[NetBehaviour] Theory

Edward Picot julian.lesaux at gmail.com
Tue May 18 12:49:30 CEST 2021

That photograph is fantastic! Where is it, and who's the artist?

On 17/05/2021 01:37, Alan Sondheim wrote:
> Theory
> http://www.alansondheim.org/P1050632.JPG
> "Theories don't give meaning, but they limit the kinds of
> meanings we can give."
> - from Judith Roitman, Introduction to Modern Set Theory, 3rd
> edition, 2013, p. 29
> I've been having a really difficult time with this book; at this
> point I don't have the background to read it, but I'm trying in
> any case. But this sentence seems remarkable to me, and what it
> might imply in general. Theory becomes, not explanatory, but
> descriptive of the limits of meaning. Bear with me. Think of a
> theory has describing the underlying, scaffolding of a domain or
> domains which are always both leaky and circumscribed. (For
> example, particle theory, cosmology, quantum theory, and so
> forth.) The theory elucidates the scaffolding within limits. What
> is the phenomenology of meaning in this regard - for example
> Einstein's "The Meaning of Relativity"? I'm talking I fear, on
> the level of high-school philosophy here. If one construes
> meaning within a particular domain - energy for example - one
> might say "The meaning of energy is E = Mc^2." It's a translation
> from one language, perhaps to another. It explains. The meaning
> lies in the explanation. But suppose theory does the opposite -
> limits explanation, not by offering a (provable?) equivalence,
> but by indicating the limits of the meaningful. This idea (and
> I'm sure I'm misreading all over the place) might indicate that
> theory is a form of paring-away at one ontological domain, by
> re-producing something more or less true within the epistemo-
> logical. To continue on my high-school (or earlier) level, for
> example, if God is ontology, and gravity epistemology, then one
> way of looking at this might be to consider that God and "God"
> are weakened by the structural "leaking" of gravitational theory.
> In terms of my own thinking re: somatic ghosting, the "leaking"
> from analog to digital apparently empties the body of its
> gristle, at least on a popular level; the resulting dubious
> ontology of the body slides into, and is subsumed by, the fabric
> of over-arching digital epistemologies, which appear as the
> horizon of fundamental praxis itself. I'm aware that nothing can
> be said sensibly within such a paragraph as this; on the other
> hand, there is something in the quote which resonate, as if some
> other and perhaps more skeletal appearance were present,
> disturbances in the current and past order of things.
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