Thursday, May 27, 2010

Version Logic

Routine as a mode of inference (working conduction) engages version (-vert) as trace.  The stakes and opportunities of version (the directionality of attitude), the potentiality of turning in relation to problem on the plane of immanence, may be appreciated relative to the historical developments in the several practices and disciplines that exploit this register.  One example is the inference procedures systematized by categorical propositions.  Any textbook of logic covers the manipulations of the logical square (Aristotle), including conversion, obversion, and contraposition.
The converse of any categorical proposition is the new categorical proposition that results from putting the predicate term of the original proposition in the subject place of the new proposition and the subject term of the original in the predicate place of the new. Thus, for example, the converse of "No dogs are felines" is "No felines are dogs," and the converse of "Some snakes are poisonous animals" is "Some poisonous animals are snakes."
In order to form the obverse of a categorical proposition, we replace the predicate term of the proposition with its complement and reverse the quality of the proposition, either from affirmative to negative or from negative to affirmative. Thus, for example, the obverse of "All ants are insects" is "No ants are non-insects"
The contrapositive of any categorical proposition is the new categorical proposition that results from putting the complement of the predicate term of the original proposition in the subject place of the new proposition and the complement of the subject term of the original in the predicate place of the new. Thus, for example, the contrapositive of "All crows are birds" is "All non-birds are non-crows,"
 [Interactive Demo]

Saturday, May 15, 2010


A familiar example of a vital anecdote associated with a concept is the scene of hailing offered by Louis Althusser.  The anecdote is relevant for us in showing another case of turning (-vert).
I shall then suggest that ideology "acts" or "functions" in such a way that it "recruits" subjects among the individuals (it recruits them al), or "transforms" the individuals into subjects by that very precise operation which I have called interpellation or hailing, and which can be imagined along the lines of the most commonplace everyday police (or other) hailing:  "Hey, you there!"  Assuming that the theoretical scene I have imagined takes place in the street, the hailed individual will turn around.  By this mere one-hundred-and-eighty-degree physical conversion, he becomes a subject.  Why? Because he has recognized that the hail was "really" addressed to him, and that "it was really him who was hailed" (and not someone else) [Althusser, "Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses"].
Routine concerns the trace of turn, meaning not this or that version, but turning as such, the direction and directedness of attitude, and a temporal movement that includes at some point or site a pivot or switch, enabling or generating the experience of peripety and anagnorisis.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Taking Turns

Truth can only be defined on the plane [of immanence] by a "turning toward" or by "that toward which thought turns"; but this does not provide us with a concept of truth (WIP? 39).

Kenneth Burke provides some context for the turning (the -vert family of terms) enabled by "concept."  "Turn" is the rhetorical operation relevant to the "directionality" experienced through attitude.  In his study of St. Augustine's Confessions, generalized as The Rhetoric of Religion, Burke foregrounds the -vert family in relation to decision-making ("voting or purchasing, giving answers to questionnaires, taking of risks calculated on the basis of probability"). "I sometimes wonder whether the good Bishop of Hippo could ever have written that work were it not for the many Latin words that grow from this root, meaning turn." Augustine's moment of conversion to Christianity (the famous scene in Book VIII) is analyzed dramatistically:
There are the tense moments of decision in formal drama, when the protagonist debates whether to make a certain move, and finally makes the choice that shapes his destiny, though he still has to discover what that destiny is. . . . We are interested in the kind of decision, if it can be called decision at all:  the kind of development that usually takes place in the third act of a five-act drama.  Despite his great stress upon the will, and despite his extraordinary energy in theological controversy, Augustine seems to have felt rather that, at the critical moment of his conversion, something was decided for him.  Act III is the point at which some new quality of motivation enters.  And however active one may be henceforth, the course is more like a rolling downhill than like a straining uphill (Burke, The Rhetoric of Religion).
This moment of decision is taught as the turning point of the standard Hollywood screenplay, instructions for which may be found in countless primers on scriptwriting (coming in this genre at the end of the second act of a three-act script).  There is a narrative or dramatistic dimension in Routine, but "concept" separates, isolates, and develops as an alternative to any particular turn or direction, the pivot or switch site, the Archimedian lever of upon which turning as such depends.   Routine does for turn of attitude what peripety (peripeteia) does for drama.

Burke's analysis of the Confessions resonates with Virno's observation about virtue and evil exploiting the same rhetorical resources of language,  Augustine himself contrasts his con-version with the per-version of his pagan experience. "As regards Augustine's Confessions, the  most notable use of the vert- family is in the contrast between Book II, concerned with what he calls his adolescent perversity, in stealing pears (a Gidean acte gratuit), and Book VIII, that describes his conversion."