We could talk in length about “Starmaking” and “world versions” which are concepts brought forward by Goodman and his “Irrealism” but here, I will provide a short copy-pasted explanation of what is intended by world versions and then attempt to make such a concept, clearer for we are definitively not used to this sort of relativism. Also important to note is that both Goodman and Myatt, while very different philosophers, were led to be against Plato’s perspective of concepts being tangible things.
“Irrealism was initially motivated by the debate between phenomenalism and physicalism in epistemology. Rather than viewing either as prior to the other, Goodman described them both as alternative “world-versions”, both useful in some circumstances, but neither capable of capturing the other in an entirely satisfactory way, a point he emphasizes with examples from psychology. He goes on to extend this epistemic pluralism to all areas of knowledge, from equivalent formal systems in mathematics (sometimes it is useful to think of points as primitives, sometimes it is more useful to consider lines the primitive) to alternative schools of art (for some paintings thinking in terms of representational accuracy is the most useful way of considering them, for others it is not). However, in line with his consideration of phenomenalism and physicalism, Goodman goes beyond saying merely that these are “world-versions” of the world, instead he describes worlds as “made by making such versions. Metaphysically, Goodman’s irrealism is distinct from anti-realism though the two concepts are frequently confused. “We are not speaking in terms of multiple possible alternatives to a single actual world but of multiple actual worlds.” He makes no assertions regarding “the way the world is” and that there is no primary world version i.e. “no true version compatible with all true versions.” As Goodman says, “Not only motion, … but even reality is relative.” It follows that Goodman accepts many forms of realism and anti-realism without being troubled by the resulting contradictions.” -Wikipedia
Alright, this might seem obvious in the reading but nebulous in application. Lets use a functional (Linguistic) example. Observe these three definitions of the word “Consistency”:
- Consistency: Uniformity, not fluctuating, regularity (…)
- Consistency: Coherence, not being contradictory (…)
- Consistency: Thickness (…)
Obviously, this word should be replaced, simply for the sake of its lack of precision and pluri-meanings but this is not what we shall be working on now. In this situation, we have three definitions that are all equally true according to their own world. If I am cooking and I employ the word consistency as in thickness, the word is fitting to this version. If i am listening to a piece of music and I employ the word consistency as in uniformity, it is again, right but in regard to this particular world version. Now what is fascinating about this is that concepts are the subjects of our language (definitions).We already know that our language is imperfect, even for functional definitions (We have just seen this with consistency) so imagine how flawed it is when it comes to abstractions and vague predicates such as: Soul, love, gnosis (…) Another very important suggestion, implied by this thesis is that there might be many true versions of certain concepts, say: honor, fate (…) that apply to different worlds. Explaining this might be slippery but one can easily imagine this if I say something like: “Honor is different for a knight templar and a native Indian”. But are they not both right versions of different worlds, just like the consistency example? It is exactly in this regard that both Goodman and Myatt seem to oppose Plato and his idea that a concept is something that is more or less, floating and that, with enough philosophical torture, you can grasp the true meaning of a concept. In this perspective, there is one single, universal definition for honor, you just have to find it. Pluralism is against this perspective. There might be versions better than others, but fundamentally, concepts are moving in parallel with the evolution of our language, our experiences and our understanding of the universe. From there, we create categories (worlds or ism).
Hence why there needs to be a strict correction made to our current words and predicates so this erroneous, dualist and immobile perspective can be altered like Myatt suggest:
“Formulating such a question in such terms – causal/acausal; whole/parts; eternal/temporal; ipseity/unity; emergent from/genesis of – is a mis-apprehension of what-is because such denoting is ‘us as observer’ (i) positing, as Plato did, such things as a theory regarding ‘the ideal’, and/or (ii) constructing a form or abstraction (ἰδέᾳ) which we then presume to project onto what is assumed to be ‘external’ to us, both of which present us with only an illusion of understanding and meaning because implicit in such theories and in all such constructed forms are (i) an opposite (an ‘other’) and (ii) the potentiality for discord (dialectical or otherwise) between such opposites and/or because of a pursuit of what is regarded as ‘the ideal’ of some-thing.” -David Myatt
Which led Myatt to suggest that Being, and our own physis, can be discovered – known and understood – by empathy and pathei-mathos which both by-pass abstractions, denotatum, and opposites, and enable us to appreciate the numinosity of Being.
What therefore is the wordless knowing that empathy and pathei-mathos reveal? According to Myatt?
“it is the knowing manifest in our human culture of pathei-mathos. The knowing communicated to us, for example, by art, music, literature, and manifest in the lives of those who presenced, in their living, compassion, love, and honour. Germane to this knowing is that – unlike a form or an abstraction – it is always personal (limited in its applicability) and can only be embodied in and presenced by some-thing or by some-one which or who lives. That is, it cannot be abstracted out of the living, the personal, moment of its presencing by someone or abstracted out from its living apprehension by others in the immediacy-of-the-moment, and thus cannot become ‘an ideal’ or form the foundation for some dogma or ideology or supra-personal faith.” -David Myatt
Retreating back to feelings (the wordless ones) might be equally uncertain but at the very least, you avoid the sempiternal equation of the reason which too often repeats itself as a bold and hubristic phase of what seems to be human experience:
Erroneous language = Erroneous concepts/definitions = Erroneous actions/engagement = Subject convinced of his world version (category,ism) to be absolute/truth = Actions committed with ignorance = Pathei Mathos.
“It is as if we, as a sentient species, have learnt nothing from the past four thousand years. Nothing from the accumulated pathei-mathos of those who did such deeds or who experienced such deeds or who suffered because of such deeds. Learnt nothing from four thousand years of the human culture that such pathei-mathos created and which to us is manifest – remembered, celebrated, transcribed – in Art, literature, memoirs, music, poetry, myths, legends, and often in the ethos of a numinous ancestral awareness or in those sometimes mystical allegories that formed the basis for a spiritual way of life. All we have done is to either (i) change the names of that which or those whom we are loyal to and for which or for whom we fight, kill, and are prepared to die for, or (ii) given names to such new causes as we have invented in order to give us some identity or some excuse to fight, endure, triumph, preen, or die for. Pharaoh, Caesar, Pope, Defender of the Faith, President, General, Prime Minister; Rome, Motherland, Fatherland, The British Empire, Our Great Nation, North, South, our democratic way of life. It makes little difference; the same loyalty; the same swaggering; the same hubris; the same desire, or the same obligation or coercion, to participate and fight. *(Not necessarily the same world versions of say; honor but rather the same ignorant equation that leads to such admittedly erroneous actions).
A learning that reveals to us a quite simple truth; that what is wrong is causing or contributing to suffering, and that, with (at least in my admittedly fallible opinion) one exception and one exception only (The one exception is personal honour; the valourous use of force in a personal situation.) we cannot now (again, at least in my admittedly fallible opinion) morally justify intentionally causing or contributing to the suffering of any living being.” -David Myatt; A slowful learning, perhaps.
-Beldam, 128 yf