Download Intangible Materialism: The Body, Scientific Knowledge, and by Ronald Schleifer PDF

By Ronald Schleifer

Taking as his element of departure Norbert Weiner’s assertion that info is easy to figuring out materialism in our period, Ronald Schleifer indicates how discoveries of contemporary physics have altered conceptions of subject and effort and the ways that either details concept and the examine of literature can increase those conceptions. increasing the reductive idea of “the fabric” as easily subject and effort, he formulates a brand new, extra inclusive concept of materialism. Schleifer’s undertaking makes an attempt to bridge the divisions among the arts and the sciences and to create a nonreductive materialism for the knowledge age. He offers a materialistic account of human physically event by way of delving into language and literature that powerfully represents our faces, voices, palms, and soreness. for instance, he examines the fabric assets of poetic “literariness” because it is printed within the situation of Tourette’s syndrome. Schleifer additionally investigates gestures of the hand within the formation of sociality, and he experiences discomfort as either a physiological and phenomenological event. This bold paintings explores physiological analyses, evolutionary causes, and semiotic descriptions of materialism to bare how elements of actual lifestyles realize that means in adventure.

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Intangible Materialism: The Body, Scientific Knowledge, and the Power of Language

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Additional resources for Intangible Materialism: The Body, Scientific Knowledge, and the Power of Language

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Similarly, and virtually contemporaneously with Mendeleev’s periodic table, Ferdinand de Saussure—in his systematic account of what have come to be called phonemes (and which might well be called the “elements” of language, analogous to the chemical elements the periodic table organizes)—was able to predict the existence of hitherto unknown phonemes based on the regularities of their systematic organization (see Culler 1976, 66). Thus, Russell writes, When once the periodic law had been discovered, it was found that a great many properties of elements were periodic.

Instead, in the microphysics of quantum mechanics, they exist outside the alternative between material and nonmaterial just as √−1 is neither positive nor negative, neither a number nor not a number (see 2000b, 199). The information of mathematics, like energy and force, encompasses and enfolds the semiotic pragmatics and metaphysical materialist pragmatics—metaphysical in the powerful literalist sense of the term that Casti employs (1995, 79; I examine this topic more fully in chapter 2). The “distant formal similarity” Heisenberg describes here between the physical atom of modern physics and mathematical symbols is congruent with Wheeler’s “atom of information” and Davies and Brown’s description of energy as “a pure abstract quantity” (1986b, 26): such comprehensions seem to participate, pragmatically, in material reality itself and suggest a kind of material formalism that constitutes the “reality” of force, energy, and information that may help us rethink our understanding of matter and materialism.

Needless to say, such an assumption about the nature of matter makes sense coming from the inventor of analytical geometry and the founder, with Newton, of mathematical physics. For both Descartes and Newton, metaphysical force—emanating from God—animates essentially inert matter. A second, related Enlightenment conception of matter as essentially in motion, energized, inhabits nineteenth-century conceptions of materialism that base themselves on the second law of thermodynamics. This is an extension of mechanics, yet it comprehends matter as essentially organized in relation to energy and motion.

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