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Closure: A Story of Everything
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This project is a response to what Lawson identifies as a recurrent and ineradicable problem that has plagued most philosophical positions of the twentieth century (Anglo-American or Continental): the problem of self-reference.
In arguing for the persistence of the problem, one will note close proximities with Graham Priest's (more technical and rigorous) analysis of the Inclosure Schema in _Beyond the Limits of Thought_. Indeed, without knowledge of these more sophisticated arguments, I might not have accepted Lawson's description of the problem (this is why I gave the book only 4 stars).
Granted that self-referential paradoxes constitute an ineliminable feature of thought, Lawson proposes a solution: eliminate reference to the world as the totality of things (this appears to be a metaphysical analogue of Zermelo's solution to Russell sets in set theory). Here one finds some resonance with Alain Badiou's project in _Being and Event_ and its sequel _Logics of Worlds_, as well as Quentin Meillassoux' _After Finitude_ (and hence the title of this review).
I mention these similar projects both to illustrate what may be considered a general family of emerging thought (in both Analytic and Continental thinkers) born from the dissatisfaction of the 20th century's solutions to these paradoxes, and to suggest the philosophical significance of the concern. At stake here is not a repetition of Derrida, Heidegger and Wittgenstein, but grounds for rejecting them.Read more ›
This duologue closure/openness has a distinguished pedigree (although this is never alluded to) which can be traced back to the Greek ideas of the fixed and the loose, is re-invoked by Kant's noumenal (which gets a mention in passing) is improved upon by Schopenhauer's idea of the Will and objectification of the Will, can be found again in existential texts such as Heidegger's Dasein and Sartres' in-itself and for-itself. In particular, it bears a marked resemblance to Whitehead's notion of eternal objects and their prehension in actual occasions. Unfortunately, closure stands against them as a distant poor relation, beginning as a great-grandchild but soon deteriorating into a distant cousin twice removed related by name only, as though it is embarrassed by such an association.
The linguistic analysis is handled well enough, arguing against the inordinate emphasis linguistic philosophy has received in the universities.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Lawson attempts to answer metaphysical questions from a thinly disguised British empirical standpoint are disappointing and contradictory. Read morePublished on December 27, 2003