Thursday, October 12, 2017

Kant's Dialectic

Paul Klee: Le Fou de l'abĂ®me
Image from Auerbach, Anthony  2007 "Imagine no metaphors: the dialectical image of Walter Benjamin" Image & Narrative

My forthcoming Contrapuntal Cartographies is going through a re-working after a summer in the field (Inverness mostly), and after reading Kant.

I'm now approaching the second half of Kant's major work towards being able to incorporate the whole as a key part of the theoretical framework of Contrapuntal Cartographies.

"All objects conform to our modes of cognition" (Peuquet, 2002, page 36).

But what if they don't?

I'm anticipating that, as with the first half of Kant's Critique, the second will let me start to examine things, and especially maps, in new and unforeseen ways.

Because if we go into the question of representation, for example, assuming a universal and  transcendentally ideal subject, what are we to make of objects that don't seem to fit that mould?

What if not only the (indigenous) subjects we encounter, but also the objects of their belief, not only do not conform to our modes of cognition, but that the whole way of seeing is suspect?

After all, doesn't Kant's dialectic somehow lead to a monolithic god-thing in-himself?  This will be something to grapple with, even as I adopt the dialectic.

For the latter represents a logical and systematic way forward in the face of conflicting spatio-temporal data of the senses.  In other words alternate representations of the same phenomena.

One of those representations (e.g. property regimes in Northern British Columbia) will occupy a hegemonic position over alternate (e.g. indigenous clan) ways of seeing the very same 'thing' (the land).

The dialectic will treat the the production of maps from very distinctly interested standpoints that can be treated in object-like ways.  It will, for example, equally 'objectify' both white settler and indigenous positions.

Overlaying the maps produced by each kind of object (each of which in turn 'contains' distinct modes of cognition and representation) produces, in turn, a hybrid object or 'thirdspace'.

This new, third, space is a thing-in-itself, a contrapuntal image in a Benjaminian sense, that will then be added to a new iteration of counter-mapping, cognition, objectification, and analysis.

Peuquet, Donna J.  2002.  Representations of Space and Time.  New York: Guilford.

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