Deleuze thought that we were moving towards a new configuration that would involve the release of the forces contained up to now in the human form as one particular organisation of these forces dependent on a particular state of the sciences and of our technologies. He envisaged a vast recombination of these forces due to molecular biology, brain science, and digital technologie,s such that we may no longer be be “human” in the traditional sense in the new configuration (this is from the end of Deleuze’s book FOUCAULT). His essay POSTSCRIPT ON CONTROL SOCIETIES is a sketch of the issues involved in one aspect of this transition. Bernard Stiegler tries to carry on from this, and talks about the beginning epoch of “neuro-power”. He kindly let me translate his notes for the first five of his 2012 seminar. This set of translations begins here: https://terenceblake.wordpress.com/2012/06/24/translations-of-bernard-stieglers-seminar/.
These considerations raise the spectre of « eliminativism ». I am not an eliminativist, although I find eliminativism a line worth pursuing, and thus defend it against a certain type of non-empirical objection. I know that Feyerabend once defended it, at least as early as 1958 in “An attempt at a realistic interpretation of experience”. But this essay itself is meant to be an abridged version of his 1951 thesis. Feyerabend always defended eliminativism against silly conservative objections that presupposed meaning invariance and that prohibited incommensurable leaps. So Feyerabend’s aim was to defend the intelligibility of eliminativism, and here I agree with him. His later meditations on Being would suggest however that this eliminativism cannot exhaust the meaning of Being and cannot be imposed on full-fledged traditions that interpret and experience things otherwise. I find that eliminativism sharpens the debate and produces interesting hypotheses, but so do hypotheses of the unconscious that make no reference to material inscription and indeed relativise its meaning and importance. I think the neuronal unconscious will ultimately replace the Freudian unconscious and that will be a narcissistic wound for the Freudians, and for them alone.; But I don’t see the imaginal unconscious of James Hillman give up the ghost so easily, as eliminativism, from this point of view, is just one cognitive style amongst many. That said I think it is heuristically useful to pursue the eliminativist programme as an aid to thinking and research.
In the old days people used to distinguish the context of discovery from the context of justification. Feyerabend came along and said it’s all heuristics folks. But in fact I am going too fast. What actually happened is that Feyerabend came along and said “Everything is pluralism”. He then went to von Weizsäckers seminar on Quantum Theory and said again “everything is pluralism” but von Weizsäcker showed him the way quantum mechanics arose out of concrete research. So Feyerabend concluded that “Everything is heuristics” and von Weizsäcker was not happy about that when he learned of it 12 years later. So you see even quantum theorists can have amazing ideas at the content level but balk at the heuristic implications. This is why Feyerabend looks more to Niels Bohr and Wolfgang Pauli for the heuristic attitude. So yes heuristics are ecologically sensitive and that’s the big point of all this diachronic ontology stuff that I have been writing about.