Friday, May 29, 2015

"Deleveling: Against Flat Ontologies" (Brassier taking down object-oriented "flat ontology"_

Note that the Buchlerian-Sellarsian-Brassierian version of "flat ontology" - e.g. the truly immanent version which recognizes a.) transcendental conditions which are not supernatural-transcendent conditions, as in hidden "essential" natures of objects; and b.) which realizes the ineliminable nature of epistemic subjectivity, is superior to the garden object-oriented variety.  As Brassier contends:
In some flat ontologies influenced by phenomenology, such as Graham Harman’s, there is a version of phenomenological immanence which could be called ‘object-oriented immanence’. It retains the phenomenological primacy of intentional interaction. This variety of flat ontology insists that intentional correlation is primary, but it generalizes it to all objects in the world: all objects intend one another, and all interaction between objects is based on a kind of intentional transaction. Harman distinguishes between the ‘sensual’ qualities of objects and their ‘real’ qualities. Objects interact by unlocking and decoding each other’s sensual qualities, but they can never grasp the real core of the objects they intend. As a consequence, reality is replete with objects intending one another, but these objects only unlock each other’s ‘sensual’ qualities, never their ‘real’ ones. Certain problems ensue from this view. The most fundamental is that it becomes very difficult to specify conditions for object-individuation. We might be able to delineate certain formal or structural characteristics of objects in general, but it becomes very difficult to say what objects are or to specify what the quiddity of an object consists in...

Unfortunately, the immediate consequence of adopting this full-blown object-oriented immanence is that we cannot say what anything really is. But if we cannot specify the essential qualities that distinguish one real object from another, how can we be sure that the discrete multiplicity of sensual objects does not mask the underlying continuity of a single, indivisible real object? If we do not have any criteria for distinguishing between the sensual and real properties of objects, how do we individuate real objects?The consequence of this is that Harman’s account of real objects fuses epistemic ineffability, i.e. not being able to specify where sensual properties end and real ones begin, with ontological inscrutability, i.e. not being able to say what real objects are. Since Harman insists real objects can never be represented but only ‘alluded’ to, it is impossible to say what they ‘really’ are. The result is a metaphysics where we can never know what we are ‘really’ talking about, or explain why our allusions should succeed where our representations fail. 
Read the whole article HERE.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Black bear mother and cubs are latest visitors to my back yard (Photos and Video)


My TG-2 Tough Camera certainly isn't made for long shots, which is why they sell an extension lens, and unfortunately I do not have it.  My camera takes great still shots, mostly for point and shoot to landscapes, mountains, groves, etc. while hiking.  The video on my camera is atrocious as you can see, and hear.

I couldn't grab my wife's far superior camera in time at first, although I tried and of course no batteries were in it.  She has an enormous zoom (I forget what number, it's ridiculous) but we have some fantastic close ups of turkey, red tail hawk, deer, and other animals that frequent our back yard.  If I can (or if readers want) I can post some of those photos here, we have many woods' creatures visit us each day.  Usually a flock of turkeys will visit, many, many deer, a red tail hawk lives in a visible tree back in the oak forest, and occasionally you'll see black bear.  Oh, and given that that is 80 acres of oak forest we're talking about back there (not all ours by the way, it runs into others' lands and then state park), eerily at night you hear coyotes yip and even sometimes howl.  That'll make your skin crawl.

I'll watch numbers on this post to see if there is interest.

Anyway, black bear are extremely quiet for their size.  This mother (called a "sow") and her fairly large cubs were looking for food but must usually take a pass through our yard at earlier times in the morning.  This time they passed about 11am.

Thankfully I wasn't outside - because I was going to take a walk just around the time that I happened to see these bear, glancing out my window.  You don't want to get in between a sow and cubs, ever.  Even if just a 300+/- pound black bear, which probably is more afraid of you than you it.  Still, things have happened.  Especially when cubs are involved.

My apologies for the shakiness of the camera, and the focus.  But enjoy what you can.  I certainly enjoyed their visit.  And after I shot those video clips I crept downstairs and out on to the deck to watch them venture off into the neighbors yard and then off into the woods.



Close up, Black Bear in my back yard by deck

Larger photo of Black Bear (mother with cubs, cubs are on my car in driveway)

Trailing off into woods by clothesline



So I'm teaching speculative realism in the fall...

 As part of my Continental Philosophy class, for the 21st century part of the course.  I'm feeling tumblr-ish (I don't have one), see for example several of my most recent posts below, and so I'll continue in that tradition. Mind you for the SR part of the course all readings and content is essentially free online as the current books...er...propaganda out there will be bypassed for more realistic assessments such as:

Mp3 audio Part 1 HERE of John Caputo lecture on Quentin Meillassoux and Ray Brassier, from the Philadelphia Summer School in Continental Philosophy, campus of Immaculata University, August 9th, 2014.

Mp3 audio Part 2 HERE of John Caputo lecture on Catherine Malabou and Bruno Latour, from the Philadelphia Summer School in Continental Philosophy, campus of Immaculata University, August 9th, 2014.

And:

"The Current State of Continental Metaphysics: Realism, Materialism, and Religion?" opening remarks, HERE.



There are alot of open-access peer-reviewed articles that seems to pull more weight and suffer less of name dropping and grand standing.  I think my blog's readers know the drill by now.

I plan to provide a general and very brief introduction to speculative realism, discussing how it extends from Continental philosophy in the 20th century before digging in to some of SR's major figure. I didn't list them but other than Meillassoux I will include Brassier and Grant before moving on to Malabou, Serres, Laruelle, etc. etc. We are covering alot of figures quickly but the goal is to understand the general shape and then dig in more deeply depending upon student interests.

Only seven registered so far, but of course numbers will swell some before the start of the semester. I expect about 12-15 students.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Turkey in back yard and CV hike

Another view from a hike in Cherry Valley, followed by a "Where's Waldo" type photo of a turkey hiding while pruning itself within the shadow of a tree in my backyard. See if you can't spot it.

My latest pub (book review)

Friday, May 22, 2015

"What Has Kant Ever Done for Us? Speculative Realism and the Kantian Heritage" (book chapter)

Gironi is one of the founders/editors of Speculations journal.  Anyway, lots of C.S. Peirce in here actually, and in many ways that makes sense. Also Sellars and Kant.  HERE.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Today's theme is "bringing in summer"


These photos are dated, yet today's theme is "bringing in summer."  I plan on visiting Beltzville State Park (pictured above) when the recent rain we've had clears up.  For now, see HERE.  This week maybe I'll try to upload more recent photos of my hikes.  It's been on my "to do" list.

In July there is rather good chance I'll be off to Switzerland and Heidelberg, Germany with Nalina who will be traveling there again for work (she is there now, and as we Facetime through Line I am jealous that I decided not to go being too bogged down with online summer classes).  Photos from that would be posted eventually, too.

Check out the Jägerblut song below. So good. 

Here's the last one for the theme of the day.  It's something I listen to on the way to Beltzville, loving "Golding Wedding of Sorrow" and "He's Disabled."   Death in June is probably my favorite thing to listen to during summer.


Natur Spiritualität: winter is gone and summer arrives

Some test videos from my TG-2 Olympus "Tough" Camera. Natur Spiritualität during the winter snowstorm, plus wolves.  Filed under "naturalism."  Winter is gone, summer arrives.





after winter

Vinter Natur Spiritualität

Jägerblut (bring in the summer)



Jägerblut was founded in 1996 by former member Julius Gospodard and Anton Knilpert as a project intended to reflect the myths, rites and strange stories based in the landscapes of Bavaria, together with themes about nature, forest and hunting. The music is basic, traditional, mixed with the charm of the Catholic church, heathen-like Orff instruments and Volksmusik, but everything extremely dark, dramatic, intense.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

"The Vatican still refuses to endorse evolutionary theory – setting a billion believers at odds with modern science" (Aeon article)





Aeon has up a great article on the panentheist process Catholic theologian Teilhard de Chardin. Highlights then link.  But first, one might also want to check out THIS podcast which features some of the scholars mentioned below discussing Teilhard.

Quickly I should mention that for a long time I was very much interested in how process philosophy and panentheism could be appropriated by the Catholic church.  As it turns out, there are many scholars - mostly Jesuits, of course - who do just that.  Names and books that come to mind are Fr. James Felt (see his Coming to Be, a book that knits together Whiteheadianism and NeoThomism), Fr. Frank Oppenheim (much of what he writes is process Catholic), Fr. Walter Stokes (alot), Fr. Joseph A. Bracken (again, pretty much everything), Fr. Lewis Ford (everything), Fr. Joseph Koterski (much), Fr. Norris Clarke (everything), Fr. Hosinski (Stubborn Fact and Creative Advance) but also Daniel Dombrowski (much), John Haught (everything). Or THIS is a useful link of Roman Catholic process theologians.

Finally, Kinast's Process Catholicism and Korsmeyer's God-Creature Revelation are pretty much definitive statements on any possible future for Catholic process theology.  I've read both and each are top notch.

Teilhard laid out the most ambitious synthesis of Christianity and evolution by a Catholic scholar up to that time. His view was truly cosmic, embedding humanity in a dynamic universe whose evolutionary direction from the very beginning of life on Earth was groping its way towards consciousness. In his view, the evolution of consciousness in humanity was but a first step toward the entire cosmos achieving its own universal consciousness, or what he termed an Omega Point.
***
After Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species (1859), some bold theologians sought to reconcile those ideas with Christianity, arguing that, as long as Catholics retained the notion of humanity’s exalted status as a special creation of God, there was nothing wrong with accepting the notion of the world having been created through a gradual process of evolution, as Darwin had outlined. Their efforts were quickly muzzled, although the Church was careful not to repeat its highly publicised mistreatment of Galileo. Between the years 1878 and 1899, books on evolution and Christianity by Father Raffaello Caverni in Italy, Father Dalmace Leroy in France and Father John Zahm in the US were censured.
*** 
Teilhard incurred the particular displeasure of Rome because he suggested that the Bible’s account of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, and their Fall from grace as the ultimate origin and explanation for evil in the world, needed to be reinterpreted. Once you adopted an evolutionary perspective, Teilhard argued, evil can be considered a natural feature of the world – a sort of inevitable secondary effect of the creation process itself.
*** 
For as long as he lived, Teilhard’s work was suppressed by the Congregation of the Index, the Vatican office that collaborated with the Holy Office (formerly known as the Inquisition) in monitoring books. After he died, his friends and students began publishing his work – but the Church’s position on evolution remained grudging and reserved.
*** 
Ilia Delio, a Franciscan nun and director of Catholic Studies at Georgetown University, suggests that the notion of an immortal soul, in its classical formulation at least, is difficult to reconcile with evolutionary theory. ‘Teilhard de Chardin described evolution as a “biological ascent” from matter to spirit, a movement toward more complex life forms,’ she writes in The Emergent Christ (2011). But from the beginning, Teilhard insisted that spirit is present, even in lifeless matter. There’s no absolute separation between the two.
With doctorates in pharmacology and historical theology, Delio has written several books on the interface between science and religion, most recently editing the collection From Teilhard to Omega: Co‑creating an Unfinished Universe (2014). In her view, theologians need to forge a deeper synthesis between the science and the faith, but almost all of them tacitly accept the old cosmos of the medieval church, the old view of spirit and matter as completely distinct.
‘When I ask theologians,’ she told me, ‘many of them say to me: “Oh… I don’t have time to read on science. I’m not a trained scientist, I would have to take a sabbatical and read up.”’ Few want to venture outside of their comfort zone. An exception is one of her colleagues at Georgetown: the theologist John Haught, author of Deeper Than Darwin (2003), and Making Sense of Evolution (2010).
*** 
[John] Haught sees himself as picking up where Teilhard left off. In his view, the problem of the immortal soul and the physical body being distinct entities is a holdover from old theology, which tends to divide reality between the eternity of Heaven and the time-bound vicissitudes of life on Earth. Such a view, Haught told me, is almost destined to see the human being as a lonely exile.
It’s a beautiful story,’ he admitted. ‘The problem is it leaves out the dramatic history of the development of humans from the Big Bang up until today.’ And that story is not over, he said. Not by a long shot. If Catholic theologians would take seriously the fact that the Universe is a drama still unfolding, and that we are a key part of the drama, they could rekindle people’s sense of hope for the future.
*** 
How are such facts to be incorporated into the faith? How are they to be treated? A new papal encyclical? Pope Francis has already got conservatives worried about his upcoming encyclical on the environment. Is he the pope to finally write a new Letter on Darwin and the Church? Would the Vatican officially mothball its vague and embarrassing disclaimer on Teilhard’s work? Would it consider whether the French Jesuit is a candidate for sainthood?

Link to the full article HERE.

Monday, May 11, 2015

An Existential Ride with Hubert Dreyfus (video)

Dreyfus has a new book along with Charles Taylor Retrieving Realism which, interestingly, revamps the best of existentialism into a near-miss with what has been called "the new existentialism" (or better, "agentialism," respectively).  See HERE or HERE for that.

Regarding this video so far I've only watched about the first fifteen or so minutes.  It's "ok" - but I plan to watch more as Dreyfus, along side Richard Polt, were the two Heidegger commentators I read most during my youthful Heidegger years as an undergraduate and then M.A. graduate student.

It wasn't until my early Ph.D. days that I read Heidegger's Schelling texts (his book on Schelling's Freedom essay and his Gesamtausgabe volume on German idealism) that I then moved on to focus more closely on Schelling instead, then to Peirce (as he is the "American Schelling"), Whitehead, and Deleuze.

In any case, check out the video and decide for yourself.

entire archive of CCRU completed writings 1997-2003 published


Nick Land gives us the update, HERE. (HT Land). For those unfamiliar with the "Cyber Culture Research Unit" you can bring yourself up to date HERE or see how CCRU connects to accelerationism HERE (interview with Robin Mackay).