Tuesday, August 14, 2012

letter fragment

I'm grateful for Lisa's philosophical promptings. 

 كتاب في معرفة الحيل الهندسية   (The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices), Al-Jazari. 

... In any case, I find your correction of Aristotle, from dynamis-energeia-entelechia to dynamis-techne-energeia-techne-entelechia-techne, to be intriguing as well as needed.  It does seem that Aristotle's triad is more appropriate to the circle of nature.  Also, what is missing in Aristotle is the concept of Contingency as a form of human agency and mediation.  Perhaps this is necessarily aporetic for Aristotle because he presumes a certain teleological anamnesis.  The movement from dynamis/potentiality to energeia/being-at-work presupposes that work brings about actuality.  However, this bringing about of actuality is mediated by the human agent of techne/memory, of (re)production/recollection, or practice/theory.  Also, the movement from dynamis to energeia can represent an epistemic transition - that is, dynamis then techne bring about new forces.  This creates the (always-already) ground for energeia to erupt spontaneously, contingently.  Contingent movements as Desire are the mediation to Actuality - that is, essence appears.  Ousia (Substance, essence) is recast by the subject-object becoming, in the movement from energeia to techne.  Lastly, in the movement to entelechia, to Actuality proper, techne/memory has created a certain cosmological paradigm, or system(s) of knowledge.  However, like a fruit grown too ripe, it decays.  Actuality must pass into non-being, and what survives destruction gains objectivity.  Sorry for being Hegelian here but Aristotle may have benefitted from having a concept of the human Subject.  Throughout the movement of dynamis-techne-energeia-techne-entelechia-techne, human subjectivities are at work, mediating fulfillment of actual processes.  It's also interesting that your correction brackets or displaces the telos of entelechia, by ending with techne.  This is significant because it shows the space-time(s) of reconfiguration.  It allows for episteme (or paradigm) shifts, allows for variances in recollective projects and not just (re)production of Actuality.  Even as (re)production, techne outruns Actuality - innovation outruns its use value.  Relatedly, techne as aleatory invention (as opposed to Science) allows for an outrunning of normative belief structures, for better or for worse.  So, I do see how techne as subjective and at times aleatory (Re)production/Recollection is the mediation missing in Aristotle's triad.

Elephant Automaton Clock, 1600-1625.  Gilt metal with enameling.  Loyola University Museum of Art, Chicago.