Ian Hacking’s Historical Ontology as a Realist Puralism

There has been a stimulating discussion about pluralism from a number of bloggers recently. A pretty comprehensive list was compiled on Critical Animal here: The Pluralism Wars and there will surely be more to come. It seems a call from Levi Bryant was heeded by a number of bloggers, and the question of where pluralism fits with realism is a worthy enough question considering the existential threat that we all really face and the spectacular plurality of beliefs, opinions, and political factions out there spinning their tales. The whole thing has been very cordial, a far cry from how heated things use to get two years ago. I have no evidence or data to support this claim, but I still firmly believe that the big occupy rupture spiked people’s expressiveness – for good or ill of the conversation. It is when in the middle of an event, when a well argued speech or article might change the course of the assemblage and have a dramatic effect on people’s actions in concert that we bring out the big guns. It is when the “we need to calmly discuss this and carefully understand” becomes “we need to do this right Now!”.

There are many mentions of Latour, Whitehead, Stengers, and James, with James being the only philosopher I really have any decent grasp on. Stengers it seems has shunt tolerance, and cosmopolitics is no “let’s all get along” world peace plea. Latour as well talked extensively about war and its ecological shape with Gaia as a political actor (or maybe just entity). Anyways, when it comes to ontology and pluralism I thought I’d add my two cents while revisiting an old philosopher (he’s actually still alive) by the name of Ian Hacking. I was lucky enough to have Hacking as a professor in a senior seminar back at UC Santa Cruz in 2009. He was both challenging and friendly, opening us up to some of the more radical and intricate subjects in analytic philosophy at a time when we pined for the revolutionary philosophers of power, force, and deconstruction.

Hacking takes from Foucault’s genealogical work a historical dimension to truth and extracts it for analytical purposes. The method of looking back to history to understand the present is one that seeks not to solve a problem and give a definite answer as in a political decision, but situate oneself with a useful framing of the problem. The question is altered from “what is this being?” or “is being multiple or singular?” but “what process led to this or that being?” or “what effects does the naming of this being have?”. It is a fundamentally different question that places beings inside a continuum, a continuum that does not muse on the ontology by itself but rather changes in behavior, the disturbances brought on by beings, labels, names, and identities in their sites. To investigate how something came to be a thing at all, the coming-into-being of a being historically, does not get lost in whether beings are of a material quality or socially constructed. Hacking side steps these problems and asks a different one in a pragmatic way that skips right past pragmatist philosophy. He actually does research on child development, trauma, statistics, probability, and how naming – bringing a being into existence as a linguistic entity – is not just a description/explanation of a thing but effects it in a value-ridden way.

“This act of naming and labeling is far from arbitrary and it has powerful consequences for the actions one might take.” Declaring a being takes an utterance, an actor in a site or context that is far from impartial. Hacking invokes history as providing the inextricable place from which to situate beings: meaning that beings cannot be without their place. Far from an anti-realist, he says “I think of myself as a “dynamic nominalist” interested in how our practices of naming interact with the things that we name – but I could equally be called a dialectical realist, preoccupied by the interaction between what there is (and what comes into being) and our conception of it.”

(p.2)
A marked separation is held in Hacking where a thing has being on its own, aside from language and the names we give it; yet our naming and descriptions of these things are never neutral. The distinction {language – reality} is kept to avoid straw-man relativism, but there interplay is complex given the linguistic character of ‘being’. Being is in an unavoidable sense just a word. But when a thing is allowed to be called a being – it is granted access to being, gains currency, or becomes normalized – it takes on a material significance in the organization of matter.

The “linguistic turn” is closely studied by analytic philosophers and has something vital to say about a pluralist ontology: affirming the multiple over the single (as the paradoxical title of James’ A Pluralistic Universe embodies) does not rid us of a duality between word and world. ‘Worlds of discourse’ and the ‘hermeneutic circle’ that ensure that meaning must come from a place or context where other meanings bump into it and always have. We can be realists and hold the seemingly dualistic notion of words and things apart. I am not a realist, but that will have to be developed at another time (hint: think parallelism from Deleuze’s Spinoza: Practical Philosophy). On questions of ontology, this separation of language and real things (bodies and flesh if you will) is a major problem for any flat ontology that attempts to make objects all equally real (that is possibly oversimplified).

“In fact, “ontology” turns out to be perfect, for we are concerned with two types of being: on the one hand, Aristotelian universals – trauma or child development – and on the other hand, the particulars that fall under them – this psychic pain or that developing child. The universal is not timeless but historical, and it and its instances, the children or the victims of trauma, are formed and changed as the universal emerges. I have called this process dynamic nominalism, because it so strongly connects what comes into existence with the historical dynamics of naming and the subsequent use of name.”

(p.26)
To exacerbate the difference, a totally fictional being (a deity, a spirit) does not exist in material-reality. But problems sprout up immediately: the name “material-reality” has being in conjuring a linguistic entity and expressing it in discourse. The thing must have a site in language, in history. We can keep the distinction {reality – fiction} while paying attention to the way fiction alters reality in the perpetual act of naming and to the way reality asserts itself on the decision of naming a thing, or bringing something to being. Intertwinings abound, but this does not collapse the distinction.

For the purposes of philosophical inquiry and ontology as a subject within it, history works to situate beings in such a way as to enable deep analysis along with ethical implications for the present. Things neither completely lose their realness nor remain at a intangible distance from our (mostly language driven here) action through his being-altering nominalism. Both the linguistic operation and the real thing are kept apart even though his interests lie in the effects of the latter on the former. Those things exist separately, but new things come into existence that have a major influence on how we live, teach our children, deal justice, stereotype, and normalize certain behaviors over others.

“At its boldest, historical ontology would show how to understand, act out, and resolve present problems, even when in so doing it generated new ones. At its more modest it is conceptual analysis, analyzing our concepts, but not in the timeless way for which I was educated as an undergraduate, in the finest tradition of philosophical analysis. That is because the concepts have their being in historical sites. The logical relations among them were formed in time, and they cannot be perceived correctly unless their temporal dimensions are kept in view. This dedication to analysis makes use of the past, but it is not history.”

(p.25)
Problematization is the edge here. Taking concepts in there sites (his mantra is “a concept is a word in its sites”) takes a look at the big picture from a suspended moral position. One can begin with the aim of generating a positive good with one’s work, but also forgo value-judgments in that work. To frame the problem and broaden one’s perspective is one way of philosophizing: to look at the historical site, the processes leading up to it, and the series of effects that it has taken on bodies. The distinction {figure – ground} is also kept here, even if the ground is not-so solid. A better distinction would be {thing – place}, usually in the form of named-being and history in Hacking. Problematizing makes us sharper as well as more humble theorists by paying attention to the place/site at which we fashion our concepts, making them more potent tools for critical theorists. A good example of this is Colin Koopman’s nascent project of Infopolitcs:

Writing on Foucault, Hacking draws a distinction between two attitudes and shows how one can operate under one and exclude the other, but switch at a later time. One can be “intrinsically moral” and/or “extrinsically meta-moral” in one’s endeavors. Foucault’s histories were extrinsically meta-moral because they began from a problem in the present and went on to explore the emergence of that problem rather than propose a quick fix. There was a demand to know what he valued, what Foucault thought was right since he was a popular public intellectual with a wide reaching audience, but his project sought to get us to ask the right questions and understand how we got where we are in order for right action to develop on its own rather than prescribe it in theory.

“It is also extrinsically meta-moral. By this I mean it can be used to reflect on evaluation itself. The reflection can be done only by taking a look into the origin of our idea… But it is a social rather than personal formation of the concept. It involves history. The application is to our present pressing problems. The history is history of the present, how our present conceptions were made, how the conditions for their formation constrain our present ways of thinking. The whole is the analysis of concepts. For me that means philosophical analysis.”

(p.70)
This emphasis on history and process in concepts is clearly meant to bring the radical contingency of concepts into the fore. Universals exist in social arrangements, hermeneutic circles, and historical sites but in a constrained way. This constraint is a direct result of taking the meta-moral long-view and, in the same way that pluralism tends to promote harmony and respect for the other, the historical-contingency outlook does discourage an imperialistic “my way is the only way” mentality. We can turn around and take the intrinsically moral stance however and act in the present, which would be made better equipped by understanding the site (historically/genealogically/geographically) more clearly, having switched perspectives to the long-view in the past.

Suddenly the fire comes back. We throw around universals and make assertive claims to correctness in the present. An ethical urgency returns and the immediacy of the situation bears down on us so that we are making claims with the weight of the universal behind them. This weighty force can actually be increased by our prior change in perspective.

Just to bring it home: a climate scientist is wrapped up in a schizophrenic situation where they must be objective and take that distant world-view as a requirement for their job. The skeptical, impartial-as-can-be attitude has been ingrained in scientific training in a long history of refinement and revolution. To then take one’s findings and speak out in a present political situation is to make a qualitative leap from the extrinsically meta-moral researcher to the intrinsically moral lobbyist or expert. One can be on one side at one time and then on the other side in an other time. The trick is to be able to identify when you are being the broad and skeptical experimenter and when you are the policy-driven politico. The ability to switch up perspectives and see the world from a plurality of angles means that the universal one must be included with them. It is a matter of selection between site-determined stances and not the demand to hold them all available discreetly that would characterize an ethical pluralism.

Hacking’s style is of the analytic flavor – contrary to my own. The obsession with systematic logic and propositions turned me off at an early age. But his conclusions have much to offer across the divide. It is an exercise in switching one’s perspective, becoming more interesting and creative (in the Nietzschean sense of giving style to one’s character) that allows thinkers and philosophers to build bridges and make leaps between the divides that plague effective policy and scientistic authority.

I’ll end with a quote out of Hacking’s chapter where he most analytically and summarily treats language and realism called ‘Anarcho-Rationalism’:

“1)There are different styles of reasoning. Many of these are discernible in our own history. They emerge at definite points and have distinct trajectories of maturation. Some die out, others are still going strong.
2)Propositions of the sort that necessarily require reason to be substantiated have a positivity, a being true-or-false, only in consequence of the styles of reasoning in which they occur.
3)Hence, many categories of possibility, of what may be true or false, are contingent upon historical events, namely the development of certain styles of reasoning.
4)It may then be inferred that there are other categories than have emerged in our tradition.
5)We cannot reason as to whether alternative systems of reasoning are better or worse than ours, because the propositions to which we reason get their sense only from the method of reasoning employed. The propositions have no existence independent of the ways of reasoning towards them.”

(p.175)
And then to really finish:

“Anarcho-rationalism is tolerance for other people combined with the discipline of one’s own standards of truth and reason.”

(p.177)
All quotes are from Historical Ontology (Harvard, 2002)

Critical Fantasies: First Attempt at a Manifesto

Critical Fantasies are a mixture of critical philosophy and a retelling of poplar stories that are made by deep analysis to serve as current day myths. The stories are selected from the cultural field with the criteria that they contain pertinent ideas or operations which can be extracted and elucidated in a conceptual manner. This conceptual exercise will encourage readers to more actively examine cherished fantasies and put into focus a transversal message from the fantasy to themselves – all the more relevant for coming from the realm of the imaginary. This intentional activity of blending fantasy and philosophy will revitalize meaning in the world by eliminating the intellectual pretension towards representing *the* world (considered in the singular) and finding meaning in moving between a plurality of fictional worlds.

The difference between philosophy and poetics, science and fantasy, or reality and fiction is not collapsed but maintained. The duality is impressed upon the reader while simultaneously, a multiplicity of worlds prevents any one world or any pair of worlds from claims to perfection. Instead of moving from one unreal world to the real world, there are many to hop around to; only wherever on begins from or ends up is always fictional. The multiplicity worlds, connected by their rejection of representation, will subvert claims to the divine authority of any one story. Many worlds are potentially inhabitable, each offering various messages. The stories of these worlds are given a fresh interpretation in being retold, but inso doing a message is released and made more explicit. Critical Fantasies translate idea kernels from the enchanting myth that the narrative invokes and in those ideas point beyond them. Examining this message conceptually will provoke the reader to in turn reexamine their own favorite fantasies in a way that draws out a meaningful lesson or truth beyond the particular fantasy world.

Far from being devoid of meaning or a source of believability, we have multiple fantasies within our cultures from which purpose, guidance, and significance can be discovered. They merely require a critical perspective with which to interpret them in moving beyond their fictional worlds. The fantasies across the cultural spectrum are many and diverse; some can be revelatory, creating an fervent attachment not so far off from belief. Crossing the world gap serves this function, but no story takes primary status over another – even if there is a favorite. A fantasy affirms its other-worldly quality without demanding precedence over any other save for the impact it has, the impression it leaves. The plurality of fantasies is only a hindrance if equality is demanded between the construction and “reality”, instead of having a higher degree of potency. The acceptance of their own unreality can only be a benefit.

Though separate realms, neither pure philosophy nor fiction can endure without the other. Indeed, philosophers have always tended to make use of myths and stories (in the form of illustrated examples, diagrams, thought experiments etc.) while every captivating narrative involves something conceptual. The themes, motifs, and characters of works of fiction become a repeatable talking point which can be crystallized in an idea. A source of wonder comes from their interplay; the fantasy requires an implicit trick of falsehood shared by both the author and audience, philosophy requires a commitment to truth and honest inquiry amidst incessant illusion and dogma. The selection of the story and the selection of the concepts with which to cross-connect will function as the creative production: in reinterpreting popular and exciting fantasies with a critical eye, the ideas projected will be illuminated and updated as well as recontextualized. Critique will not take place over and above the story but within it, offering up ideas that will inspire thought from not just an exclusively mythical or philosophical perspective but with a mutual reinforcement. This performance will necessitate inhabiting the plurality of imagined worlds while simultaneously pushing their topics and devices beyond it. Critical Fantasies are an inherently pluralistic construction.

The works of fantasy will be chosen by their critical capacity from the outset; or, the work chosen already possesses the critical power to change, provoke, inspire the audience/player within it. The mining of it from a critical-philosophical angle only serves to make its impact more forceful and its message more obvious. Each interpretation or commentary of anything from anyone will add to or alter its meaning, but the choice of candidates for a critical fantasy by itself indicates that the work contains a message that resonates beyond its world. The stories that endure in history, that have that “timeless” quality endure for a reason that exceeds its own comprehension. A critical focus on those ideas that endure past the world from which they originated discovers more than just a cold concept: it finds advice, it finds wisdom. Criticism will not be of the particular world of fantasy itself as a fantasy (its illusory, negative, or unreal quality) but come from that work and direct its latent critical capacity outward, approaching the threshold of its world as a fantasy world.

This endeavor can be called critical in three senses of the word:

First, inhabiting fantasies gives one a meaningful if incorporeal world of signification from which to base a judgment on something outside of it. By self-consciously remaining within its interpretive zone, its (illusory) hermeneutic circle, criticism can then appear to be launching outward, though the representative target remains transfixed within the fantasy zone as a concept. A world of significance is found from which critique can situate itself. This mixes an awareness of limitations with a feeling of transcendence. Second, criticism attempts to approach a condition where a body is forced to exceeded the outer limits, no longer being able to contain the force originating within the border. Critical Fantasies reach for a critical mass which overflows in its fantastic resonance. Floating between crossing the threshold and remaining at the border, these fantasies suggest a break-through that is impossible because of their self-conscious falsity. They nonetheless make the suggestion, implying a leap all the more tempting for being impossible. Third, critical inquiry necessitates close scrutiny to specific areas within the subject considered. The ideas under examination are intensified by the attention payed to them within an uncommon sphere. Dwelling on certain isolated ideas in a strange place casts a spell of significance and importance, majestic by being both fantasy and under fixated examination.

Critical theory takes on big subjects and claims to further political goals by engaging with dominant ideologies. The title ‘Critical Fantasies’ also reminds one that action in a meaningful ethical-political sense does not occur within the confines of a text or a video screen. Critical theory interprets texts and techniques closely, bringing them to their limit in hopes that this symmetry-breaking motion will be reflected elsewhere. However, the going-beyond of critical analysis, the breaking things open and/or extending them outward can only operate non-textually by addressing this world-gap. Critique can undermine beliefs, opinions, and assumptions by making them argumentatively untenable, but strong forces back those frames and institutionalized power relations stabilize them. By joining the fantastic with the critical, all pretensions to subversion emanating directly from the narrative are abandoned and immediate direct action is to be found elsewhere. Fantasy knows this about itself: it is not real. It is like Socrates who knows only that he knows nothing. Fantasy affirms its falsity. This is a relief though; the distance fantasies hold onto puts the specter of action and conversely the dogmatism of representation in another world altogether with respect to each other. Incommensurable with the present and its accompanying “here and now”, fantasy nevertheless does not forget this “other”; for in the persistence of approaching what it is not, fantasy cannot rid itself of its relation with the present, however confrontational and problematic that relationship might be. Fantasy holds onto action in the present but at a distance, a distance spanning worlds.

Fantasy sets limits on what it can do in the substantial material world – the indirectness from which it must relate to it – and continues along in its negative constrictions regardless. Fixing that material world at the outside, a fantasy world is able to play endlessly with the boundaries its willful negation sets. Indirect Critical Fantasies – Direct Action. The imagination is stretched always apart as it is forever tasked with coming to terms with its own nothingness; all the while, it cannot shake the feeling that whatever is produced, whatever piece of work the imagination creates, is somehow bound up with that other thing – matter. Neither purely false nor purely representative, fantasy moves forward in playful ambivalence.

To reflect on these aesthetic productions brimming with joyful negation, to analyze these current day myths, criticism is brought to bear on the scene – but this is no synthesis. The momentum or force of fantasies are left in tact (not that one could do anything to prevent that) but an outside line joins with it that blows up certain moments, placing a greater emphasis on the ideas of critical importance for other worlds not of its own. A concentration is built up around those flashes of wonder where something seems to jump out of its worldly confines.

Critical Fantasies put together two irreducible forces and create an entirely new non-holistic production. Neither a combination of the two nor a sublimation of them into a higher thing, it sets familiar work of art in fantasy into a different rhythm. The moments of highest intensity are given an additional push bringing it closer to the outside of its world and establishing resonance. Critical Fantasies are always found in a polarizing situation: with an understanding that they are limited to their fictional worlds of significance, they select those aspects that come the closest to breaching their worldly limits and making a connection outside of them.

I believe that people by and large already make use of fantasies in this way. What is most often missing in them and what I aim to inject is the rigor of a critical philosopher. The potential in this unholy alliance seems vast and within the care of the right hands could intensify a largely apathetic population with awesome and innumerable fantasies at its disposal. Fantasy stories in their highest moments have replaced the divine revelation as our source of ethical energy. These are those empowering moments when a vital surge breaks out like a geyser. This is when epic wins become possible, and epics always start in the middle. They don’t always end well though. It is in attempting to begin from solid ground like a tautology, as well as end in a secure and harmonious goal that we lose sight of the urgent task. Fantasies cannot provide perfectly clear answers as to what is to be done, but when it comes to teachings and inspiration, they are the best we’ve got. At the very least, their internalized negativity wards off dogmatic faith. Together with the sustained focus of criticism, fantasies can at best nudge us in the right direction.

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Agent Swarm on Unitive Deleuze

Here is a succinct and accessible post on Deleuze’s Pluralism in relation to dualities from Terrence Blake. A dualism that ends in mere opposition, or takes the side of one versus the other falls into a never-ending quest of how to find the “magic formula”: One = Many. Monism = Pluralism.

Dualisms are not escapable and are a necessity for making sense – for the production of meaning and meaningful discourse. An introductory step, which rids oneself of the demand to take a false choice of “one or the other”, is to affirm pluralism (a non-monism and non-reductivism), but after that initial move a vast array of things, worlds, signs, flows, patterns, intensities, etc. open up. We encounter dualities as we traverse these many forms and styles without losing sight of the relations and interactions to the others. A pluralist avoids the reduction to mere opposition and its two-way usage of negation, it opens up a multiplicity of possibilities and potentialities in the Virtual which either do or do not become actual.

When asked what ‘one’ believes or identifies with, where ‘one’ stands on this or that issue, the proclamation of pluralism leaves one’s commitments open to the unexpected or hitherto unconsidered of the ‘many’. The oneness of belief and its internalized demand to hold onto and keep the being or proposition freezes time and promotes and endless repetition of the same. Differences are always made and understood in relation to the single place where one is located as a coordinate cross-section compared to another’s coordinates in a monistic frame. A repetition with difference shatters the one into other avenues of motion enabling both expansion and dissipation. Pluralism suggests a movement where Monism suggests a positioning.

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AGENT SWARM

Deleuze does not oppose dualities frontally but tries for a more supple approach. He thinks that they are an intrinsic part of language and that we can only undo a dualism here by producing or reinforcing another dualism there. So we are condemned to fall victim to dualities from an absolute point of view, while being able to dissolve them on a local basis, by strategic or pragmatic interventions. Deleuze, with Guattari (and this “with” is important, as it was one way of overcoming a dualism between philosophy and psychoanalysis, between logos (concept) and psyche (affect, percept, intensity), declared that a dualism was acceptable as a preliminary overcoming of a dogmatic monism on the way to a pluralism. This pluralism he claimed was subtended by a non-preexistant more fluid unity. Hence the equation “monism=pluralism” is called “the magic formula that we are all looking for”, ie a forever unaccomplished process…

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Matter Meteors

A materialism of bare substance and objects interlocking and composing larger objects or decomposing into smaller ones seems irrefutable when contrasted with a spiritual substance which acts as a primary force ‘moving matter from within’, or guiding the matter formally to an end. But the spirit – matter opposition sets us off on a dialectical course that can only lead us to a dead end. In terms of movement and animation of matter and the various forms that it takes or disintegrates from, the transcendental idea/notion is the result of the inability to observe the variety of organizational forms that persist but also fall apart and organize again another way.

This other world of transcendence (God, Heaven, Forms) is an imaginary world like so many others dreamed up in human cultures in folklore and literature but is obviously unique in its ability to put up a stop to and satisfy a demanding questioner. A source, a final reason for why people ask the question; that a direction is better than another, that some methods lead to destruction, that a certain pattern has stabilized rather than another – these juxtapositions give one a sense that the flow it is caught up in is not the only or necessary way but preferable and valuable. The method has worked and gotten us this far (this far for sure but also *at least* this far) and it will continue to be used as a tradition. The question as a potential danger to that tradition, but it is also the most generalized form of an adaptability to surprising and alien conditions that arise unexpectedly: environmental change. It is the most general because it is language’s way of deviating off course. It is sometimes justified for tried (and true) methods to reject radical questions and regard them as dangers, but it is also a way to adapt to shifts in conditions that could not be predicted by previous methods of thought and practice. In a globe changing rapidly, and a culture of symbols, images, etc. that mirror this rapidly shifting globe in its ability to reorient itself to cater to our desires and even create new ones, this ability to question and remain in a state of doubt without an answer (or pre-paved path) is crucial if we are to get off of this catastrophic cycle moving way too fast.

Back to Spirit vs. Matter and Dualisms in general: It would seem (again) like an empirical world or an emphasis on material objects should be the obvious focus of attention to turn to from the stand point of a virtual assemblage of imaginary objects that are used to attract and distract the attention of the measured masses with a painful scientific precision. The number of worlds, fantasies, and symbols have skyrocketed in the past 100 years or so and trapped us not in a single world of make-believe but in a giant landscape of many worlds to chose from, intensifying the ambiguity of the one world thinkers put much of their efforts into achieving in various philosophical and scientific discourses. Yet the true world – illusory world distinction itself is one born of the languages bearing abstract symbols that for all their accuracy become more complex and esoteric the closer they approach the boundary. (Reality). A great sigh of relief can be found in knowing a gap between worlds exists (and that worlds are many) and that going from truth to illusion is an impossible task as a final destination. However the work is far from done, a simple rejection leads to a new set of problems while the opposition one vs. many (worlds, things, forces, perspectives) remains a metaphysical *one* which can separate the knowledge, patterns, regularities, and consistencies uncovered in repeatable experiments and other human practices (including art) with the *one* mater-energy stuff – just in many different worlds, discourses, spheres, etc…

The best I’ve got for now is inhabiting the diverse worlds that abound and coming to grips with their logic and structure bearing in mind that they are not real nor ever can they be. Even those that lay claim to the logic of the UNIverse or the structure of existence like physics and maybe mathematics contain the strangest of symbols and variables, infinities and paradoxes, chaos’s and dissymmetries. Science Fiction and its worlds are perhaps more real than scientific ones by self-reflecting their fantastic quality and using this negative understanding to inspire wonder instead of arriving at the one. Going farther and farther into the imagination leaving the real world behind mimicks material reality in its fractal expansion, doing a better job than competing theories of reality because they don’t insist on their one-way bridge from their mirroring language to Nature. This all the while with the self-understanding that the bridge is uncrossable: Science Fiction is a paradoxical title to begin with if one takes the quest of science to be that one true world “over their”.

Fantasy worlds and their own logic bypass this tendency (which I am tempted to call a “natural tendency”) by respecting other worlds for their creativity but using a different standard for judging their merit: the problems, issues, blockages, in the well-worn path (questions) they provoke. Can this be said to be reflected in the material world? After all, Sci Fi internalized its falseness, so does this imply that what is real is affirmed yet untouched, unsensed? Surely the separation cannot be complete, and the fingers-typing, brain-firing of the author-body moves along with the imaginary worlds conjured.

The assertion of one’s fictional activity is then an inward folding condensation rather than a two-way speeding back-and-forth trap of dualisms. The movement in one direction then has a reverse direction that stretches it out and abolishes the point that was supposedly started from. A trajectory loses its origin because the line goes the opposite way as well. Imagine its bafflement when it tries to reach the point of the other (real world) and finds that the other point has vanished as well! The line needs not a point to reach, a place to settle, but can continue along indefinitely in both directions: Aion (for you Deleuzians out there). The distinction has then shifted fundamentally from two points and the movement inbetween (cathode – anode) to a stretching expansion of the line in both directions (past/future) vs. a condensing, intensifying gathering (present).

How can one still say that a pluralistic, fantastic assemblage of worlds is relfected or resonant with the “real” world of material existence? Must this put the one world at the center or on the thither side of the many worlded engagement? The single – plural opposition does in fact have value for it sets the “one” on an open path rather than a fixed choice between ‘there’ and back again, but a duality it remains. Within language we remain, within discourse we make sense. But we should not have to choose between the mirroring activity of Natural Philosophy (aka Physics) and the wondering activity of fiction/literature. Philosophy intensifies along with fiction (condensing) as well as fiction extends behind itself as it pushes forward into the false (expansion), the requirement is only that one choose the proper words to invoke the opportune movement: Selection.

We are stuck with Dualities to make sense, but multiplying the possibilities can be an effect of Philosophy and Natural Philosophy with Pluralsim (vs. the One). Fiction, Literature, and Myth fit into a dual scheme as well but not without breaking the points into a constellation and extending in at least two ways at once.