Iain Grant on "The Great Cake of Being"

A wonderful presentation by Iain Hamilton Grant which takes flight from the Kantian principle that we can only understand something if we can synthesise it. This is not a problem in geology or chemistry when we are dealing with the synthesis of particulars from other material components. But what are its implications for our understanding of the All (the Cosmos)? If all matter is intelligible it must be constructible; but if it is constructible the material can only be understood in terms of the immaterial (its “inexistence” as Grant puts it). Construction is always an excess element in whatever universe it occurs. Thus unless we stipulate nature of matter in terms of some universal domain, the intelligibility of the universe implies the failure of substrate or “medium” specific ontology

3 thoughts on “Iain Grant on "The Great Cake of Being"

  1. He’s like Zizek. Fucking loves the paradox for it’s own sake. I found a book the other day which mines that whole Being / Nothing angle from a purely set theoretic and logical quantificational angle. Wolfendale in the OOO book, the section on quine, quantification, and multiplicity also has a great discussion on the formal congruence of the structure of Being and the Nothing in light of the ontological difference, and why it’s dismissed as nonsense by people who are thinking ontically.

    1. Yeah, It’s an interesting argument. I suppose there’s scope for tightening up the notion of “construction” and its relation with understanding here. It kind of sets out the schema of an argument that could be developed in all sorts of interesting ways. I wonder, though, if naturalists will be that worried by it. Most concede that our understanding of the material is defined by current best science. So if one is a physicalist one is already committed to the revisability of whatever conception of the physical hold’s sway. Ladyman’s argued that the only non-negotiable commitment here is to the claim that the facts on which everything else supervenes are not psychological – anti vitalism or anti-panpsychism. Of course, here it get’s kind of dialectical cos it’s not clear that our notion of the psychological is less wibbly than our notion of the physical. So what is the physicalist committed against really?

      What was the book on philosophy and set theory you were reading. Is that Badiou-related?

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