Philosophy

Bizarre-Privileged Items in the Universe: The Logic of Likeness

An imaginative new theory of likeness that ranges widely across history and subjects, from physics and evolution to psychology, language, and art

Hardcover

Price:
$33.00
ISBN:
Published:
Mar 9, 2021
2021
Pages:
336
Size:
6 x 9 in.
Illus:
4 color + 5 b&w illus.
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A butterfly is like another butterfly. A butterfly is also like a leaf and at the same time like a paper airplane, an owl’s face, a scholar flying from book to book. The most disparate things approach one another in a butterfly, the sort of dense nodule of likeness that Roger Caillois once proposed calling a “bizarre-privileged item.” In response, critical theorist Paul North proposes a spiritual exercise: imagine a universe made up solely of likenesses. There are no things, only traits acting according to the law of series, here and there a thick overlap that appears “bizarre.”

Centuries of thought have fixated on the concept of difference. This book offers a theory that begins from likeness, where, at any instant, a vast array of series proliferates and remote regions come into contact. Bizarre-Privileged Items in the Universe follows likenesses as they traverse physics and the physical universe; evolution and evolutionary theory; psychology and the psyche; sociality, language, and art. Divergent sources from an eccentric history help give shape to a new trans-science, “homeotics.”