Thursday, September 19, 2019

Lyotard on Postmodernism some comments

  1. This summary and comments is based on the selection on Lyotard in Continental Aesthetics:  Romanticism to Postmodernism, Blackwell.   In his three points about "postmodern" Lyotard begins with architecture.  The first architectural theorist mentioned is Portoghesi, who takes postmodernism to be against the hegemony of Euclid, i.e. of strict classical mathematics.  Lyotard does not takes this analysis as seriously, however, as Gregotti's notion that in postmodernism there is a disappearance of the bond between architecture and progressive politics, and this goes along with disappearance of the idea of progress in rationality and freedom.  In architecture, there is no longer something universal (in terms of human freedom) to greet the eye.  Instead we have a series of quotations "from earlier styles or periods."  (One feature Lyotard thinks figures into the postmodern is "disregard for the environment." (363) The new modernism of eco-sensitive architecture, which I will represent here by the work of Leddy, Maytum, Stacey of San Francisco (Bill Leddy is my brother) would therefore not be postmodern.)  Here, the "post" simply means "after" in which each period can be identified and the "post" period is a new direction.  This "idea of a linear chronology" is itself modern, relying on the idea of something completely new.  Even the idea of modernity itself is tied to this idea of something absolutely new.  So Lyotard is suggesting that the notion of "postmodern" associated with distinct periods, some of which are completely new; and the idea of bricolage, which is combining these distinct styles from distinct periods, is naive, and not sufficiently postmodern.  He suspects the rupture with the past posited by such architects and other cultural figures is really repressing while at the same time repeating it.  The postmodern should surpass it.  So the new "postmodern" architecture with all of its quotations of earlier styles, even when done ironically, is a retreat from the ideals of modernism.   So he is really not happy with architectural postmodernism and this leads him to the second meaning of the term mentioned by Gregotti.  Modernism on this view was the notion that developments in arts etc. would benefit mankind as a whole, setting aside the debate over who needed development the most, i.e. between liberals, conservatives, "leftists" (the scare quotes indicating the true left was something else.)  The goal was emancipation of humanity.   So back to the idea of postmodernism as decline in the notion of this goal.  But a new movement arises (at least he hints at this), neither liberal nor Marxist (thus independent of their crimes against humanity, symbolized by Auschwitz) which shows how impoverished the idea of emancipation of humanity was, and this leads to a Zeitgeist of grief.  The grief is expressed in reactionary attitudes, but again a new more positive perspective is possible.  The grief or malaise is only deepened by the technoscientific development which no longer has the name of progress but is independent of us and our needs.  This development is destabilizing for humanity:  and we are reduced to "chasing after the process of accumulation of new objects."  Our destiny or destination seems increasingly complex, making our needs for security, identity and happiness seemingly irrelevant.  What we get instead is a "constraint to mediatize, quantify, synthesize, and modify the size of each and every object."  But while one side of humanity faces this challenge of complexity the other faces the challenge of survival, thus failing the modernist principle that the whole of humanity should benefit. 
  2.  The third point is that the question of postmodernism is one of expression of thought "in art, literature, philosophy, politics."  The dominant view is the great movement of the avant-garde is over, modernity outdated.  Lyotard thinks this fails to understand what the avant-garde was trying to do.  They were not just a radical military move implied in their name: "the true process of avant-gardism was in reality a kind of work, a long, obstinate, and highly responsible work concerned with investigating the assumptions implicit in modernity."  That is, it is serious work.  Lyotard is mainly thinking here of visual art, painting and sculpture.  The big figures he has in mind, first listed, are Duchamp and Newman.  He thinks what they did was something like psychoanalytic therapy.  He adds to this list Cezanne, Picasso, Delaunay, Kandinsky, Klee, Mondrian, Malevich, and Duchamp a second time.  Through them modernity performs a "working through on its own meaning" much like psychoanalysis.  And if this work is not done, the work being a responsibility, then the West's neurosis, the source of all its misfortunes for the last two hundred years, will be unchecked.  Thus the "post" does not mean going back or repetition but analysis and recollection.  
  3.   Answering the Question:  What is Postmodernism .
  4.    The first paragraph, under "A Demand" is a list of various ways in which there is "slackening" during our period.  That is, referring back to the last section, a failure to meet the responsibility of the avant-garde.   The call is to "put an end to experimentation."  So one art historian calls for a return to realism and subjectivity, one critic favors the Italian painting movement called Transavantgardism, and yet this is very different from the is mainly for making money, and then there are the postmodern architects who reject Bauhaus modernism, once again rejecting experimentation.  And then there is a philosopher who calls for a return to Judaeo-Christian piety, and those who find Deleuze and Guattari, the French philosophers, too confusing, and those who think that the avant-gardes of 1960-70 spread terror in language and that we need a new way of speaking, that of historians.  One gets the sense that Lyotard is feeling that the experimentation and questioning of the radicals of 1968 is fading away, and he feels nostalgic for that.  

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Plato's Ladder of Love in the Symposium

Comments on the Ladder of Love passage, Diotima speaking, in Plato's Symposium. 

I will be using the Jowett translation in these comments.  This, of course, is limiting, since there are more recent translations and since a better commentary would rely on the Greek.  Another factor in these comments is that I am responding here to student questions and have been influenced in some instances by these questions themselves.  So I thank my students for their contributions.

"But I will do my utmost to inform you, and do you follow if you  can. For he who would proceed aright in this matter should begin in youth to visit beautiful forms; and first, if he be guided by his instructor aright, to love one such form only-out of that he should create fair thoughts;

The translation here is a bit odd since "visit beautiful forms" really means visit and be attracted to beautiful young men.  Who is "the instructor"?  Presumably it is someone like Diotima to Plato:  the person who teaches him or her the art of love.  But why is guiding a person right a matter of focusing on one form (one physical look of a beloved person) rather than on something else?  This is a difficult question.  My feeling is that Plato thought that the erotic force is a strong motivator that lies behind many or even most of our efforts in life.  It may be surprising to think of Plato as holding to a kind of materialistic position here, one that Freud, for example, would not reject.   But I think that in general we over-idealize Plato.  For example, in Book X of the Republic few notice that God the creator of the first bed is eventually replaced by the expert in the use of the object the essence of which we are seeking.  

Note also that the pursuit of this one person helps the lover "create fair thoughts."  I think this means that the lover engages with the beloved in conversations much like Socratic dialogue and that many of the thoughts generated in this are beautiful.  One wonders whether Socrates can be serious about that since most of the thoughts in a dialogue, i.e. most of the definitions, are refuted by Socrates...and this, surely, would not be an indication of their being beautiful.  It is likely that the "fair thoughts" are thoughts about beauty rather than, strictly, beautiful themselves.

Some students wonder whether attraction to someone's body is the same as being in love with them.  Surely not.  But if one is in love then the object of love is beautiful.  Plato does not work this out but there must be a lower level attraction and physical beauty that does not involve love.  Love, for Plato, comes with deep conversation with the beloved.   

"and soon he will of himself perceive that the beauty of one form is akin to the beauty of another; and then if beauty of form in general is his pursuit, how foolish would he be not to recognize that the beauty in every form is and the same!"

There is a nice video about Derrida in which he discusses the nature of love.  His discussion can be seen as an attack on Plato's theory of love and beauty, especially against this point that when we love correctly we see every form as the same.  As Derrida suggests, it is the unique individual we love.  Plato also seems here to jump quickly from all beauty being akin to all beauty being the same.  The first is much more plausible than the second.  But, for Plato, for two things to be akin they must be the same insofar as they partake in that Form.

 And when he perceives this he will abate his violent love of the one, which he will despise and deem a small thing, and will become a lover of all beautiful forms; 

One of my students asks "Is Diotima's theory of beauty strictly linear?  Do people always need to literally be attracted to [one person's] physical form in order to achieve the next level?"  The student also asked whether one can regress, i.e. be attracted to a mind and then later on only to the physical form.  I think it is in fact linear and that Diotima/Plato is intentional about the sequence.  Yes, of course, regression is possible.  Plato discusses regression from the ideal society in the Republic.  

"Violent love of the one" may seem strange, and yet the Greeks thought of romantic sexual love as violent or at least "mad."  This is what we today refer to as "falling in love" or being obsessed by love.  Acts of jealous violence show how love of the extreme romantic sort can turn sour. 

in the next stage he will consider that the beauty of the mind is more honourable than the beauty of the outward form.

 Of course we contemporary anti-dualists have a problem with this.  It presupposes that the mind is radically separate from outward form.  And yet what we call "mind" in the beloved is ultimately to be found in our experience of the beloved, in her gestures, her spoken thoughts, her kind acts, and so forth. 

Many of my students have suggested that you can be attracted to the mind first and then the body.  I think so, and not only that, but I think that Diotima, Socrates and Plato would have allowed for this.  Plato has Socrates seemingly fall in love with Theaetetus in the dialogue of that name even though he is considered physically unattractive.

It might be best, when pursuing the ladder of love (assuming that the pursuit is legitimate) to oscillate between the beloved in physical aspect and the beloved in mental aspect:  abstracting the physical or the mental from the whole person may itself be a hindrance to advances in love.

 So that if a virtuous soul have but a little comeliness, he will be content to love and tend him, and will search out and bring to the birth thoughts which may improve the young,

You can fall in love with someone who is not physically beautiful.  The subject of this sentence (as always, at least in this translation) is unclear.  But note again that the path to Beauty is by way of the kind of conversation that brings to birth thoughts (here, the metaphor of generation comes in again) and that these thoughts are specifically those that will improve the young (especially, in this case, the younger beloved.)

 until he is compelled to contemplate and see the beauty of institutions and laws, and to understand that the beauty of them all is of one family, and that personal beauty is a trifle;

It seems strange to many of my students that the next stage of the ladder of love is love of institutions and laws.  One could say that the movement is from one to many to one's country in general.  Love of country is a common enough idea.  Then one can quickly realize that it is the institutions and laws that makes one's country well-ordered, although they are not perhaps what makes it lovable.  Still, for Plato, these would be the same.  Today we are often skeptical of laws and institutions, for example as merely uploading class dominance.  Still the idea of a well-ordered society is something to consider.

 and after laws and institutions he will go on to the sciences, 

The love of knowledge (or of wisdom) seems the natural next step, especially for Plato.  Of course, I, a professor, can identify with this easily.  Others might focus on their love of a profession or craft.

that he may see their beauty, being not like a servant in love with the beauty of one youth or man or institution, himself a slave mean and narrow-minded, but drawing towards and contemplating the vast sea of beauty, he will create many fair and noble thoughts and notions in boundless love of wisdom;

For Plato, a free man, someone not a "servant," is going to be someone other than Ion in the Ion who only loves Homer.  The free man will not be narrow-minded in his appreciation.  He/she will contemplate the "vast sea of beauty" and also, in doing so, will create "fair and noble thoughts" by way of his "love of wisdom" i.e. his philosophy.   So the two are closely connected:  contemplation of beauty and love of philosophy. 

until on that shore he grows and waxes strong,

The image is carried through.  The lover is on the shore viewing the vast sea, and also the lover "grows and waxes strong."  

and at last the vision is revealed to him of a single science, which is the science of beauty everywhere. 

The idea of a vision being revealed is central to the entire quest.  So it seems strange to us today to see this in terms of a "single science."  How can a single science be the result of a vision.  Not only is there a vast sea of beauty but there is a science which studies it?  This of course would be what we today call Aesthetics.  Aesthetics studies the vast sea of beauty. 
To this I will proceed; please to give me your very best attention:

"He who has been instructed thus far in the things of love, and who has learned to see the beautiful in due order and succession, when he comes toward the end will suddenly perceive a nature of wondrous beauty (and this, Socrates, is the final cause of all our former toils)-a nature which in the first place is everlasting, not growing and decaying, or waxing and waning; secondly, not fair in one point of view and foul in another, or at one time or in one relation or at one place fair, at another time or in another relation or at another place foul, as if fair to some and-foul to others, or in the likeness of a face or hands or any other part of the bodily frame, or in any form of speech or knowledge, or existing in any other being, as for example, in an animal, or in heaven or in earth, or in any other place; but beauty absolute, separate, simple, and everlasting, which without diminution and without increase, or any change, is imparted to the ever-growing and perishing beauties of all other things.

This nature of wondrous beauty which is perceived suddenly is like the Parmenidean One:  everlasting, not growing or decaying.  A student asked me whether Plato had any influences in this theory, and the answer is (beyond of course Socrates and Diotima) Parmenides.  Also the beauty of this thing, Beauty itself, is not relative to person, point of view, place or time.   This is an attack on all theories that beauty is subjective. 

Also it is is not to be found in the things we think to find beauty, i.e. in imitations of face, hands, body, or in forms of speech or knowledge.  Indeed it is not to be found in any particular being.  This is because it is, again, "absolute, separate, simple, and everlasting." And yet it is "imparted" to the beauties of all other things.  The latter beauties always grow and always perish.

 He who from these ascending under the influence of true love, begins to perceive that beauty, is not far from the end. 

Diotima speaks of "true love" and one wonders whether this refers to the eternal Form of Love.  But then how can Love be a Form if it is not divine, but just is a lover of the divine.  What would the final definition of love be?  It seems that Diotima does not even care.  What she does, instead, is to provide a process for achieving apprehension of Beauty.  True Love may just be what comes at the end of the ladder of love.

Is it being implied here that perceiving absolute Beauty is not really the end?  

Some of my students have asked how one knows that one has reached the end of the ladder of love.  This is a good question.   There might, after all, be a false ending of the quest.  So, "you just know" might not be an adequate answer.
And the true order of going, or being led by another, to the things of love, is to begin from the beauties of earth and mount upwards for the sake of that other beauty, using these as steps only, and from one going on to two, and from two to all fair forms, 

Diotima here repeats the steps.  But she also varies this.  For example beginning with the beauties of the earth is beginning in a much broader place than beginning with the particular look of a beloved person.   Many students are concerned that one must start with sexual love, with lust.  This is not necessarily the case, as can be seen in this comment about "beauties of earth."  Another factor in this is that Diotima is now speaking of two species of love, not several.  So there is an implicit dualism here.  The lower beauties are things to begin with.  The upper beauty is Beauty itself.   The "beauties of earth" seems to refer to the process of going from one to two to all fair forms, i.e. all beautiful appearances on the earth.

and from fair forms to fair practices, and from fair practices to fair notions,

Again, there is big distinction between this and the earlier version of the ladder (if we are to accept Jowett's translation...which is always my proviso).  Beautiful practices and notions are not exactly the same as beautiful institutions and science:  here too the category is more general, and therefore, in a way, more acceptable.

 until from fair notions he arrives at the notion of absolute beauty, and at last knows what the essence of beauty is.
 I wonder whether arriving at the notion of absolute beauty is the same as knowing the essence of beauty.  Probably is.

 This, my dear Socrates," said the stranger of Mantineia, "is that life above all others which man should live, in the contemplation of beauty absolute; 

Most people will balk at this.  After all, there are many other choices in life.  Who really devotes him or herself to contemplation of absolute beauty?  In what sense can this really be the way man should live?   Perhaps Socrates was doing this when he was transfixed in the doorway before coming to the Symposium.  But even he did not devote his entire life to such contemplation.  So it seems to be an unreasonable demand.  Is it a symbol for the entire pursuit of beauty?  I could see saying that the goal of life is to pursue beauty both through making aspects of the world more beautiful and through seeing the beauty in things, all of which cannot happen unless one grasps the essence of beauty.

a beauty which if you once beheld, you would see not to be after the measure of gold, and garments, and fair boys and youths, whose presence now entrances you; 

Protagoras had said that man is the measure of all things.  Here the question rather is how one measures beauty, or rather determines that something is beautiful and to what extent.  This list, of gold, garments and beautiful youths is a list of things commonly said to be beautiful, things that also entrance, and yet these things are beautiful in a superficial way.  

and you and many a one would be content to live seeing them only and conversing with them without meat or drink, if that were possible-you only want to look at them and to be with them. 

This of course is a description of a lover, who is "mad" in a certain way.  It is interesting that the lover is willing to sacrifice some material goods, meat and drink, for this thing which is less direct and more contemplative, i.e. looking at the beautiful beloved, and being with them, which also requires that one is involved in conversation with the beloved.

But what if man had eyes to see the true beauty-the divine beauty, I mean, pure and dear and unalloyed, not clogged with the pollutions of mortality and all the colours and vanities of human life

As previously mentioned, it might seem wiser then to avoid these colors and vanities and seek the divine beauty directly. Why is there even a ladder of love?  Why start with what is already polluted?

-thither looking, and holding converse with the true beauty simple and divine?

 True beauty replaces the beloved boy as something to hold converse with and something to look at.   But converse and communion imply something mutual.  What can we offer Beauty itself?

 Remember how in that communion only, beholding beauty with the eye of the mind, he will be enabled to bring forth, not images of beauty, but realities (for he has hold not of an image but of a reality), 

Bringing forth realities based on having taken hold of a reality:  this would mean creating beautiful things in this world. 

and bringing forth and nourishing true virtue to become the friend of God and be immortal, if mortal man may. Would that be an ignoble life?" 

 What are the beautiful things brought forth.  They constitute true virtue.  This "true virtue" is not necessarily moral virtue or just moral virtue:  it is excellent generally.  

Contrary to most religions, here the only immortality available to man is this one in which the seeker becomes "friend of God"  leading the noble life, a life in which true virtue is constantly created out of apprehension, contemplation and creation of beautiful things.  An afterlife is not at issue here. Virtue in the context of love and beauty might be a matter of actualizing one's excellence through seeking out and finding the essences of things.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Derrida Economimesis: An outline and comments [not completed]

On one level Derrida's "Economimesis" is just a close reading of Kant's Analytic of the Beautiful in the Critique of Judgment (with some side moves to the Introduction).  It is sometimes difficult when reading this text to determine when Kant leaves off and Derrida begins.  There are many lengthy quotes by Kant and some of the explications of Kant are fairly straightforward.  Sometimes one gets the feeling that Derrida approves of what Kant is saying, but he may not outright say this.  Economimesis is a deconstructive critique of Kant's great work.  The strategy Derrida uses is to note various oppositions in Kant's thought and then show how those oppositions are questioned, sometimes dissolved, and so forth.  The reading is extremely difficult, but not without value. It appears in the textbook I am using this semester Continental Aesthetics:  Romanticism to Postmodernism, and I will cite from that.  I cannot pretend to be a Derrida specialist:  this is just my best effort to understand what is going on here.  I will number the paragraphs.

  1. It is usually helpful in reading Derrida to focus on the key Derridean (i.e. in this case non-Kantian) terms being used.  For example in the first paragraph Derrida mentions politics and political economy, and of course this relates to the made-up term used as title to the essay.  Derrida observes that politics acts upon this discourse, although it does not play a prominent role in Kant's actual discussion.  A typical move for the deconstructionist is to show the underlying political context.  This is something that deconstructionism shares with Marxism.  Derrida suggests that the motifs here go back to Plato and Aristotle in one chain of discourse, and to other philosophical chains as well (for example, Marxism), although, now talking in a metaphilosophical may, the same concept will have a different meaning in different sequences, its identity based on the way it functions in the particular discourse.  He talks in the end of "elaboration, that is dislocation, by the structure of the parergon" which means simply that it is subject to deconstruction.
  2. Production as Mimesis.  We pretend to find a point of departure in examples or locations which are neither empirical nor metaempirical.
  3. These locations are motivated by the concept of economimesis, a term created to combine mimesis and economics, and although they seem unrelated to each other, there is a systematic link.  (The opposition between these two is deconstructed.  This may be the primary deconstruction of the essay.)  Further, with respect to economy, there is no opposition between economy of circulation (regular economy) and general economy (the use of the term "economy" that is much broader and metaphorical...relations of exchange on a broad cultural level.)  
  4. The locations in the text are two statements about economics in the first restrictive sense, i.e. about salary.  Although such statements are rare in the text they are not insignificant.  The theory of mimesis is bracketed by these statements.
  5. One is in section 43 of the Critique of Judgment where free art is defined in opposition to mercenary art.  The other is in 51 where the free arts are independent of salary.  
  6. The first statement is related to the definition of art, which comes late in the book.  Kant had just said that natural beauty is superior to art from a moral point of view since nature speaks to us symbolically through its beautiful forms.  But this also leads us to think of nature as though it were art production.  
  7. Kant seems to define art as not nature "thus subscribing to the inherited, ossified, simplified, opposition between techne and physis" and the related one between the play of freedom and mechanical necessity.  Derrida will work on deconstructing these distinctions as well.  His negativity about the opposition can be seen in the quoted adjectives.   He first observes that "analogy annuls this opposition" since, for Kant. Nature dictates what is free in production of art through Genius.  Genius receives its rules from nature.  Previous philosophers, especially Plato, have attacked imitation in art, but this is undermined, as it turns out that nature, in giving rules to the genius, "folds itself, returns to itself, reflects itself through art."  So, although direct imitation of nature is perhaps still condemned, there is this indirect imitation through nature's power over genius.  [I am not sure I agree with Derrida's analysis here since Kant seems to be saying rather that it is the nature of the genius that gives the rule to art, not some external nature, not nature in the wild, for example.]  So both the oppositions of physis (nature) and mimesis (imitative art) and physis and tecne (craft) are overcome.  Note that Derrida is saying that Kant is doing this deconstruction.  As in other writings there is a sense that everything Derrida is bringing out is already, strangely, there in Kant.
  8.  Derrida speaks of "apparently irreducible oppositions" which are finally dissolved.  He also asks what political economy is advantaged by this dissolution.  I am not sure what this means:  perhaps a better political system, a freer less capitalist one would be advantaged
  9. To dissolve them these oppositions must be produced and multiplied.  This is Derrida's methodology:  he shows more and more oppositions and then dissolves them.
  10. An example of this multiplication is within art in general where the opposition forms a hierarchy in which one side is always classified as more valuable, for example one art as more properly art than another. (Collingwood could be said to make such a distinction, i.e. between amusement art and art properly speaking.)  Derrida will seek to dissolve this too.
  11. Kant says that we should only call "art" the production of freedom by means of freedom, using free will and reason.  Thus the product of bees is not art.  This humanist theme treats animality in general under certain examples, in this case the bee, which is opposed to the human.  The human is always seen as associated with reason, freedom, etc.  The other is not.  The concept of art is constructed to raise man from "below."  So Aristotle argues that only man is capable of mimesis.   What this is leading to is a deconstruction (which is usually just a questioning) of the standard duality between man and animal.  Derrida also finds a "ruse" in this:  that what is unique to man is said to be grounded in absolute naturalism and "indifferentialism" which is to say that differentiation is effaced by opposition. The ruse is the effacement. Derrida wants to go the other way, replacing opposition with difference.
  12. So bees have no art, or have it only by analogy.
  13. Art is also distinguished from science.  This is another of the multiplying oppositions which needs deconstruction.  In art it is not enough to have knowledge to do it.  For science, to know is to know how.  But high-wire dancing is different:  it is not enough to know about it.  Art is like that, on this view.
  14. For Kant, art cannot then be reduced to craft.  The craftsman exchanges the value of his work for a salary.  But art is liberal, free:  it is not part of economics, not exchangeable.  Derrida somewhat confusingly says that liberal art and mercenary art are not then opposite terms.  I think he means they are not exactly opposite since liberal art is considered to be more art, to have more value, and precisely because it does not have economic value.  Derrida will deconstruct this too.  Mercenary art is, for Kant, only art analogically.  And it is like the productivity of bees, lacking such things as freedom and play of imagination.  So the opposition here is play and work -- also to be deconstructed.
  15. So, for Kant, free art is more human than salaried work as with the work of bees.  The free man is not homo oeconomicus.
  16. 2. The free man may use the work of man insofar as he is not free.  This is, of course, the basis for capitalist exploitation.
  17. 3.  But Kant also must distinguish reproductive and productive imagination, the later being free and playful.  
  18. Poetry is the summit of fine art, taking productive imagination to its extreme.  But mimesis comes in here too since it "deploys the brute power of its invention only by listening to nature."  So nature replaces God in the enlightenment ideology:  we have now "onto-theological humanism."  Genius takes this productivity to its highest point:  it both gives rules and also (in a seemingly contradictory fashion) has rules dictated to it by nature.  Thus the distinction between liberal and mercenary art breaks with mimesis as imitation only to identify itself with nature itself freely unfolding.  The idea of genius as creating its own rules through nature is the key to Derrida's deconstruction.
  19. The free play also offers enjoyment which should be distinguished from pleasure.  The definition that Kant uses to distinguish Fine Arts "does not proceed by symmetrical opposition" since Fine Arts do not all belong to the liberal arts some of which are Sciences.
  20. What then characterizes the Fine Arts?
  21. An art that produces the beautiful need not be beautiful itself.  But it is connected since "the relation to the product cannot, structurally, be cut off from the relation to a productive subjectivity..."  This is implied by the signature of the artist on his or her work.  So the beautiful is not only the object but also the work that goes into making it.  The signature is in the "parergonal thickness of the frame":  neither wholly out or in the work.  The beautiful is also in the passage between the process and the product: it "depends on some paregonal effect."  Thus Fine-Arts are "always of the frame and the signature."  Derrida thinks Kant would not endorse this but it is consistent with his system.
  22.   To say an art is fine one implies "a repetition, a possibility of beginning again."
  23. The repetition is of a pleasure.  Science cannot be beautiful just as art cannot have scientific value, and, for Kant, the beauty of a scientific statement would just be a witticism.
  24.   Science must do without wit, art, beauty and pleasure.  But Derrida will seek to deconstruct this set of distinctions too.
  25. He does this (i.e. shows how Kant himself deconstructs it) by turning to the Introduction where pleasure is in the distant origin of knowledge.  
  26. This"immemorial time" is not a time of consciousness.  Here pleasure was not separated from knowledge.  We are led back to "the buried or repressed origin of science, that is to the science of science, to the point where all the distinctions, oppositions, limits remarked by the Kantian critique lose their pertinence."  Deconstruction is a matter of going back to this time.  Derrida notes sweeping consequences here.  [Is Derrida advocating something like Rousseau's return to the state of nature?]
  27. So, for Kant, the Fine Arts give pleasure and not enjoyment, science gives neither, and the fine arts (small letters) give pleasure without enjoyment.  [This distinction between Fine Arts and fine arts is not familiar to me in reading Kant.]
  28. Mechanical art neither seeks nor gives pleasure:  it is opposed to aesthetic art which ends in pleasure.
  29. Aesthetic art, too, splits into hierarchic species:  there is aesthetic art that has no relation to the beautiful, e.g. the agreeable arts, which have enjoyment as their aim, whereas the Fine Arts seek pleasure without enjoyment.  The arts of enjoyment include conversation, party games, etc.
  30. Pure pleasure without empirical enjoyment belongs to judgment and reflection.  Derrida seeks to deconstruct this distinction too [as I have in my work in everyday aesthetics].
  31.  This pleasure is according to the order of a society, a reflective intersubjectivity.
  32. So what is the relation with economimesis?  This taking pleasure belongs to the essence of man capable of pure non-exchangeable productivity...not in terms of use value or exchange values (to use the terms of Marx.)
  33. "nevertheless this pure productivity of the inexchangeable liberates a sort of immaculate commerce"  i.e. universal communicability between free subjects.  This is the pure economy of the free man.
  34. Mimesis comes in since a certain "as if" re-establishes it at the point where it appears detached.  Fine Arts must have the appearance of nature, must resemble effects of natural action:  the purposiveness of its form must seem to be as free as if it were the product of pure nature.
  35. What is the scope of the "as if"? (436)
  36.   The less pure productivity depends on nature the more it resembles nature: mimesis here is not the representation of one thing by another:  not the relation of two products but of two productions, two freedoms.  The artist then imitates acts of nature.  So the mimesis displays the identification of the human with the divine, a commerce between divine and human artist.  The commerce is mimesis "in the strict sense, a play, a mask, an identification with the other on stage" not a copy.  So true mimesis is between two producers.  Imitation, by contrast, is servile.
  37. This secures the hierarchical opposition between free and mercenary art  "Economimesis puts everything in its place, starting with the instinctual work of animals without language and ending with God, passing by way of the mechanical arts, mercenary art, liberal arts, aesthetic arts, and the Fine-Arts."  That is, it establishes the hierarchy.
  38.  So the structure of mimesis effaces the opposition between nature and art.  [I find this confusing since in the preceding paragraph it established a hierarchy.  Is hierarchy different from opposition?]  We rediscover the root of pleasure in knowledge.  Derrida then diverges to a discussion of Aristotle on mimesis.  For Aristotle mimesis is essential to man.  But Kant thinks imitation is aping:  the ape cannot mime.  So Aristotle is back at the joining of knowledge and pleasure.  He sees man as different from other animals in being good at imitation, and taking pleasure in it.
  39. Why are Aristotle and Kant different here? They are not so different.  Kant does not exclude the unity of pleasure and knowledge:  he merely re-assigns it to the unconscious at some immemorial time.  Also, here, nature is an art and natural beauty a product of that.  Kant says nature was beautiful when it was seen as art and that art cannot be beautiful unless we are conscious of it as art but see it as nature.  
  40.   Art is beautiful to the degree it is like productive nature.  Kant again has led us back to a time before his critique and before all of the disassociations and oppositions. 
  41.    "The beautiful brings productive nature back to itself, it qualifies a spectacle that artist-nature has given itself.  God has given himself to be seen in a spectacle,  just as if he had masked - had shown - himself."   This paragraph is difficult.  It may be indicating a theology.  Derrida speaks of "an immense liberality which however can only give itself in itself to be consumed."  I wonder whether this is something he favors, i.e. as a virtue.
  42.   But how can man's freedom be said to resemble that of God? It resembles by not imitating.
  43.  The mimesis can only proceed by exemplars.
  44. Thy genius naturalizes economimesis.  It is produced and given by nature. It is a gift of nature.  "Nature produces freedom for itself and gives it to itself" and in giving non-conceptual rules of art, i.e. exemplars, the genius reflects nature.
  45.   The originality of the genius and its exemplarity must incite a certain imitation (back to Aristotle)  but one that avoids plagiarism.  We have free imitation of a freedom of genius which freely imitates divine freedom.  [Note that this is a rejection of Plato in that the string of imitations does not reduce freedom]  Kant distinguishes between imitation and copy, the two terms only being different by one letter.
  46. Then when nature has "detached genius" everything is naturalized, interpreted as nature, "the content of empirical culturalism, the political economy of art"...[it is not clear what is happening here]
  47. The second remark on salary distinguishes between the orator and the poet.
  48.  The poet is at the summit analogous to God.He gives more than he promises.  He breaks the circular economy (traditional economics.)  A transeconomy is a general economy of the subject says Nick Mansfield.
  49. Economesis "unfolds itself there to infinity" as in Hegel:  "An infinite circle plays [with] itself and uses human play to reappropriate the gift for itself."  This may refer to Hegel's Absolute.  The poet receives from nature/God the power to give more than he promises.   This "surplus value" makes its return to the infinite source.  [I wonder whether Derrida believes in God.  This sounds a bit too mystical for my taste.] And this passes through the voice.  [The next part is very poetic and the only thing one can do is quote.]  As a result the opposition between restricted and general economy is effaced.  He speaks of "passage of the infinity between gift and debt."  What is debt?
  50.  Giving more than he promises is something conceptual.  The genius is not paid but God supports him with speech and in return for gratitude.  God gives him surplus.
  51. This is poetic since God is a poet.  [Why doesn't Derrida deconstruct this hierarchy God/poet too?]
  52. This structure has its analogue in the city:  the poet must eat, must sustain the labor force.  He receives subsidies from the sun-king, Frederick the Great.  Kant's use of Frederick's poem is no accident.  There is an economics behind this, and a hierarchy.
  53.  The poem of Frederick describes the overabundance of a solar source.  The various helio-poetics of Plato, Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche and Bataille form an analogical chain.  
  54. Derrida quotes from the poem and Kant's footnote about Isis as Mother Nature:  here the concept of virtue diffuses many sublime and restful feelings which not definite concept can match.
  55. Exemplorality.  Perhaps we are approaching the embouchure..
  56.  opening onto economimesis.
  57.   pure productivity is "a sort of gift for itself of God who makes a present of himself to himself"
  58. The analogy between God and Poet finds its origin in the logos, reason, word, the embouchure.
  59. Now it must be deconstructed.
  60. Nature furnishes rules to genius as orders.  The discursive metaphors in the text (nature says) are analogies of analogy: nature is properly logos towards which one must always return.  "Analogy is always language."
  61. Genius agrees to be nature's secretary, inspired.  It has no concept or knowledge.  
  62.  Nature also the the product of the divine genius.  Productive imagination creates a second nature.  Genius, first nature, and God.  "Such hierarchical analogy forms a society of the logos, a sociology of genius, a logoarchy."  
  63. What does it mean for analogy to be a rule.  Derrida gets very poetic/witty here:  "It means what it means and that it says that it means wheat it wants and that it wants what it wants, for example,"
  64. To continue:  "It is by example that it means that it means and that it says that it means that it wants and that it wants what it wants by example."  
  65. Analogy between the rule of art and the moral rule:  that analogy is the rule.    But the articulated play of this analogy is itself "subject to a law of supplemenarity"
  66.   The purpose-lessness leads us back to ourselves:  we seek purpose within:  we slurp, giving ourselves orders which no longer come from outside.
  67.   This is a movement of idealizing interiorisation:  for Kant we seek it in our ultimate purpose.
  68.  Not finding our purpose in our aesthetic experience we fold ourselves back towards the purpose of our Da-Sein (Heidegger: Being in the World):  we are there to respond to a vocation of autonomy/morality.  There there of our Dasein first determined by this purpose.
  69.  Here analogies multiply concerning the language of nature. We take a moral interest in the beautiful of nature:  for nature harbors a principle of harmony between its productions and our disinterested pleasure:  a harmony between purposiveness of nature and our delight.
  70. How does one announce the adherence between adherence and non-adherence?  Derrida is speaking here of the adherence of interest and disinterest.
  71. By means of signs.  This is the "primary place of signification in the third Critique."  Nature announces to us by signs and traces there must be a harmonious agreement between its purposiveness and our disinterested delight.  
  72. Meditation on this pleasure provokes a moral interest in the beautiful.  Derrida:  strange this interest taken in disinterestedness, moral revenue from production without interest, moral surplus value of the without, related to the trace and sign of nature.  We may be assured our stocks are on the moral rise.
  73. The account may seem too studied regarding the interpretation of the cipher of beautiful natural forms.
  74.  The without of pure detachment is a language nature speaks to us:  but this, in common with Heraclitus, causes the parergon to strain.
  75.   The in-significant non-language of forms, silence, is a language between nature and man
  76. The charms\, colors and sounds for example, also seem to converse:  the white color of lilies dispose us to ideas of innocence.
  77.  The trace and wink of nature do not have to be objectively regulated by conceptual science.  It is our interest in nature's communicating that matters:  we believe in the sincerity of the ciphered language.  And what speaks through the mouth of the poet also must be veridical.  If a poet speaks of a nightingale's song but it is really a trickster, that is ignoble.  Oral examples are important here:  Kant says it is ignoble to confine ourselves to eating and drinking.  Exemplorality is exemplary orality.  There is an allergy i the mouth between pure taste and actual tasting. But would not disgust, turning against actual taste, be the origin of pure taste?