Very Quick Response to Harman
I just woke up, and I don’t want to get into the more theoretical details right now, but I think I should clarify as quick as possible a number of problems or misunderstandings that arose from my post about Dundee. Graham in his response writes:
Third, I think Fabio is setting a higher bar for me than for the others. It could just as well be asked: what’s next for Badiouians? What’s next for Laruellians? etc.
No. Sorry if it looked that way, but this kind of question can indeed be asked about any philosophical position. Simply, Harman was at the conference and the others were not, and moreover, OOP is –i think it is fair to claim– less obviously politicizable than, say, Badiou’s philosophy.
These sound like words that would be ascribed to me by the screenwriter of some future Speculative Realist film if they decided to spin me as an interesting but doomed kook with “man of destiny” delusions. And that just isn’t necessary, Fabio. It doesn’t help the discussion to quote party chat in public, especially when out of context and with inexact wording enclosed in quotation marks.
if you hadn’t been there and were simply reading Fabio’s remarks, you’d get the sense that I rolled into town with a shallow but flashy piece of rhetoric, then stewed on the sidelines afterwards while lamenting my minority status.
Here, I honestly laughed out loud picturing the scene. No, I can assure you that it was most certainly not my intention to give the readers these kind of impressions. As for the quoting, yes, perhaps my memory is not good enough to justify quotation marks, but if I quoted it and added two possible interpretations was because in itself is a quite neutral remark. Just as the Johnston one that I quote afterwards:.
Why make it sound like I singled out Johnston (whose presence in Dundee I treasured) for a catty remark?
Not at all. My point was precisely ‘nothing surprising here’, something that I included precisely in order to show the expected ‘showdown’ did not occurr, even considering this basic disagreement which caused no conflict. It absolutely wasn’t like ‘Harman was talking shit behind poor Johnston’s back’, but it was ‘even if –of course– Harman finds Johnston still subject-oriented, that did not cause conflics after his talk’ (in fact I mention it the context of Johnston’s talk).
There was no specific claim made in my paper as to what ’science’ and ‘mathematized’ scientific language are about.
I know. The whole ‘what of science’ section is not directly addressed to you and your talk. If anything, i had mainly Johnston’s talk in mind, but also general discussions I had with Nathan after the conference about ‘mathematization’. [Even though (small comment which I cannot support right now, needs more thinking) I think that in the Q&A section you gave preference to language rather than mathematics for its metaphorical potentialities: I am not sure that mathematics can have no methaphorical value at all. But again, this needs fleshing out]
At this point in the post I get the sense that Fabio is just pouring it on, looking any additional excuse to find fault.
No, that joke was somethinhg of which I was not even aware, which I read on your blog yesterday, and which I might have therefore misunderstood, I apologize. However, more than towards you my remarks were directed towards us youngsters as a whole, who seem oftentimes more prone to make trenchant dismissals of not-so-contemporary trends. Which I think to a degree is an healthy thing to do (to kick philosophical progress forward), but that on the other can lead to counterproductive generalizations.
Save that word “jargon,” because there are times when you’re really going to need it.
Apologies, but this was very simply caused by my limited English vocabulary. I always make this mistake, as –in my mind– jargon has no negative connotation at all (the italian equivalent is not as loaded as the english one). For what is worth, I happened to like the ground floor/first floor/mezzanine metaphor.
Concluding these brief clarifications: I apologize if it sounded like I was targeting you more than the other speakers. This is explainable by the fact that I am generally more familiar with your philosophical ideas than with, say, Johnston’s ones (I confess I haven’t yet read anything of his), and that therefore I use them as a dialectical pole when having discussions in my mind. However, now that –i hope– we have ironed out what seemed to be disagreements of a more personal nature (anyway, what I claimed about you regarding the relative impossibility of separating the philosopher from the person is perfectly valid for me as well. Of course I have personal preferences, and yet of course I should try to let them sift into my ‘theory’ as little as possible) I will try to think through your objections regarding more properly philosophical issues. In the meantime, thanks for the thorough response, and for the kind words.
And, to cast away all shadows of doubt: readers, the conference was an enjoyable, stimulating, friendly and well organized event!