Manifestationism: Notes.

Manifestationism  is something like a meta-philosophy. The basic notion is that no ontological position can be shown to be correct, or rather that no position at all can be said to out manoeuvre its competitors. As such it does not simply apply to ontology but to any field of competing notions. There is some difference in the realm of scientific competition insofar as the resistance that emits from that nebulous way in which the things determine the concepts (umbratic resistance) means the language game of truth is more appropriate i.e. I am ill advised to continue to believe in Aristotlean physics after Galileo. This resistance does not exist in philosophy, we try in vain to find it by logical argument and a prioricity but it will not show. Manifestationism then applies better in this realm. Any possibility in ethics, epistemology, ontology, philosophy of mind is a manifestation. We might currently postulate that the primary manifestations, at least in metaphysics are monism, pluralism, idealism and realism. If we say all others are derivatives and recombinations of these this is not to belittle the power of the endless new manifestations, they are as unique as the primordial and once in the fray are never to leave it.

Here we are concerned with what grounds this kind of approach. There are two primary reasons for manifestationism. The first is in fact empirical: it is the surveying of the historical proliferation of philosophy and the observation that, whilst it does develop, its history is perpetually there for reintegration or reinvigoration as a possibility -at least in those areas that were not tied to science and thus receive actually persuasive grounds for no longer being tenable (though even these may return). The second is the a priori  argument from incoherence. This states that all concepts have incoherent edges to some extent or another. Philosophical concepts unlike some scientific ones have a high degree of incoherence. This leaves them prone to multiple layers of ambiguity. These multiple and undecidable possibilities of interpretation mean that e.g. if one person is advocating a certain interpretation of Kant and another is disavowing it, both parties will find adequate reason to defend their respective points of view without there existing the possibility of a substantial enough authority to make some fresh headway in the matter. In the language used elsewhere on this site, each Narp is agent for interpretation rather than an objective advocate for it.

It is in fact hard to argue with manifestationism as presented thusly, that is without proclaiming that your philosophy is in fact absolutely correct (and thus appearing a touch dogmatic). Of course an agent of a given set of ideas may be exactly disposed to this kind of belief: an agent of a single thought. What if one is an agent of manifestationism? This doesn’t seem possible since agency itself is a product of a philosophy and thus subscribes one to an ontology.

But still there is an interesting question to explore here: If we want to think as manifestationists how are we to conceive of whatever the Narp/subject is? Why are some Narps (let’s carry on calling them Narps, just because we need a word, though accepting that the term is tied to a theoretical framework) expressing favouritism towards some conceptual structures? How can we express any understanding of this without falling into a manifestation? Is this not an actual limit on thought? Of course here we can feel Laruelle’s enterprise pressing against us, for it is exactly such an escape he would like to make. Indeed the possibility of manifestationism’s coherently saying anything further may well legitimise the possibility that Laruelle actually escapes manifestationism.

There are two manifestations in evidence at this stage: either the Narps create the manifestations or the manifestations are in some sense already existent and just found by the Narps. This is obviously a kind of Aristotlean vs Platonic schema. An awful circularity appears. How can we say anything about either without lapsing into privileging a manifestation. You cannot is the simple answer. this is a dead end agnostic disjunction.

Does manifestationism though have anything built into it as a kind of entailment? Maybe. Manifestationism states not how things are but how an epistemically limited Narp cannot determine what is correct hence in some kind of informational territory -where information manifests as a necessary relation between a minimal binary state.

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