This post by Graham made me do a Scooby-Doo double take, letting out a deep confused, yet high pitched, “huhr?”, wondering why he is attributing these claims to me:

I’ve encountered this claim from others before, and often even Levi tends in the same direction (despite the fact that Shaviro presents my position and Levi’s as basically the same; there are similarities, but this is a point where I think Levi and Shaviro are actually a closer match than either of them is with me).

Namely, there is sometimes a willingness to agree that knowledge is a form of translation that inevitably shapes, molds, or transforms whatever it encounters– but then these same people shy away from agreeing that causation is also such a form of translation. They say that causation is total without withdrawal, and the problem is simply that knowledge is never able to match this total causal contact.

Perhaps I’m just reading the post wrong, but there’s nothing in my position that draws a distinction between cognitive acts and relations between other objects not involving other objects. Within the framework of my onticology whenever any two objects interact it involves translation. Translation always involves transformation. This is not unique to minds relating to objects, but to any inter-ontic interactions. As I argued in my last post, this entails a withdrawal of objects from one another. This is what I was getting at with the concept of information being not something that comes from the world or another object, but something constituted by the object itself. Here information, following a number of trends among the physicists, is an ontological concept, not a cognitive concept. Cognitive systems are only a subset of information systems. Rocks, plants, stars, planets, etc., would essentially follow these same principles and, in each case, insofar as the object in question is reflexive, each system constitutes its own information, it does not receive information from something else.

Additionally, my distinction between the virtual dimension of objects and their actualization strives to make precisely the point Harman is making about causality. The virtual dimension of objects, characterized by an endo-relational structure and set of attractors or potentialities, is always in excess (or withdrawn) from any of its local manifestations in the world or any of its causal interactions with other objects. In other words, there is never, within the framework of onticology, a total causal interaction between objects– this is the fallacy of actualism –but rather only local and limited interactions between objects where both objects are behind “firewalls” or are withdrawn (by virtue of the reflexive closure of objects with respect to their endo-consistency). In other words, I’m sure I’m guilty of a lot of things, but certainly not of holding that cognition and causlity differ in kind or that there are total causal interactions among objects. I find it especially perplexing that such a claim could be attributed to me given the post I recently wrote on mereology and relations. This post fully endorses Harman’s remark that:

My position is much simpler: all relations are relations. All relations transform that to which they relate. Hence, there is only a difference of degree between cognitive and purely causal relations.

Consequently I’m just perplexed that anything I’ve argued in recent months could be taken to assert a difference in kind between cognition and causality.