Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Undermining and Overmining

... are they the new "reductivism" and "master narrative?"  That is, rather than accuse someone of reducing this to that or providing a master narrative of phenomena that lurks behind them as puppet-master, we now accuse someone of under- or over-mining?

My point?

Is this really a new concept, or just a re-deployment of an old one?  I am fond of the latter move, though I do insist that we realize what it is.


  1. Agreed. And what is so novel about windowless monads? Just because something is *new* doesn't mean that it is *original*.

    Back to my sour-faced crew.

    Leon / after nature

  2. For a long time, I hadn't been able to track down an exact definition of the terms despite going through articles and primers. That is, the definitions I saw were not definitive, but I was only looking in recent and not earlier work. I finally realized that the terms functioned, within the texts that used them, as variations of reductivism and master narratives/structures/etc., which are decades-older terms.

    I don't say this with a sour face, but a scholarly one, especially since I thinking the re-naming has political-discursive reasons more than merely elucidative ones. I'm ok with that.

  3. For newer readers: Harman did kindly respond in a post on his site. I think his response was good. That should be unsurprisingly, as perhaps my concerns about the terms were due more to their appropriation by subsequent thinkers and not their original usage. That said, I still believe that the notions are translatable to pre-existing notions, and that the novelty of the terms shine most when one already presumes a certain background. One that I do not share.


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