Painting challenging Descartes

Descartes is challenged by Gaston Bachelard. And in a way the Indian painter Abir Karmakar is disciple of Gaston Bachelard. Gaston Bachelard challenges Descartes notion of clarity, distinctness and truth, notions for which Descartes became famous. Bachelard argues in his epistemologic writings, that truth is based on relations. It is dependent of the instruments which scientists have at their dispositions.

Instruments, truth and nature form a triangle, they depend reciprocally on each other. Descartes denies this when he argues that reason is equally distributed, he denies that methods are depending on language and on instruments. Descartes focusses on a universal truth, which is based on mathematics.

These mathematics have not been equally distributed in Descartes` time. Only a few scholars, seamen and traders could deal with the zero at his time.

Karmakar reminds us, that counting and therefore an important mathematical technology are based on using the body. Counting in former time was performed by touching one`s own body, fingers, feet, leg, shoulders etc. This is a documented by the observation that different cultures count on the basis of 10 fingers or 10 fingers and 10 fingers and so on.

Karmakar remembers this, when he touches different parts of his body with his tongue. This leads us to a principal epistemological question: Is counting based on using words, and therefore using the instruments of speech (mouth, teeth, tongue, etc.) or is counting a technic totally distinct from speech, a form of writing?

Nils Röller New Delhi/Sanskriti Kendra

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