Monday, June 18, 2018

After Nature streaming

As many of you know, I am winding down the blog so that in place I might begin an official YouTube channel. For the past month I have been doing test streams over at Twitch so as to experiment with equipment, resolution, length of stream, topic, etc. etc.  The reason I have been approaching the stream this way is because I would like to have only the best quality for my audience. Thus far I have purchased/obtained if for free, used, and tweaked to near-perfection a 1080p webcam, a DSLR camera, the Blue Yeti mic, an Ipevo HD document cam, and other equipment or software (such as OBS) that allows me to stream philosophical content while discussing books visible on the stream, PowerPoints, or stream from remote locations.

(The results of my test streams? The technical-quality results have been mediocre at best, not due to the equipment but because I need a new computer which can proficiently use and process the equipment. I had to upgrade my internet just to even run the stream without lag. Content-wise it has just been experimental - nothing too serious in the sense that the streams turn out to be more or less like very loose seminars/philosophical conversations. Those watching report that they like it, which is  good.)

So far the experience has been both positive and negative. Now, the negatives are due mostly to the Twitch platform and the audience that one finds there. On the other hand, the only pro of Twitch is its censorship free (or nearly so) approach to the inclusion of free thought and ideas, as well as music: something YouTube doesn't approach the same way. The very weird thing is that Twitch does ban my videos (they will mute your audio) if you critique their platform or if they catch you using music and then using music again on a following stream. So they are pretty hypocritical when it comes to allowing certain streamers to do something and others not. Still, I've been pretty brazen to test the limit and well, it's been interesting. YouTube would have just deleted me, so I consider it a positive.

The question is whether YouTube's heavy hand of censorship will eliminate my channel as soon as it begins. Time shall tell I suppose, but you dear readers here at After Nature would be the first to know as soon as a channel opened up.

In the meantime I am still struggling for a channel name. I would like to have a new name for the stream other than After Nature if only to start a new chapter in my online philosophy presence. The name I go under at Twitch, I am told, has associations online that could possibly wrongly implicate me with some wrong ideas out there, so that isn't worth the risk. But, I do need a good, interesting stream name for YouTube and I just can't think of one.

A friend of mine suggested Forest Crown, which I quite like... or Eumeswil (the title of Ernst Juenger's best science fiction book), which I like too. Waldganger is too clunky and weird, but in English it translates to something like "Forest Fleer" or "Flight to the Forest" - both interesting. But yet the former's "fleer" may elude some, and the latter sounds, I don't know, like a bad movie title. So I'm stuck. No channel until I think of a good name.

Any suggestions? I really like things from Juenger, who is one of my favorite literary-philosophical authors.

Ever since the golden age of philosophy blogs ended (for better or worse), I've been privy to see that streaming is the future. Twitter's obvious political censorship campaign discourages any free-thinking person from taking them seriously; same with something like Patreon or even Google in general. But Twitter is the absolute worst for it.  Likewise Facebook (another platform I have never used on principle) is pretty much self-explanatory. I've saved myself the trouble from trolling over my own posts and doing re-posts saying, "See? I told you so!"  Gosh, I called that with Facebook probably about five years ago. And people thought I was some sort of outcast. Same with Twitter. It's just unfashionable to use tools which aid the neo-gulag and their thought-police. I don't want anything to do with it it.

Hence my hesitation with YouTube ...

Right now my main objective is to find a channel name and upgrade my computer. The computer is going to be soon, hopefully the new name as well. The original estimate for the channel was this past spring. That seems to have been pushed back until the end of summer (on YouTube that is; if you're lucky you might be able to find me on Twitch in the meantime).

Friday, June 15, 2018

The Legacy of Kant in Sellars and Meillassoux: Analytic and Continental Kantianism (NDPR Review)

Reviewed at NDPR, link below.

The Legacy of Kant in Sellars and Meillassoux: Analytic and Continental Kantianism // Reviews // Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // University of Notre Dame

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Schopenhauer's Aesthetics (SEP entry)

Schopenahuer is a philosopher who, if you haven't looked at his work in awhile, certainly deserves to be dusted off and looked at . Sadly he is neglected in today's standard university survey courses when most definitely he shouldn't be. His relevance not only for aesthetics but for ethics, including animal ethics, is as strong as ever. I suspect that even in today's times he is overshadowed by Hegel. Try glancing at some Schopenhauer today if you can, or if in a rush perhaps the below, which has been updated. (Link is the title.)

 The focus of this entry is on Schopenhauer's aesthetic theory, which forms part of his organic philosophical system, but which can be appreciated and assessed to some extent on its own terms (for ways in which his aesthetic insights may be detached from his metaphysics see Shapshay, 2012b). The theory is found predominantly in Book 3 of the World as Will and Representation (WWR I) and in the elaboratory essays concerning Book 3 in the second volume...

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

quote of the day

"None of our spiritual thoughts transcends the earth."

- Friedrich Schelling (letter to Eschenmayer, dated 1812)

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Peirce’s transmutation of Schelling’s Philosophie der Natur

A lengthy and extremely well-detailed article covering Schelling's impact upon Peirce and both philosophers' development of a philosophy of nature can be found linked below. I've written somewhat extensively in the past about the connection between Peirce and Schelling and have read quite abit on the subject as well (whether primary sources or secondary literature about it), but this article goes pretty in-depth into it all.

As some After Nature readers might remember, my first book Charles Sanders Peirce and a Religious Metaphysics of Nature has an entire chapter dedicated to exploring the relationship between these two philosophers and Schelling's Naturphilosophie informs an important backdrop of understanding to the book overall.

The article is definitely for anyone who is interested in Schelling's philosophy of nature even most generally, or Schelling's connection to the philosophy of C.S. Peirce more particularly.

Link HERE.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

quote of the day

"The relation between living subject and object is unlike that between two objects; for, the subject does not react mechanistically to all object stimuli but rather it assigns a significance or meaning to specific ones."

- Jakob von Uexküll

"Every living cell is a machine operator that perceives and produces and therefore possesses its own particular perceptive signs and impulses or 'effect signs.' The complex perception and production of effects in every animal subject can thereby be attributed to the cooperation of small cellular-machine operators, each one possessing only one perceptive and one effective sign."

- Jakob von Uexküll

(See also "Introducing Uexküllian phenomenology - Powerpoint download" HERE ; "Some resources on biosemiotics + Uexküllian/Peircean phenomenology" HERE ; and an enormously informative post with tons of great information and links on biosemiotics HERE titled, "Mathew David Segall, media ecology, and biosemiotics.")

Friday, June 8, 2018

Bonn Summer School in German Philosophy: Naturalism in Classical German Philosophy (July 9-20, 2018)

For those in Europe/Germany perhaps of interest...

Bonn Summer School in German Philosophy - Summer 2018

July 9th-20th, Bonn University
"The Issue of Naturalism in Classical German Philosophy" 

(8th International Bonn Summer School in German Philosophy)

Course description:

This year’s international summer school will focus on the issue of naturalism within classical German philosophy. “Naturalism” is a vague concept. As the term is used today it often connotes at least the following (in fact only loosely interrelated) theses: (1) that there are no transcendent objects (e.g. gods or immortal souls); (2) that everything is physical or at least fully describable with the resources of the natural sciences alone; and (3) that human beings are part of the animal kingdom. So understood, “naturalism” was already a central issue in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century philosophy.

In the first week, we will look at various controversies in the 18th century which set the terms of the debate over the prospects of forms of naturalism. The second week will be dedicated to a close reading and reconstruction of Hegel’s philosophy of nature in his mature Encyclopedia. In this context, we will also consult the Schellingian background of Hegel’s philosophy of nature in order to address the issue of naturalism within the overall idealist framework of Hegel that traditionally seemed to be in conflict with the naturalism of his successors.

Many of the most explosive debates of the period revolved around one or more aspects of naturalism, including the debate between the Condillac, Rousseau, Süßmilch, and Herder concerning the origin of language; the debate between Haller and La Mettrie concerning the significance of Haller’s animal experiments on “irritation”; the Pantheism Controversy between Jacobi and Mendelssohn concerning Spinozism; the Atheism Controversy concerning Fichte’s alleged atheism; and the Materialism Controversy that arose in the middle of the nineteenth century. Moreover, virtually all of the major thinkers of the period wrestled with the issue in one way or another, including Kant, Herder, Fichte, Schelling, Hegel, Alexander von Humboldt, Feuerbach, Marx, Nietzsche, Langer, Helmholtz, and Haeckel.

In the summer school we will look at the German philosophy of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries through the lens of this issue. Specific topics covered within the seminar and by our keynote speakers will include the debate on the origin of language; Kant, Herder, Hegel, and others on human-animal difference; the Haller-La Mettrie debate and the Materialism Controversy; the role of Spinozism in German philosophy; Kant’s anti-naturalist strategies; the philosophy of nature in Schelling, Hegel, and Humboldt; the emergence of philosophical atheism in Feuerbach, Marx, and Nietzsche; and the German contribution to and reception of Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection.

As always, we will provide all participants with a reader containing the material to be discussed in our seminar meetings and by our keynote speakers.

For more information (or presumably to inquire if one might attend despite not presenting):

Website HERE.

Penn State Officials Shut Down Outdoors Club Because Nature Isn't 'Safe'

Following my post from a day or two ago covering Lindsay Sheperd taking to task millennials' attempts to "safe-space" nature. Linked below one can read about Penn State shutting down their Outdoors Club proclaiming that "nature isn't safe." 

Monday, June 4, 2018

Lindsay Sheperd on social justice and the environment

If this is true then as Heidegger said, "Only a God can save us now." What Lindsay Sheperd is pointing out is how frankly absurd the act of looking upon the world anthropocentrically truly is.

Sheperd was spot on when she said, "In some instances the outdoors is not safe for anyone."  She was also correct when discussing how, often times, the "healing" power of nature is actually found in its ability, or even power and potential, to "decenter" identity - to completely overwhelm one's sense of self or, if it so chooses, to destroy one's sense of self or one's identity. Nature has the uncanny ability to remind us that it is nature which gets the last vote in determining "what's what" and that how we may conceive ourselves to be - whether precious, special, important, or identifying as x, y, or z - doesn't necessarily mean that that is how we truly are in reality. Such forms of decentering can and many often times do constitute an act of transcendence through sublimity, as the decentering of one's own identity in light of something much larger and much more encompassing is what affords the natural world its healing power and quasi-religious grace. It reminds us that we may not be as special as we think we are, and that the world is not a safe place. The natural world can and will gladly go on without us.

The millennial obsession with "safety" and "safe spaces" is attempting to sanitize the last outpost where these sort of truly educational and revelatory experiences might occur due to the inherent risk, danger, and all-out lack of human identity found there: the wilderness.  Nature, when made "safe," loses its real educational potential and becomes just another stage prop in the human-all-too-human drama of so-called "social justice." In fact, inasmuch as Sheperd is pointing out, "social justice" is far - very, very far - from any form of real environmental justice where human actors are able to take a step back in their obsessive motions of attempting to grab the limelight and think of others for just once. In the name of safety, avoiding risk, and feeling important, millennials are actually committing worse injustices against the environment and failing to achieve any realist ecological understanding of it. That is to say, millennial narcissism and environmental justice really don't fit together hand-in-glove.

The article Sheperd cites is all millennial narcissism gone way too far. As I tell my students in Existentialism on the first day of class: "The universe doesn't give a shit about you."  When one goes hiking in remote environments and witnesses a pristine and well-functioning world that is completely without the human and doing just fine, that truth can be an eye-opening experience for even the most naive helicopter-parented millennial who will usually melt like a snowflake at the first hint that they may not be as special as they've been told. Eventually, nature (read "Reality") will assert itself and its number one (and only) law will show itself to be supreme. And that law? It's quite simple: "Reality Rules."

Link HERE.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Bergson: Thinking Beyond the Human Condition (NDPR Reviews)

Bergson: Thinking Beyond the Human Condition
// Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // News

2018.05.19 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews

Keith Ansell-Pearson, Bergson: Thinking Beyond the Human Condition, Bloomsbury, 2018, 194 pp., $29.95 (pbk), ISBN 9781350043954

Reviewed by Donald A. Landes, Université Laval
In his introduction to the remarkable new Quadrige/PUF collection of critical editions of Henri Bergson's works in French, Frédéric Worms rightly suggests that, like all philosophical classics, Bergson's oeuvre deserves to be both read with fresh eyes, as if it has just appeared, and studied with the help of scholarly tools equal to its importance and influence.[1] By offering a lively reading of Bergson's texts and providing scholarly explorations of connections, influences, comparisons, and potential further contributions, Keith Ansell-Pearson fulfills both of these goals. The volume is the result of two decades of his research and teaching, gathering together his essays and chapters on various aspects of Bergson's thought, with one new chapter...

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