Issue #68 December 2023


What do we ask for when we ask for an explanation? Obviously on one level we ask for a particular kind of ‘account’, the specification of the phenomenon into a table of language. But not any array of words will do, and explanation is not a mere description, no matter how well-ordered such a description may be. However, at other times, it is precisely just a well-ordered description that will suffice. So the accounting involved in description is seemingly orthogonal to what we ask for when we ask for an explanation.

It often seems that the accounting shares something with a general technics: what we need is the account that could give an economic or moral mastery of the event in question. We seek explanations, then, for them to become the basis of instructions, general methods, stepped plans.

Yet still, explanation often satisfies for its own sake, in a way not seemingly itself explained by its utility for a general technics. This intuitive aspect of the satisfaction of explanation is perhaps what makes the explanation of explanation itself turn over so ceaselessly. In philosophy, often the great moves are not the mere proffering of an explanation, but the inauguration of an entirely new form of explanation itself. The transcendental turn, the phenomenological shift, the structuralist gambit. Always appearing in new forms, perhaps explanation is just that whichever pierces the silent darkness that surrounds, like a zone, the troubled habitation amidst a problem. The explanation is that which moves a problem, but this movement itself is not the progression of an obscure limit, the gradual clarification of an already given, unmapped, world, but rather the energetics of an invention, and the precise tale of how new worlds are formed.

Cover illustration: Dwinell Grant, Untitled (scarf design “G”), (1948), [Detail]


December 2023


Philosophical Prolegomena to Fiction and the Unsayable

by Giorgi Vachnadze

Berkeley/Norinaga/Marx; Awareanalysis, Part 1: exchange, discourse, morality, feelings

by Raphael Chim

Freedom (of the Will) Resolved

by Ermanno Bencivenga

The Zombification of the Public Forum

by Christopher Brown