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Archive for May, 2012

A commitment to Nȕ-Pragmatism as a research program doesn’t mean so much as a commitment to a fixed method or methodology, nor to a specific epistemology or to any reductionistic notion of correspondence theory of the truth, bald/naive naturalism, or positivism, which construct a simplified physicalistic ontology as philosophia perennis and denounce everything but.

A commitment to Nȕ-Pragmatism is a commitment to a specific type of critical realism, which a) accepts a wider understanding of metaphysics (see my In Kantian Space: ) that includes both the notion of ‘metaphysics a la Kant’ and of intensive ontology and vitalist materiality a la ‘Whitehead and Deleuze’ as a substratum of metaphysics; and b) considers itself a clinical realism in its pragmatic orientation to regain action potentials through the reconstruction of agency and discursivity, and contingency, in the somatic, semantic and narrative spaces.

The main ‘methodology’ of Nȕ-Pragmatism, so to speak, is the idea of heterotopology (or of a Daseinsanalyse aka ‘analytics of the mode of its being’, although tit must be cautioned that his refers to the critical realist analytics of Jaspers and Foucault and not the fictionalist phenomenology of Heidegger or the little Austrian banker [Schuetz]), the idea that the subject of research is constituted in a historical ontology, meaning that to uncover the conditions of possibility of the subject of research is a task that makes explicit inherent ways and probabilities how the subject of research could also have been different; thereby, avenues of re-imagining and re-making the subject by translating, transposing, and transdisposing are (re-)opened or, alternatively, the efficacy of its existing form is re-affirmed. The methodology of Nȕ-Pragmatism accepts, with Cohen, Henderson and Parsons, that there can never be a method or theory that does not contain residuals, and it accepts the new materialists (Deleuze, Delanda, Stengers, Connolly, Coole, Barad) and the speculative realists (Harman, Brassier, Hamilton Grant, Meillassoux) and their commitment to an ontology of materials, matter and things that the human point-of-view (anthropos), as descriptive of one of the (unavoidable) residuals, cannot comprehend. With Jaspers, Henderson and Foucualt, it accepts that facts are statements, it goes against a narrow definition of statements that reduces them to text.

Nȕ-Pragmatism is based on a scholarly/scientific account, that is not an uninformed opinion (or what Adorno called Halbbildung [‘smattering of knowledge’]), a technology or an academic/business-administrative account:

Uninformed opinions or ‘smattering of knowledge’ accounts are the uncritical adoption of factoids and the substitution of truthiness for truth (regardless if truth is considered constitutive or regulative).

In technological accounts, the direction of fit is so that a question is asked first and an (definitive) answer is to be found, truth as a criterion is considered to be constitutive.

The academic/business-admin type of account (also: Jeopardy-account) posits an answer and is looking for the question, the typical academic version is the hypothesis-approach of ‘career-making grant-writing’ where a researcher writes up a hyperspecialized hypothesis and claims to find the proof for, which s/he usually already has de/signed. Truth is also considered constitutive in this model, where the direction of fit between problem and world is made so that the world is made to fit the problem, rather than the other way round. The business-admin version, which is in actual practice also individually career-trajectory biased and for groups profit-motivated (for academians the currency is, of course, prestige), is based on self-fulling prophecies for constitutive performance-benchmarks (with no concept of achievement).

Scholarly/scientific accounts aka Nȕ-Pragmatist approaches make no such claims, they accept the transitory, discursive and contingent of human realities and that practices are ephemeral and aleatoric, and that truth and objectivity as criteria of research are regulative ideals not constitutive. They accept the difference between performance and achievement, and the fact that there are no definite answers, and the value of negative instruction. Most importantly, their direction of fit is problem to world. Finally, their approach is to ask questions and in the process of the research develop better ways of asking these questions, by making them more precise or differentiate, etc.

Nȕ-Pragmatist research, which means ‘sensing through the heteroscope’, begins with questions and ends with better questions. 

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