Pandisciplinary, nondisciplinary, transdisciplinary, predisciplinary! Fragment

In regards to categorisation obscuring more than it clarifies, I’d advocate for applying as many categories as is possible to a single object of study, dropping them when they failed to describe some aspect of the object adequately and moving on to new ones.

Do you think we should work to discredit common sense as a whole? I think the best thing we could do is adopt fallibilism as our default position, admit that we might be wrong about very fundamental things and welcome efforts to discredit our knowledge. More broadly, which external knowledge do we need to accept in order to render the work of other intelligible?

How do you think we can unsettle disciplinary boundaries? What is the value of free-flowing, descriptive work as opposed to prescriptive, systematic work? Can we adhere to prescriptive knowledge as long as we accept it might be fundamentally wrong, and remain open to critique? Personally I think we should deinstitutionalise the barriers between disciplines and leave the world’s body of knowledge open, acting as a kind of space through which we flow, picking up those metaphors and methods most useful to describe what we need to describe at that moment and freely discarding them when they’re no longer useful. In my opinion categorisation is completely fine so long as we work to prevent it entrenching itself.

Can we produce intelligible work without adhering to some existing structure? What’s the difference between schizophrenic work and revolutionary work? What’s the extent to which I can avoid engaging with structure, and how can I engage with it in atypical ways? Through subversion for instance. Can we do anything besides adhere and subvert? Most importantly, how can we keep our knowledge from replacing common sense, rather than perpetually destabilising it? I don’t think we can produce knowledge which is inherently subversive, but I could be wrong. I think it’s just a matter of constant work.

How should we value evidence? Should we value it by its ability to stand up to critique? I don’t think we should. I remember Bruno Latour distinguished between “matters of fact and matters of concern”, that is to say the argument that something can be fundamentally wrong and at the same time very useful. If anything I think we should value evidence by the work that went into producing it, which in turn relates to how useful it is, how thought-provoking and how novel it is. I picked work because it’s marginally easier to quantify than “usefulness”.
I was considering a kind of “hypermasculine” ie. radical knowledge, that is the idea that everything can be described in terms of one radix. Everything is air, everything is love, etc. In turn I developed a “hyperfeminine” knowledge which I’ve called “irradical knowledge” in which a single object of study is described in terms of everything, where that object functions as an “irradix”. Where hypermasculine knowledge is described as “Everything is X”, hyperfeminine knowledge is described as “X is everything”.

Then I decided the most productive way to look at the world was a collapse of those poles into a “panradical” knowledge (I love making up words). A system in which everything is the radix around which everything revolves, and in which knowledge is described as “Everything is everything else”, in which all objects are not only themselves but are subject to the metaphors of all other objects. The panradical system is then made intelligible through subtraction, as opposed to typical systems of knowledge which are made intelligible through addition of subject matter and interpretation. I have to think more about the intelligibility-through-subtraction before I could tell you what it is, but it’s like counting backwards from infinity.

However the panradical system, while useful, obviously isn’t realistic. It’s not that everything can be described as everything successfully, but that everything has the potential to be described as everything to some extent, and we should encourage multiplicity. The degree to which one thing is successfully described as another is determined by work, under the assumption that objects can perform work and that some objects may be willing to perform more work to connect with other objects, sort of like ANT. I’m still figuring out what work is though!
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