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Laruelle First Impressions

May 02 2021 Published by under Uncategorized

I have now read some Laruelle on philosophy of Difference. I find the obscurantism of his writing particularly daunting. I am not sure he knows what he is talking about or whether he is just lost in his own private language. There are some good ideas there but difficult to isolate from the overall mis-mash of allusions to the philosophies of others that it is not clear that he understands. When one reads Zizek and he elucidates other philosophers more likely than not he will shed some light on their thought and help you understand it in a new light. Laruelle does not seem to be engaged in that sort of elucidation. Rather he makes unverifiable statements about the work of others that renders them more incomprehensible. Despite this he has some interesting ideas as part of the overall architecture of his thought that seem worth while. But it is hard to get a handle on what those ideas really are and what they mean due to the embeddedness within an overall philosophical structure that is difficult to comprehend. I really wonder if it is worth the effort to actually attempt to pull out the ideas that I think are good from the morass of other concepts that seem artificial and utterly unhelpful. I do not think that Laruelle himself is going to give us any more insight into the philosophies of Badiou, Zizek, Deleuze and Derrida.

It is interesting to compare him with Lacan. Lacan is utterly untrustworthy because he has the idea of Psychoanalytical Theory as Surrealism with a perverse twist that is ultimately very Narcissistic. Lacan is trying to confuse you and mislead you on purpose. This is why we need Zizek’s interpretation to stabilize the ideas and put them in a context that makes them interesting and useful in philosophy through the comparison to Hegel and Schelling.

Laruelle on the other hand seems to have developed an architecture of ideas that is interesting globally, but when he tries to explain that with reference to other philosophers he does not offer us any help.

I do not get the idea that Laruelle is fundamentally dishonest and a trickster like Lacan. Rather I get the idea that he has produced his own private language and has gotten lost in it himself. And he just carries on without trying to find his way back out of his own confusion. My impression is that he has the idea of applying Bataille’s General Economy to Philosophy itself seeing it as a restricted economy. And this would be very useful if he had not made some very bad choices along the way as to how to portray the relation between the general and restricted economies of philosophy in relation to all thought. He appears to be taking randomly from other philosophers ideas and attempting to reconcile the without fully understanding them. Because if he cannot explain them to us so we understand them then there is something wrong. Other Continental Philosophers when they explain philosophers that they target or borrow from usually make them clearer and more interesting rather than making them more obscure to the point of unrecognizability. It is unclear whether what is interesting in Laruelle’s architectonic could be extracted to build up a real alternative exploring the meta-system of philosophy in a way that is helpful rather than merely getting us more lost like Laruelle himself appears to be. I think a reset is needed. We need to go back to the original insight that Philosophy is a System (restricted economy) and that all other thought is a Meta-system (general economy) and start over. This much is a much needed and interesting approach to philosophy. It allows him to treat philosophies of Difference generically. It should allow him to see patterns across philosophy that otherwise would be obscured.

He has the idea that you can take the philosophies of difference and contrast them to a philosophy of One beyond Being as Plotinus says is a kind of reversal of the dominant trend. That could have been interesting. But then he connects that One to the Real which is an Aspect of Being and opts of Immanence. So he makes choices that may not be globally wise in the end and it seems that when he tries to defend these choices and contrast them with the philosophies of Difference that is when he starts to get lost. He seems to have gone whole hog into non-sense with his unchecked private language and what he says does not bear much resemblance to what those philosophers actually stood for and said. He stays a generic level when talking about them and does not explain in detail the difference between his ideas and theirs sufficiently.

One thing I really liked was the idea that Philosophy was like Euclidean Geometry and he was trying to develop the non-Euclidean geometry counterpart to Philosophy, i.e. its General Economy in relation to Philosophy’s Restricted Economy. But that would lead to us wondering what the difference between Hyperbolic and Elliptical geometry would be. And I think there is an answer to that. The Elliptical is the assumption of the One and the Hyperbolic would be the use of Finitude. If he stuck to that I think it would have been interesting, but he seems to diverge from that insight.

But reading his text on the Philosophy of Difference made me think about in the context of Schelling’s Potentiates. If we interpreted Indifference of A3 as in-difference, i.e. of the Real-One, i.e. absolute then we could perhaps interpret the other potencies along these same lines. He distinguishes the (non)-One from the Real-One and sees that as a kind of affirmation. And then it further devolves into a Thermalized Transcendence which is contrast to Immanence. We could see A2 as the affirmation, and A1 as that thermalized Transcendence. This would make Schelling a proto-Laruellian. This would probably deepen our appreciation of what Schelling might have been doing. And it might give some basis for making other choices in the construction of the Laruellian architectonic of the General Economy of thought beyond philosophy.

In general I think Laruelle had the right idea describing the field of philosophies of difference as a general economy and philosophy itself as a restricted economy. But I think the philosophy he built up is all wrong in its choices of how to picture that alternative approach which he eventually calls non-standard philosophy rather than non-philosophy. Definitely Philosophy is a restricted economy and philosophies of Difference live within that restricted economy based on some sort of decision like he says. But how they live together and what is the general economic field in which they live is completely different than Laruelle suggests as far as I can see given this reading of just one of his books on philosophies of difference. What he treats as generically the same across these philosophies does not appear to hold and it makes you wonder if he really understand them and their incommensurability very well. Much better is Forms in the Abyss by Steve Martinot. This is a much better approach in my opinion. Martinot’s translation actually works while Laruelle’s approach leaves a lot lost in translation it appears on first glance.

I am not sure it is worth while reading Laruelle’s work in a reading group setting. People are having a hard time understanding the standard post-moderns. Pushing up to a non-meta-level that is merely confused would not help them at all in my opinion. What we need is Laruelle’s intervention done right. That would be very helpful. We cannot be responsible for saving Laruelle if he cannot save himself from his own confusion. It is hard enough to save ourselves from confusion given the difficulty of the texts we are reading.

We cannot trust Laruelle for different reasons than Lacan. Lacan is actively trying to trick us an to obscure his own tracks so we cannot follow him. So we have to verify everything he tells us in order to separate grain from chaff. There are some brilliant things he comes up with, some pearls among the garbage. Laruelle instead is confused himself but acting as if he knew what he is talking about. So we have to separate out his confusions from the occasional brilliant insight. Most of those insights have to do with the basic idea of applying Bataille to philosophy as a restricted economy. This is something we would like to see worked out in a way that makes sense. Unfortunately Laruelle seems to have tried to work it out but got lost in his own private thoughts and ideas that do not connect in any clear way to the philosophers he is critiquing. Lacan’s good ideas are local and not global. Laruelle’s good ideas seem to be global and not local. So it is easier to correct Laruelle’s architectonic and start over placing it on a new footing. Unfortunately, most of what he says in detail would have to be rejected. Lacan on the other hand has these nuggets that are brilliant like Anamorphic objects but the overall system he produces is merely a surrealistic mess. Zizek does most of the salvage work for us. What we need is someone to rebuild Laruelle’s non-standard philosophy with some deeper understanding of the tradition that is being critiqued.

A major problem is picking the Real aspect and privileging it and identifying that with the One. Real is just one aspect out of four. They are all the content of Being. We could follow Plotinus and see the One as outside of Being. But if it is outside of Being it should not be identified with the Real. This I think is the source of the confusions of Laruelle. It is a category mistake he has made which keeps compounding.

Another choice needs to be made. Also valorizing Immanence like Deleuze over transcendence is also an error. Real-One is identified with Transcendence. And it is contrast with the Immanent realm of Difference. This is also a category mistake in my opinion.

These category mistakes just keep ramifying until everything is confused.

But the first idea that philosophy is a restricted economy and that it needs to be contrast to a general economy of thought and likening that to non-Euclidean geometry in relation to geometry. That is an excellent thought. We need that. We need to consider the field of Continental/Analytical Philosophy as a System and compare and contrast it to its meta-system. All the various philosophers we study in recent continental philosophy fit into that field and that field does define the world we live in. If we could characterize that field in general we would be a lot better off.

We can think of Laruelle as attempting to simulate Jasper’s philosophy starting with the Transcendent rather than either Kierkegaard or Nietzsche based on Bataille’s ideas of the General Economy in relation to the restricted economy. He wants to reverse the idea of Difference prevalent in more recent continental philosophy by going back to the One of Plotinus. But connecting that with the Real which is an aspect of Being is the problem. This category mistake throws the whole architecture of his thought off. Also seeing the One in terms of Identity compounds that problem. If One is separate from Being as Plotinus says then it cannot have the aspects of Being as its content. It must be something else. But assuming that the meta-system has the One as its background is probably not the only solution, should we just reverse the obsession with Difference? Mere reversal as Heidegger says is usually a mistake.

What we really need is a non-Laruellian treatment of non-standard philosophy.

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Extension of Inside Theory and Outside Theory

Jan 26 2021 Published by under Uncategorized

Over at Applied Category Theory discord server Sven Nilsen and I with others have been having a conversation about his idea of Inside Theory and Outside theory that is relevant here. See


I will reproduce the text my conclusion about our discussion here.

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Interpreting Beyng

Sep 20 2020 Published by under Uncategorized

In Heidegger’s Contributions to Philosophy: from Ereignis the Guiding Question is about Being; The Basic Question is about Beyng the source of clearing-concealing that is lost in oblivion, i.e. not raised as a question within the tradition except by Heidegger, so he says.

Two key points. Beyng is what you get when you question Ontological Difference as the primary assumption of Fundamental Ontology which Heidegger did and which no one in the French reception of Heidegger’s work in Being and Time did question which is amazing when you think about it as they were questioning everything else. The other point is that Beyng is onefold, strange and unique. In Beyng all the meta-levels of Being are mixed together and there is no difference between Beyng and being unlike Being which is different from beings.

This debate is playing out on the Continental Philosophy discord server. See

Message link:

I agree that Being is equal to the clearing within which beings appear as present. Being is the presencing itself that makes the clearing in which beings appear. But Beyng is something deeper that is only realized once you get rid of Ontological Difference between Being and beings, i.e. that there is a source of both the clearing and concealing. And to have that you must reprioritize Lethia over Alethia because that source is utterly hidden in oblivion, Being is forgotten but Beyng is lost in Oblivion. Being is striated, i.e. there are different kinds of Being (present-at-hand, ready-to-hand) but Beyng is unstriated, in it there is no difference between kinds of Being, but also no difference between Being and beings. It is onefold, unique and strange. Onefold because all its differences are internal, like topological differences in exotic topologies. It is strange because it cannot be differentiated from beings. When we see beings with this topology they are weird and uncanny. You can have a being that specifically embodies Beyng. It is unique because it is a specific exotic topological surface and not Chaos. Differences here are like internal differences in Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition. I also relate it to Barad’s Meeting the Universe Halfway. These are differences of diffraction not reflection such as you get between the different kinds of Being. See Barad, Karen M. Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning. Durham: Duke University Press, 2007.

Being cannot be the same as Beyng because Heidegger differentiates them. If they are the same then Contributions makes no sense because there is no difference then between the Guiding Question and the Basic Question.

  • Places where he talks about Ontological Difference: 197, 335, 367, 368, 369
  • places where he talks about Basic Question: 61, 161, 183, 184, 360
  • Places where he talks about the Guiding Question: 61, 162, 183, 184, 248

The analogy I thought of was that Beyng is like the Forest, while Being is like the clearing in the forest. The Forest as a whole obscures a lot of things within it. But it has some clearings that are open so that things in them can be transparently present to each other. Things entering the clearing and leaving it participate in clearing-concealing which is made possible by the fact that the forest is there surrounding the clearing. Mostly we look at the things in the clearing and do not think about the fact that this clearing is making possible our seeing the things in the open of that clearing. The clearing itself is forgotten as is Being. But we are oblivious to the Forest as a whole that makes the clearing-concealing process possible. Beyng is the origin of the clearing and thus makes the clearing-concealing possible. Given any particular clearing in the forest there is Being which is the openness of that particular clearing. But the entire forest with all its obscurity and all its other clearings that it supports are Beyng which is lost in oblivion, not just forgotten. As oblivion Beyng is closest to us and invades us rather than receding from us. Beyng is unstriated while Being is striated, in other words Being has meta-levels while Beyng does not and Beyng cannot even be isolated by ontological difference from the beings in the clearing as Being can. You literally cannot tell the forest apart from the trees in Beyng. But for Being there is a clear distinction between the edge of the forest and the things within the clearing. An example of a living organism where the tree and the forest are the same thing.

Details of Argument at one place where Heidegger mentions Ontological Difference in Contributions.
Excerpt from Heidegger’s Contributions section 107 page 197.
“And in this way the character of the guiding question is reflected in the distinction between metaphysica generalis and metaphysica specialis. In the guiding question, a possible coupling of metaphysica generalis and metaphysica specialis is no longer an issue at all, since they are indeed coupled in the way just named, a way that is very external to beings and afortiori external to beyng. Utterly groundless pseudo-questions arise here as long as the unrecognized basis of the guiding question and the distinction between the two disciplines are from the start taken to be self-evident.”
1) “The confusion increases altogether if a solution to the question is sought with the help of the “ontological” difference developed in fundamental ontology.”
2) “For this “difference” is indeed not a way of approach to the guiding question; it aims instead at a leap into the basic question.”
3a) “And it does so not in order to play vaguely with henceforth fixed terms (beings and being) but, rather, in order to go back to the question of the truth of the essential occurrence of beyng”…
3b) “and thus to grasp in a different way the relation between beyng and beings,” …
3c) “especially since also the interpretation of beings as such is transformed (sheltering of the truth of the event)”… 3d) “and it becomes impossible to unwarily smuggle “beings” in as “represented objects,” “things objectively present in themselves,” or the like.”
1) The confusion is between the two questions guiding and basic. by applying “ontological difference” as is done in Being and Time as Fundamental Ontology. Why is this? because there is a deeper difference between Being and Beying not recognized in Being and Time. It makes no sense to say the ontological difference between Being and beings on the one hand and Beyng and beyngs on the other. That would mean there are two differences stacked on top of each other. The first difference is between beings and the clearing that they are in by which they are present to each other which is normally forgotten because the openness is a background to the appearance of everything. The second difference is between the clearing in which disclosure happens and the prior closure that is necessary for that disclosure to appear. That prior closure makes possible the clearing-concealing dynamic that happens in the open clearing in which beings appear. In the deeper difference between the whole forest and the clearings within the forest all the other kinds of Being (present-at-hand, ready-to-hand, and being crossed out or what ever meta-levels of Being might exist all collapse together and cannot be distinguished from each other or from the beings in the clearing or in the concealing.
2) The deeper “difference” is not the way to approach the guiding question, instead we need to jump to the basic question which is about what gives rise to both clearing and concealing that occurs in the clearing that is the openspace in the forest. We need to look at instead what gives rise to the forest with all its clearings which is lost in oblivion not merely forgotten.
3a) The fixed terms are Being and beings. instead we need to question the truth of the essential occurrence (ereignis) of BEYNG. How does the clearing-concealing of the whole forest with all its clearings come into existence prior to any one clearing in which there is a dynamic between Being (as openness of presencing) and beings (things that appear in the clearing) come about. There truth is deeper than just Alethia, but it is the meta-disclosure based on prior closure of dynamic of clearing-closure. Heidegger is stepping back a whole level from what Being and Time is concerned about and looking into where disclosure-closure as a dynamic process of truth comes from along with the showing-hiding of presence. Contributions is a much deeper philosophy than that in Being and Time. And all this was necessary to solve the problem that appeared when Heidegger tried to write Division III. He is solving two problems by going to this deeper level. He is afraid of infinite regress of kinds of Being. But he is also trying to solve the problem of the Transcendent Being being different from Immanent Being as seen in relation to Dasein in the part of Being and Time we have. When we step back to this deeper level Being in itself as the transcendent and the Immanent Being of Phenomenology can actually be the same thing belonging together at this deeper level.
3b) here we can then talk about the relation between Beyng and beings. We can say that Beying is onefold, strange and unique. That there is no striation in Beyng, no meta-levels, in that way it is like existence. No difference between Beyng and beings. No difference between Being in itself and Being as immanent projection of dasein of the world it finds itself in. But the problem with it is that it is relatively impossible to think about. However, Heidegger finds a lot to say about it. And that is because he thinks there are two beginnings. There is a beginning of Metaphysics that projects Being and its difference with beings, for instance in Parmenides. But there is another beginning in which this difference is not projected and the problem of Transcendence does not exist. This move is almost exactly like the one that found dasein prior to the distinction between subject and object. Here we are talking about a state of Beyng that is prior to the distinction between Being and beings.
3c) The interpretation of beings are themselves different in relation to Beyng as opposed to Being. There is now a sheltering of truth of the event (ereignis). Sheltering because Beying itself is lost in oblivion and is closed to our inspection. Like the Earth in relation to the World in the Origin of the Work of Art. It is a meta-disclosure so there is a truth to it like Alethia but at the meta-level where it is the process of clearing-concealing itself which is either disclosed or closed. But at this level the showing-hiding of presence and the disclosure-closure of truth have collapsed together. These aspects of Being are different at the level of the guiding question. But at the level of the basic question they appear to have become the same thing. It could be that identity and reality the two other aspects have collapsed together as well. It is very unclear what the nature of Beyng might actually be because it is intrinsically obscure.
3d) beings are transformed by having Beyng permeate and pervade them and by not having the contrasts of the various striations of Being. Like I said it is like the trees of the Pando forest. Every tree is intrinsically part of the forest and not a separate individual all of them connected through the roots. It is like interpenetration or intra-inclusion theories of existence you get in Hua Yen Buddhism of Fa Tsang. But instead of being translucently the same they are the same in some obscure way through the underside of the underneath of Being which is Beyng that is like the Earth in relation to the World which is based on the transcendence of Being that appears in relation to the immanent phenomenological experience of Dasein. Dasein seems unaffected somehow by this transformation. Heidegger maintains the concept of Dasein as central, but now it is experiencing ereignis a much deeper unfolding of experience at the level of Beyng rather than Being.
It is not that Beyng is not the clearing/concealing because Beyng gives rise to the possibility of the difference between Being and beings seen in the Guiding question. But when we graduate to the Basic question then we realize that the Guiding question was a bit superficial because we did not ask where the whole dynamic of clearing-concealing came from, what was its source. It is pretty amazing that Heidegger went on to develop this much deeper philosophy beyond Fundamental Ontology by questioning ontological difference. And my guess it was because he was afraid of what he thought was an infinite regress in the meta-levels of Being, which turns out not to the the case. But primarily it was because he had to find a level where Being in itself as utterly transcendent was no different from the Immanent projections of Being by Dasein which it finds itself within that were assumed to be the case by Hume and Kant and taken over as an assumption in Being and Time by Heidegger.

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Notes on ‘Why is Being not a being’ in Heidegger’s Being and Time argument?

May 26 2020 Published by under Uncategorized

Notes on Why is Being not a being? Good Question.

[My responses to this question from discussion of Heidegger Being and Time reading group on Continental Philosophy discord server. See]

Being as an Entity is God, i.e. the supreme entity that creates all others in the Western tradition. God as the Supreme Being is the subject of what Heidegger calls OntoTheology which a way of summarizing the Western tradition which says you cannot separate Ontology and Theology in the Western tradition. God is Transcendent and is Being as Transcendent. It was Plotinus that said that the One was beyond Being, i.e., that there is an Absolute beyond Being. This of course raises the specter that God as Supreme Being is something lower than the Absolute and this in fact is the Duality of the Divine in Gnosticism. Heidegger does not consider Being as a being because that would make his work Theology rather than Ontology. This is the confusion that Spinoza embraced when he thought that the Universe was God. Spinoza identified the Supreme Being and the Cosmic oneness and thus embraced Pantheism. One way to solve this kind of problem is to distinguish the Absolute from God in the sense of Supreme Being who might be identified with the Kosmos. It was a way to create a rational picture of God and to avoid the pitfall of trinitarianism and the whole problem of the fundamental vagueness and unscientific nature of the Bible. The Absolute in a way is the dual of Dasein. The absolute is a way to avoid the problem of Spinoza of confusing the Kosmos as Creation the Creator. The absolute is the focus of negative theology which says we can only say what God is not, not what God is, so God is absolutely transcendent. Not relative to other “persons” or avatars within the trinity, not relative to its creation. What God would have been on his own before creation of the Kosmos. The absolute is a way to get rid of the dualities of theology, like Creation/Created that was the pitfall that Spinoza wanted to overcome by just identifying them. Dasein is a way of getting over the duality between Subject and Object that was a problem for Husserl.

Ok, I will try again. I would argue that Being is not a universal as presupposed by Heideggrer in B&T and by the Western tradition in general. Being is only in Indo-European Languages. People who would distinguish Being from beings, i.e. uphold Ontological Difference, are assuming it is a Universal as well as Abstract for the most part and that beings is neither particular or concrete. But if it is not universal that means there are other Standings, or instance existence (Wujud) which are in various varieties as existentials in other languages that are not Indo-European. But this also implies that there is a Genus of Standings which are differentiated into different species of Standings like Existence and Being and perhaps others. This has bearing on you question. Because a basic assumption of Fundamental Ontology is that not only is a being different from Being (Big B) but also Being is a universal, and is abstract rather than concrete and particular. And this does not even touch the assumption that we are using a Set-like frame rather than masses to understand Being. In India they use pervasion logic and for them Being is a mass like the Sea in which there are instances of beings within it. And that is why Emptiness which is the denial of Being is also seen as pervasive cancelling out ‘Sat’ with the fundamental denial of Being. If you extend beyond the Western worldview our vision of the place of Being within the Western worldview then we start seeing that Being has limitations not contemplated by Heidegger in B&T and which makes us think perhaps it is more like an abstract entity than or at least like a generalization that has exceptions. But in fact from a linguistic point of view Being itself is an exception among languages.

Existentials are the Rule in languages and Being is the exception only appearing as a standing in Indo-European languages. But at most this makes Being a Generalization or an Abstraction not concrete as either a particular nor an instance.

But you are jumping ahead because Heidegger himself questions whether ontological difference holds in his Contributions. Beyng is considered Onefold, Strange and Unique. In it Ontological difference breaks down and there is no entity nor either the normal abstraction or generalization.

Heidegger himself questions whether Being is a being, and eventually decides that just like he had to get rid of the duality between Subject and Object with Dasein he also has to get rid of the duality between Being and being.

But no where would Heidegger say that Being is a being because that is tantamount to saying that this being is God in Ontotheology, ah but that is what the avatar of Christ is, oops.

The position that you are giving here that Being is a being is what Plato in the Sophist calls the Men of Earth who only believe in what is in their hands, they are the uninitiated. The initiated are either those like Heraclitus initiated into the lesser mysteries believe in the unseen and think it is flowing. Those initiated into the greater mysteries are like Parmenides or Zeno and believe in the unseen and think it is static. The Sophist is the Hierophant who says we need change and changelessness at the same time, which is supra-rational and is like the WorldSoul which is a moving image of Eternity in time. The Hierophant knows about the fact that there is a third kind of Being as Plato says in the Timaeus (Chora, receptacle) which is like the DifferAnce of Derrida, i.e. differing and deferring. What we will find out as we go along is that there are Meta-levels of Being and present-at-hand and ready-to-hand are only the first two of these meta-levels and Fundamental Ontology in Continental Philosophy has identified several others of which the third is what Plato recognized and Derrida focused on in his Philosophy and which Heidegger called Being (crossed out).

To me these arguments are moot because Being itself is paradoxical, if not the ultimate paradox in the Western worldview, so any argument about the status of Being differentiated from beings is going to be inherently contradictory. That is why I said it was an aporia. And that is why Russell’s Ramified Higher Logical Type Theory is the way to reveal the Meta-levels of Being which are classes or kinds of Being which are in fact discovered by Continental Philosophy and the beginning of that is Heidegger’s distinction between Pure Being (present-at-hand, nb. Parmenides) and Process Becoming in Action (ready-to-hand, nb. Heraclitus). This is my own nomenclature and interpretation. But it disarms analytical philosophy type arguments because it admits from the outset that this Metaphysical Principle of Being is itself ultimately paradoxical if not absurd, and in fact it goes to the extreme of being intrinsically impossible to make this distinction which Heidegger admits in Contributions when he defines Beyng violating Ontological Difference himself. Russell’s Higher Logical Type Theory was meant to deal with Paradoxes and so we can apply it to Being generating categories and types in a ramified hierarchy. But it turns out this is finite rather than infinite as Heidegger feared when he discovered Being crossed out (Hyper Being). But Godel shows that in spite of this compartmentation it was impossible to prevent contamination in Formal Systems and so basically everyone gave up and resorted to Simple Types. More recently mass-like topological factors have entered the universe of discourse of type theory establishing Homotopy Type Theory based on the Univalence conjecture. In terms of Analytical Philosophy a similar move to that of Heidegger by an Analytical Philosopher is Puntel, Lorenz B. Structure and Being: A Theoretical Framework for a Systematic Philosophy. University Park, Pa: Pennsylvania State Univ. Press, 2013.

But you bring up a good point for the whole group to discuss. Heidegger would say that you cannot even frame your question without pre-ontological understanding of Being by dasein.

The fact that you are framing your question shows that Being is an issue for you, and thus that you are a dasein from Heidegger’s point of view as we shall see.

I thought of another possible answer to your question which I agree that Heidegger does not answer, but only assumes as we shall see, i.e. that Being is different from beings. This question of Being becomes pressing if you read Formal and Transcendental Logic by Husserl because he does not explain where Being comes from in S is P within logic. This book came later than Being and Time I believe (1929). But Heidegger could have known it is was in the works. Its effective silence on what is Being raises the question implicitly about the nature of Being as connector between S and P. But the point is that To Be is a verb. The noun Being is derived from the verb. The noun is a reification nominalized verb from To Be. Thus when we say that S is P, the S here would be a being, i.e. a reified substantiated product of a grammatical operation. that turns the To Be into a noun that is a signifier indicative of Being. and we can see that as Being is a being, i.e. Being appears as a being. Or we could say beings are Being, reversing the proposition.

Either way we are substituting beings and Being into the propositional form with the unexplained IS mediating between them as a verb. But we can also just say Being is in the form of beings. or beings are in the midst of Being (as world) embodying Being in concrete form as instances or particulars or entities of some other nature. The upshot of all this is that the difference between Being and beings is Logical and Grammatical. But fundamentally Being is a verb to be and it is the verbal form that is different from the beings or the Being as reified generality, or supposed universal, or as abstraction against the background of the concrete. Being is different from beings as mediated by the verb To Be within the proposition. And from this point of view if we take Set theory as our model then Being is like the Set of All sets and beings are like the various elements that can be in the set and the is is some version of membership, a rarified kind of having. Note in Indo-European languages the roots for both Being and Having are the most fragmented. So there is some kind of internal relation between Being and Having in Indo-European languages. This is to say that possession of private property and the perpetuity of ownership fi simple is claimed to be eternal, i.e. perduring forever and this relation is inscribed at the core of the worldview as Natural Law of Mine and Yours as Kant says.

Or if we take Mass theory as our basis (as in Geometry and Topology) then Being is the mass and beings are the instances, and Being pervades the beings via the To Be that mediates. The key is that the Being and beings or S and P are reifications of the To Be that mediates. Set with its membership function can be seen to be on the side of Having. And that would suggest that Being and beings as Mass and Instance are on the side of Being originally. And this is emphasized by the fact that in India they used Pervasion logics primarily rather than Syllogistic logic in Greece and Europe. So you get Paradox on the Being has beings or a being has Being side. But on the To Be side of the duality you have pervasion which is known in Greece as participation in one direction and ousia in the other relating essences to attributes.

This would explain why there is the internal relation between Being and Having in Indo-European languages because it relates to the Set/Mass divide. And if that is the case then really we should be considering pervasion logics rather than syllogisms. Pervasion logics are basically Venn diagrams. It means that beings are instances of the mass of Being. And this explains where ousia and participation come from in Plato as the description of essences mediating ideal forms and copies. And this turns into the answer that beings are the copy and the ideal form is Being, and that the being participates in Being while the being embodies Being through ousia in the other direction. And this suggests that the To Be of the proposition is the essence that mediates forms and copies. Form in this case is a Mass and copy in this case is an instance with a pervasion relation between them. And this would imply that Being is a being by a pervasion relation, but if we switch to having then we get the paradoxes of Set theory. So just like the difference between Category Theory and Set Theory. Category Theory does not generate paradoxes. So to Being as Mass does not generate paradox but instead gives essences.

This argument will need to be fleshed out and inspected for coherence. But it basically says that the idea that Being is really a being is a fallacy of misplaced concreteness. The real Being is the To Be between S and P in the statement *S is P *and not the reifications of Being and beings that fill in the variables S and P which are reifications from nominalization of the verb. But it also says that we need to go outside the set-like prejudice of our worldview and realize that paradox comes from that set like presupposition and that the underlying basis of Being is mass, and that is precisely what appears in internal relations between properties within a substance that defines an essence.

This argument explains why there is the difference between the internal relations that are pervasive and the set like differences between different beings within the world that are different substances. This has from the very beginning thrown philosophers for a loop within the Western tradition. It explains where the Essence comes from that mediates between the forms and copies and why there are relations between ousia and participation between forms and copies. And it explains why Being and beings are not the real issue, it is really the connecting To Be within S is P that is the key and this is what Heidegger calls the ecstasy of existence, i.e. the projection of P onto S, i.e. attributes onto substance, predicate onto subject. In other words, this theory explains a few things that otherwise would remain without explanation within our tradition. 







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Apr 23 2020 Published by under Uncategorized

The LacanOnline video ‘A Tour of Lacan’s Graph of Desire’ is excellent.

Note that we could see the Passive Syntheses of the Unconscious as what is fused in Poincon. Notice that envelopment is the nature of Wild Being which I normally call encompassing following Jaspers. Development of the same thing, i.e. what is enveloped, is the connection synthesis. And then you have the opposites of Conjunction and Disjunction. It would be very much like Deleuze to take his entire theory from a single crucial point in Lacan’s theory. Poincon would then be the production of production. The Lozenge which is a supra-rational fusion connects the bared subject with the objet petit a. Bared subject is the subject under erasure, i.e. in Hyper Being (differance, nothingness). Objet petit a is an anamorphic object mediating the registers opposite the Phallus and mediated by the little piece of the real. Phallus is surplus that becomes lack. Objet petit a is lack that becomes screen or surplus as background. Little piece of the real is what interrupts the fantasy of the projection of the Phallus on the screen of the desired. See my interpretation of the Gilda movie. The anamorphic objects are glued to the Barred Subject by the synthesis of the unconscious of non-sense as the elements of Poincon within Wild Being. In other words, Anamorphic eventities are a surplus or deficit synthesized with the subject with Hyper Being, through the operation of Wild Being. This might even make sense ontologically.[11:42 AM]The Graph of Desire is the furthest elaboration of the oedipal regime by Lacan setting up the signifier (Phallus) as castration and thus Lack. But the key point is when the Subject as barred is synthesized with the anamorphic objects, and by dissecting this overall synthesis into its parts Deleuze and Guattari break through the representation of the Oedipal complex into new territory, i.e. the production of production rather than the desire of desire, i.e., Jouissance as the impossibility of satisfaction of desire. Rather in a Hegelian move we get satisfaction of desire and affirmation instead.

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California Systems Dynamics Economic Pandemic Recovery Model

Apr 19 2020 Published by under Uncategorized

It is quite clear that the California Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery chaired by Tom Steyer and Ann O’Leary should use Systems Dynamics Modeling to trade off policy positions that are being considered. This is because we are in a dynamic situation in which the Pandemic might return and it may be necessary to close down again after partially reopening. This dynamic situation in which there may be a resurgence in the viral load on the economy needs to be modeled in relation to the reopening strategies. Also, the goal should be future resilience and the model could help attempt to plan future strategies that will lead to greater resilience of the economy in the future against not just resurgence of Covid-19, but also against future pandemics.

So, the question needs to be asked what the form of such a California Systems Dynamics Economic Recovery Model should be like. How do we build such a model to support the work of the Task Force that will allow them to trade off different policy choices in relation to the dynamics of the possible pandemic resurgences that might cause the economy to retract again after opening? There clearly has to be a part of the model focused on the pandemic effects and possible contagion dynamics. On the other hand there needs to be a part of the model that focuses on different sectors of the economy. And another part of the model that is social and related to economic factors based on different behaviors of the public as they go back to work and start mixing again creating vulnerabilities for the continued spread of the virus. The right granularity of modeling must be picked based on the kinds of questions the task force has with regard to their policy recommendations to the Governor. Experts from various disciplines such as Economics, Sociology, Business Administration, Infectious Disease Experts and other disciplines need to have input into this model in order to make it robust enough. However, it cannot be too detailed to become unwieldy.

It is suggested that the place to start is with the Causal Loop diagrams that are fundamental to the way in which the dynamics in the economy and in the pandemic are understood. For us the rate of infection is unknown because of a lack of testing. Therefore, we only have a lagging indicator of the rate of hospitalization as the basis of our current modeling. Fortunately, we have been able to flatten the curve and to so far avoid the dire predictions that were first made with regard to the deaths from the pandemic. But the problem is that there is this fine line to be walked between opening up business and reinfection rates. And this is where good modeling could help policy makers attempt to understand different scenarios related to different policy choices in order to avoid unintended consequences. It is actually thrashing that has the most probability of causing harm to the economy. Thrashing means opening up then having to close down again quickly repeatedly. It is the dampening of this possible thrashing that Systems Dynamic Modeling might help us understand better before we make mistakes in our reopening policy recommendations.

My suggestion is that we divide up into teams that would create sub-models of the overall model. It is recommended that there be a generic economic sector model that is elaborated for each specific sector. And that there is a general economy model that represents that sector’s interaction with the whole economy. There needs to be a pandemic epidemiological sub-model hooked to various models of the pandemic itself and its dynamics. There needs to be a part of the model that represents government actions and then another part of the model that represents public response. The workforce needs to be represented and the relation between unemployment and reemployment. Companies and their supply chains also need to be represented in this model. In other words, it needs to be comprehensive with regard to the Pandemic situation we face but at a high enough level of abstraction so that it can actually help reflect the differences in policy choices that are considered by the task force. The model should be open to inspection by the public so that others might critique it and so we get maximum input into the model from experts in the various fields represented in the model. A public model would inspire more confidence in decisions based on the model than a private model. But this is of course a task force decision.

Here is the key to why such a model is useful in a situation like this. The model becomes a repository for your knowledge of the situation. It allows you to focus on what you need to know in order to make decisions which you can then build into the model. Then it gives you a place to plug in the relevant data as it is known in order to discover the impact as the situation evolves. It gives a way to focus on details as sub-systems within the overall model are considered by experts, but then there is an overall answer at the highest level of abstraction that can drive policy choice selection given different scenarios.

Systems Dynamics is a standard technique. There are many different experts in building these kinds of models who exist and can be recruited to help build it. It brings to the fore the dynamics one is concerned about which in this case is re-infection verses business functioning and the openness of the economy. This same approach could work for every state. There could be a shared model between states that is generic so that other states could benefit from the work on the California model.

I recommend that Systems Scientists in California and other experts who know how to build Systems Dynamics Models as well as disciplinary specialists cooperate to produce a model that Government and Business leaders can use to guide their policy recommendations and choices in these trying times.


Coda: To Sys-sci google group

Thanks to everyone for your comments.

I am reading this study with an eye to whether it provides a starting point for attempting causal loop diagrams.
What I think it is worth while trying to model is the possible thrashing of the system if there is a sequence of closed…open…closed…open… as a result of opening too early that looks likely in some places. When a machine starts thrashing that is when it can literally tear itself apart. And it is this possibility of thrashing that I think it is worth trying to model using Systems Dynamics in order to try to inform policy alternatives.
It is obviously a big job to produce a model like this. I am merely trying to raise awareness of the role Systems Dynamics could play in this policy development process in case the task force is unaware of that particular technique. A generic model could be created that could apply to any state not just California. The idea just occurred to me in the context of the discussion about the California task force. It is an opportunity to bring Systems Theory and Systems Engineering to the mind of people as something useful.
Kent Palmer

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The Future of Systems Engineering is to become EcoSocial Meta-system focused Synergistic Engineering

Mar 21 2020 Published by under Uncategorized

Fellow Systems Engineers–
I think now is a good time for Systems Engineers who are interested in Systems Science to think about what I said in this article about the Future of Systems Engineering.
Now is the time to start taking Meta-systems (environs) seriously which I develop in my tutorial on Schemas Theory. See
Now is the time to fully integrate the Social Sciences into Systems Engineering thinking.
The coronavirus and its effect on our country and the world calls for Systems Engineers to think differently as Systems Scientists so they can help mitigate problems like this in the future.
I think we need discussions on how we can change the paradigm of Systems Engineering to try to prepare to be responsive to the needs of the country in these times in which it is clear that no-systemic thinking was done prior to the crisis and because of that the crisis was exacerbated. Systems Thinking can only go so far. What we need to integrate with that is meta-systems thinking that takes the environmental milieu seriously within the context of all the Schemas and taking into account Social Sciences in order to be better prepared in the future.
See Palmer, K.D. (2000), 9.6 Meta‐systems Engineering. INCOSE International Symposium, 10: 889-904. doi:10.1002/j.2334-5837.2000.tb00470.x
I hope all of you are staying safe. But now we have time to think more deeply about our discipline and perhaps move to a new paradigm in our own thinking about these problems we all face together. We need a paradigm change in Systems Engineering. This is one suggestion of what that might be. We need to work together to find the right paradigm change to transform out discipline to meet the challenges that are not just on the horizon but here now.
Kent Palmer

The SysSciWG wiki is at!topic/syssciwg/PnGvCwiGCNA

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Foundations of Systems Architecture Design

Mar 22 2018 Published by under Uncategorized

A Series of papers on the Foundations of Systems Architectural Design: See

  1. Afoundational Basis

Using Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem to ground Systems Theory via Co-recursion based on Special Systems Theory. — Abstract: A foundation for Systems Engineering is laid out based on Gödel’s Incompleteness theorem. This foundation gives the basis for Architectural Design of Systems including Software Systems. Systems Engineering has its roots in Systems Science. Systems Science propounds various General Systems Theories and all of them depend on Logic and Mathematics and their Foundations which have been brought into question by Gödel’s theorem. We use the Theorem of Gödel to provide the foundations for Systems Theory, and thus Systems Science via the Special Systems and Schemas Theory, which in turn ground Systems Engineering and thus Software Engineering Systems. These Systems are syntheses that are Designed using Architectural Design, the Afoundation discovered herein gives a basis for Emergent Design in general which leads to Architectural Design of Systems including Software Systems. Key Words: Systems, Architecture, Design, Special Systems, Pascal Triangle, Systems Engineering, Software Engineering, Software Ontology, Formal Systems, Schemas Theory, Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem, Afoundationalism, Foundations, Meta-systems.

2. Steps toward and Ecology of Emergent Design

Differance that makes a difference — Abstract: Bateson says that we need to explore the meta-levels of Learning in his Steps to an Ecology of the Mind. Here we explore the steps toward an ecology of Emergent Design. Notice we are not trying to found any specific Discipline directly. But instead we are trying to ground our specific designs that we produce as software systems architectures. In other words, it is concrete systematic structured compositions that we are grounding as dynamic syntheses. We do this by a fusion of Leibniz Characteristica Universalis as Symbolic Logic with his Analysis Situs the lost science of configurations of things which the mathematical contemporaries of Leibniz did not accept and therefore was only sketched by him. But this sketch is brought back into focus by our transformation of the proof of Gödel that gives a basis for Special Systems Theory. — Key Words: Systems, Architecture, Design, Special Systems, Systems Engineering, Software Engineering, Software Ontology, Formal Systems, Schemas Theory.

3. On Design Synthesis

A Mysterious Synthesis or How a Miracle Occurs Here — Abstract: This paper attacks the core problem with Design: What is a synthesis and how is it possible. We begin by asking why this Transdisciplinary approach to the problem of design synthesis is necessary and significant. — Key Words: Systems, Architecture, Design, Special Systems, Systems Engineering, Software Engineering, Software Ontology, Formal Systems, Schemas Theory.

4. Convolution

A Prelude to the Comprehension of the Supra-Rationality of the Dagger Formation — Abstract: The internal view of worlds seen in terms of the relations between pairs of schemas and pairs of Foundational Mathematical Categories which are convoluted and reflected as inward relations between Dagger Theory elements that are external and appear in the interstices between the worlds or realms as defined by Ken Lloyd based on the delineations of worlds by Penrose and Popper, with the addition of the social world. — Key Words: Systems, Architecture, Design, Special Systems, Systems Engineering, Software Engineering, Software Ontology, Formal Systems, Schemas Theory, Dagger Theory.

5. Schematic Nerves

Quiddity and Internal Relations in Schemas Abstract: We define the names of the “essences” of each Schema. We call these nerves after the “Nerve Category” in Category Theory. Examples are Essence of Form, Structure of Pattern, Nucleus of System. We discuss the implications for the understanding of internal relations in Hegel from a schematic point of view. Key Words: Systems, Architecture, Design, Special Systems, Systems Engineering, Software Engineering, Software Ontology, Formal Systems, Schemas Theory, Dagger Theory, Essence, Nerve, Internal Relations.

6. Essencing Forth

Essence as a Model of Internal Relations and Projective Geometry. Key Words: Systems, Architecture, Design, Special Systems, Systems Engineering, Software Engineering, Software Ontology, Formal Systems, Schemas Theory, Dagger Theory, Essence, Nerve, Internal Relations.

7. Microgenesis of Internal Difference

From Internal Relations of Hegel to Internal Differences of Deleuze — Abstract: This paper explains the difference between internal difference of Deleuze and internal relations of Hegel. — Key Words: Systems, Architecture, Design, Special Systems, Systems Engineering, Software Engineering, Software Ontology, Formal Systems, Schemas Theory, Dagger Theory, Projective Geometry, Essence, Internal Relations

8. Nondual Difference (TBD)

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Comments on “Models, Science and Intersubjectivity” by Harald Wiltsche

Oct 20 2017 Published by under Uncategorized

Article at Models, Science, and Intersubjectivity

I have been reading Mohanty, Jitendranath. Edmund Husserl’s Freiberg Years, 1916-1938. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2011). I was interested in it because it reviewed Genetic Phenomenology strand in Husserl’s thought. But it also reviews the Intersubjectivity strand much better than the Passive Synthesis strand.

His presentation makes it quite clear that Husserl was ultimately saying something like Transcendental Subjectivity is Intersubjectivity. In other words, he solves the problem ultimately by fiat which is really no solution. But the problem that Husserl has with solipsism is ultimately the problem that Western science itself has and the critique of Phenomenology by Science advocates is really a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

This is why Heidegger’s initiative in Being and Time is so important. Heidegger seizes on Husserl’s idea of the “monad” and makes that Dasein. He posits it as something prior to the arising of the dualism between Subject and Object. And this is a big step toward the solution of this problem. But this of course entails other problems to do with the unleashing of a regress in Meta-levels of Being. But Heidegger’s whole project is meant to solve multiple problems with Husserl’s Transcendental Phenomenology at the same time mostly by building off of the Genetic Phenomenology strand in Husserl courses. Of course we do not find that out until later.

Phenomenology is developed purely in a present-at-hand or Pure Being mode. Heidegger introduces a ready-to-hand or Process Being mode and gives Dasein an Existential basis seemingly outside ontology. This kicks off the development of Fundamental Ontology as a basic theme in Continental Philosophy. Another basic theme is Genetic Phenomenology taken up by Merleau-Ponty and Deleuze explicitly.

But the problem of Solipsism remains in Husserl’s thought despite claims to the contrary by him. Derrida uses these problems as the basis for his deconstruction of Husserl’s philosophy in Speech and Phenomena. If Husserl was convincing that Transcendental Subjectivity is Transcendental Intersubjectivity, that deconstruction of Derrida would be a moot point.

It seems to me that the real solution to the problem with intersubjectivity must be not just getting to a place prior to the arising of the subject/object split. But prior also to the mitsein/dasein split. And to do that it seems that we have to go all the way to the level of Wild Being as it is defined by Merleau-Ponty and taken up and developed by Deleuze as Transcendental Empiricism with respect to their version of Dasein and the Monad which is the Transcendental Field.

I try to show how this is possible in my recent article “Primordial Sociality and Intersubjectivity: Exploring the Socius”. I try to show that we need to go all the way up the meta-levels of Being to Wild Being in order to get to a place prior to the division between dasein/mitsen and I also invoke Emergent Time as a resource for attempting to solve the problem of solipsism within the Husserlian context.

Phenomenology shows that Science itself has a problem of solipsism while claiming to have theories that are reproducible by a community of observers. The solipsism of science is seen in the exclusion of the subject and the claims of objectivity that cannot be sustained. Husserl is only delving into the common problem and attempting to find a way out. But the whole problem is set up and maintained by the subject/object duality that is the basis of science. Basically we need to go even further than Heidegger did when he concentrated on Dasein which was Husserl’s Monad as the basis of his philosophy and tried to make it something prior to the arising of the subject/object split. Merleau-Ponty went further and extended Phenomenology by developing further the idea of Dasein into the Transcendental Field that contains invisiblities interspersed in the visiblities. Deleuze goes even further down this road consolidating the moments of Genetic Phenomenology in Difference and Repetition to support our understanding of Wild Being and developing Transcendental Empiricism as an alternative to Phenomenology.

This problem of the solipsism (objectivity) of Science continues to be a fundamental problem that later phenomenologist have continued to work on as the advocates of science ignore the problem. But even with the developments of Genetic Phenomenology so far the solution to the problem of solipsism and intersubjectivity has been elusive. Hopefully by bringing to bear the resources of Emergent Time along with advances in Fundamental Ontology we can solve this problem. But that solution must in turn transform not just phenomenology but Science itself.

See Meta-levels of Being

See also Genetic Phenomenology and Fundamental Ontology of the Meta-levels of Time

Kent Duane Palmer

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Schemas Theory Research — Personal Narrative

Oct 13 2017 Published by under Uncategorized

I am going to give you a brief overview of my work so that you can decide if it is interesting to you.

I have been working as a Software Engineer and a Systems Engineer in my career.

I did a Ph.D. in Sociology/Philosophy of Science at LSE 1982: Structure of Theoretical Systems in relation to Emergence.

See The structure of theoretical systems in relation to emergence

Working as a Software Engineer after studying Continental Philosophy I eventually saw that Computer Hardware embodies the first two meta-levels of Being: present-at-hand and ready-to-hand as defined by Heidegger in Being and Time.

That meant that software embodied Hyper Being or what Derrida calls Differance.

See What_differance_does_Derrida_make



This realization that Continental Ontology directly related to Software as an technological artifact drove me to research Software Engineering especially Architectural Design of Software and then eventually Systems Design at the level of Systems Engineering, i.e. the whole system including Hardware.


I wrote some papers and placed them on the internet and someone at Systems Engineering saw them and invited me to speak about Schemas Theory I formulated a set of schemas for that presentation and it has basically remained the set that I did my tutorial on for “” Systems Engineering and International Society for the Systems Sciences Conferences.

Along the way as I developed Schema Theory I decided to do a Ph.D. in Systems Engineering, and my adviser asked me to apply Schemas Theory to something so I decided to apply it to design because that was my original interest that drove me to develop Schemas Theory.


Over the years I have written quite a few papers on Schemas Theory and its implications some of which I have given at the “” Systems Engineering, CSER and workshop meetings.

See General_Schemas_Theory

As far as I know nothing like Schemas Theory has been developed before and it serves as a foundation for design, because all designs use schemas as their basic imaginary “material” “substance”, i.e. spacetime templates of intelligibility each with its own intrinsic order.

Schemas Theory is the next level of abstraction beyond Systems Theory



I have recently discovered the mathematical basis of Schemas Theory but have not published that paper yet.

Schemas Theory was developed in order to frame and make understandable the context of Special Systems Theory.



Since I have been not working I have devoted myself full time to my research and have gone back and reread everything that was significant in the development of the theory of the Meta-levels of Being in a Continental Philosophy Study group that is local.


In that I have discovered the thread of Genetic Phenomenology that I am studying intently now


I am also engaged in editing and publishing some of the papers I have written over the last year or so based on the readings I have done recently.




If you are going to study Systems Theory as a basis for better understanding design I recommend the work of George Klir as a point of departure

Formal Structural Systems in relation to General Schemas Theory: On the Architecture of Problem Solving


This gives you a narrative to help you approach my work on Schemas Theory hopefully making it more accessible.

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