Collapse Volume IV, 287–322


Being and Slime

The Mathematics of Protoplasm in Lorenz Oken‘s ‘Physio-Philosophy’


The fate of post-Kantian philosophy depends on whether the ‘shock of the objective world’ can be overcome by self-knowledge, on the actuality of the ‘shock of the actual’. A seismic chain runs through transcendentalism’s subjugation of earthquakes to epistemology, a vulcanism poignantly articulated in the objections of the cosmologist Johann Heinrich Lambert to Kant’s relegation of time to an a priori form of inner intuition: ‘If changes are real, then time is real […] If time is unreal, then no change can be real’. This is the shock of physics shattering the insularity of transcendental subjectivity, demonstrating the stakes of the modal investigation of epistemogenesis with which the transcendental philosophy attempted to replace ontology…