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May 08, 2008



James, you write: "The ancient discovery that our telos is only ever recognizable as our search for it was replaced in modern times by the radically different idea that our telos is only recognizable as the history of our search. The postmodern task, if you'll permit me, is to heal this divide."

I'm not sure an A-theoretical/B-theoretical ricercare "divide" is really all that significant. Not after special relativity; not after the idea of 3D reference frames (being in time) and 4D worldlines (totality of facts of a being in time).

The "divide" is simply a difference in resolution, a perspectival difference, with the latter (4D) being "higher" in the sense that the former (3D) is, by definition, subsumed into it. Higher still is the 5D perspective, which contains not just the reference frame of the searcher (observer) and the accreted facts of the search (worldline), but also the possible facts of the search and their probability of decoherence (from superposition). And so on.

On the latter, you could make a case that our "telos" is to maximize the non-abelian possibilities for the search by discovering what Dennett calls "isthmuses" of possibility-space. This telos would be oriented toward finding and using a maximizing method -- i.e., discovery algorithm or algorithms situated just so, to give us the best possibility-space with the best probability distributions of aletheia (unconcealment). That's not my case, but it's something you could say (aka a "preferred lottery" argument).

Overall, though, I'm not sure how helpful it is to fixate on "telos": purpose is either arbitrary (i.e., uninteresting), or it is elected from a perspective. To me, this latter idea is far more fertile than a dialectical pursuit of "telos" tout court.

Robert C. Cheeks


Thanks for the, as always thoughtful comments, particularly on the dichotomy of "left," and "right" postmoderns. I wonder, however, if the problem isn't contained within the culturally required eradication of the "timeless?"
If a culture abrogates the "non-existent realities" are we not left with the phenomenon of the sensorium?
Give me a little hope by the thoughtfull application of the via affirmative, and I'm good!

oil mill

This is a brilliant post, im really glad I found it thank you

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