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20 September 2010

More Assemblages and Strange Mereology

There are two very good responses to my last DRG post about essentialism and strange mereology posted.  Levi's response can be found here, and Circling Squares has one as well.  Both are very good posts, and I find little to dispute in either, and am very satisfied with their explanations.  I reserve the right to think of something later, though, since I just woke up.  :)

I think that as long as the "downward causation" or the "redundant causation" are explained or described rather than merely assumed, then I don't have a problem.  It's only when people start talking about cultures, organizations, social assemblages, etc. causing people to behave in certain ways without showing how they do so that I start to squirm (De Landa does seem to do this sometimes, but maybe that's just my misreading or maybe he's just lapsing and being a bit lazy - I don't know).  Then it starts to get very fuzzy and we start to run into the old pitfalls of structuralism and reducing agency.  As Levi says, we have to:
"... [examine] the actual nuts and bolts of real relations among objects rather than speaking in terms of abstractions that give the impression of resemblance when the two things couldn’t be further apart."
 That's a project I can get behind.

1 comment:

michael- said...

I think part on the problem you righty identify Jeremy may arise because DeLanda is going about doing ontology - which necessarily abstracts from the more specific and particular details of actual situations. He's trying to outline the most general features that an assemblage theory must take into account, as opposed to going about mapping the particulars of real world situations.

Have you read "A Thousand Years of Non-Linear History"? He provides much more detail on the historical particulars and "mechanisms" re: actual social developments (at least as he and Braudel sees it) in that book... If you are digging his 'New Philosophy' check the non-linear history book out! It's fantastic!

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