Manuel DeLanda. Deleuze, Subjectivity, and Knowledge. 2011

Oh subjectivity we're going to divide here and remember I'm talking about content add ISTA mala G more ontology since I actually disagree with both of these authors as far as ontology goes neither one is a realist neither one is evidence the question is do you need a realist when you're doing a theory of consciousness no you don't because it doesn't really matter you're doing a theory of consciousness right so we can we can use them and then we can plot them right into the intense population of the biological world that we were talking about in the morning so for can't subject equals seat of two faculties understanding which equals classifying their general category I already hit it that's fine the categories you can think of them as inborn or just you can think of it as as mean any Oh candy and 20 century way is just arbitrary signal fire doesn't matter an intuition one faculty they actually wrote it upside down to be intuition first the intuition is a perception of particulars and the understanding is classifying those particulars under a general category I'm not going to write that down but if you can't do it in your notes put intuition personal standing second okay there's more to be said but not everything needs to be written before I start I wanna I'm going to give you an image a simple image that will serve to guide the debate tonight okay now this is the basic question you remember everybody knows that anthropologist and ethnologist have claimed for a while that Eskimos have twenty different words for snow I'm not sure if they ever came up with the right number is 49 is it 19 it doesn't really matter let's just stick to 29 as long as it's a bunch of names and it's a large enough number it's good enough they believe skiers have about seven different words for snow different you're not having to do with the capacity says no to to allow you to ski or is it dry dry or dusty kind of thing or it's a little more wet and so on so 29 worst personal doesn't sound so so bad so the question is this let's assume that that is true Eskimos have 29 horse personnel now here is the question do Eskimos see 29 words sorry about that do s chemos see 29 kinds of snow because they have 29 words for snow in other words the words come first they structure your perception and because you have 29 categories to put things into you can see 29 different categories of snow or do Eskimos have tuna net words for snow because they touch smell build Eagles with hunt over get lost in storms of 20 different kinds of snow right options when it's Countian when is human in the second option what comes first is activity what comes first is what Eskimos do they take search in snow they build igloos with snow before they have to touch no they have to to walk on different kinds of snow so they have to learn about the different capacities of it's not to sustain them you know some snow might be too thin so it's not mighty thick enough they need to have words for different types of snow and different types of storms this is the kind of a survive against storm or is it kind of you know the kind of storm lady doesn't really matter but if they walk where the whole idea is that they have they make a living within a snowy environment they hunt the fish they build igloo Sandman I didn't know that they build their houses out of this material and the 29 kinds of small would simply be different combinations of solid water either in the form of ice or in the form of snow with us with a certain amount of liquid water right plus also water is very very special in this respect in that different kinds of ice form at different pressures with very different properties so there is plenty of room to have 29 different combinations of liquid water and solid water of water that has crystallized in the form of ice versus water that has crystallized in the form of snowflakes and of different types of ice at different pressures so there will be plenty of kinds objective kinds of snow but that's not the point here we're talking about subjectivity we're talking about subjectivity in action there is subjectivity as part of us as part of an everyday life which you're making a living supposed to learn a purely contemplative subjectivity which is sometimes unfortunate what philosophers think subjectivity is you know what they see from their desks here we're talking about a subjectivity in action in which because you have to deal for us as a way of making a living with all these different consoles now as in every culture where something is very important synonyms begin to accumulate in same way that's synonym for the word car automobile accumulate in our culture and when there's too many synonyms this is facing something that linguistic historians know about many of them begin to disappear begin to be underused unless they acquire cellular shades of meaning and they become non synonyms anymore so they become now marking soul shades of meaning so in this scenario they're making a living you know from a subjective point of view but nevertheless active subject in action confronts a world full of variety of mixes of eyes and liquid water in independent context of doing specific things that are important for your survival and so synonyms begin to accumulate synonyms begin to acquire solar shades of meaning so many centuries later you end up with 29 words for smell but you began with the 29 kind system in this in the other scenario as the opposite the words come first and as they accumulate they begin to structure your perception so that you can now begin to distinguish solar solar cars in other words the Eskimo can perceive particulars but you won't understand what those particulars are until he classifies them under a particular name for a particular type of none let's do very clear options there now they might be combinations there might be some common ground here in the middle right once a word appears for a title now he might become a mnemonic device he might be the way you teach your children about certain types of snuff like the dangers to walk on snow you don't want to put your children's in danger so you teach them the word and so they may acquire the word before they actually ever see the danger that that particular type of snow is so you can imagine an Eskimo dad coming up with a word for yellows now to tell these kid don't eat the yellow snow because there's only one way snow can get yellow someone took a pea there okay so don't eat the yellow snow kid and they have a special time for snow so the question is now do we perceive the stability of this thing that I'm proceeding right now which is of course a synthesis of because my brain is synthesizing this video and it's my view none of you guys have this view you're looking in this direction I'm looking in that direction this is my view exclusively Reiner and it's clearly being synthesized by my brain only is that synthesis a synthesis based on conceptual structure and what gives us the stability is the stability of the concepts themselves before the fact they form a system with a linguistic or purely conceptual Kent was born and worked way before secure came with the idea of the arbitrary of a signifier right is the idea that the series of letters s and O W refers to snow it's an entirely arbitrary thing because it the series of letters in IE de mierda in spanish also refers to snow there's absolutely no connection between the sequence of letters and what it refers to is an arbitrary convention he was born before that before conventionalism so he did not think of his concepts as near conventions never he thought that they were in born we were born with certain concepts which may also a certain amount of truth the species as a whole learns just like organisms learn so we might indeed be born with certain thing in certain ways of perceiving that are already wired in there for the final theory might turn out to be somewhere in between right now I'm putting in the most stark contrast just to show you that there is an option now most European philosophers in the twentieth century and before are content that's that applies to German as well as to French philosophers and to be champion is a kind of badge of identity as far as being a continental philosopher is so therefore when when jugglers wrote his first book about Hume he's calling pure system and subjective or empiricism and subjectivity he was making a statement because he was it a book was not a public not only published in English clearly that book was not aimed at the anglo-american audience it was meant at the Continental audience and for you to write your very first book about Hume is to make a statement as to where you stand relative to the rest of your bodies what who are most likely to be Canty so this is much easier to to understand in the sense that if all you have to see is an intuition all is giving me is perception for perceptions of relativity of objects with that identity I do perceive that there are certain borders I do perceive that this is a separate object from figure and background perceptions are belong to intuition I do perceive that this is a khaki color that over that chair of there but the only way I can tell that that is a sofa that blue thing that appeared as to my intuition is if i have the concept sofa in my head and i can classify it as an instance as a particular example of the general category sofa or chair for Hume it was an entirely different thing Hume in his treatise of human nature yes it makes fun of language he has a little chapter on language where he says lamby doesn't even matter for anything clearly he was exaggerating language is important but nevertheless he felt like he had to say that just to show how different his position was for him perception is a matter not of classifying objects that are intuitive directly but it is a it is perception particularly the perception of a newborn baby it's just a field of raw intensities intensities of color intensities of aroma intensity of flavor intensities of texture intensity of sound intensity of temperature but not now the temperature that we were talking about now is fair temperature which of course has some relationship with real temperature but I don't care about that right now well like here right now it's about failed subjectively consumed so to speak temperature intensity of pressure so your mother is hugging you a little too tight and you can't even breathe but you can feel the pressure and as he says low intensity replicas of this intensities that he calls ideas so for instance when I remember right now the flavor of strawberry and I think the you to your relative flavor strawberry yes I remember the flavor strawberry is because you are replicating that that intensity at a much lower intensity of course but nevertheless you have kept a memory of that flavor there is not a representation it is a weak creation at low intensity of the original sensation able is obviously being also operate Sounion notice in that very same book and vice-versa in his book on birdsong he talks about him the similarity between the two remember that for birdsong memories were not representations memories were not snapshots of a scene that you remember so a for instance you now have a beauty where once in a wooden cabin home I suppose here with you okay normally have lecture in New York so I had to picture you know like this is ideally play button right here and that there was a fireplace with a fireball beautiful flames there was a music playing some beautiful melody but you right now can't recall the name there was a you know that one of the windows was open and the smell of jasmine just drifted through one and you smelled it and so there's all this intensity is going on you can add a companion if you want to so that you can have some romantic love right next if you know add you're on your own ingredients if you want to write then years pass by and you are in a complete different situation when you hear the same music or you smell jasmine or you are in from a completely different fireplace and then you remember that memory what bird son would say is that what we do when we remember what we are reminiscing that way we are not fetching a snapshot of the fireplace scene we are reliving the original scene at a lower intensity that's a very different conception of memory it's memory has a recreation as a reproduction so that what is stored in our brains is not a snapshot or a movie but rather their means to produce the original experience and much lower intensity you can never really reproduce your real experience in his full vividness by the way Hume doesn't use the word intensity he uses the word vividness so when he talks about idea this idea that less vivid I'm writing intensity just to keep it in the same Miller that we've been using not to introduce any new terms so tell us so that there was a similarity between verse son and Hume in that for Hume ideas are also you know if when you remember the flavor of straw area you remember the flavour of pineapple if you remember the smell of jasmine if you remember the touch of your loved one you are not fetching a representation and classifying it on your self-concept you're reliving the original assemblage of the intensities at a much lower level of vividness of course of course that's going to depend on the different types of the imagination that everybody has there's a very different idea so one of the one of the things that we need to ask here though is what gives structure to this field of intensities because here we already have an answer concepts form a system they are related to one another systematically by simply by language by linguistic practices and so it is from that so from those relationships between linguistic categories that this acquires accessibility its unity it's you know the fact that I know I can't turn around and then turn back and this thing will still be there scare the hell out of me follow this learning was gone for him that cannot be the case because he's not using any word so he cannot use the system the system anticipatory of order so he strung he says something else it is habit or routine which little by little takes the newborn baby which the first three months is living in a in a you know in a field of raw intensities without making being able to make sense out of anything a little by little between three months old and six or seven months old the whole thing just acquires its or so it's by following a certain amount of routines but is so so again we're talking about action we're talking about subject the deepest objective that is inseparable from behavior so it needs to be an embodied subjectivity not just a contemplative subjectivity and it needs to be an objectivity in which the body is doing new things now he doesn't just say habit or routine he says habitual associations between intensities and there's this coming three times things that are habitually together in space or contiguous in space and that the next the next day that you see them they are still twenty contiguous in space and the next that you see they're still contiguous in space you are going to tend to believe and you form that thought that they will be continuous in space forever so the baby he sees his mother face right or her mother space the eyebrows are always on top of the eyes the eyes are always on top of the nose the nose is always on top of the mouth and you see that configuration over and over and over again then you start seeing that face as an object if for whatever reason the baby so that the mall one day with the mouth underneath the eyes but the following day the mouth was where the ears are and the ears are coming out where the eyes are and the nose is coming up at the top of the head that they would not have a chance to ever see faces as permanent objects right if something about permanency in the real world that allows that to happen so that is continuty in space the first type of habitual Association the second type is continually in time the baby sees that when he throws the ball and hits one of his little toys the moment the coalition occurs the ball changes direction and the toy falls down and he throws the ball again and when he sees the coalition of her he sees that immediately after that that the toy that was collided against falls down he sees for a first he sees it for a third time so now he begins to associate the event coalition with the event object collided with falls and begins to acquire a notion of causality the ball caught the coalition of the ball against the toy causes the toy to fall down but the only thing that matters for hume there is the fact that they are contiguous in time that immediately after the collision occurs the toy goes down finally there are relationships of resemblance and here we do have to appeal to some kind of inborn sense of resemblance which would not be very hard to explain evolutionarily because I said just like organisms learn in their lifetimes species themselves we saw that yesterday when I said that species are individuals species themselves have their own memories only they are memories over many generations they're things that have been learned by the species of ravenna generations with which those animals already are born with the problem with similarity is this I mean this is why we need some kind of inborn criterion of relevance of similarity because similarity is a very tricky relationship any two things are similar right we can now say that this is similar to this because both have some kind of rectangular shape right so you're appealing to the shape but we can say that this is similar to this even though they are not rectangular because they are – they both objects are black we can say that this is similar to this table even though they are different color because they are both implant on planet Earth or something like that or they are both going at less than the speed of light or they are both not elephants right I mean there are a million or an infinite way of irrelevant ways of saying that two things are similar so obviously we need to be born with it before the human a theory to make send is the third form of Association we need to be born with a way of of telling relevant similarities from irrelevant similarities I would argue that that sense of relevance is something that the species as a whole learns over many generations another four there is it up it adds a little bit of an inborn aspect to this let's not as to that by the way can also means that can means causality to be inborn because he doesn't explain it by experience we are born with a sense of causality so if he's not going to be you know talking about God gave us that sense it must have been also something that the species learned over time so two very different things now the lists prefer this for one reason because the ego the self is simply a contingent crystallization in a field of intensities but the field of intensities doesn't lead the ego to be what it is in other words to lose and he would make a big distinction between the mind and the self the self is what is a crystallization of ovulation a territorial ization within the mind but the mind can continue to exist even if the ego has been diminished Delors not human therefore emphasizes delivery deliriums not just as a pathological state delirium not just as saying well look at those people are crazy they don't see like ourselves but delirium as something that could actually guide you in your theory of normal mental function as if delirium was not as if the lunar was just a state in which your mind can be now think of how many different ways you can enter into a delirium a fever 105 degrees 106 degrees so sudden you start seeing things having fever or isolation going into an isolation chamber I you know an incredibly high dose of alcohol begins to fool around with your subjectivity vertigo and I must add just from personal experience psychedelic trance like that obviously the Lewis actually does mention them he calls it psychoactive drugs I gotta read by the way had to take him because he was working at Laborde as an experimental psychiatrist or statement of psychoanalyst Laborde force it forced you to take acid in order to induce not because you're gonna become skits it was that it was a it was a cleaning for schizophrenic not because we were going to become a schizophrenic because the hallucinations excusive framix are actually audited or oral as opposed to visual so it's not the same thing but just to treat me just so that you lose a little bit of your neurosis a little bit of your you know self secure feeling that this is normality and this is what human beings should be and so you will stop treating those poor people as if they were like inferior beings instead once you take some acid you will start treating them as well does you are right now where I was when I took acid only when I took acid if they had asked me to do anything else like drive your car pay your taxes or do anything social I would have ended up where you are right now because I would not have been able to do so to give them a certain kind of empathy they gave battery some of the psychoactive drugs so they don't they don't ever write an entire chapter about it but it is obvious that they do consider them one way in which this crystallization could melt them if it's just a crystal it's just a solidification well then you can answer anything that interferes with habit or routine even something without chemicals at in a prison camps or rather you know like during World War two they the prisoner comes over the Koga concentration camps one of the favorite weapons by guards was to disrupt the formation of routines by the prisoners prisoners would try to form some kind of would try to give their life within the prison some kind of order by creating some kind of routines and the guards would disrupt them if they saw that this guy is doing some similar performances every day then they would try to you know give him something else to do or order them not to do that precisely to prevent them from having a stable perception which in turn is a condition for stable thinking about escaping about rebelling and so on and always keeping them this stabilized now quite clearly didn't make him elucidate they didn't put him in a state of delirium but nevertheless do something that interferes with routine so routine and have it obviously for him work basic in order to keep the stability of perception delirium and just as the last point it will main it's important because when you are in a delirium however it was caused you don't go unconscious you don't pass out if you passed out they wouldn't be a delirium just be unconsciousness right but your ego is greatly diminished I nevertheless that red that I'm seeing here is still part of my consciousness that loud you know police siren is still part of my consciousness that aroma of you know shish kebab is coming through the window is still part of my consciousness this texture of this rug where I'm you know sitting on it's still part of my consciousness meaning consciousness is still there even though the cell has been diminished which means that consciousness does not belong to the South indifference of repetition chapter three which is the main the main section for the list considered subjectivity in fact that is his theory of subjectivity he coined the term larval selves sort of like mini egos but but but but not well-developed egos kind of egos that our bodies with our organ citizens that they don't they have not develop any kind person ality or anything attached to each one of the intensity so that that red color is perceiving itself that that aroma of shish kebab is proceeding itself as if every intensity that inhabited your field of view once you're in a delirium was perceiving itself the way it does in eg you can even disappear and the delirium continues now that's the important thing about a delirium that is not unconsciousness it is a special state of the mind a special state of the mind that shows you that the mind doesn't need the ego it means the ego to be able to function socially obviously to be able to be able to have conversations with people to be able to keep your commitments to people to be able to work you know at an office and or an organization and show up at nine o'clock in the morning and leave at five o'clock to be able to make money for your family all of that stuff you would not be able to do if delirium every single day is religious rather obvious but nevertheless are some means to get to what the mind is without the ego the list considers this a very important tool so it's not a pathology it is in fact a means for philosophical investigation so we have these two guys notice by the way the words general particular here because that's gonna be very important in what follows now what I want to do this could continue now is conversation along psychology lines you know this is this is philosophy right just our two philosophical positions of the West objectivity is but we could also benefit from thinking about psychological insights the program with in other words non philosophical but more more of an empirical investigation after what subjectivity is and the problem with that is of course that there are 10 or 20 different schools of psychology completely incompatible with each other we have only one hand psychoanalysis which is important it tells us some things that I may not believe in such as the Oedipus complex the Oedipus complex seems to me something that could be real but only in nuclear families in the Western world and perhaps the late 19th century when they were very close and very autonomous in those conditions yes you may fall in love with your mother and you may wanna kill your father and you may feel that you've been castrated but would that still work in a tribal society in which extended families are the rule in which is a baby your past from the arms of one mother to an aunt to a second end to your grandmother and you are made it may even be breastfed by different women and you never actually see your nuclear entirely isolated from everybody else but you always see a multiplicity of people around you with something like the Oedipus drama be able to flourish through those conditions and so but that's not the only thing that Freud said I said many other things Freud said for instance with the spirit of Freud sorry Sigmund you're over there if I said many other things that are important and that the list recovers in that same chapter in particular for Hume desires can only be for things that you already tasted so you can have a desire for pineapple right now because you have a memory of a flavor of pineapple well you may have a desire to smell jasmine again because you've already smell jasmine but you may want you may desire that moment the touch of your companion because you've already experienced the touch of your companion but what about all the million different finishes that there are right in which what really turns you on is not has nothing to do with a body nothing to do with with something you know that is a piece of food a piece of fruit a piece of perfume but just a high-heeled shoe attached to a leg but the leg might not even be attached to the rest of the body in fact in my actually freaked you out because what you are concentrated on on your object what really Jonesy owned is just that silhouette with with a specific shoe or and I just chose the most obvious case of a of a perversion there are all kinds of different fantasies that can be that can be played out and that people are not fully aware of why they can transform pain into sexual arousal how they can transform humiliation into sexual arousal how they can transform a million things in fact just about everything since transformable into into sexual arousal now that needs a separate explanation because that now you're detaching section rather from Jenny tality you're detaching sexual arousal from any anybody me or the intensive singularities of your body we do have a body that's mapped by intensive singularities the tips of our nipples certain parts of our genitals certain parts of our anuses you know they we are born with peaks of maximum intensity at those places and the Liz does a wonderful job in a book called logical sense of kind of mapping the body of the baby on the basis of those singular nouns as I wanna see the baby was a body without organs in which you know I'm talking about a two month old baby or a newborn baby but that it's already capable of feeling as the model touches you to clean in and so on that certain parts maximize intensity or certain other parts minimize intensity and as you can see if you could start building a sense of your body image starting with those points of maximum intensity tips of the nipples and so on but perversions show us that the body can actually be made intensive in an entire variety of ways with an entire variety of feelings that can be transformed into arousal some of which like masochist feelings that you would never think you could because you can imagine humiliating someone as being arriving I cannot even imagine that but with you satis is what kind of easier for me to imagine that ISM than masochism because humiliation is so painful but nevertheless humiliation can be alchemically transformed into sexual arousal within parameters and with the right arm I mean this is why the Marquis de Sade is a it's a good thing to study or Bart's for the Marquis de Sade whichever one you prefer because it clearly is a ritual the clearly is a – this transformations it's not just an alchemy that every anybody can do I remember the first time and the only time actually I went to an S&M Club in New York was when I was first arrived in New York I walked into the bar it was called hell's fire and that very appropriately was you had to go it was like the meat this trip with the Meatpacking District and you had to go downstairs like a million downstairs dinner you big red light you were down you were walking down into hell that's that was that was the image there and as you entered and you were at the bar there was a torture chamber in front of you very well built with you know beams of wood and all the different chains and hooks and and things and uh you know I didn't last very long but as I was drinking my beer you know that's a Mexican of 23 years old what the hell did I know but there was this naked woman sitting down on a chained to a chair it was this huge black guy dripping wax from a lit candle into her breasts one little dot at a time and you know I was fascinated by the scene because whenever you know whenever you're tripping what's working sometimes you can make a mistake and drip a blob just too large when he dripped the blood that was too large she would look up and say hey what's up with him and that's that's too large you know you have to keep them small and even though one was supposed to be the dominant on the other was it dominated if both were playing a game in which in which is important that the alchemy work just right it was only pain of a certain intensity that she could transform into sexual arousal past that threshold it was distracting and so that does the end of my anak they were expecting anything much much more kinky you know the end of a metaphor but the point being it was the first time that I understood that there was a technique had to be followed that it was not just hey let's inflict pain on this person by you know banging her with chairs or something like that you know it was a technique that had to be followed it is an alchemy it was an art and I can imagine that but in order to account for that art we need to go beyond the intensities that are given in our body the ones that I just mentioned the point the singularities or intensity in our own bodies and I start thinking about intensities that are imagining there are now part of your mind and there are now your fetishes began all of this is disclosed by the verse in Chapter three of difference and repetition so we could go with Freud that was that all of this just to say that one we could go also with Keqiang Piaget is her thesis contemporary or a little later but had a completely different approach to things he he wrote mostly about his children he actually made a pretty have three kids and he followed them from one month all to three years old four years old writing everything in detail he literally made a career out of children but follow them as they structured space this is Piaget's view with their own bodies for Piaget you need to crawl in order to learn certain relationships like being behind us or being in front of you need to crawl and reach with your hand in order to learn on top of or underneath in other words all those religions are not conceptual our behavior and if you don't do not let the baby crawl and investigate and explore he will never structure space the way it is supposed to be structured via this relations we have these spatial relations of behind in front on top underneath I like that that is that is something that is very compatible with him because the baby is building our routine out of his Franz is the beginning of starting to routinely explore a particular space and finding that things that were behind are still behind the things that I wear on top are still on top finding that there are permanence is at least temporary permanence –is that he can routinely count on to be there to be recognized so we could go with Piaget we could also think of this for him and he says this extensively there is no sharp distinction between animal perception particularly mammalian perception your dog your cat your horse and human perception whereas for Kant or neon Campion's there's a very sharp distinction between the two those three animals don't have language don't have linguistic categories so unless they have some kind of species learned categories which I do believe they have because dogs can you know you can do experiments with dogs and in which you you can see that they can see similar things you know you train him to bark when they do when they see two similar stimula and they do bark you know and then you afford to give my reward and so on we have to – to – to give them that habit but clearly they are not seeing two similar things you know the infinity of ways in which they could be similar all you are these two things are there will be barking all the time to complete different things while these two things are similar because they are called on planet Earth well you're a smart dog aren't you you know so they must be already be born with filters for irrelevance ease now I develop a little theory of that in my my do book philosophy and stimulation I'm not gonna go over it because you have to go away insects on stuff but I try to develop some kind of theory as to how those filters for relevance were formed before we appear in this planet in other animals you'll be simply inheriting them from the Apes that we come from so we could use Skinner with the Skinner is the one who taught us how you learn habits via rewards or finally we could go with Chomsky under post Chomsky ins cognitive psychology and start thinking just simply in terms of learning and how things are learned now obviously you probably already anticipating the answer you know I'm going to use all because there's always a little bit you know they all got one thing right the problem problem with them is that they thought that they had a complete theory on its own whereas a hundred years from the original statements we can see well he thought it right here and this other guy got it right here and this other guy got it right here so let's just put the whole thing together let me know before I go get me before I move on say two things two conceptual things that we need in order to get this right first of all we normally like to say that when I perceive this this is meaningful to me in the sense that I you know I feel you know I belong here this is not problematic I'm not like totally anxious as to what this is no this is meaningful to me and many psychologists say the same thing about subjective experience subjective experience is typically meaningful to the person who experiences it the question the problem with a word up is that the word meaning has two meanings and I can already see historians of the future laughing at us or not having seen this particularly people who build their careers out of hermeneutics because if you're in a Herman edition and you're trying to derive meaning from things that you don't understand that the word meaning has two meanings well that's kind of ironic isn't it one of the meanings is signification a very linguistic sense of the word you are in the middle of a conversation and swampert exists what do you mean well one of the one of the possibilities is that the person is telling you I didn't understand a word that you just said can you define that word you use that strange word what what do you mean by that word and so he's is a request for a dictionary dictionary definition or in the middle of a conversation somebody says what do you mean and you might and they might be a request for a disambiguation of a sentence the person understood every single word but one of the words in the sentence has two different senses like Bank that can be a place where you put money or a place a thing that you sit on and the context doesn't disambiguated so the person goes what do you mean and it's a request for a disambiguation in both cases you're asking for the signification education of words significant of sentences this is about semantic content semantic content of a single word or the semantic context or the whole phrase that is a very real sense of meaning I would never dare to say there is no such thing as semantics right one thing I'm using language right now as we speak and I'm not choosing my words carefully prasad this was not to sound on big years and i'm trying not to use any funds in a word without first giving a definition the moment yesterday when I use the word algorithm I said immediately algorithm yes that's an infallible mechanical recipe so obviously unconscious of semantic content and conscious of the way it can be abused and I'm conscious that I need to stick to the clearest form of signification on the other hand when someone comes to you for advice perhaps a little shaky and perhaps a little tearful and he says to you man just my life has no meaning I don't understand I don't even want to live anymore my husband my life has no meaning I'm not living a meaningful life if you answer to that question hey I'll give you a dictionary and I'm going to give you a dictionary definition your friend would look at your like body I came to the wrong place did not or if you try to disambiguate history is just stuff it's just an ambiguity in your life I can help you by disambiguating it's just that he's not asking for this when someone says my life has no meaning what they say is they are not talking about significant there significance but entirely different thing significance has nothing to do with language has to do with relevance importance which are pragmatic notions not semantic notions or the best definition that can be its capacity to make a difference and notice the word difference again when your friend comes to you and says my life has no meaning what he or she says is look I feel irrelevant to everybody around me I feel entirely unimportant to my wife and to my kids and to my friends I don't feel like I make a difference in the life of anyone I don't make a difference and I don't make a live difference in the life of my friends I don't make a difference in the life of my co-workers I don't make a difference in the life of my students I feel insignificant I feel this sense has nothing to do with language now of course you can make a difference with language Martin Luther King speech I had a dream made a huge difference and he was just delivering a speech but you can also make a difference without ordering a single word if you go right now take a plane go to Haiti and start helping with a reconstruction with your lips entirely shut and you didn't even open your mouth but you're helping out you're making a difference in people's lives with your actions without ordering a single word so there are two very different things now animals clearly absolutely no idea about signification even even if your dog seems to come when you say certain hey fighter we're going on and it's all excited because it is not because he understands the signification of the words we're going up but animals do attach significance to things in particular animal perception is all about dividing the objects of your perception into those that offer you opportunities for action and those that offer you risks for action and those are things that are significant that is significant because it offers me an opportunity to e that offer a significant it would offer is me an opportunity to walk in a particular direction that is significant because it offers me a risk to die or a risk to fall down or risk to get jury animals can make judgments of significance at least mammals and birds I'm going to try to extend this to insects and reptiles and so on that's a matter for empirical investigation but we know from from animal psychology that birds on them and of course every pet owner knows this every pet owner knows that he is for her dogs his or her cats know that certain things are important and the certain things are just entirely irrelevant and that they attach significance to actions so for Hume for whom human perception is continuous with animal perception significance comes first signification one second for Kent and the neo-kantian there is a sharp break between animal perception even chimpanzee animal personalized are closer to closest cousins animals with whom we share 99.9% of our DNA we could be any closer if we wanted to but they work they would they don't handle language at least not without training everybody knows you can teach language to chimpanzees and you know sign language but you can you have never seen a chimpanzee teaching sign language to another chimpanzee never so we can assume from data that they simply do not have the capacity they have a capacity to learn a language if a human Traynham trains them but not not a capacity to then teach it to other chimpanzees so they are they don't have this capacity nevertheless they do attach significance the main offer on this named J James Gibson and the book is called an ecological theory of perception and it's exclusively about animal perception James gives them points of term which is a neologism the terms affordance for the opportunities and risks that surface layouts in the environment supply you with let me give you examples you are a coyote large enough mama and you're walking here your legs tell you simply by touching the ground that this flat surface gives you supplies you with affords you with an opportunity to walk the moment you reach the edge of the lake and you go like this with your palm and your paw goes through the water you don't have to have the category drowning or water or liquid or anything your your muscle still in this is this is not supplying me with an opportunity to walk it might supply you with an opportunity to swim that's a different thing now affordances are relational that Lake might not give you an opportunity to walk but it gives a mosquito an opportunity to walk and that it small insect like that you see him walking on top of the surface tension of the water same surface tension that creates soap bubbles and you can see him walking on water like like a little Jesus you know so what the environment affords you is a matter of capacities to affect Coble to capitalist to be affected rabbit running from a fox the rabbit sees a small hole on the sides on side of the mound and it immediately knows that that hole affords it or supplies it with hiding place because it's small is it's not too small that it rabbit won't fit but it's small enough that the Fox won't fit all right so if it's a smart rabbit you won't go into a big hole that the Fox can chase it into it goes into a small hole but it can hardly fit nose I think that the Fox is only going to be able to fit the mouth or that you know so that's another affordance you think of another example what gives a gives oh okay a cliff and I believe I was mentioning that yesterday a cliff which is just basically a discontinuity in the surface of the ground and then a sense of very you know height when you perceive it as an animal you perceive it as affording you a risk you're proceeding as affording you the risk of falling you don't have to interpret it hermeneutical because first of all you don't have meanings in your head so you couldn't interpret it if you're explaining it to yourself you're not interpreting you're explaining it to yourself this is gonna kill me if I go over that Cliff is going to kill me so environment is filled with with opportunities and risks and evolution has turned our brains animal brains to be able to perceive the capacities that things have to affect us and the capacities that we have to affect them but again we're still talking about perception so there can be misperceptions we're not talking about the objective world so for instance when you take a kitten you put two tables like this and then you put up a piece of very completely transparent Plexiglas on top of the two tables and you put the kitten over here and you try to then to push them to walk on the Plexiglas even though we know there is not gonna fall down because the Plexiglas sustains it the kitten is going to do anything in it how not to be pushed over the plexiglass the kitten perceives a cliff perceives the danger that a cliff affords them and you want to go over the Plexiglas that shows you that it is not the objectivity of the thing that we're talking about right now just the perception of the danger right because although I think if it was able to get you the thing the moment the cap touches with its Pollock Plexiglas you should be able to say hey this is solid I can walk on this and yet in experiment after experiment or experiment you cannot push the kitten over the Plexiglas because it's perceptual system is telling an a this affords you danger don't go there so we can have a a detachment of reality from perception we can have misperceptions of danger we can have misperceptions of opportunities you thought that was a fruit you thought that was something edible it turned out not to be it's thought that it was something that afforded you nutrition it turned out not to be so even though I'm including a little bit the outside world right now we're talking about clothes and by talking about solid ground by talking about the surface of a lake is the surface of a lake is the ground is the cliff as perceived by an an and not necessarily visually but also with proprioception also with muscular perception now if we don't make this distinction guys we make all kinds of mistakes in our philosophy literally live animals alone Reiner anthropologists like Clifford Geertz for instance he is a genius the guy he invented basically single-handedly cultural anthropology and his thick descriptions of it of the cultures that he investigated are so rich that you can use them nevertheless he systematically confuses the two meanings of the word meaning that is the way in which his interpretation of culture his main book starts we humans live in a wave of meanings because everything becomes significant to us by doing this and then we attach significant to this and he's using both words as if they were synonyms and of course yes you know it we both have meanings in terms of the semantic politic we communicate with with language and we both have attached significance to our lives you know whether we see we're making a difference in our family's life so we're making a difference in our friends lives so the significance of signification are both part of what our lives are but they are not the same thing and if you if you conflate them you end up with a theory that turns out to be false cleaver gears theory of culture by conflating those two meanings of the word meaning it becomes almost useless you can take his thick descriptions out of the book and they are still very important because they don't depend on this distinction what depends on this distinction is this theory of culture so my advice if you're going to be writing about culture keep the distinction between significance and signification always in mind just a piece of advice now this help is another distinction that is important for us to have here stink-sons drawn by a British philosopher from the 1940s his name is Gilbert Ryan he's still worthwhile reading partly because he was neglected by future generations he was very important when he was alive once he died very few people read his books names will be booked the concept of mind it goes in the machine several books very clear very analytical Gilbert Ryle introduced extinction into having I'm moving right now on a little bit to how we learn from experience this is we're still within the within the subject matter of subjective experience but we want we want now to know this given subjective experience how do we learn from it how do we learn from what we perceive but that of course is going to apply a definition of knowledge how do we acquire knowledge from experience Yoga Wright made a distinction and I mentioned this yesterday but because yesterday the talk was a mess like a salad of like a million different things I'm gonna clarify it today between knowing that and knowing how both followed by a blank now knowing that is the type of knowledge that we all know about is bookish knowledge is know is knowing truths as expressed in sentences in declarative sentences right declarative sentence is simply one has a subject a verb and an object that's it a sentence that expresses or refers to a state of affairs such as Christopher Columbus discovered America in 1492 or the hydrogen atom has only one proton in its nucleus or the Red Sox finally broke their their curse in 2000 and whenever it was three or four right sentences so it's linguistic knowledge this is followed here by a clarity of sentence now as yesterday I have to make a technical correction here the object of our knowledge is never a sentence the object of our knowledge is the meaning of that sentence meaning is in the sense of semantic content the meaning of a semantic on the meaning the semantic content of a sentence is called a proposition don't ask me why that's just a standard term and as I said yesterday a proposition is what the sentence snow is white has in common with the sentence linear a is Blanca they're two sentence saying the exact same thing in two different languages what do they have in common well there meaning same proposition two different languages so I should have I should have put their proposition but too late so knowing that is very real it's about as knowledge linguistic knowledge is knowledge that uses representations if they kind of knowledge that you get from reading books for instance knowing how it's always followed by a verb in by an intransitive verb when you tense up when you say to be or to run is on intransitive ISA event infinity one has what sugar does wanna go infinitive sorry I freaked you out there it means you put your own spot an infinitive verb the Loews is in love with infinitive verbs because infinitive verbs expressed events drawn to slim decline you're not you're not using any subject you're not saying this guy climbed the rock in such-and-such a day you're just referring to the pure event itself and as a whole thing about infinitive verbs I'm not going to go into right now the point is that does not even spell correctly what am I talking infinitive verb so I guess I already mentioned it yesterday but you know I'm going to rush that way know how is things like knowing how to swim knowing how to write a by symbol now those are is according to Gilbert Ryle every philosopher since I stole has neglected this type of knowledge even though it is extremely important most things actually are not think about knowing how to read or knowing how to write to basic skills that you need for a literate society you don't learn those by reading books obviously you learn them by doing I'm practicing so and learning how to be convincing with language learning how to be funny with language that's not language itself now those are skills in the use of language so not how is everywhere I'm going to give you a couple of the more material examples just to make the point knowing how to swim knowing how to ride a bicycle know know how in general is taught by example and is learned by doing is not taught by telling like knowing that knowing that is installed by talent you know someone tells him well you know that this guy you've killed himself oh my god you know dilutes 90-95 you know that the Lewis killed himself no I didn't know that you know that you learn something by someone telling you a sentence about a state of affairs and now you can say yes now I know that the Liz is dead the little is killed himself but knowing how is not learned by anyone telling you anything your father has to go on to above the bicycle and actually write a little bit this is how it's done and then you have to go on the bicycle and do it over and over and over again until it becomes our routine until it become something that you don't even think about it until becomes second nature so it's taught by example learn by doing a very different type of knowledge I'm going to stop the class necessary to have a little break I just remember to finish my thought here you cannot learn how to swim unless you jump into the swimming pool you need to form an assemblage with a water and you need to know that the rhythmic movements of your body propel you in a certain direction if they are of a certain time or keep you in the same place in swimming pool but floating if they are of a different time and you have to do it over and over and over again until you are confident that that that embodied knowledge is something that's going to prevent you from drowning you cannot learn to ride a bicycle by reading about bicycles watching videos about bicycles or anything having to do with representations of bicycles you need to form an assemblage with a bicycle a piece of solid ground and a gravitational field that is going to allow you to fall down one way or another and you need to learn in your body in your muscles that are at certain speed the bicycle keeps itself up and you don't need to exert any more control but if there is a traffic stop stop in front of you so you're going to have to slow down now you're going to have to exercise more control or exert more control over the bicycle because you are now below the threshold speed any kind of know-how knowing how to paint knowing how to draw knowing how to compose music knowing how to design knowing how to write you know well our forms of know-how you don't learn those you might learn those by consulting a few books you know there are sometimes good very good swimmers that in addition to being good swimmers they're good at articulating what they learn during swimming those are rare the majority of experts they know how to do something but they don't know how to explain how they do it right it's a rare expert that is both able to be good at it and then put it into words so that other people can actually you know save some time learning that but that's not going on the best book by an expert is not going to save you the fact that you have to use your body as a whole in an assemblage with a bicycle in an assemblage with water in a similar way pigments and canvas in a similar with a musical instrument so you can learn how to play guitars or you can learn how to pedal out of pain to your coming how to sculpt or whatever know-how has been neglected for so long that it is amazing to me that philosophers can go on top talking and talking about knowledge as if know how did not matter when they destroyed ubiquitous is everywhere now and this is the last point I'm going to make before taking the break my father is a painter is that watercolor painter and you are going back to perception because my claim is going to be that perception it's not the scene learning how to see more colors learning how to hear more sounds is a matter of training your eyes by repetition and exercise and not a matter of reading a new label and putting a reward in your head so my father is a painter and since I was a little kid he used you know he'd never wanted to teach me how to paint because he thought that painting was led to a bohemian life and he didn't wanted to be a bohemian little Mahina it also backfired but he would tell me well you see the difference between these two red colors and I was a kid would say no I don't that I mean they just look the same red to mean um this has a little more blue this has a little more orange and you see it now I can see it that and the question now is I'm not going to go through a whole thing about my dad on me right the whole thing is this he obviously got those colors from two little tubes from Windsor new color which had a label one was called crimson red and only Wallace called vermilion do you have do you believe that she was able to see those two different colors because he knew the word vermilion and crimson and by learning those words also magically he was able to see the two colors or was his ability a form of know-how a way of training your eye to discriminate finer and finer or subtler and subtler differences between colors my answer is that vision is a matter of training and it's a matter of no ha it's not a matter of reading the labels now having the categories and then using the categories to categorize those two colors and the reason why I never learned to see those two colors it's not because I didn't learn the names of tubes or paint I know I'm telling you right now with strings a number million it's just I didn't bother to train myself training takes time training takes willpower training takes discipline if you don't have any of those things well you don't develop the know-how so you see less things it is case less colors and your father sees so perception is plastic you can't alter you can make it better you can distinguish cellular shades of colors you can hear like many classical musicians can hear higher harmonics that most of us cannot hear and for them that is very important many aficionado as the classical music hate digital sampling precisely because the sampling however tiny the more than the sampling eventually gets rid of some of the higher harmonics which for them is what gives color and warm to to the sound and you know I hereby CD with that exact same piece of music acts like it sounds colorful and warm doing you know because I don't hear those higher harmonics because I never had the discipline the willpower and the patience to train my ear to hear those higher harmonics so perception itself is in a large or a large extent a matter of know-how now we introduce two important distinctions signification and significance I know that and know-how my thesis is that perception visual or otherwise is about assessing significance this what's meaningful to you in your perception is not because it's endowed with categorical meaning in the Kantian sense but because it off because it is important significant it makes a difference to you either as an opportunity also or as a risk that's one one way of saying what is meaningful about perception and I also said that perception is plastic you can train your perception to see subtler subtler distinctions microscope is telescope is your astronomers have to do that they have to train themselves to see certain things not see certain others and see certain distinctions and so a my point there is that they're still not depending on language acquisition is not know that it is know how it is skill it is a capacity so questions about that yes yeah so it seems to me that there's that's already is have system set up relational differences and what you have is language so you we're talking about this a little bit right but if you give your certain musical savant you never learn any notational system you never learn anything about language our music relative to the sort of second order language that we have for resumes you learn it all simply by distinguishing more and more finely between different notes and half notes sharps and flats and all this then you have what you've done is you have just learned language you have learned that as a leverage rather so it's not that it seems hard for me to see that in terms of being as opposed to language in the way that I could for instance sort of see the tick's differentiation between you know this is something that I dropped into this is not something that dropped into having dropped in this is something that I buy this is not something that I buy I can see that okay now give me an example now a little closer to us because I you picked an insect than a composer you know something like a dog or a cat how those are dog acts like how does a dog learns to catch a frisbee I'm the or learns to ride you know it to serve on the waves how is that dog learning a language I guess dogs here are a mystery the dogs are is a poor example of animality outside of the room okay so because you're so so substantively co-evolved and you know like the way dogs when we actually have experiments that look at how the dogs process spaces and the way they process canine face and all other species is one thing and the way they process human faces is the way humans process human faces so because we have domesticated them for some okay well then let's take a wild I'm like a tiger or coyote how does a coyote or when wolves learn how to hunt together and had a trap deer against up against a cliff right they do that right they begin moving on them and then they trap them against a cliff they know that they are not going to jump over the cliff how do they learn that are they learning a language I mean I'm inclined to say yes but that's not the same as English or Arabic or whatever but what you're pushing or you're pushing a metaphor now right you're saying like they're learn language metaphorical why would why would they be satisfying for you to say they are learning a skill like in other words learning how to ride a bicycle for you is learning a language the language of the bicycle so I start by saying semantic content is the basic metaphor we actually don't have semantic content nailed down somewhere so we have an idea of semantic content semantic content is what's in a dictionary yeah but as read but as a physical question right besides it being what's in a dictionary what we think we mean when we talk about semantic content happening in in communication that's the extra dollar that we don't have that localized somewhere in the brain that provision warriors areas but we have no idea what the they would have to do with semantic content so semantics I'm not sure of where I you hear that doesn't necessarily that doesn't necessarily have a clear reference it has a very fuzzy referent and I would say that once we say that then saying that these other things aren't languages by saying that what they don't have a semantic content becomes a lot more problematic since we don't really know what we put in other words you want to on one hand assert that human language doesn't really exist in the sense that we don't even know what is funding this on one hand and on the other hand you want to say that animals like coyotes have a language so you know what you're weakening you're weakening the notion of human language so much so that it can be shared by coyotes now your is that your strategy it's because mine is better because you know when you distinguish knowing that from knowing how right knowing how becomes a perfectly well-defined thing is something that you teach by example you teach you how to catch a frisbee to your dog by example you didn't talk to the dog right and then it learns by trying by doing my experience by trying it over and over and over again learning knowing that is the kind of thing that you learn the moment someone tells you that the loose died yesterday how is that fussy well the traumatic content of that is the person named the loose that's what the loose means right died is not alive anymore as of today how's that vague and fussy because we know I mean really we know that right since since they're concerned that what's happening said a bunch of things that turned out not to be true in the sense that he never developed a theory remember if the big concern on philosophical investigations he's posing problems in there it doesn't have people miss Reed Vivian Stein when they think that he's actually telling a theory like when Vivian Stein said how do we know that when you point you're supposed to follow the line from the wrist to the finger as opposed to from the finger to the wrist and that's it that's the end of the entry in philosophical investigations right so he's just posing a problem which is a good problem it's very symmetric you know of course you have never seen a culture anywhere in the world where you go look at that anybody looks in the opposite direction never ever not even dogs do that right but what videos I wants us to do is not to assert that both directions are equally likely is exposing the problems that we think about it what breaks the symmetry well I would answer Lou big my friend what breaks the symmetry is the fact that even though we are symmetrical left and right we are not symmetrical front and back we have our faces to the front and are on our and you know next to or to the back and that by itself breaks the symmetry of front and back that's why most people when you do that read it risk to finger as opposed to the equally possible finger to wrist because the symmetry has already been broken in the case of driving on one side of it of it of it for the road or driving on the other the symmetry is not broken and so most people drive on the right side and it British because they're British drive on the other side line is equally likely and hence we have both realizations in this world but we don't have the realization of people actually going you think they're stupid if you go look at that you know it's like oh man you never really learn how to point right so–but Constanta just not to make fun of the other point what he does in it philosophical investigations he never offers a theory of anything he problematizes things so it's because his style and I love that stuff it's a good style philosophers should pose problems you know i'm problems can be your different kinds but mostly our ye questions why do people look what do people read this wrist to to finger instead of finger to risk as a problem so he poses it so that the audience or the reader thinks about it to make you think so the problem with quoting vidcon's thing often is that is to assume that he was actually asserting some theoretical claim when he in fact isn't it just leave his posing problems I actually agree with that except for that I think you can pretty reasonably say that stable throughout the practice and the philosophical investigations and the sort of laid unbelief these other sort of bits and pieces is the sense that what happens in learning language especially but in lots of different kinds of art is all in there knowing how and the production of certain kinds of experience in ways that make talking about semantic content really really problematic especially if you're going to base the idea of knowing that on semantic content as opposed to kinds of knowing how and so the way the language games work I think am I reading a bit consigners not total anything is fine you know he did define meaning us use right if he said it many times meaning is used but that all that meant to say is that the particular Mantic content of a word it's not something immutable something that the front that is exact same from the moment someone coined the word to our time because words change meaning with time right the question here is remember we were talking about this this morning how fast is the change because of the Himalayas are changing I said this morning but as far as we're concerned they are right there and they are not going one millimeter matter what you tell me yeah beam and yet we know they are changing because of the lasers that we can measure that so meanings semantic content do change but change slow enough so that within a generation you can specify meaning as dictionary definitions perfectly well as long as the wars have been in use for a while you know ample yes you can then you can then compare our use of a particular word where the use of that word say 500 years ago and and do not is that the meaning has changed so I guess I guess what you're saying is that semantic content is not eternal or semantic content is not on it it's not a fixed and I would agree with you semantic content changes the question is what rate because if it's up as a slow and off rate then as far as we're concerned say that semantic content changes visibly or significantly every 20 years for those 20 years it was pretty fixed and when someone asks you what do you mean by that word and you gave the dictionary definition of that word you are specifying the semantic content that within that 20 year period is the semantic content so the clear distinction you want to draw it's not going to hold water because it depends on rates of change now I agree with you another thing a lot of the things that we do with language and this is why it's important to noting calling about video sign but his followers like Austin you know how to do things with words to do things with words that at that point at that moment you do involve know-how in language for instance knowing how to be funny knowing how to be persuasive with language knowing how to be concise knowing how to be precise all those are forms of know-how because they're they're ways of the deploying work for specific uses and so I would agree that know-how infects language through and through because language is not something that uses itself you need you need a user that is particularly good particularly skillful at being persuasive particularly spool is skillful at being at moving people around the troops with language all those are skills that are applied to language with our nevertheless forms of knowledge which are which are acquired by practice not by communication right right and I think my point is that so when we talk about know that and know how as though these were post categories we're making kind of a category error in that are you saying that they faded to one another only shade know that taken from one perspective is parasitic there's no how no semantic content is a phenomenal and certainly this is our structured my systems of nomad systems are themselves parasitic on experiences that extend that when you are going to teach how to ride a bicycle to your kid you use language to comfort him or her reduce language – you know I reassure you I will be there and I won't let go until you are sure you on your own you do you you do use language as a as an adjunct as an extra tool but that your kid is never gonna learn how to ride a bicycle but simply communicating to him what it is to ride a bicycle right so it's not a matter of communication it's a matter of using your body and that language is going to be stored in your body that's why you don't ride a bicycle for 20 years you get on a bicycle and it's right there it doesn't have the same type of forgetting as I'm willing to grant so that we can move on that they are not mutually exclusive categories okay I'm willing to grant that in fact sometimes and this is going to happen tomorrow for instance when I'm going to try to get rid of the word capitalism another one big pain in the ass word right and when I begin drawing the distinctions between economies of scale and economies of agglomeration which are two industrial styles of producing you're going to raise the exact same question but don't they fade into one another is in this aggradation rather than to a post system and I'm gonna have to say yes it is I present them in stark contrast each arms because I'm trying to make an impression on you guys confusing knowing that and neglecting knowing her or rather is emphasizing knowing that which most philosophers do right because for Aristotle the syllogism was based on declarative sentences all humans are mortal Socrates is human Socrates is mortal that's all that I wasn't doing know how right that's just sentences with their meanings and whenever you see people like Kant or like Hegel writing about the syllogism as the ultimate invention in logic just as I said it yesterday and I talk Kant thought of the syllogism as one of the three main examples synthetic a priori you see them a sub primitive you know be precisely because the syllogism doesn't really do that much nevertheless it's a technology the wars with no that is it this is this will become clear when I get to talk about artificial intelligence because artificial intelligence is divided into two completely different schools one called appropriately symbolic artificial intelligence deals with symbols this was representations and deals with rules to manipulate representations the other school of artificial intelligence called connectionism and produces neural Nets neural nets don't use a single representation you don't program neural nets you train you to do face recognition to do a motor skills and so what neural nets allow it allow us to do for the first time particularly now that they are 40 years or 50 years into their into their existence if they have given us for the first time on technological paradigm of what know-how is no that has been in the focus or in the limelight of philosophers because the syllogism was so impressive to everybody and it was a piece of software as I was saying yesterday and I was not I'm not trying to put our stalo down hell 2500 years ago to write an algorithm that still works today I mean let me see what algorithm and everybody's running today is going to be alive 2500 years from now that's a major achievements I'm not putting him down it's just that it was one of those achievements that flying through the blinding achievement he was so great that everybody thought everything is just a matter of deductive logic everybody is just a matter of handling declarative sentences and passing another meaning but another one other semantic properties their truth or the truth values truth and their falsity buddy so that if it is true that all humans are mortal and if it is true that Socrates is human then it is necessarily true that Socrates is healed or the Socrates is mortal either way that impressed so many people for so many centuries that it entrenched know how to know that as the only or at least the most important form of knowledge now of course know-how was defended in many areas like the guilds or the Middle Ages you know metallurgical guilds carpentry guilds pottery guilds textile guilds where they knew the importance of their know-how and in fact they kept it secret well you needed to be initiated into the guild before you were trained into that art they didn't want just anybody to come in and and get those skills right so within gills they valued know-how and they undervalue know that there are very few men to logical Texas one I believe in the Middle Ages one famous one anyway one metallurgy it was more about of knowing how to use the hammer now we have to melt the metal knowing how to recrystallize it either slowly by air cooling it or fast by quenching it and it's all the kinds of things that you'll learn as an apprentice to a master metallurgist the same thing with carpentry and joinery the same thing with pottery of different types not only that the creation of the pottery but the baking of the pottery the same thing with textiles in all there are different varieties right and philosophers tended to think that that was a lower type of knowledge precisely because you were using your hands you were working with your hand that's a class prejudice as a class an elitist prejudice that we now have to erase because it has been dominating our thought for so long right and so what I was going to say is that for the first time we have actual machinery that learns how to do things actual machine with that without a single representation in it it's all about intensities so about what computing units are activated are excited what all the computer units are not excited or activated and by creating patterns or activity patterns of activation and intensity they learn to associate patterns in the outside world like faces or letters or whatever with patterns of internal activation and so next time that they see that phase next time they see that later they sign they see that tree they the pattern of activation that was associated with it comes up and I go up so that's a tree that's a house but they never compare one representation to another and to me that's a very very important step because because the the software add that I stole invented was so impressive that he blinded us to all the possibilities Gilbert Ryle brought in the 1940s for God's sakes and he was a disciple of Wittgenstein we had to wait on till the 1944 somebody to say this that's that's scandalous if you think about it because that's a denigration of the human body and that is always thinking about the mind as disembodied the mind is contemplative as opposed to an act a mind that's embodied you know in a body that's filled with skills you build things you change things to fix things you walk you want to do things right we want to have an emotional intelligence and an ocean of knowledge that goes with activity it goes with action and that goes with social practices with the social practices as action that has a certain regularity to it social practices like surveillance like punishment like in imprisonment just to mention the bad ones those are so

5 thoughts on “Manuel DeLanda. Deleuze, Subjectivity, and Knowledge. 2011”

  1. I suppose the objection that was never raised here, but which is, it would seem, crucial, is this:

    There is already a confusion in the very distinction between "know that" and "know how".

    For "know how", there is no "knowledge" as such — there is mere mimicry or imitation or habituation and so on. This is Aristotle's "techne".

    Knowledge, goes the counter-argument, just IS explicative and propositional. In order to know x at all it must be possible to give an "accounting" of how it is that x comes about. That is, knowledge is something determined by the intellectual effort to know by an investigative inquiry. A propositional articulation that "x is the case" is the result of an inquiry into x itself (the causal structure that determines x's occurrence as opposed to its non-occurrence). And this is Aristotle's "episteme". Now, the place of this business of "knowing how" is constitutive of, as the student was trying to articulate, a system of generating a propositional articulation of the "knowing that x is the case". That is to say, knowing how is the condition for the possibility of knowing that x is the case. And this resolves the confusions over the difference — and, as usual, it is a confusion between necessary and sufficient conditions.

    Of course, on this view here (the counter-example I am supplying, which relies upon Aristotle to an extent), animals don't have even the capacity to know anything. Animals don't "know how" because the don't know at all. They, rather, do this or that, and imitate, and that's what their perceptual systems are good at doing. But animals often get lots of things "wrong" (horses running into burning barns, insects eating their mates' bodies after copulation) but of course, these are in some evolutionary sense, or from the standpoint of their purely psychically undetermined nervous systems, absolutely "right".

    Because of human beings' profound capacity for memory and reflexivity, which is certainly of a linguistic nature (and functions representationally), we can be said to properly "know" the world, and thus the uniqueness of the human — the "animale rationes". We shouldn't loose sight of this. Language is constitutive of our being, and our being — our capacity to know how in order to establish that conditions for the possibility of knowing that x is the case (by the giving of an account or "theory" of it) — determines the conditions for knowledge as such. Only rational creatures can "know" which is also to say: to conceptually determine the world to be a certain way or other. This does not apply to animals (I want to claim). They build but build integrally; we build and build radically destructively, assertively, and imaginatively in a way that is absolutely alien to the rest of the natural world, animal kingdom and so on…

    It follows that there is a deep conceptual confusion in Prof. de Landa's view here. Why do we need the category of "knowledge" to extend to the animal and non-human world? The ecological notion of relational "affordance" cited can do just fine on its own, in connection with the wetware, hardware of animals. Language is a radically important phenomenon and most certainly is constitutive of "knowledge" as such (as I demonstrated above); it is a unique capacity — but only for those with the structuration of a world though language.

    Now certainly, we are most likely not the only such creatures with this "rational" propositional capacity for knowledge. The more interesting question for me is not to democratize the category of "knowledge" so that all our fellow creatures get into it, but this: what are the bounds of the plasticity of the zones of sense-intensity, that allow for the possibility of knowing how (i.e., through the body), and how does our knowledge-field get territorialized by the predominance (for socio-cultural/contingent reasons) of just one such zone (say, the visual). Moreover, what would 'knowledge' be like if, for example, it wasn't the eye that was the master-form of signification for knowledge, but, rather, the ear or the tongue or the skin?

  2. It's one thing to be incredibly well read and knowledgeable about philosophy – that's obviously an achievement in itself. It's quite another to be able to articulate and communicate ideas of this level of abstraction with such flawless clarity and elegance. I could listen to these lectures all day. Thanks so much to EGS for uploading these!

  3. The two meanings of the word "meaning" somewhat correlate to Jung's distinction between thinking- and feeling-judgment. Signification is produced via the thinking function (which is not the same as having a thought, but rather "thinking-through" — one can think about feelings, or can think about sensations or intuitions). The judgment of importance/salience/relevance is produced from the feeling function (which is not the same as having a feeling: one can feel a certain way about a thought etc)

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