Wednesday, March 25, 2009


A review of Simon's Critchley's Remarks on Quentin Meillassoux's AFTER FINITUDE

Thomas Riggins

The TLS of February 27, 2009 has a review of an important new philosophy book-- AFTER FINITUDE by Quentin Meillassoux-- translated from the French by Ray Brassier [i.e. "Back to the great outdoors" by Simon Critchley]. The title of the article is due to Meillassoux's desire to get directly back to nature. The following are some Marxist impressions. Hopefully PA will be able to print a full review of the book itself at a later date.

We are told that one of Meillassoux's targets is Kant who maintained that we have knowledge of the world as it APPEARS to us. Meillassoux wants to show that we can access "the world as it is in itself without being dependent on the existence of observers."

It is interesting to note that ScienceDaily online just recently posted an article stating that physicists have demonstrated that we can know that there is a world independent of our observation-- but it is very weird [Cf. "Finally Lenin Was Right: Scientists Say That Reality Is Real"-PaEditorsBlog 3/6/2009].

The problem seems to be with the phrase, vis a vis the world, to access "the world as it it is in itself" independent of the observer. Critchley explains that Kant thinks there is a real world independent of us but that it is mediated through our perceptual apparatus. "The external material objects that I experience in perception are nothing but "mere appearances" or "representations". But, perhaps Critchley goes too far, or is it Meillassoux as well?, in saying for Kant "the outside world exists but is only the correlate of the concepts and categories through which we conceive it." At least "outside" is not the right word to use for Kant since both space and time are for him the a priori preconditions for human experience-- the independent world does not exist in space or time as these are human ways of perception and we don't know how else to explain the world.

We are told that Meillassoux considers all this (i.e., The Critique of Pure Reason) a "catastrophe" because it has led to "correlationism." What it has actually led to is the thought that the world-- both physical and social-- is not necessarily 100% just as it appears to be to any of us. That creatures with different perceptual apparatus will see it differently and experience it differently. If there was a "catastrophe" it would have been due to Hume whose philosophy led to the skeptical positions regarding humanity's ability to know anything at all that drove Kant to write the Critique. But neither were "catastrophes." Both were milestones on the road of human self awareness which have contributed to the growth of our self knowledge.

Critchley tells us that Melliassoux's target is the form of correlationism associated with Husserl's phenomenology which "is based on the idea of a correlation between the intentional acts of consciousness and the objects of those acts...." What does this mean? Husserl uses the Greek term NOEMA to refer to an object as it is in-itself and NOESIS to refer to our thinking about it.

We take the natural standpoint in everyday life-- i.e., we are dealing with externally existing objects in a real world. For the purposes of phenomenology we abandon this standpoint, bracket the object, and just study the way it appears to our consciousness. OK, this doesn't deny the existence of the material world but it correlates the object in this way-- the thing- in- itself and the thing-for- us.

Husserl's student Heidegger is more subjective. For him the external object is determined by the noesis-- the human world is a by product of consciousness-- so, as in Kant, we can't know the thing-in-itself. So what is the problem with this way of thinking?

There are two says Critchley. First, since it keeps reason away from the things-in-themselves, it opens the door to non reasonable explanations and theories about them (i.e., irrationalism and religion) Second: "it is wrong." Well, that is being blunt!

Meillassoux thinks correlations are wrong because they can't say anything about the universe before the evolution of humans. But this is only true of the most rigid subjective idealists. Hegel (also mentioned as a correlationist) certainly believed the world to have had an objective existence before there were any people around. I can say that I think I only know the thing-in-itself indirectly by means of my perceptual apparatus and my experiences with it and yet still believe my perceptual apparatus is the product of the evolution of my species which is a recent event in the history of the universe. I neither have to "disavow" the existence of the material world nor be "an intellectual hypocrite" as Meillassoux seems to think.

So now the question is--- if we reject correlationism do we have to go back to pre-Kantian "dogmatic" metaphysics? Meillassoux proposes what he calls SPECULATIVE REALISM. Critchley says, consider the metaphysics of Leibniz. Leibniz defended THE PRINCIPLE OF SUFFICIENT REASON. For every thing that exists there must be a reason why it, rather than some other thing, exists. He ends up proving the existence of God with this [a philosopher's God, not necessarily anything anybody else would use the word "God" to describe].

This is no good, thinks Meillassoux. Speculative Reason demands an absolute notion of an independently existing reality that we can have direct knowledge of and this "God" is an untidy remnant of pre-Kantian metaphysical mumbo-jumbo. Leibniz had asked, "Why is there something rather than nothing." Meillassoux dumps the principle of sufficient reason and answers "For no reason." There is no reason why there is something rather than nothing, it just is that way. Who is it now who is cutting off reason from the origin of the universe before man?

The subtitle of the book is "An Essay on the Necessity of Contingency." The universe is not the result of necessity, but of a "brute contingent chaos," according to Critchley. Even though the principle of sufficient reason is not operative, human reason can explore the chaos and try to understand what is going on. But don't we need to believe in "reasons" to find out what is going on? Is it not just a dogmatic assertion to say that contingency is a necessity and fail to give a sufficient reason why this is so?

We have now arrived at the "most speculative claim of the book", says Critchley. And that is that mathematics is the only method we have to find some stability and truth within the chaotic contingency of reality. Critchley writes that "his book is essentially a defense of the project of the mathematization of nature that one can find in Galileo and Descartes." We are told this reflects the mathematical ontology of his teacher Alain Badiou. So reality is a chaotic contingency but it follows mathematical laws. Hmmmm.

Even if this may be fine for the physical sciences it will never due for the human sciences. Meillassoux is essentially a throw back to seventeenth century mechanical materialism. Human reality, history, psychology, the social sciences can only be understood by means of the hegelio-marxist dialectic which views this reality as in constant movement and change brought about by an inherent negativity which prevents it reduction to rigid mathematical formulae.

According to Critchley, Meillassoux accepts Hume's view of nature (including man) as "a brute contingency that cannot be rationally explained", so how then can he use mathematics to explain it. How can you explain what cannot be explained? When it is rationally explained you get (non-academic) Marxism. Yipes! Critchley fears that this "mathematical romance" has seduced its author to attempt doing what Hume's philosophy "perhaps rightly prohibits." It was Hume's philosophy that generated the line Kant to Hegel to Marx, so it looks like Meillassoux should be looking forward not backward for the solution to his problems.

Regardless of this caveat, Critchley finds the argument "absolutely exhilarating" as well as "brilliant." And while he finds the author "at his best when showing the complacency of contemporary Kantians and phenomenologists" I found myself wondering how wide spread was the kind of "correlationism" Meillassoux objects to. All those in the Marxist tradition, Positivist tradition and Analytic tradition don't seem to be affected. He objects to an early work of Wittgenstein which Wittgenstein rejected and has now only historical interest. I think he has set up a lot of straw men to knock down This will be dealt with in a formal review of the book itself.

Critchley is also impressed by Meillassoux's SPECULATIVE REALISM which upholds nature as "cold and indifferent to humans." But this idea is as old as the hills. Hume held that nature cares as much for oysters as for humans, so there is nothing new here. Meillassoux promises another book to elaborate on his ideas on Speculative Reason. I hope it doesn't have "the find-grained logic-chopping worthy of Duns Scotus" found by Critchley in "After Finitude."

Critchley himself makes three criticisms of the book. First, if we accept the view that "the world as it is in itself is the same as the world for us" and it is mathematics and science that reveals it "then philosophy becomes totally useless." Second, Meillassoux's model of science is physics which can describe the world before life, but what role is there for sciences like biology, psychology and economics"? Third, if physics reveals the world as it really is how do we account for ethics and relative value systems? Should not the one real world be reflected in every cultural understanding?

Meillassoux will no doubt be dealing with all this in his future tome. Critchley thinks it ironic that while advanced analytic thinkers, he mentions John McDowell and Robert Brandon, are incorporating the insights of Kant, Hegel and Heidegger into an update of the Anglo-American tradition, Meillassoux is moving backwards to Cartesianism [mechanical materialism--tr].

Critchley tells a story of a 1951 meeting between A.J.. Ayer and Georges Bataille. Ayer said he thought the Sun existed before man appeared, and Bataille thought the question meaningless since he was "more versed in Hegel and phenomenology" so as a correlationist he thought that "physical objects must be perceived by an observer to be said to exist."[Which, at least, is not Hegel's view at all.] Shocked by Ayer's attitude, Bataille is quoted as saying, "There exists between French and English philosophers a sort of abyss."

The abyss, however, is between those educated in philosophy and a scientific world view and those innocent of science. Bataille's views were those of Mach and Avenarius and the Russian thinkers who Lenin criticized in his work MATERIALISM AND EMPIRIO-CRITICISM. Marxism and the philosophy of Dialectical Materialism would certainly have sided with Ayer on this issue and seen Bataille as a representative in philosophy of an outmoded subjective idealism and the thinking of the declining bourgeoisie.

The present time, when the bourgeois world is once again in crisis and manifesting symptoms of decline and decadence, is not a world where philosophers need to spend their intellectual energy in trying to refute a moribund French philosophical culture that was effectively exposed as meaningless by Lenin as well as Marx and Engels many generations ago. But if that is what Meillassoux wants to do, carry coals to Newcastle, who is to gainsay him?

Sunday, March 22, 2009


Thomas Riggins

The above title is that of an opinon piece in Friday's Wall Street Journal that is so mendacious and factually inaccurate that it is hard to believe it was written by Fouad Ajami who is supposed to be an expert on the Middle East. He a professor at Johns Hopkins and a fellow at the Hoover Institution, but if he teaches his students the stuff and nonsense he writes in the WSJ they should demand their tuition back.

He doesn't say too much about Obama and concludes that he is apparently "undecided about Afghanistan." Well. I hope he is right and Obama decides not to pursue this fruitless war so fatally mismanaged by the Bushites as to be virtually unwinnable in any conventional sense.

The heart of the article is, however, a not so subtle defense of the neocon war theories that led to our catastrophic invasion of Iraq. He is still pushing the idea that Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9/11. To still be pushing this junk as if it has some merit is incredible, but sadly typical of the WSJ's editorial pages which are more and more resembling the editorial pages of its illegitimate (because artificially kept alive by stimulus money provided by Murdock) semiliterate sibling the New York Post.

Here is Ajami: "Plainly, our country has been living on its nerves since 9/11. It had not willed an Islamic imperium, but it has gotten one.[It got one by a war of choice, so the Bushites actually did will an imperium.] It was bequeathed this tribal duty by the upheaval in the lands of the Arab-Islamic world [what upheaval? neither Afghanistan nor Iraq were 'upheaving' until we attacked them.] and by the guile and cunning of a generation of jihadists [today's jihadists were yesterday's freedom fighters, I guess it depends on your perspective] and their enablers, who deflected the wrath of their people onto distant American power."

Those 'enablers' were in fact the CIA, the Saudis and ISI (their CIA) in Pakistan who created the jihadists to attack the Soviets and the socialist oriented government of Afghanistan. If ever there was a case of the chickens coming home to roost it was the jihadist "threat" to America. And there was no 'wrath' stirred up until AFTER Bush invaded Iraq. As for "distant power"--we had been bombing Iraq since the 90s, had military bases all over the place, a fleet on duty in the Gulf area, and were bankrolling the Zionist occupation of Palestine since 1967. So on all counts this passage from Ajami is just a big pile of baloney simply put out to deceive the readership of the WSJ. And there is more.

Next Ajami waxes eloquent over Bush's rendezvous with destiny, his answer to "history's call." "The country gave him its warrant and acceptance [because he LIED to us] and then withdrew it [we found out about the lies] in the latter years of his presidency." At least "he had a coherent worldview." Yes, it was based on making his own reality and just as silly as Ajami's reading of history.

"He took the war on terror into the heart of the Arab world. It was Arabs-- with their oil money, and with prestige that comes with their mastery of Arabic [Arabs speak Arabic, who knew?], the language of the Quran, among impressionable Pakistanis and Afghans [babes in the woods]-- who made Afghanistan the menace it had become." Don't forget the Pakistani ISI which funded the Taliban (to this day by all accounts) with the generous foreign aid moolah we dish out to friendly dictatorships we call "allies."

"Without Arab money and Arab doctrines of political Islam [we are talking about SAUDI ARABIA with whose King Bush has a hand holding relationship], the Taliban would have remained a breed of reactionary seminarians...." Well, is Ajami making the case that we should get tough with the Saudis? No! We should get tough with Iraq, which was actually a secular government hostile to the Taliban and to jihadists.

"It thus made perfect strategic sense," Ajami writes, "to take the fight to the Arab heartland of Islam. Saddam Hussein had drawn the short straw." Yes, perfect strategic sense to attack a country that was anti-Taliban, had nothing to do with 9/11, and would bog down our whole Army basically for years and years while the Taliban regrouped and the jihadists grew in power and strength all over the region.

It was the American people who got the short straw, as well as those unfortunate enough to take Middle East Studies at Johns Hopkins.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Science, Condoms and the Pope: The Long and Short of It

Thomas Riggins

The Pope's comments in Cameroon, as reported by AP, that giving out condoms could threaten public health and that they won't solve the problem of the spread of HIV, shows, once again, the immense gulf between the Vatican and what it stands for, and a rational scientific outlook.

Amongst uneducated and superstitious people his words carry much weight, so who knows how many thousands of preventable deaths will result from his ignorant statements and uncaring words.

Science has shown that the use of condoms is a major weapon in the efforts to halt the spread of the HIV virus and to prevent the horrible sufferings and deaths caused by aids. None of this has any effect on the closed mind and medieval thinking of the Pope.

His statements have rightly been condemned by the UN as well as by, among others, France and Germany. The French Foreign Ministry released the following statement: "We consider that these statements [of the Pope] endanger public health policies and the imperative to protect human life."

The Vatican said these are long standing views of the Vatican. Well, we know that protecting human life was never the Vatican's strong point as its history of pogroms, crusades, religious wars, support for Hitler, and now rejection of the best scientific advice with regard to a major way to save people from HIV clearly shows, but becoming a major threat to public health in our own time is a new low.

This Pope should resign and the Church should try and find someone with a modicum of Christian love and charity, as well as some knowledge of science, to replace him.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Science Strikes Again: Fish Really is Brain Food

Thomas Riggins

The following article from Science Daily is highly recommended, especially to progressive parents. It seems a fish a week [better two] can up your teenage boy's brain power giving him a Darwinian selective advantage. Progressive youth groups, who are innately more intelligent than their conservative counter parts, can widened their advantages in out smarting their foes by a simple diet change (assuming they are not already ichthyophagi). The good results may not accrue with the eating of the McFish Sandwich or to frat boys swallowing goldfish.

Teenage Boys Who Eat Fish At Least Once A Week Achieve Higher Intelligence Scores

New research has found that 15-year-old males who ate fish at least once a week displayed higher cognitive skills at the age of 18 than those who it ate it less frequently. (Credit: iStockphoto)
ScienceDaily (Mar. 10, 2009) — Fifteen-year-old males who ate fish at least once a week displayed higher cognitive skills at the age of 18 than those who it ate it less frequently, according to a study of nearly 4,000 teenagers published in the March issue of Acta Paediatrica.

Eating fish once a week was enough to increase combined, verbal and visuospatial intelligence scores by an average of six per cent, while eating fish more than once a week increased them by just under 11 per cent.
Swedish researchers compared the responses of 3,972 males who took part in the survey with the cognitive scores recorded in their Swedish Military Conscription records three years later.
"We found a clear link between frequent fish consumption and higher scores when the teenagers ate fish at least once a week" says Professor Kjell Torén from the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, one of the senior scientists involved in the study. "When they ate fish more than once a week the improvement almost doubled.
"These findings are significant because the study was carried out between the ages of 15 and 18 when educational achievements can help to shape the rest of a young man's life."
The research team found that:
• 58 per cent of the boys who took part in the study ate fish at least once a week and a further 20 per cent ate fish more than once a week.
• When male teenagers ate fish more than once a week their combined intelligence scores were on average 12 per cent higher than those who ate fish less than once a week. Teenagers who ate fish once a week scored seven per cent higher.
• The verbal intelligence scores for teenagers who ate fish more than once a week were on average nine per cent higher than those who ate fish less than once a week. Those who ate fish once a week scored four per cent higher.
• The same pattern was seen in the visuospatial intelligence scores, with teenagers who ate fish more than once a week scoring on average 11 per cent higher than those who ate fish less than once a week. Those who ate fish once a week scored seven per cent higher.
"A number of studies have already shown that fish can help neurodevelopment in infants, reduce the risk of impaired cognitive function from middle age onwards and benefit babies born to women who ate fish during pregnancy" says Professor Torén.
"However we believe that this is the first large-scale study to explore the effect on adolescents."
The exact mechanism that links fish consumption to improved cognitive performance is still not clear.
"The most widely held theory is that it is the long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids found in fish that have positive effects on cognitive performance" explains Professor Torén.
"Fish contains both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids which are known to accumulate in the brain when the foetus is developing. Other theories have been put forward that highlight their vascular and anti-inflammatory properties and their role in suppressing cytokines, chemicals that can affect the immune system."
In order to isolate the effect of fish consumption on the study subjects, the research team looked at a wide range of variables, including ethnicity, where they lived, their parents' educational level, the teenagers' well-being, how frequently they exercised and their weight.
"Having looked very carefully at the wide range of variables explored by this study it was very clear that there was a significant association between regular fish consumption at 15 and improved cognitive performance at 18" concludes lead author Dr Maria Aberg from the Centre for Brain Repair and Rehabilitation at the University of Gothenburg.
"We also found the same association between fish and intelligence in the teenagers regardless of their parents' level of education."
The researchers are now keen to carry out further research to see if the kind of fish consumed - for example lean fish in fish fingers or fatty fish such as salmon - makes any difference to the results."But for the time being it appears that including fish in a diet can make a valuable contribution to cognitive performance in male teenagers" says Dr Aberg.

Sunday, March 08, 2009


Thomas Riggins

"Obama Ponders Outreach to Elements of the Taliban" by Helene Cooper and Sheryl Gay Stolberg, New York Times, Sunday March 8, 2009.

This is an interesting article as we can see some of the pitfalls awaiting our new president as he drifts towards the right. The NYT reports that in an interview the president conceded we are not winning the war in Afghanistan and so maybe "the American military would reach out to moderate elements of the Taliban." Moderate elements of the Taliban? Are these the ones who use hydrochloric instead of sulfuric acid to throw in little girls' faces for going to school?

The Taliban is an extreme religious fundamentalist group, there are no "moderate" elements to reach out to. This is just a cover to prepare the American people for another inglorious defeat (a la Vietnam) and withdrawal.

"The president spoke at length about terrorism in Afghanistan and elsewhere, staking out positions that at times seemed more comparable to those of his predecessor than many of his liberal supporters would like." Of course, if you decide to adopt Bush's war as your own, an ill conceived and poorly executed war causing thousands of unwarranted civilian deaths,
your positions will slowly morph into those of Bush.

We don't torture but, "He did not rule out the option of snatching terrorism suspects out of hostile countries." And what is a hostile country? Obama is quoted: a "country with whom we don't have an extradition relationship or would not be willing to prosecute." So we may continue the extra judicial kidnappings and violations of sovereignty if we feel like it. And how many of these people have been released because we were wrong or had no evidence. This looks like a great program to contemplate. Maybe the Cubans should go to Miami and snatch some CIA terrorist "suspects" and airplane bombers because the U.S. is "not willing to prosecute."

The president also said, quote, "we don't torture [Bush said the same thing],... we ultimately provide anybody that we're detaining an opportunity through habeas corpus to answer to charges."

Oops! Not so fast. Later the White House corrected the president (who is telling him what he can say or not?). We were told "Mr. Obama did NOT mean to suggest that everybody held by American forces would be granted habeas corpus or the right to challenge their detention." What! You can't even challenge your arrest? You can't say what did I do, why am I being arrested, kidnapped or whatever, let me explain! "Shut up, how dare you challenge the U.S.!"

It seems that Obama agrees "with the Bush administration position that 600 prisoners in a cavernous prison on the American air base at Bagram in Afganistan have no right to seek their release in court." They have no right to a trial, to face their accusers, to give evidence in their defense-- "to challenge their detention." These are 600 lost souls, how many are really guilty, how many innocent? President Obama should be reminded that the Bastille was torn down in 1789.

What Obama meant to say, the NYT tells us, was the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay would get habeas corpus and that is because the right wing Roberts Supreme Court ruled that they would.

"Mr. Obama signaled that those on the left [is it only the left?] seeking a wholesale reversal of Mr. Bush's detainee policy [i.e., seeking the rule of law] might be disappointed." Lets not have another president who is above the law!

Don't get me wrong. I still have high hopes for President Obama, but these are disturbing symptoms of what kind of policies must be pursued in order to prosecute no win wars. It's up to his progressive base to keep him honest.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The Weather Makers (7)


Reviewed by Thomas Riggins

Part 7 [Conclusion]

One of the biggest problems facing the Obama administration is that of global warming and what to do about it. The Bush administration rejected the only international agreement to try and remedy the problem (the Kyoto agreement) and a new international agreement must be reached. Kyoto is not, as it stands, adequate to do the job that must be done. Flannery writes, "If we are to stabilize our climate, Kyoto's target [a CO2 emissions cut of 5.2%] needs to be strengthened twelve times over: Cuts of 70 percent by 2050 are required to keep atmospheric CO2 at double the pre industrial level."

In order to save the planet, as we know it, environmentalists will have to fight powerful international cartels that profit from the use of fossil fuels. The energy lobby in the U.S. worked full time with the Bush Administration to lie about, and distort the scientific. evidence of, global warming

These forces, and the politicians that front for them, have known for 30 years that their activities were killing the planet but the profits they were making were more important to them than the future existence life on Earth!

Flannery points out that ever since 1977 when the New York Times ran a story ["Scientists Fear Heavy Use of Coal May Bring Adverse Shift in Climate"] there has been a battle plan in effect to suppress as much as possible the scientific evidence of global warming.

The eight years of the Bush administration was a kind of culmination of these antiscientific doings. The Bushites suppressed or actually changed the wording and conclusions of scientific reports from NASA, the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency [read Destruction Agency under Bush], and the National Academy of Sciences, among others. Even lobbyists for the energy companies were amazed by the zeal of the Bushites to further their interests at the expense of the planet, one of whom remarked that it may be a long time before the energy sector has another President Bush "or Atilla the Hun."

You know something is wrong when your allies think of you as Atilla the Hun. The truth is that Bush, and the Republicans generally spent their time in office (with the connivance of conservative Democrats) in acting in ways detrimental to 99% of the people of the earth and to enrich the upper 1%. But that 1% will suffer too if the atmosphere gives out.

So, what is to be done? We have to hurry, and Flannery sees the two great problems as 1) how to decarbonize the transportation system, and 2) how to decarbonize the electricity grid. We should concentrate our efforts first on the electricity grid (to get rid of coal) and then tackle the transportation system to get rid of oil and gas. It may seem that we will never get rid of these three fuels but we must or we will literally be committing suicide. Our civilization is analogous to those people who smoke three packs a day-- they know what is going to happen to their lungs and would be simply insane not to quit.

Flannery discusses several ways the power grid can be weaned from carbon. We can produce power by nuclear, hydrothermal, hydrogen, wind, solar (and also tidal action) methods and thus eliminate the need for coal, oil and natural gas. The risks of nuclear power make it the least desirable. I don't think we should be playing with it-- we don't know what to do with radioactive waste and when I read that the EPA plans to monitor waste dumps for 10,000 years, and will makes rule changes after that period to cover the dumps for 1,000,000 years I think: Let's get real!The EPA is not going to be around for 10,000 years!

One thing Flannery points out is that wind and solar energy can be produced locally and even by individuals and their families thus making for a decentralized system. If we go for nuclear or hydrogen power cells then "the big power corporations" will likely be in charge and survive. I think they should, if they survive, be placed under state control and treated as public utilities which should not be privately held for profit making.

After dealing with the power grid, Flannery turns his attention to the transportation system. We will naturally have to develop alternatives to carbon based fuel-- and ethanol is not the answer. It is not cost effective, takes up too much land, and damages the food supply by taking food crops out of production in order to grow the crops to make ethanol. Rather we will have have to use electric calls, hybrids, mincats [CAT stands for compressed air technology], hydrogen based fuel cells, and other non polluting methods to apply to transportation, as well as beef up out systems of public transportation.

One thing we can be sure of is that time is running out. I think anyone interested in the problems of climate change and global warming should read Flannery's book. It was written before the global collapse of monopoly capitalism and how this crash will affect out ability to save the planet remains to be seen.