Friday, February 13, 2015

"Letting the Finite Vanish: Hegel, Tillich, and Caputo on the Ontological Philosophy of Religion" (paper)


"What is Living in Deep Ecology?" (paper)

Interesting paper on the history of philosophical ecology, HERE.  In the paper you'll find mention of many classics including the journal of ecosophy, The Trumpeter.  For those unaware, The Trumpeter has been around for many years and is a top notch open access journal in the field of "deep ecology." 

Some time back they had twin issues dedicated to Arne Naess HERE and HERE.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

"Two Metaphysical Naturalisms: Aristotle and Justus Buchler" (new book)

THIS looks quite interesting.  "Columbia naturalism" is a school not covered as well as it should be.  In this book the author compares and relates the naturalisms of Aristotle and Justus Buchler. 

For those interested I've posted about a unique Aristotle translation HERE.  For more on Buchler see my take on his essay "Probing the Idea of Nature" HERE; or the philospher's profile on Buchler HERE and HERE on After Nature blog.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Petrified Intelligence: Nature in Hegel's Philosophy (NDPR Review with Highlights)

I just picked this up on amazon: Petrified Intelligence: Nature in Hegel's Philosophy, by Allison Stone.  The full NDPR is HERE, and I'll copy some highlights below.  All in all, the review (rightly) points out that this book is "a compelling reconstruction of Hegel as a metaphysician of nature."  Compared to Pinkard's Hegel's Naturalism one ought to prefer Stone's book.

"Stone ties this fashionable line of criticism to an very unfashionable reading of Hegel. Not only does she see him as a metaphysician with a strictly rationalist, a priori theory of nature, but she argues that this reading is essential for articulating his ecological concerns. Hegel approaches the study of nature a priori, by first deducing the order and structure of natural forms given the internal, dialectical logic of the concept [Begriff]. Once this logical grid is in place, Hegel then turns to the empirical sciences to see how well they mesh with his deductive system."

"Stone believes that Hegel's a priori metaphysical approach has two advantages that give it enduring relevance, two things to offer that contemporary science does not. First, she argues that Hegel's procedure is uniquely able to capture our pre-scientific experience of nature; and second she shows that Hegel captures a sense of nature's intrinsic value in a way that our current scientific paradigm does not."

"[O]ur senses must have some privileged proximity to what is occurring in nature, because they themselves are natural...She writes: "because we have emerged from nature, the system of our senses arises as a recapitulation of preexisting patterns that objectively structure various natural forms" (p. 131). Thus, there must be something correct about our sensuous grasp of nature..."

The review fits hand in hand with a Zizek talk I once saw, "The Reflection of Life in Hege" (see video HERE).  Close to the ideas of biophilosopher Lynn Margulis (HERE).

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

another telling review through NDPR: The Allure of Things: Process and Object in Contemporary Philosophy

This time in a review of The Allure of Things: Process and Object in Contemporary Philosophy, HERE.

Colapietro (Penn State) gives a fair review, and it's telling.  Political ties and the fact of writing about a faddish topic in no way shields the text in question from Colapietro identifying and reporting this book's obvious shortcomings.  Such was the case with Sparrow's book reviewed on NDPR which I comment upon HERE.

I didn't bother to obtain this book (or ask for it for our library) simply because, once again, I knew well in advance the politicized agenda of the editors.  Sadly this is becoming more of the rule rather than the exception in the publication of texts covering Speculative Realism.  Again, Speculative ®ealism™ takes hold.  True, the conference happened before the whole "process versus object" debate happened online, yet nevertheless in retrospect the book could have corrected obvious loopholes within its edited essays before its publication which took over five years.  

Sometimes Faber has things right, see HERE for example.  Other times not.

In strong agreement with Vincent Colapietro I cannot recommend this book.  As a scholar of process philosophy I must admit that the book's approach is simply unimaginative.  Rightly he calls out the "superficial engagement" present in the book.  A "lack of engagement" is putting it nicely.  Agent Swarm blog can tell us all about withdrawal.  Because there is no real engagement beyond the confines of the Speculative ®ealism™ inner circle, a sort of scholasticism is taking place.  Other process philosophers out there are light years beyond what this book seems to be putting out there, but because of agendas the conversation simply won't happen.  The result is a generation of younger philosophers or young graduate students who miss the boat entirely.

In short, to cite Colapietro, "[A] respectful yet critical exchange between champions of process metaphysics and those of 'speculative realism' mostly failed to occur."  Delete mostly and this review hits the nail on the head.

We're still here...writing and advancing and developing process metaphysics from within Speculative Realism.  That's been happening for years.  Yet where is the other side?  Writing essays directed to the inner circle of approved "friends" who aren't even in the same volume?  It's sad.  Just, sad.

"Harmony or Intensity? Process Philosophy and Suffering" (recommended blog post)

HERE by Jesse Turi.  I post a response from the "bleak" theological perspective, in the comments section.  Jesse follows up in the vein of radical theology, HERE.

It's an interesting exchange I think.  His radical theology post goes in some interesting directions.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

information on 5th Bonn summer school in German philosophy: “The ‘idealism’ in German Idealism” (July 20-31, 2015)

Catherine Malabou will be there.  Forster and Gabriel organizing/leading the event.

It's strange because recently I have been sharpening my take on Fichte.  Admittedly, I haven't really studied Fichte as well as I could have when first encountering German idealism as an undergraduate and then returning to Kant/Hegel/German idealism in graduate school.  Other than taking three seminars in texts by Kant (the three critiques) and a year-long seminar in The Phenomenology of Spirit, my training in Schelling, as well as the German romantics happened on the side through independent readings and then dissertation.  Fichte was always someone whom, other than the Vocation of Man and Critique at All Revelation, was just barely visible in the background.  So recently I began Hegel's Difference essay in order to wade into Fichte on my own (on the difference between Fichte and Schelling's philosophy - Hegel's first publication even before the Phenomenology - and it is remarkably clear, his clearest no doubt).

Bernstein said reading Fichte is like going into a swamp.  He's lost students in there. They've never come out.

The goal of course is to read the Wissenschaftslere. However there seems to be so many versions of the "Science of Knowledge" - some with various introductions, some with a "new method," that it is quite confusing to figure out where to begin.

In any case, my decision to sharpen my take on Fichte must have had some subconscious or subliminal connection to this year's summer school!  Fichte makes a major appearance, and it just seems timely.  In any case,

here are the course descriptions for the Bonn Summer School in German Philosophy.

5th International Summer School in German Philosophy:
“The ‘idealism’ in German Idealism”
(July 20-31)

Course description:
  • The first week (July 20-24) with Prof. Forster will mainly focus on Kant’s “transcendental idealism”. We will discuss the emergence of, and the original philosophical motivations for, such a position in Kant’s precritical writings, and above all his arguments for it in the Critique of Pure Reason (1781/7), where special attention will be paid to the Transcendental Aesthetic, the Transcendental Deduction, the Principles, and the Antinomies. We will also consider, though more briefly, the historical fate of, and the philosophical prospects for, such a position after Kant. 
  • The second week (July 27-31) with Prof. Gabriel will mainly focus on idealism in Fichte and Hegel. On some very problematic straw-man readings, Fichte and Hegel aim at developing a Kantianism without things in themselves by simply dropping the very idea of a thing in itself and thereby claiming that we must contend ourselves with Kantian appearances all the way down. Against such straw-man readings – made prominent by figures as different as Heidegger and Russell – the second week of the course with Prof. Gabriel will be dedicated to Fichte’s and Hegel’s early understanding and criticism of transcendental idealism as proposed by Kant. In particular, we will read passages from Fichte’s Wissenschaftslehre 1794 and Hegel’s Faith and Knowledge (1802). The leading question will be how Fichte and Hegel are able to incorporate an improved variety of the Kantian distinction of theory-orders separating transcendental idealism from empirical realism. Arguably, this early stage of what was later dubbed “German Idealism” is actually concerned with spelling out the structure of the metaphysics and epistemology needed in order to make sense of both the very existence of a first-order realist theory layer and the overall intelligibility of the facts obtaining and the objects existing within the domain posited on the higher-order level of idealistic theorizing. Thus, surprisingly, German Idealism might come to be seen as providing a deflationary meta-theory for Kant’s enterprise. 

Friday, February 6, 2015

Tristan Garcia and Patrice Maniglier on The New Existentialism

HERE.  The argument is that speculation invokes an act of freedom akin to the Sartrean assertion of a "pillar of freedom" that is immune from being affected by, or tied to, immanent conditions. The New Existentialism appears to be a form of agentialism that returns to the "vital negative" present in existentialism minus its humanist or anthropocentric trappings.  In other words, if it is possible, try to imagine existentialism as a philosophy where "the human" being has disappeared into an ontological darkness.  Pretty interesting.

On a side note I was underwhelmed by Garcia's philosophical ability real-time.  His boyish appropriation of a language obviously picked up from reading philosophy exclusively online is quite visible.  He latches on to the language of branding by leaning on concepts such as "withdrawal" etc. etc. as well as ideas that come directly from blogs and blogs alone. (It's alright to start on blogs in order to gain a sense of direction or trajectory or to put one's finger on a pulse, but nothing can replace working through the texts in question themselves.  *Dwelling* on online concepts and discussions - especially while at a conference or presentation - without moving on to the arguments and texts in question themselves immediately challenges your credibility.)  I hardly had a sense that he is trained or even able as a philosopher.  As sad as it is to say, in the end he just came off as an online groupie.

As a "young" scholar who is being peddled as the next greatest-French superstar (mainly in order to shill a book series by the person pushing him as the flavor of the month) his appearance speaks for itself: he is visibly aging and is outclassed in appearance but also in ability by Maniglier.  Harsh I know, but I must speak the truth.  Do not be misled.

pleasure to make the acquaintance of...

Jonathan Beever of the Rock Ethics Institute at Penn State. Jonathan's work was mentioned HERE at After Nature (relating to his excellent dissertation The Semiotic Foundation of an Ecological Ethic, Purdue 2012), in addition to some of the other very exciting projects Jonathan was/is working on.  He contacted me with a kind note of thanks for the mention, which in turn prompted us to trade emails about our work!  Excellent!

Jesse Turri, fellow Northeasterner and Pennsylvanian philosopher got in touch as well through the Homebrewed Christianity podcast.  It was great to receive his note and I am glad to make the acquaintance of another After Nature reader.  Thanks for the support Jesse!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

"The Naturalistic Idealism of American Philosopher John William Miller: His Concept of 'Midworld' Applied to Philosophical Ecology" (conference abstract)

"Naturalistic Idealism: John William Miller and Philosophical Ecology" 

Leon Niemoczynski
Immaculata University

In this paper I attend to the naturalism (and idealism) of the American philosopher John William Miller (1895-1978).  I explore Miller's concept of the "midworld" and  uncovering its relationship to the notion of ontological "scale" within philosophical ecology.  Specifically, I argue that just as reality is ontologically flat - so "ordinal" and of "ontological parity" pace the ontologies of Justus Buchler and Robert S. Corrington - reality's ontological depth and breadth stretches to meet axiological value as well, most especially considering the reality of relational value. Relations on the level of the ant and its environment, for example, are not only "just as real as" but are also "just as axiologically ecologically significant as" the human relation to its world, thus forming a common world of environmental value.  To say that these relations are each as important as the other is not to say a.) that they are absolutely relative to the agents involved or b.) that relations collapse into the flat reality of one, univocal relation.  Rather, there are varying "scales" of ontological relation where each varying scale has just as much value as the next.  I think Miller's notion of "midworld" can add something to philosophical ecology in this respect: one gains a better appreciation for how other agents interact with their own environments, and yet those particular environments affect other particular environments within a larger scale of universal value. Axiological value is one although the perspectives and relations between perspectives are many.

"Feeling and the Role of Empathy in Animal Ethics" (abstract for my forthcoming book chapter)

Abstract for "Feeling and the Role of Empathy in Animal Ethics" in Ecotheology and Nohuman Ethics, edited by Melissa Brotton (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, forthcoming 2015).

"Feeling and the Role of Empathy in Animal Ethics" 
Leon Niemoczynski, Immaculata University

This chapter seeks to address the role of empathy in animal emotions drawing out its ethical implications.  In particular, I explore how empathy and the emotions may be understood to be a means of direct affective communication - but also indirect semiotic communication - between human and nonhuman animal species.  Drawing on the work of eco-process philosophers (and theologians) Charles Hartshorne and Alfred North Whitehead I draw upon the importance of feeling insofar as it is understood to be an emotive bond and manner of expression that allows creatures, human and nonhuman, to communicate with one another.  The chapter concludes by articulating why centering on empathy and feeling within animal emotions might be important for bettering the welfare of nonhuman species in human and nonhuman relationships, thus bettering in turn environmental and ecological justice.

Leon Niemoczynski teaches in the Philosophy Department at Immaculata University. His research focuses on the philosophy of nature, where he is especially interested in issues pertaining to philosophical naturalism, logic and metaphysics, aesthetics, German idealism, philosophical ecology, animal ethics, environmental philosophy, and environmental philosophy's relationship to the philosophy of religion. Niemoczynski is the author of Charles Sanders Peirce and a Religious Metaphysics of Nature (Lexington Books, 2011) and is a co-editor of A Philosophy of Sacred Nature: Prospects for Ecstatic Naturalism (Lexington Books, 2014). In 2014 he co-edited through Open Humanities Press Animal Experience: Consciousness and Emotions in the Natural World, where his radio interview about that book on "The Philosopher's Zone (ABC National Radio)  was nominated for a Voiceless Media Prize, a prize which honors work contributing to animal rights and advocacy.  

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Books, books, books! (Currently reading)

The End of Phenomenology? Not quite (a fitting book review)

HERE.  I never bothered to buy a copy, but only because I knew this book, like Shaviro's and Gratton's, would (whether intentionally or not) omit major players/commentators from the game.  The reviewer obviously caught on to that, so I was vindicated in thinking it couldn't have just been me predicting political interference given the author's interests.

Oh, and the first line of defense regarding the review (not by its author but by the usual blog kingpin who literally rushes to make sure his name-brand creation remains like Teflon) was the typical and rather stale, "The reviewer is someone that I've personally tangled with years of course its an unkind attack and its personal").

I'm not sure if I should chuckle or roll my eyes.

Nick Land on the "shipwreck" HERE; the initial "blow up" or "meltdown" HERE; or my reportage on that "kerfuffle" HERE.  Most of that is old news though, as entertaining as it is.

Other writings by me: "Noncorrelationist Phenomenology: The Peirce, Whitehead, Hartshorne Axis" HERE; "Noncorrelationist Phenomenolgy: Is it a Possibility?" HERE; "Workshop in Noncorrelationist Phenomenology" HERE; or, when it comes to Speculative Realism instead of Speculative ®ealism™ see THIS.

Moving on...I can see the trolls approaching.  Forbid I offer my opinion on what an NDPR reviewer rightfully called out anyway.

[UPDATE as of 8/2016: My thoughts in this post were only further confirmed by Dan Zahavi in his review of the book. Thank you very much.]

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

"Entanglement, Speculation & the Future of Relation" (blog post by Beatrice Marovich)

Beatrice reflects on Catherine Keller's Cloud of the Impossible, the process versus object debate, and the importance of relational ontology within speculative philosophy, HERE.  Some highlights then thoughts.
"Ultimately, my point is this: Catherine is a thinker of relation, of relations. Entanglement is the chief and primary metaphor for relation that she elaborates, ontologically, in Cloud of the Impossible. But there are others that are not quite the same (folds, for instance). I don’t want to suggest that entanglement is somehow ancillary to Catherine’s work on relations. But I want to set it to the side very briefly just to underscore the extent to which Catherine’s entire career—beyond this book—has been dedicated to speculatively exploring, with increasing nuance and complexity, the ontological possibilities for thinking relations. I’m describing her work, of course, using language that she doesn’t quite use to describe it herself (speculation, ontology, etc…) And it’s possible that she will resent me for doing so (though her fidelity to Whitehead—the metaphysician—really does make these connections more logical). But I think it’s important to stress the extent to which she is doing this kind of work—speculative work in relational ontology—because I think it’s important work that defies some of the theoretical trends that have been rising up from the deconstructive rubble* over the past several years. This is the adventure of ideas that Catherine’s work invites us to endeavor."
"What, at the end of the day, isn’t relational? I suppose, on some level, I am making a backhanded reference to some of these post-deconstructive versions of speculative thought that have emerged over the past half decade or so—many of which seem to want to pull ontology away from the relational. My own introduction to these new forms of speculative thought (“speculative realism” as it’s more frequently called) was at a 2010 conference, at Claremont, which ended up turning into a kind of objects vs. processes philosophical death match. I exaggerate. But, really, I left the conference struck by the extent to which many of the thinkers who were defending process thought were also, in part, defending the ontological value of relations (primarily, their potential irreducibility). Quentin Meillasoux’s critique of correlationism seemed—on some level—to make the relational itself problematic in new ways. The Object Oriented Ontologists (perhaps primarily Graham Harman) defended the object’s withdrawal, and process thought did seem to take on a kind of coercive cast or character, in its blatant denial of this negation of relation as such. Despite a kind of intuitive mistrust I had for the notion of withdrawal (I suppose, on some level, it sounded a bit too much like a philosophical pull-out method) I found all of this intriguing, and spent way too much time in the months after this conference following blog posts that rehashed this debate between objects and relations. I think the take away, for me, came from a comment in a blog post (and I wish I could remember where I read it!) that basically took a semi-conciliatory position between objects and relations. The gist, as I recall it, was something like this: relations aren’t inherently bad or problematic, but process thought does have the tendency to simplify relationality by an often hasty reduction of everything down to relations as such. My agreement morphed into a kind of semi-formulated position of its own: if relational thought has the capacity to make constructive interventions into developing forms of speculative thought, then relational ontology has to become more complex, nuanced, specific. It’s possible that speculation is already over, and no one wants to do it anymore. But anyone who’s interested in advancing a philosophical position is always already speculating. I’d like to see what would happen if relational ontology became a thing that people actually admitted that they did."
"I do think that Cloud of the Impossible is many things. It is a complex book. But one of its projects, as I see it, is ontological. It does work to make relational ontology more complex, nuanced, specific. Catherine is exploding (or perhaps imploding) the staid metaphysics of the God-World relation. What she illuminates is a relation that refuses to validate one single thread of this relation, or refuses to let this relation be confined to one thread. Rather, she’s insisting on illuminating the web of relations that build what was once simply a God-World connection. This is a web that is so complex, it doesn’t even look like a web. It looks much cloudier. But it’s not intangible, it’s not without matter or substance. She’s describing this relation under the sign of entanglement. And I think the questions about the suitability of entanglement to this descriptive task can be productive. But I hope that this text can serve as an injunction into similarly nuanced and intricately wrought reflections on forms, shapes, and patterns of connection, rather than a point of recoil or withdrawal."
I met Beatrice once, briefly, at Drew University during a conference.  She seemed nice - we didn't have much time to talk as I was rushing off somewhere in between sessions.  She works in theology and animal studies (from what I can tell) and we both have a connection to process thought through Drew - her through Keller and me through Corrington. Which is interesting because neither of us were schooled in process thought through Claremont, which most folks who do process thought are!  I thought her post was interesting for a number of reasons, mostly because she appears to support process-relational ontology within the scheme of contemporary speculative philosophy by stating that relational ontology ought to be nuanced sufficiently and made complex enough to support the claims that it makes (and I wholeheartedly agree). She alludes to the challenge from process thought made to one Quentin Meillassoux that "correlationism" is not necessarily relationalism, at least as it is conceived by process philosophers.  And she also alludes (subtly) to the notion that withdrawal or "recoil" ought to be jettisoned for "patterns of connection" or "intricately wrought reflections on forms, shapes, and patterns of connection."  This all makes sense to me so thought to post.

On this blog I posted many times answering the challenges brought to process-relational philosophy by others in the camp of contemporary speculative metaphysics.  But, process thought is another position within the camp of contemporary speculative metaphysics afterall, and that is a good thing, I believe.

For more see:
  1. "Ecology Re-naturalized" HERE.
  2. "Why a Relationless Universe Cannot Be" HERE.
  3. "The Human and 'Mesomining'" HERE.
  4. "Massumi on Relations and Relationalism" HERE.
  5. "Are All Relations Internal?" HERE.
  6. "More on Internal and External Relations" HERE.
  7. "In Defense of Relations" HERE.
  8. "The Deep Transcendence of Objects" HERE.
  9. "Irreducible Relationality" HERE.
  10. "Simondon's Transindividual and Nonreductive Relationalism" HERE.
  11. "Latour on Simondon's Mode of Existence" HERE.
  12. "Who's Afraid of Realism? (Part 1) HERE.
  13. "Who's Afraid of Realism" (Part 5) HERE.
  14. "Probing the Idea of Nature" HERE.
  15. "Transcendentalism and Correlationism" HERE.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Call for Papers: Animals in the Anthropocene

What looks to be an interesting conference: call for papers HERE, conference website HERE.  Copying information below as well.

Animals in the Anthropocene: Human–animal relations in a changing semiosphere

Most but not all of current environmental change is anthropogenic. The term the Anthropocene (the era of humankind) is increasingly acknowledged as suitable for our current geological epoch. As the environment undergoes change, the living conditions of animals change, and people’s perception of animals change. The dynamics of these processes are complex, and call for scholarly study from many angles.
We welcome submissions with paleontological, archaeological, historical, contemporary and future-oriented perspectives. Submissions may present local or global case studies, or consist of theoretical/methodological contributions. Relevant fields of study are listed in the Call For Papers, along with a more detailed description of the conference theme.
For detailed information, see Second Call For Papers (for the record, see also First Call For Papers).
Confirmed keynote speakers (one more to be announced), with preliminary titles:
  • Almo Farina (University of Urbino, Italy): ”Animals in a noisy world”
  • Gisela Kaplan (University of New England, Australia): ”Don Quixote’s windmills: technology, conservation  and animal cognition”
  • Dominique Lestel (École normale supérieure, Paris, France): “Animality after animality: Challenge of the transpecies”
  • Bronislaw Szerszynski (Lancaster University, UK): “Out of the metazoic? Animals as a transitional form in planetary evolution”
  • Louise Westling (University of Oregon, USA): “Dangerous intersubjectivities from Dionysos to Kanzi”
Accepted theme sessions
The following theme sessions have been accepted:
Abstracts (oral presentations) should describe a relevant topic, how the prospective presenter(s) approaches it, and results/conclusions. Length: 200-400 words. Abstracts may be submitted at any time from the first call for papers appears and until the abstract deadline. Please include your full name(s) and affiliation(s). You may also indicate a theme session that is appropriate for your abstract, if applicable.
Deadline for submission of abstracts (oral presentations): March 1st 2015. Please submit your abstract to
We have received strong interest from the editor of the book series “Ecocritical Theory and Practice”, published by Lexington Books (an imprint of Rowman & Littlefield), in publishing a book on the conference theme (see also previous titles in the series). We aim to have an edited collection (editors: Silver Rattasepp, Morten Tønnessen & Kristin Armstrong Oma), work-titled Animals in the Anthropocene, published in April 2016, based on selected papers from the conference. Selected scholars will be invited to contribute to this book on the basis of abstract submission (see above).
We expect to compose a book proposal in March. For those invited to contribute, deadline for a full draft will be June 30th and (following peer review and editorial feedback) final deadline for revised chapter manuscripts will be October 15th.
Conference organisation
Local Organising Committee: Morten Tønnessen (Chair), Laura Kiiroja (Communication officer), Kristin Armstrong Oma, Paul Thibault.
Scientific Advisory Committee: Frode Bakke Bjerkevik, Prithwiraj Jha, Laura Kiiroja, Timo Maran, Nelly Mäekivi, Kristin Armstrong Oma, Silver Rattasepp, Paul Thibault, Kadri Tüür, Morten Tønnessen.

Schedule for Ecstatic Naturalism 2015 conference

Fifth International Congress on Ecstatic Naturalism
2015 Theme: American Philosophy of Nature

Campus of Drew University
Madison, New Jersey
April 10th-11th, 2015

The Shore of the Turquoise Sea – Albert Bierstadt, 1878

Friday – April 10th, 2015

Registration Table: 8:30-9am

Morning sessions:

9-10:15am: American Philosophy of Nature and the Sublime
Yeol Kim – "On the Sublime of Nature: Aesthetic Naturalism of Robert S. Corrington and of Gilles Deleuze"
Guy Woodward – "American Sublime"

10:30-11:45am: American Philosophy of Nature and Deep Ecology
Jea Sophia Oh – "A Lament over Frankenstein, Nature Un-natured: A Deep Ecology with Sacred Seed”
Leon Niemoczynski - "The Naturalistic Idealism of American Philosopher John William Miller: His Concept of 'Midworld' Applied to Philosophical Ecology"

Lunch 12:00 – 12:50pm

Afternoon sessions:

1:00-2:15pm: American Philosophy of Nature and C. S. Peirce
David Rohr - “A Peirce-Inspired Theory of Pansemiosis: Living Semiosis within a Semiotic Cosmos”
Nick Guardiano - “Ecstatic Naturalism and Transcendentalist Aesthetics on the Creativity of Nature”

Group photograph 2:30-2:45pm

3:00-4:45pm: "A Religion of Nature": Special Panel on the Work of Donald Crosby
Demian Wheeler
Wesley Wildman
Robert Cummings Neville
Donald Crosby

Dinner 5:00-6:30pm

Plenary address 7:00pm with Opening Remarks by Dean Javier Viera:

"The Agony and Ecstasy of Religious Naturalism”

LeRon Shults, Ph.D., Ph.D.
Professor of Theology and Philosophy
University of Agder
New Books by LeRon Shults:

Saturday – April 11th, 2015

Registration Table: 8:30-9am

Morning sessions:

9:00-10:15am: American Philosophy of Nature and Moral Aesthetics
Robert King – "John Dewey’s 'Consummatory Experience' and Ecstatic Naturalism:
A Common Faith?"
Nick Wernicki - "Ecstatic Naturalism and Moral Aesthetics: Building a Framework for an Ethics"

10:30-11:45am: American Philosophy of Nature and Ralph Waldo Emerson
Rose Ellen Dunn – "Wild Air: Toward a Poetics of Ecstatic Naturalism and Transcendentalism"
David Johnson -  "Emersonian Rapture, Ecstasy, and the Perception of Truth"

Lunch 12:00-12:50pm - Award of the Emerson Prize During Lunch

Afternoon sessions:

1:00-2:15pm: American Philosophy of Nature and Immanent Transcendence
Jonathan Weidenbaum – "Spiritual Naturalism and the Theologies of Transcendence"
Stephanie Theodorou – "Mind as Substance and Subject: Hegel, Naturalism, and The Sacred"

2:30-3:45pm: American Philosophy of Nature and Psychoanalysis
Wade Mitchell – "From the Bottomless Lake of Consciousness: Peirce, Neuropsychoanalysis & Ecstatic Naturalism"
Kwang Yu Lee – "In Search of a Common Ground for Selving and Syntheism: A Psychoanalytic Appraisal of Ontological Stability"

4:00-5:15pm: American Philosophy and Process Naturalism from Chaos, to Cosmos, to Community
Keunsik Lee – "The Role of Personality within the formation of Community identity"
Austin Roberts – "Exploring the Pantheist Philosophies of Robert S. Corrington & Roland Faber"

5:15-6:00pm "Syntheism's Relationship to Ecstatic Naturalism": Special Panel of Alexander Bard and Robert S. Corrington
Alexander Bard
Robert S. Corrington

Dinner 7:00pm

Sunday, February 1, 2015

more on "ultimate exit" - thoughts on Accelerationism, Promethianism, and Neoreaction (NRx)

Ernst Juenger's Eumeswil (1977)

My take on the issue of mega-privacy-invading social media networks who effectively turn human populations into "neurolivestock" can best be summed up in the following:

It's not that Twitter, Facebook, Google, etc. are evil.  Maximum freedom, or the inner emigration to untouched and ultimately free space of cyberspace and deep Net - the deep Net being the last frontier of any individualized or personal freedom - is usually thought to occur in literal places where the individual can "escape."  Whether escape from the Cathedral or the reach of the networks, in the end avoiding the reach of any external impediment upon human freedom is the ultimate goal.  (Of course death is the ultimate challenge to human freedom as it ends forever freedom's exercise within the living organism, but freedom taken in the name of profit by the mega-networks who have no regard for privacy let alone the exercise of human freedom takes a close second.  Afterall, if you haven't succumbed to the networks and exist as a "brand" you may as well be dead.  You certainly wouldn't be surviving with the necessary social currency to exist, let's put it that way).

Paradoxically, escape is possible through the tools of privacy-invasion and enslavement which are in question.  The key is know-how, awareness, and the ability to "go dark," of course, in addition to mastery over the means of control in question.  If control is exercised over one's self then freedom isn't inhibited, it is enhanced.  This was, to my mind, always the "core" of both Accelerationism and NRx.  It actually doesn't matter if one pull one's self off the grid or technologically accelerates and disappears into the deep Net...both are merely means to an end, but not "the" end itself.  The end in question?  That's simple.  The activity of freedom itself.  (And note well: freedom also means creativity.)

Thus, place so much doesn't matter as does the reality within which one is able to exercise freedom and creativity unimpeded or unrestrained.

Ernst Juenger's scission between an inner realm - an "inner light galaxy" or "inner forest" as he called it - and the ordinary world of perception was a division between one reality which represents radical freedom and creativity and another which represents external restraint and control.  He advocated an "inner emigration" or "flight to the forest" which was to be a retreat to the interior realm of the individual. Such a flight can occur in a number of ways: literal retreat to the forest and hence escape from networks and means of societal manipulation and control, enhancement of the body via technology to augment human ability and re-obtain control over one's own body/information/self, or by altering states of consciousness and achieving insight into the self unfettered be external forces - a true inward "spiritual" retreat to the last bastion of freedom and privacy: one's own personal consciousness.

The above was inspired by "Come With Us If You Want to Live: Among the Apocalyptic Libertarians of Silicon Valley", Harper's Magazine link HERE, and as always, the ultimately venerable Nick Land whose blog Outside In touches upon these subjects and so much more.

"Nick Land (and Ernst Juenger) on Ultimate Exit" HERE.

"Prometheus" HERE.

"Accelerationism" tag at After Nature HERE.

"The Forest Passage" HERE.

"Social Media Is Not Self-Expression" (article)

Another take on social media from quite a different angle.  Highlights below, then the link.

"[Online codified, social-media platformed] subjectivation is not a flowering of autonomy and freedom; it’s the end product of procedures that train an individual in compliance and docility. One accepts structuring codes in exchange for an internal psychic coherence. Becoming yourself is not a growth process but a surrender of possibilities that we learn to regard as egregious, unbecoming."

"[S]ocial order is protected not by preventing 'self-expression' and identity formation but encouraging it as a way of forcing people to limit and discipline themselves — to take responsibility for building and cleaning their own cage. Thus, the dissemination of social-media platforms becomes a flexible tool for social control. The more that individuals express through these codified, networked, formatted means to construct a 'personal brand' identity, the more they self-assimilate, adopting the incentive structures of capitalist social order as their own."

On the effect of social media upon more authentic modes of creative subjectivation/individuation:

"While she was able to hole up in a seaside restaurant and produce a masterpiece, I need constant feedback and encouragement in order not to end up curled in some dark corner of my house, eating potato chips and refreshing my Tumblr feed in the hope that someone will have “liked” my Photoshopped picture of Kanye West in a balloon chair."

"[T]he [above is a] difference between an inner-directed process of discovery and a kind of outer-directed pseudo-creativity that in its pursuit of attention gets overwhelmed by desperation"

"[True], the idea that anything is truly “inner-directed” may be a ideological illusion, given how we all develop interiority in relation to a social world that precedes us and enables us to survive. But what I am trying to emphasize here is how production in social media is often sold to users of these platforms as self-expressive creativity, as self-discovery, as an elaboration of the self even, but it is really a narrowing of the self to the reductive, defensive aim of getting recognition, reassurance of one’s own existence, that one belongs."

"Self-invention in social media that is perpetually in search of “feedback” is really just the production of communication, which gives value not to the self but to the network that gets to carry more data (and store it, and sell it)."

"Validation is nice, but as a goal for creative effort, it is somewhat limited. The quest for validation must inevitably restrict itself to the tools of attracting attention: the blunt instruments of novelty and prurience (“Kanye West in a balloon chair”). The self one tries to express tends to be new, exciting, confessional, sexy, etc., because it plays as an advertisement. Identity is a series of ads for a product that doesn’t exist."

Or to the above, for a product that is "you" - you not as a human being or subject but you as a personal brand.

"Social media’s quantifying metrics aggravate the problem, making expression into a series of discrete items to be counted, ranked. It serves as the infrastructure for a feedback loop that orients expression toward the anxiety of what the numbers will be and accelerates it, as we try to better those numbers, and thereby demonstrate that the self-monitoring is teaching us something about how to become more “relevant.”

"The alternative would seem to be a sort of deep focus in isolation, in which one accepts the incompleteness that comes from being apart from an audience, that comes from not seeking final judgment on what one is doing and letting it remain ambiguous, open-ended, of the present moment and not assimilated to an archive of identity."

"So is the solution to get off the Internet? If social media structure social behavior this way, just don’t use them, right?...The inescapable reciprocity of social relations comes into much sharper relief when you stop using social media, which thrive on the basis of the control over reciprocity they try to provide. They give a crypto-dashboard to social life, making it seem like a personal consumption experience, but that is always an illusion, always scattered by the anxiety of waiting, watching for responses, and by the whiplash alternation between omnipotence and vulnerability."

"Social media offer a single profile for our singular identity, but our consciousness comprises multiple forms of identity simultaneously."

"Exodus won’t yield freedom. The problem is not that the online self is “inauthentic” and the offline self is real; it’s that the self derived from the data processing of our digital traces doesn’t correspond with our active efforts to shape an offline/online hybrid identity for our genuine social ties. What seems necessary instead is a way to augment our sense of “transindividuality,” in which social being doesn’t come at the expense of individuality....Instead of using social media to master the social component of our own identity, we must use them to better balance the multitudes within."

Link to the full article HERE.

Are Blogs Electronic Letters? (post by Henry Dampier)

An answer to the question "Are blogs electronic letters?," short and sweet HERE.