Sunday, October 01, 2006

Parallax Thinking and the Problem of Personal Identity

"[Heisenberg asserted that] the object can never be known, owing to the interference of our own observational system, the insertion of our own point of view and related equipment between ourselves and the reality in question. Heisenberg is then truly 'postmodern' in the assertion of an absolute indeterminacy of the real or the object, which withdraws into the status of a Kantian noumenon. In parallax thinking, however, the object can certainly be determined, but only indirectly, by way of a triangulation based on the incommensurability of the observations. The object thus is unrepresentable: it constitutes precisely that gap or inner distance which Lacan theorised for the psyche, and which renders personal identity forever problematic...The great binary oppositions - subject v. object, materialism v. idealism, economics v. politics - are all ways of naming this fundamental gap..."
-Frederic Jameson


Art Neuro said...

I have a question: How is it that the first order observation can be faulted (Heisenberg) but the 2 points of view getting the parallax through indirect observation *not* be faulted in the same way?

Not that I'm saying Heisenberg is wrong or that it leads to infinite relativism of value - it might, and i'm okay with that.
I just have a problem with assumption/constuction that having 2 points of views to parallax-navigate a problem is somehow without the same problems.

jeronimus said...

Good point
I agree.
The fellow who wrote the
article didn't really make it clear
who thought of parallax thinking.
I think it may have been someone else. Not sure.
Heisenberg probably never
gave up on the idea that observation of reality is forever absolutely problematic.