Davis (1996, emphasis added):

“I’ve gradually smoothed over this more radical [ontological panpsychic] stance by strategically adopting methodological views (Arjun Appadurai and Igor Kopytoff’s cultural biographies of things, Stanley Fish’s reader-response theory of literary meaning) that would enable me to tell my biographical stories, and would at the same time domesticate my living objects within acceptable Western intellectual approaches. “Biographies” thus becomes a strategic metaphor for narrating the historical processes that surround objects over time, rather than the dead serious, non-metaphorical telling of an actual life of an embodied iconic being. Yet I don’t think that means that I entirely abandon my images to Western conceptualizations. In centering the book around stories, lives of individual objects that have led and continue to lead interesting and varied lives, I hope that there is a cumulative persuasive effect that I’m not using “lives” metaphorically or ironically, but as the expression of a serious ontological premise. My aim is that an accomodation between two different ideas of how images might in fact be alive will emerge over the course of the book.”

(C.A.S.I. Position Paper)
Richard H. Davis
24 June 96

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