by Terence Blake
Guattari’s move from “schizoanalysis” to the “ecosophy” of his later years does not constitute a change in paradigm or the proposition of a new theoretical model. In both cases his concern is not with the elaboration of any particular theory or model, but with facilitating a process of “meta-modelization”. Far from propounding a system, his works are interventions, containing a series of reflections, lines of reference, and reminders on the multiple aspects that any particular model will have to take into account.
A fundamental consideration is the need to think outside the isolated subject confronting an external object, and the need to take into account our directly collective subjectivity and our constitutive supplementation by technical or “machinic” inscription, interface and embedding. We are ecological subjectivities embedded in multiple networks, and not cut-off Cartesian subjects.
Seen from this ecosophical perspective, however interesting an eliminative materialism such as R.Scott Bakker’s BBT model may be in analysing certain atomised contexts, its meta-modelization is totally impoverished, and is quite unable to accomodate technical equipment and instrumentation, inscriptions and reticulations, cognitive institutions and communities with their collective procedures of examination,validation and rectification. Despite the materialist-sounding talk about “brains” Bakker’s BBT is to that extent idealist in form, if not in content.
Following an indication from nonmanifestation here, it is interesting to compare Bakker’s eliminativism with Michel Foucault’s earlier post-Althusserian dallying with structuralism and his later reintroduction of subjectivity, only outside the subject/object bifurcation. Foucault’s early work (BIRTH OF THE CLINIC, THE ORDER OF THINGS, ARCHEOLOGY OF KNOWLEDGE) was very much under the influence of the structuralist dissolution of the phenomenological subject, even if he maintained a certain distance from the programmatic aspects of structuralism.
Bakker’s eliminativism takes us back to the 50s and 60s, and constitutes a sort of neuro-structuralism, at least in intention. However, the form of cognitive science that he borrows from reproduces the Cartesian paradigm at a materialised level, the solitary brain face to face with an external world, caught in the aporia of cognitive incompetence dictated by this scenario. The epistemological aporia is in fact dictated by an inadequate ontology.
On Deleuze’s reading, Foucault’s final work generates a new ontology, based on the fold, that allows for processes of subjectivation that do not reintroduce a cut-off subject. This “fold” subjectivity has much in common with Johnston’s “gap” formative of subjectivity. In both cases we see a concept of subjectivity that precisely is not reducible to the cut-off subject, nor to “intentionality”, which is a secondary formation.
Paradoxically, the cognitive anomalies that Bakker ceaselessly signals are the signs, as seen from within his paradigm, that this paradigm is radically insufficient. Our cognitive biases and general theoretical incompetence are already instantiations of Johnston’s constitutive gap, only seen negatively by means of Cartesian spectacles. This bias and incompetence of the individual brain is no sign of the inevitable failure of cognition, but rather the mark of our necessary inscription in the social and technical networks of what Bernard Stiegler calls transindividuation.
The article is taken from:
Speculating Freedom: Addiction, Control and Rescriptive Subjectivity in the Work of William S. Burroughs
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