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[Xmca-l] Re: Method as Disposition

Dear Larry,

Thank you for that wonderful contribution. 

My own disposition toward a method, after reading your post was to reach to the dictionary, which shows that definitions are not beyond me and my disposition. Paradoxically, the word I sought was "disposition" and the hallowed tome said to me:

1. the predominant or prevailing tendency of one's spirits; natural mental and emotional outlook or mood; characteristic attitude: "a girl with a pleasant disposition."
2. state of mind regarding something; inclination: "a disposition to gamble."
3. physical inclination or tendency: "the disposition of ice to melt when heated."
4. arrangement or placing, as of troops or buildings.
5. final settlement of a matter.
6. bestowal, as by gift or sale.
7.power to make decisions about or dispose of a thing; control: "funds at one's disposition."

So many definitions which reference a word-meaning! Isn't it the case that the meaning emerges based upon the event the meaning is required, which depends upon what is present and what presents itself, but also... who uses it?

I also looked to the root:

1325-75; Middle English disposicioun (< Anglo-French) < Latin dispositiōn- (stem of dispositiō), equivalent to disposit (us) (past participle of dispōnere [to distribute]; dispos- (see [dispose] ) + -itus past participle suffix) + -iōn- -ion

And what emerges there are the words [to distribute] and [dispose]. In order for there to be a disposition, there must be a point of departure in which to distribute from. Namely a point of origin, which would to me present as a person, a subject. 

I'd like to offer for what it is worth that discussion from the focal point of an "I" could be considered "intense" but it also may be that speaking has its own _habits_ (derived from contexts), in that speaking from an "I" starts to sound strange and may cause discomfort. Speaking from a focal point of "I" is a method, just as not speaking from a focal point of "I" is a method.

Larry, your contribution points me vaguely to an idea or possibility that perhaps it is the habit of a method which habituates to remove the subject from view. Of course a method can conjure a disposition, too, I would gather, and if that were the case, I think I would want to know how that method is influencing me as a subject, especially if it is influencing my freedom as a subject in the world. 

However, putting that aside for the moment, forgetting to take ourselves into account is a common human phenomenon. It is like searching for my sunglasses that were always perched upon my head, or that I was wearing already during my search thinking I had lost them! This phenomenon occurs for a material reason. In our bodies, all our organs of perception point outwards. One cannot perceive oneself as an object in the world because one is the person behind the organ that perceives. It would be like taking a telescope into the world and looking for myself, when I am standing at the originating viewpoint of the telescope. I will look and look and only find that which is anything but myself. At some point I forget that I'm even there. 

It is quite easy to forget that one is the originating point of inquiry. Historically and socially, subjectivity is considered ill-mannered because what may be true for you is not for me. Which means we started to fight over rightness and this comes to blows, which resulted in monarchies and oppressions. In response to that uncomfortable emphasis upon subjectivity was to take a survey and search for a consensus, and this creates an illusion of objectivity because enough people see the same thing with their telescopes using the same method. The problem is that in the search for objectivity we have doubly forgotten ourselves as subjects, so that can't be right either because objectivity can dislocate us from ourselves. Not only from our senses but our ethics. Hence The Bomb. Hence Fossil Fuels. Hence Otherness, Etc.

Subsequently, a product of this method of [objectivity without a subject] there is a tendency to become ensnared in a kind of ventriloquism, in which we must all look from the same vantage point at the same objects in the same way, which is impossible because each of us has from the beginning a unique point of view despite shared tendencies with others. Understanding shared tendencies and view points and objects observed are of certainly of value, but we cannot forget that understanding variations in tendencies and viewpoints and objects observed are of value as well. 

My sense that it is the noticing of variations that innovations and discoveries might take place, and the methods that these derive are an essential part of our creativity as humans. 

This suggests to me that a method to seek is one that equally considers subjects with the objects they interact with. We have the subject, the method or interaction, and the object. These must have equal standing in understanding what there is to understand. If we eliminate one to focus on two, or we eliminate two to focus on one, there will be a collapse, like the three-legged stool. In respect to math, three points define a plane, which perhaps here is the plane of understanding, and perhaps that plane of understanding is meaning itself?

Kind regards,


From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu <xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu> on behalf of Larry Purss <lpscholar2@gmail.com>
Sent: Friday, November 28, 2014 8:40 AM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l]  Method as Disposition

I wonder how central to "reading and writing the world" is the notion of "disposition". At the risk of falling back into the vortex of intensity or of becoming too "distanced" in my conversational style, I want to share an extended reflection by Chris Hacket on a Hediggerian quote.

First the quote:

"implicit in the essential nature of all genuine method as a path towards the disclosure of objects is the tendency to order itself always toward that which it itself discloses."

How Chris Hacket expands and explores how he reads and interprets this Heideggerian quote is fascinating.

Three things stand out for Chris in this quote:

1] Method is a "tendency" - one could even say "disposition", or better a "habit" and "habituating toward" something

2] Method is as a result a "path".  A metaphor that "guides" these reflections.

3] Method is "marked" by paradox.  Genuine method, though not "equated" with disclosure of objects is a critical mark of the path to the disclosure of objects AND at the same time and precisely because the object is present there, method is most essentially understood to be a tendency, a disposition, perhaps even a habit - to be "ordered" to that which method itself discloses, - to disclosure itself.

In other words - method for Heidegger is that which emerges "out of" an ordered disposition toward the disclosure of its object. More RADICALLY [going to its root or its founding], method traces its own emergence in the "event" of intelligable disclosure: just as intelligibility is, "through questioning" TIED to the questioning - where we "found" the disclosure of the presence of method - so also for the "path" of method which is now the TYING itself.

The paradox, BOTH "toward" AND "from" [approach to disclosure AND emergence from disclosure]. Method is only "calculated approach" as it is simultaneously wholly "incalculable emergence". This conception of the "nature" of method - as a sort of formal name we give to A MORE FUNDAMENTAL "disposition" that defines material phenomenology  - "indicates" [points to] that method does not define phenomenology. Material phenomenology, it seems, is not a method although it surely requires that which method formally "signifies".

Thus, for Heidegger at least, the particulars of a method do not make material phenomenology what it is, in the FIRST place. Rather, the "genuine question" that arises from experience defines material phenomenology. Here, method is the thoughtful "approach" [path, tendency. disposition] to phenomena of "the questioning" - itself.

In other words the paradox of questioning and answer as a method, a path, a disposition, and a habit BOTH "calculated" and "incalculable emergence"

I found Chris Hackett's expansion and elaboration evocative. Others may read it as constipated word/play. The notion of "disposition" tied to questions & answers as a method or path.