To continue my response to the following post Larval Subjects wrote,
To complicate matters more, we can have ontological forms of immanence and epistemological forms of immanence, and various combinations of the two. An account is epistemically immanent if it rejects any form of appeal in establishing a conclusion that cannot be arrived at through reason or some form of experience. That is, epistemological immanence rejects any appeals to privileged esoteric experiences, revelation, etc. Ontological immanence would be the principle that there are no causes outside of natural causes.
I am again troubled with the language used here, especially regarding epistemological immanence. In order to qualify for this category one must “reject” appeals that cannot be arrived at through reason and “some form of experience”. This is further qualified as referring to “privileged esoteric experiences.” Is there an assumption that contemporary philosophy, as engaged by LS, is non-esoteric? Should the moves and arguments made be self-evident? Are those for whom this is not the case defective or simply ignorant? To my understanding reason and experience actually disqualifies such a position.
I am more appreciative of the statement on ontological immanence. Is nature purely a matter of machinery, an (infinitely?) complex interplay of cause and effect? Or does something else “break in” (transcend) this order outside of this system. I would need to have a greater clarity of what is being understood as “natural causes”. If these are of an absolute “material” nature then I would reject ontological immanence as a framework for understanding reality. If however, ontological immanence is simply a reference to all that is always at work (in some manner) in reality then I do not necessarily reject it from a theological perspective.
This is where I would begin to speak of the poetic/sacred as it relates to ontology and immanence. “Reason and experience” would lead us to suspect that there are aspects of reality that are more expansive than materialist readings would account for. This is more than the aesthetic equivalent of nuclear energy. These openings and encounters are not formulaic but are no less real. In matters of aesthetics I will appeal not to the critic but the artist and cite Annie Dillard who introduces the aesthetic into the ontological and takes seriously the movement of entropy described in the Second Law of Thermodynamics. She says that things fall apart at alarming rate and that we humans scurry around trying to put them back together. Dillard takes this in a direction (self-described as “insane”) that she understands it may never have meant to go and suggests that “imaginative acts actually weigh in the balance of physical processes.” Dillard continues,
Imaginative acts – even purely mental combinations, like the thought that a certain cloud resembles a top hat – carry real weight in the universe. . . . A completed novel in a trunk in the attic is an order added to the sum of the universe’s order. It remakes its share of undoing. It counteracts the decaying systems, the breakdown of stars and cultures and molecules, the fraying of forms. It works.
This also reminds me of an actual conversation I once heard. The question was asked, “How big is the universe?” The response came in the form of another question, “Are you including memory and imagination?”