a critique of Progressivism.

In the progressive view, it is assumed that cognitive development is linear, ultimately realizing the goal is the Enlightenment trope of the rational individual in a market economy.  This is wrong on two points.  It fails to account for the persitence and renewed strength of ressentiment (racism and all its cognates; the election of Donald Trump); and it fails to account for the triumph of regressive narcissism--the nihilism of which Nietzsche spoke--the psychological side of mass consumption in the post-modern era.

The sharp decline in the scores of Korea, Finland, Netherlands, Belgium, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States suggests that the late twentieth and early twenty first centuries are where two lines of development--sociotechnical advance and cognitive regression--clash.  Capitalism--at least advanced capitalism--requires advanced minds. Narcissistic regression--the culture of consumption (see Hall et. al., Criminal Identities and Consumer Culture)--undermines the very possibility of advanced cognitive development.  (Jobs article)

Capitalism builds on two fundamentally opposed human processes: the discipline, deferred gratification, and sublimation that is the sine qua non of cognitive development, and an entropic drive emergent out of the proliferating appetites and desires of a population driven by increasingly complex psychological needs, stimulated and expressed in the marketplace.  These appetites and desires of postmodern capitalism gnaw away at the potential for self-discipline that is central to cognitive development.

The media penetration of the nooks and crannies of everyday life, its orchestration of desire, its deployment of demons and heroes, its influence on reconfiguring the reference points for self-discipline, has yet to be appreciated, for it is not only as a theater of desire that the media functions.  The media also provides powerfully influential models of language use and cognitive processing for a large subset of the population.  (See Bronfenbrenner's bioecological model here.)
 Figure 1a.  PISA Math Scores, 2003 to 2015: 20 Developed Nations
Figure 1 is also about politics (Donald Trump Talks Like a Third-Grader, Politico).

Politics is theater, the kind of theater that could put Freud the semiotician out of business.  According the psychoanalytic view, the things of everyday life are not what they seem, mere surface phenomena needing interpretation.  But the GOP semiotic field reeks of sex and violence (see the GOP as the Stupid Party: an inadequate conceptualization //defense mechanisms and anchored by the semiosphere).  (see "family values" as an "identity" forged through ("reconfiguring the reference points . . . ")

In Nietzsche two formulations of "nihilism": a literary-cultural formulation of despair at the loss of values; and a clinical formulation that might be called reverse bildung: the unwinding of higher-level organizational structures and practices linked to cognitive development, self-discipline, and capacity for strategic planning/praxis: entropy.  See Dupre for a concise expression of this.  Mass consumption, regressive narcissism (Hall) the highest stage of nihilism conceived of clinically.  This is the triumph of capitalism.  Organization at the level of capital; but entropy at the level of culture. 

Figure 1b.  A Closer Look
Asia: Nations and City-States enables us to clarify certain issues regarding test score comparability.  Singapore, Hong Kong, Macao China, and Chinese Taipei ought to be thought of as city-states.  Their population densities of around 5,000 persons per square kilometer, compared with European population densities of two to three hundred per square km, makes this clear.  "China" was previously only Shanghai; now what is listed in the PISA report under "China" is Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu, and Guangdong (B-S-J-G).  The precipitous decline of more than 80 points is no doubt primarily a result of the addition of the industrial areas of Jiangsu and Guangdong.  The decline of Vietnam's score is likely due to the expanded geographical scope of the administration of the test.

Losers lets us see more clearly what's what among geographically stable test areas.
Figure 3 is an attempt at one kind of ontology: an ontology of the subject.  But this subject is not the "individual."  The latter is an ideological fiction (Cartesian self; C.B. Macpherson, The Political Theory of Possessive Individualism: Hobbes to Locke, Philip Roth, The Counterlife, pp.  ).  The subject is an effect of a multiplicity of forces converging on an organism; an effect of history, culture, and language.  (see Foucault/Trombadori; Roth)

The genetic ontology that is the core of the "Trump" phenomenon is
ressentiment and the mechanisms of defense.

biographical accounts of bildung: Davis, Kennan, Hillman (social process, agency, subjectivity)

UAW "factionalism"

Five Genetic Ontologies of the Subject
Genetic Ontology
(Full page here)
   Dominance and Deference
Mazur, deWaal, Wrangham . . .
   Dynamic Egalitarianism
Whiten, Descola, Chase, Price . . .
Ressentiment & the Mechanisms of Defense (short-circuits)
   Lacan-Atwater Signifying Chain;
   Patrimonialism; Despotic regime;
   Racism; Nationalism; Fascism
Nietzsche, Freud, Klein, Deleuze & Guattari, Clarke, Paxton, Smith, Knox . .
Bildung & the Will to Power (long-circuits, das übermensch; Jouissance)
   Progressive Narcisism; Individuation;
   Progressivism, Socialism, Communism
   the UAW and the Keynesian Elite
Hegel, Nietzsche, Vygotsky, Piaget, Kohut, Alcorn . . . Lacan
Nihilism & the Last Man
   Regressive Narcissism and the   
   Culture of Consumption; Repressive
   Desublimation; Disindividuation;  
Nietzsche, Hall, Lacan, Ehrenberg, Stiegler, Illouz, Marcuse . . .

Progressivism, the New Deal and its results, and the barely recognizable, feeble remnant of the latter, the Democratic Party of 2016--reached its apogee in the second New Deal, circa 1935-1938, had its origins in late nineteenth century urban Progressivism, and was dealt a death blow in the 2016 election.  At its apogee it looked like figure 2 (right), The Keynesian Elite in the New Deal State, 1910 to 1936.

The Keynesian Elite was emergent out of the input-output matrix of the mass consumption sector.  Its primary enemy was the GOP establishment rooted in the securities bloc.  Its ally of necessity was CIT.

Ontologies of Power

In this paper I apply network theory* to the analysis of the genesis and structure of the Second New Deal state apparatus in the following ways.  First, I look at the input-output matrices of different sectors of accumulation, and show that the chief executive officers of leading corportions intersected with the polity in such a way that the "state" under FDR could be better characterized as a segmented state within which the Keynesian elite (rooted in mass consumption) finally achieved parity with the two older elite formations--commodities in international trade (cotton, tobacco, wheat, copper together with their financial, legal, and commercial service providers), and the securities bloc (rooted in infrastructure capital (iron, coal, railroads, telephones and the financial institutions connected with marketing and trading their securities, and the legal firms that serviced them).  Second, I examine the state apparatus itself and find that the administrative core of the Secnd New Deal was a well-defined personnel matrix comprised of a cadre of lawyers linked to Felix Franfurter (FF) and Louis D. Brandeis (LDB), and network of technocrats drawn from or closely associated with the Taylor Society (TS).  Within this analytical context I reconstruct the history of  LDB-FF x TS.  And third, by applying network theory to the Taylor Socety as inter-organizational matrix, I find that the strategic discourse as well as the internal structure and compostion of the Keynesian elite in the Second New Deal was determined by the circuit of realization of mass capitalism.

Figure 2. The Keynesian Elite in the New Deal State, 1910-1936
Source: "Membership List, May 1927," in the Morris L. Cooke Papers, box 66, FDR Library,  and
United States Government Manual, 1937 
TS=Taylor Society business milieu; FF=Brandeis-Frankfurter legal milieu
LINK: The Keynesian Elite: Career Matrix
LINK: The Keynesian Elite in the New Deal State, 1910-1939

the bildung-proletarians around whom formed the action networks of plebeian upstarts who created the UAW.

Immanence is the methodological principle of this site.  As a first approximation, immanence means working outward from within a specific kind of empirical field.  In this case, the empirical field is the five sets of interviews:

A.  PF interviews (circa 1974 to 1977)

1.  Leonard Klue, Michigan Steel Tube

2.  Midland Steel N=35

3.  Bildungs-proletarians

B.  Jack Steels/Reuther Library interviews (circa 1960)

C.  Neil Leighton interviews of Flint UAW members
Figure 4. Detroit's near East Side
Leon Pody*
Briggs, Murray Body
UAW Local 212, 2
Frank Fagan
Murray Body UAW Local 2
Frank Fagan*
Murray BodyUAW Local 2
Lloyd Jones*
Murray Body UAW Local 2
Dick Frankensteen Dodge Main
UAW Local 3
Dick Frankensteen*Dodge Main
UAW Local 3
Charles Watson Dodge Main UAW Local 3
Harry Ross*
Dodge MainUAW Local 3
Richard Harris*
Dodge Main UAW Local 3
Joe Adams Dodge Main UAW Local 3
Joe Ptazynski
Dodge Main UAW Local 3
Earl Reynolds Dodge Main UAW Local 3
John Zaremba*
Dodge Main UAW Local 3

John McDaniel Packard
UAW Local 190
John McDaniel*Packard
UAW Local 190
Harry Kujawski Packard UAW Local 190
Eddie Dvornik Packard UAW Local 190
Adam Poplewski*
Packard UAW Local 190
James Lindahl**
UAW Local 190
Leonard Klue MICHIGAN STEEL TUBEa UAW Local 238
Paul Silver
Detroit Steel Products
UAW Local 351
N = 35 interviewees
UAW Local 410
John Anderson
CP, Midland Steel
Bill Jenkins Chrysler Highland Park
UAW Local 490
Tony Podorsek
body-in-white supervisor Dodge, Cadillac

*   interviews conducted by Jack Skeels
** Lindahl collection at the Reuther Archives includes "Some Institutional Factors in Union 
    Decision Making." 

a  Emergence of a UAW Local (U. of Pittsburgh Press, 1975)

Detroit's far East Side: Conner Avenue
Leon Pody*
Briggs, Murray Body
UAW Local 212, 2
Jack Zeller
Chrysler Jefferson Ave
UAW Local 7
Ed Carey*
Chrysler Jefferson Ave UAW Local 7
Francis Moore Hudson
UAW Local 154
Ken Morris*
UAW Local 212
Art Vega*
UAW Local 212
Irwin Bauer
Budd Wheel
UAW Local 306

Michel Foucault, Remarks on Marx : conversations with Duccio Trombadori, translated by R. James Goldstein and James Cascaito (Semiotext(e), 1991)

It was a matter of calling the theme of the subject into question once again, that great, fundamental postulate which French philosophy,  from Descartes until our own time, had never abandoned.  Setting out with psychoanalysis, Lacan discovered, or brought out into the open, the fact that the theory of the unconscious is incompatible with a theory of the subject (in the Cartesian sense of the term as well as the phenomenological one). . .  Indeed, Lacan concluded that is was precisely the philosophy of the subject which had to be abandoned on account of this incompatibiity, and that the point of departure should be an analysis of the mechanisms of the unconscious." p. 56-7

Barad, Meeting the Universe Halfway

Discourse is not a synonym for language.  Discourse does not refer to lingusitic or signifying systems, grammars, speech acts, or conversations.  To think of discourse as mere spoken or written words forming descriptive statements is to enact the mistake of representationalist thinking.  Discourse is not what is said;  it is that which constrains and enables that which can be said.  Discursive practices define what counts as meaningful statements.  Statements are not the mere utterances of the originating consciousness of a unified subject; rather, statements and subjects emerge from a field of possibilities.  This field of possibilities is not static or singular but rather is a dynamic and contingent multiplicity.  146-7
Flint and Pontiac
Norman Bully
Buick (Flint) UAW Local 599
Arthur Case*
Buick (Flint) UAW Local 599
Larry Jones
Chevrolet (Flint) UAW Local 659
Bill Genski
Fisher Body #1 (Flint)
UAW Local 581
Bill Genski*
Fisher Body #1 (Flint)
UAW Local 581
Bud Simons*
Fisher Body #1 (Flint)
UAW Local 581
Cliff Williams
Yellow Cab (Pontiac)
UAW Local 594
Bob Travis**

Henry Kraus**

ohio and wisc

George Addes*
Willys Overland (Toledo)

Joseph Ditzel*
Chevrolet (Toledo)

James Roland*
Chevrolet (Toledo)
Roy H. Speth*
Seaman Body (Milwaukee)

Ed Carey*