Graham has a post up responding to mine and discussing Meno’s paradox. Graham writes:

That particular passage in the Meno is important to me, so I’ll just say that I interpret it differently. I don’t think that’s Socrates saying that knowledge comes before being. I think it’s Socrates saying that an eidos is prior to its qualities. In other words, the point is not that we have to know a horse before considering its being, but that we have to know a horse before asking about horse-qualities. So I read the paradox differently: namely, how can a thing be prior to its own qualities? There’s a bit about this early in The Quadruple Object.

No disagreement here from me. I did, however, want to make one further point about Mitsu’s argument from perception. Does Mitsu really wish to claim that the amoeba constitutes his being? This conclusion follows directly from Mitsu’s argument about how the amoeba encounters the drum set. If he doesn’t wish to arrive at this conclusion, then why? There are only two possible conclusions here, both of which lead to the collapse of Mitsu’s argument. The first possible conclusion would be that it is not possible for the amoeba to constitute Mitsu’s being because humans are somehow special in the order of being by virtue of being the only beings capable of constituting other beings from a primordial flux. The second possible argument is that the amoeba doesn’t constitute Mitsu’s being through perceiving Mitsu, because Mitsu is a substance or independent being in his own right and how something perceives another being has nothing to do with that being’s status as a substance.

Now, one might expect me to argue that the first possibility is mistaken because it is anthropocentric. However, while this is true, this is not my argument. If we follow Mitsu in the first counter-argument (which really is the disavowed, yet fully embraced, premise of all correlationisms), we have to note that Mitsu has conceded the existence of at least one object: Namely, Mitsu himself. From here it’s but a short step to asking why humans or Mitsu should have this privileged status within the order of being? Moreover, it’s quite remarkable that any being should be able to perform this feat like Atlas holding the world on his shoulders, carving up a structureless world, a pre-individual flux, into discrete packets or units. If we grant the second argument, then, of course, we’ve conceded the existence of withdrawn substances that have their own being regardless of how other substances perceive them.

And here I get to the basic point of this brief post: Those who advise us to observe the observer– and readers should know that chapter 4 of The Democracy of Objects is devoted to precisely this –somehow seem to miss the point that the very act of observing the observer or observing how observers observe, presupposes the existence of an observer that is doing the observing of observers. Far from undermining the thesis that substances or objects exist, in other words, this move presupposes the existence of at least one substance or object. And as a consequence, this move is incapable of consistently maintaining the thesis that the world is a product of how observers perceive other objects.