conceptual inquiry

The Project

  an improvisation on evolving conceptuality
gary e. davis
February 12, 2019
Being open to a clearing, in a clearing, involves comfort with not yet knowing where exactly one is—not yet knowing what’s there.

Inviting that may be thrilling—like approaching a high vista to be given into awing ineffability.

So, what “conceptual inquiry” may be belongs to the venture itself. Inquiriality may be primordially open; conceptuality may be primordially undefined.

Some inquirers want to distinguish “nonconceptual content” as pre-“conceptual,” i.e., conceiving “conceptuality” (defining ‘conceptuality’) as non-constitutive, such that ontogeny of conceivability is something non-“conceptual.”

Or one might prospect a post-conceptuality that is really what we normally regard as capabilities (Ruth Garrett Millikan: “unicepts”), which cognitive science models (or, with Martha Nussbaum, practical philosophy becomes politically develop-mental relative to capabilities).

What might emerge from regarding a constellation of relevant work by others as venue for advancing comprehension of emergence—and accordingly prospecting that: Conceptuality as such is evolving? (That was the prescient and protean horizon of post-Kuhnian Stephen Toulmin, in Human Understanding, 1972. Though his approach to inquiry is now antedated by an overt domain of inquiry into conceptuality, Toulmin was a pioneer.)

What is “relevant” here, thus orienting selection? Certainly, the overt domain of inquiry into conceptuality is principal. But how may that inform emergence that is unprecedented?

What’s the difference between idiosyncratic unprecedentedness (hermetic?) and important unprecedentednes (importantly original)?

Is interest in conceivability unwittingly kept relative to given paradigms of inquiry (overriding constitutive implicature)? That is: Is the inquiry primordially blind to its fundamental presuppositions, which elude disclosure? What are the conditions for [the possibility of] advances in conceivability after the bankruptcy of “transcendental logic” and the like (e.g., after deconstruction of the Husserlian dream; or physicalism toward intentionality)?

I’m setting out to work with a set of inquires—to work with works—that compose a constellation that appeals to me. So, the principle of relevance would have as much proximal merit for readers as assemblage art composed with conceptual notes.

Indeed, the working of my venture is standardly troped as working toward a work of art—be it the working as art (self-begetting text) or be it a resulting work (or freestanding combine, as Robert Rauschenberg would call his presented things) that is part of a cohering career.

So what?,” you say?

An important distinction is between the working (which I indicate as ‘Work’) and resultant work (which is tangible or presented for entertainment, be that for deliberation or pleasure).

(By the way, when Heidegger spoke of the “origin of the work of art,” he had Work in mind: that from which working into the work of art originations. “Art is history,” he wrote, “in the essential sense that it is the ground of history.”)

My anticipated Work of conceptual inquiry is to be mainly informed by a selection of rigorous (scientific, analytical, “academic”) work by others that appeals to me as leading works—which ultimately mirrors my scale of engagement with selective constellating that I truly believe can be worth sharing, yet also appeals to the mystery of “leading,” which pertains to the character of progressivity. Who’s to say whats “leading,” though the notion implicitly prevails in conceptions of value and leadership.

Can there be a conception of leading mind that is non-relativistic in being relative to Our evolving? How may evolving conceptuality be the jetstream of Our contemporaneity for the sake of wholly flourishing life and ecologically flourishive humanity? Is the merit of highly justified telic conceptuality ultimately fictive? Yet, what is the merit of a Literary canon? What is the merit of university-led cultivation of humanity?

I’m to implicitly confess a bibliophilia that pretends (in the serious sense of contending prospectively) to constellate exemplary work into promising instances of conceptual emergence (or selformativity of comprehensibility) that inform my interest in conceptual prospecting.

This interest is, so to speak, primordially philogenic.

A keynote of self-enhancive conceptualizing—or conceptual selformativity (if not conceptual evolvability)—is character of emergence from whatever is relevantly inhabited, which, in my selection, is usually not overtly about conceptuality. Call the venture (inquiry—> prospecting) pure philology (analogous to so-called “pure science”). Who knows what may emerge in the horizon of appeal, which is the serious fun:

There’s so much that pertains to cultural evolutionarity. What’s best venturing to understand the evolutionarity of that? Intelligent selection in nature is as ancient as animal mating rituals. Intelligent selection in modern academia mirrors the oriental selformativity of the domains as such. What is the “nature” of intelligence that is primordially creative?

Notions of artful mind have been scaled out to evolution of mind in anthropology. What is the literariness of Literature?

What is giftedness? What makes a mind extraordinary? What is the conceptuality of leading interest in concepts of mind?

How does the appeal of nature’s deep design mirror our evolving conceivability?

That’s a very shortened set of domainal questions that appeal.

Given that no final ontology is credible for evolving minds, what can be hghly worthwhile to want from conceptual inquiry beyond prospecting conceivability of Our evolutionarity?

That’s an ultimately eerie question, because We—as ever-individuating (let’s pretend) instances of ever-evolving humanity—live ultimately facing the heartless cosmos.

I prospect that the ultimacy of conceptual inquiry is about human ultimacy which is relative to evolving conceivability.

Research always properly begins as circumspective process, yet for the sake of eventual worth, which is—to my mind, in a phrase—appropriating being in Time for the sake of discursive and progressive practice. (That phrasing is actually a topic header with content I’ll dwell with later.)

Reading is an event of appropriation relative to project-ive engagement which hopes to be effected (i.e., advanced, transformed,...) by the “other” (personified text, i.e., projecting authoriality). That’s a somewhat Janus-faced adaptive flexibility that is glad to be thrown by disclosure (thanks to love of learning). Free play in the venture (what Heidegger, late in life, called “mirrorplay” of “granting” and “bearing” with a vessel) follows the appeal of ever-receding horizons.

From centripetal convening of a communion of readings, themes and topics emerge (or existing ones are enriched)—even new domains—for prospecting insight, creativity, and maybe notions of leading mind in high ways having important efficacy for understanding conceptual potentials, if not better understanding Our evolving conceptuality as such (at best—unlikely—contri-buting to that lastingly, canonically).

That said, about a way ahead, this present discussion is merely a midstream preface, written after tiny discussions done during the turn of the year (December sections here), yet also after the following short and long sections, done January through early February. So, this section of the winter series is also an epilogue.




  Be fair. © 2019, gary e. davis