Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Is Phenomenology Philosophically Unproductive?

Interesting conversation that has unfolded in the comments section; about 45 comments.    Responding to these provoking lines:

Why is so little phenomenology taught and researched in North American philosophy departments? Because it studies the essence of consciousness is it too continental for your analytic minds? Why must philosophy be categorized so strictly?
Jonathan Westphal (Hampshire College) responded:

I think the answer may be that phenomenology has produced so disappointingly little. In a non-philosophical sense phenomenology is defined as the preliminary classification of phenomena in an enquiry. So one might for example regard it as a piece of phenomenology in this non-philosophical sense to say that a white surface seen through a light blue filter looks stone-cold white, and not blue at all, as per the philosophical folklore. The question the analytic philosophers ask themselves, I suspect, or at least this one does, is whether there is something as solid and productive that can be gleaned from phenomenology in the philosophical sense, in addition to its methodological meanderings.
My sense is that phenomenology is enjoying a bit of a resurgence as the professional significance of the Analytic-Continental distinction  continues to erode. I also wonder what “productiveness” is supposed to mean in this context (such that the explanation couldn’t be run in reverse). But I would be glad to hear from others more knowledgeable than I am on these matters.
Definitely worth reading through, link HERE.  My last grapple with this was with Tom Sparrow at an APA one year.  The conclusion was that it is hard to distinguish what is not phenomenology if phenomenology means "descriptive reportage."  Is descriptive philosophical literature phenomenology?  Is writing first-person about the process of creative an artwork phenomenology?  Is a travel diary phenomenology?

Since that conversation with Tom I've gone on to think about the possibility of phenomenology as part of mathematics, category theory, and logic which has given me a different outlook on the matter.  I've just read so much more outside of the scope of Husserlian phenomenology.  Husserl, like Descartes used to be for the Continental tradition - for different reasons of course - seems to be the latest and greatest scapegoat for deanthropocentrist rage.

Readers may be interested in some of these After Nature posts:

* "Workshop in Noncorrelationist Phenomenology" (worth the read despite the length) HERE.

* "Noncorrelationist Phenomenology: Is it a Possibility?" HERE.

* "Speculative Realism's Relationship to Phenomenology" (a post written during the glory days of blogging; post actually inspired by a conversation involving Tom Sparrow, Jason Hills, and myself, as well as obliquely Dylan Trigg - someone who has on more than one occasion sharply addressed some of my thoughts here at After Nature, although cross-platform hurdles between blogger and Twitter prevented me from answering back.  Trigg has since disappeared from Twitter having moved on to a postdoc position here in the States. Some associate his work close to Sparrow's, I think Hill's work and my own represent another side of the coin, so to speak.) HERE.

* "Uexküllian phenomenology" HERE.

Heatsick Recommends Urbanomic's #ACCELERATE Reader

"Having previously documented emerging perspectives on accelerationism and what became known as 'speculative realism' in his Collapse journal, Mackay explained the potential pitfalls of philosophies being hijacked. This has been particularly evident in the cartoonish path of speculative realism—a philosophy popularized by a former sports journalist that rejects the privileging of human thought over that of other entities. It was also the source of many an artwork depicting the secret sentient life of random objects and anonymous materials.

However, being of the mindset that someone will inevitably publish a book on accelerationism, Mackay decided he would rather it be him...To withdraw from the world market . . . or might it be to go in the opposite direction? Not to withdraw from the process, but to go further, to 'accelerate' the process.'"

Link: http://www.electronicbeats.net/en/articles/heatsick-recommends-urbanomics-accelerate-reader/

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Bonn Summer School in German Philosophy: “The ‘Idealism’ in German Idealism” (July 20-31, 2015)

Featuring Catherine Malabou.  Forster and Gabriel organizing/leading the event.

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. 

ISSHS Summer School: "New Forms of Realism in Contemporary Philosophy" (June 25th - July 3rd, 2015)

ISSHS - The Institute of Social Sciences and Humanities Summer School

"New Forms of Realism in Contemporary Philosophy" (June 25th - July 3rd, 2015)
Featuring seminar leader Francois Laruelle


The Institute of Social Sciences and Humanities-Skopje in cooperation with the International Institute of Studies of Humanities and Social Sciences (based in Athens) announces the summer school program "New Forms of Realismin Contemporary Philosophy."

Part 1 will be held in Ohrid (Macedonia) 26 June-3 July, 2015. The "New Forms of Realism in Contemporary Philosophy"summer school in Ohrid will focus on the recent trends of realism in contemporary philosophy which has been labeled often erroneously under a single and vague category such as "speculative realism" or "new materialism" etc. Unpacking such generalizations and aiming at specific authors who have generated distinct strands of thought that nonetheless constitute what we have vaguely termed "new realisms in philosophy," we conceptualized the sub-courses:

-"The non-standard philosophyof François Laruelle"; sub-course leader: François Laruelle
-"Non-standard epistemologies"; sub-course leader Anne Françoise Schmid
-"Magic Realism and Socialist Realism: Arts and Persuasion";sub-course leader SvetlanaSlapšak
-"Exploration of possibilities for realist readings in contemporary feminist philosophy in line with non-standard philosophy and the writings of Marx";sub-course leader: KatarinaKolozova

More information and an official call for applications HERE.

ISSO: International Summer School in Ontology (August 24th - August 29th, 2015)


Monday August 24th - Saturday August 29th, 2015
Grado, ITALY

ISSO is a six days school which provides an unique insight into the contemporary debate on ontology. Six leading philosophers will address this classical philosophical question from different perspectives.

Giorgio Agamben
Francesco Berto
Ray Brassier
François Laruelle
Paul M. Livingston
Davide Tarizzo

Link to the conference website HERE.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Great site about animal cognition

Wow. This site has alot to chew through...definitely something to check out.

It's moniker reads, "Animal Cognition - The mental capacities of nonhuman animals."

Go there and poke through some of the posts. You'll be amazed (and if you're an advocate for animals many of your philosophical intuitions regarding animals will be confirmed).

Link: http://www.animalcognition.org/

Monday, March 23, 2015

octopus intelligence + article from Aeon

From the article "Being a Sandpiper":

Intelligence is ubiquitous, not just in chimpanzees, dolphins and parrots, but in octopuses, archerfish, prairie dogs and honeybees — a veritable Noah’s Ark of braininess...
By emphasising the kinship between animals and human beings, Darwinian taxonomy could have opened the door to thinking about the consciousness of individual animals. But, instead, the opposite happened. Even as evolution’s mechanics were accepted and expanded, the views of Darwin and Romanes on individual animal consciousness were rejected, consigned to cautionary tales of how even the most brilliant scientists can get things wrong. By the 1940s, when the great systematist Ernst Mayr settled on a fuzzy but useful standard definition of a species — as a population with a common reproductive lineage that could interbreed — the possibility of animal consciousness and individuality, so evident to anyone with a pet dog or cat, was largely eliminated from mainstream science. We could accept our animal bodies, and classify ourselves on that basis, yet had to avoid the implication that animals might have human-like minds...
A new age of machines and industry spawned the behaviourism of the psychologist B F Skinner who, echoing Aristotle and Descartes, proposed that animals were nothing but conduits of stimulus and response (as were humans). Seeming evidence of higher thought was an illusion produced by some simpler mechanism. ..
These days, Goodall is a hero, Griffin a prophet, and studies of animal intelligence ubiquitous: not just in chimpanzees, dolphins and parrots, but in octopuses, archerfish, prairie dogs and honeybees — a veritable Noah’s Ark of braininess. ..
[E]ven rats, it turns out, feel some empathy for one another. A team at the University of Chicago found that rats became agitated when seeing surgery performed on other rats, and a follow-up study in 2011 found that, when presented with a trapped labmate and a piece of chocolate, rats free their caged brethren before eating. ..
The weight of evidence indicates that humans are not unique in possessing the neurological substrates that generate consciousness. Non-human animals, including all mammals and birds, and many other creatures, including octopuses, also possess these neurological substrates.
Link to article HERE, a recent Aeon video posted about the octopus below. See also THIS After Nature post on the "otherness" and intelligence of animals.

NDPR review of The Future of Continental Philosophy of Religion

I think what works about this book is that first, it is in paperback at a reasonable price and reflects thought from a conference whose material or topic of debate hasn't expired.

The book is a definite "must read" even for those who read critically religion within Continental philosophy.

Chapters by Catherine Malabou, John Caputo, Philip Goodchild, and Merold Westphal, to mention but just a few.  Organized into three parts: "The Messianic," "Liberation," and "Plasticity."  In it as well is an essay authored by me on Quentin Meillassoux and Speculative Realism.

Link to the NDPR review HERE.  Amazon link HERE.  You can read the table of contents from IUP's website, HERE.

For those interested in my essay see "Speculating God: Speculative Realism and Meillassoux's Divine Inexistence" (link to chapter HERE).

Friday, March 20, 2015

Notes to Iain Hamilton Grant's "Nature After Nature"

Notes on Iain Hamilton Grant's Lecture From

Symposium: Nature After Nature

"Nature is only nature insofar as nature after nature is the only nature that there is."

I want to announce the end of nature. My question is where am I going to do that?
Am I making a prophecy?

Can I announce the end of nature as a past event?

Is there a present in which the end of nature occurs such that I can announce it, in it?

If any of these things obtain, then the ‘end’ of nature – that is to say, an end of nature which is simply ‘after nature’ – is conceivable. If not, it is not. Why is this important?

Physiocide (the murder of nature) concerns the end of nature having already taken place.

John Mcdowell conceives ‘second nature’ to be the realm of ‘reasons’. This ‘second nature’ has no location other than in this space of reasons.

If this is ‘second nature’, what then, is first nature? For Mcdowell, first nature is that which issues from the ‘best of our natural sciences’, i.e. natural science tells us what nature is.

Nature is thus divided into 2 parts: (i) a first nature, and (ii) a second nature – neither of which is ‘nature’, since both are creatures of the space of reason – which is, by definition autonomous – and its existence is therefore conditional upon the idea that nature doesn’t exist.

The announcement of the end of nature has already (always) occurred, but the issue of where from has not been solved.

In fact, philosophers have been trying to murder nature for a long time –  the notion of ‘physiocide’ has been occurring for 400 years – in this supplanting of nature by something which is not nature – an ‘X’ after nature.

Nature after nature is a permanent state of affairs, it is ubiquitous.

However, if we put this together with the claim that ‘I am going to announce the end of nature’, the ‘end’ of nature is both ubiquitous, and impossible, since from where can the claim for the end of nature be made?

If I can’t find a space in nature from which to claim the end of nature, so the claim as to its end is both impossible and ubiquitous - which is a straightforward contradiction.

There is no need to think about physiocide as a philosophical imperative.

We often think that a species of philosophy, born with Plato, consists in the separation of two worlds – a world of reason (logos), and a world of things (which aren’t permanent things, but ‘becoming’ things, a series of becomings which are by definition never complete).

Plato asks a riddle: “what is it that always is and never becomes, and what always becomes and never is?”

The key is not in the difference, but the identity between the two: There is an eternity in what ‘is’ (the realm of ideas) and there is also a realm of eternity in the becoming; that is to say, becoming is as eternal as being.

Why did we ever think Plato abolished the physical world? – How did the physical world become, as Nietzsche claimed, a ‘fable’?

This fable of the physical world came about precisely because Nietzsche said it did: we hold that the end of nature has in fact happened, as an article of faith.

Plato: “when I was young, Thebes, said Socrates, I studied natural history. Now I want to know the causes of things.”

In his search for the ‘causes of things’, Plato finds the following claim, ‘everything is mind’ (mind is the cause of things). We thus have a space of reasons which consists in a causal operation; there is no distance between the mind that ‘minds’ (thinks), and the nature that ‘natures’, i.e. mind is purely causal).

How did the two worlds arise? – certainly not in Plato.

Plato, The Sophist: Battle of Gods and Giants – at the end of that battle, Socrates is told, by the eleatic stranger, “I hold it as a mark of being, that whatever is, is power”.

We can align this with the idea that mind is causal (nature and mind are intimately connected), and, thereby, with natural history, since what is natural history but tracing the history of nature?

The history of nature is only completed when nature can be seen to emerge from what it is not, i.e. ‘non-being’ must be the consequence of an investigation into natural history, i.e. we can discover an origin of nature only if it is the case that nature at some point did not obtain that there was some ‘not-nature’ at some point.

Plato doesn’t find ‘not-being’, however, he finds mind that is causal with respect to being, i.e. the root of nature lies in mind.
This claim is ubiquitous amongst humanists, artists and philosophers.

The claim is that it is not because there is being that there is thinking but rather, because there is thinking, there is being: Mind is the causal nexus from which nature emerges.

The account in the Sophist yields problems:A power is a ‘power’ only if it is resisted by another. If this were not the case, we would be dealing with a power that’s non-finite, i.e. not limited by its products. In the case of a power unlimited by any products, the power does absolutely nothing – so is it a power at all?

To posit that there is a power, assumes that there is more than one power: there is no single power.

That is to say, the idea that there is no finality in a force that has a specific result is moot from the first since, if the force is coincident with its product, then no power has taken place – no force has been exerted.

In fact, there must be an infinite amount of forces if there are finite products, since without an infinite number of forces, finite products could not exist at all, since if we think of a finite quantity of forces, what makes them finite? – they reach a level of exhaustion (i.e. they’re wholly converted into ‘things that are’). This is the principle of sufficient reason, i.e. because there are powers that have these objects as their consequence, then these powers consist in their full actuality, only when exhausted in the objects they produce. So if there are powers, these powers can’t be exhausted in these objects.

Thus objects aren’t coincident with Being/ power.

If that were the case, there would be no need for a hypothesis of powers, since all would be objects – indeed all would be an eternal domain of objects.

Therefore, we can conclude that if there is power at all, there must be more than one. And powers must be non-finite, since if they were finite, they would consist in the exhaustion of their products, which is non-sensicle. Imagine there’s a universe in which one episode occurs wherein the end of that universe takes place. Has the end of the universe taken place? Yes: the end of the universe occurs just in that location where the end of the universe has taken place, but then the question arises, has the universe ended? – there exist more places which are not filled/ saturated by the end of the universe.

The end of the universe is a local event…

What is its location? Where does the end of the universe occur? Where is it claimed form that the end of the universe occurs?

Can the end of the universe be claimed from after the end of the universe? Then how would the claim occur? The end of the universe hasn’t occurred, because the end is being recorded.

This question arises when we consider what it is that autonomous cultural production by agents who consider mind – that is to say, ‘(my) making’ as the cause of the cosmos. If I think that my making is what makes the cosmos, i.e. if I’m completely independent from all that is, then can I affirm that I’m God, the ‘cause’ of the cosmos.

This same claim concerning the ‘autonomy’ of raitonal agents is at the heart of the ‘ethicism’, and the same as the claim we recognise in the agenda of self-fashioning, such as propounded by Foucault: I am my own causal agent, the product of myself.

This is ethicism and physiocide failing to recognise dependence, and it claims the end of nature .

Where can this claim be made from? – a second nature which arises in the form of a document, an aesthetic, cultural phenomenon, an idea: these recordings are tokens of the end of the cosmos, but where is it they occur?

Philosophers of logic tend to posit that logic doesn’t inhabit the same world as logic is made of, i.e. there’s nothing natural about logic. Logic enjoys a degree of objectivity, but not objecthood. This is a claim to exempt logic form nature insofar as nature is considered as a body of things, or some megabody/ protoplasm at the origin of all things.

Were there a ‘protoplasm’/ ‘hyper-egg’ as the origin of all things, what then IS the hyper-egg – which ONE is the hyperegg? how is it individuated, sicne it is the origin of all things? It cannot be one thing, since it is all things. If we manage to separate it from everything it’s claimed to be the origin of – what is the hyperegg? – it is no longer the cause of al things, bt only the hyperegg, i.e. the hyperegg becomes a subegg (since even a chicken egg is the cause of all things and not all).

If nature is generative, then isolating an egg is a false image of what nature ‘is’, just if nature consists of any generation whatsoever.

The claim that nature is generative implies looking for a cause of all things.

If the universe emerges from absolutely nothing except a claim which isn’t ‘in’ that universe, then no ‘genesis’ happens at all. Why? – because there’s no ‘nature’ priori to nature. Nature isn’t genesis, it’s just the fact of creation – the ‘createdness’ of creation:

Creation issues from such an act only if nature is already ‘finished’, and what is it to ‘finish’ all generation? – it is the ‘end of the universe’.

If the universe ends when all generation finishes, why is this? Because it turns out that powers are synonymous with their exhaustion in objects, but in this case – insofar as creation emerges only as the created – then no powers, in fact, have been expended – none have acted. All there is is a split second, peanut into the void species of universal origin.

If it’s the case that there’s a space where the universe comes to exist, where is it in the universe that that universe comes into existence? If it does (come into existence) then the universe doesn’t come into existence, because the space from which it does has already come into existence.

It follows that there can be no coming into existence of the universe, if that space is already part of the universe. If it’s not already part of the universe, how is there any causal contact with  a non-existent universe (i.e. something that ‘is not’ – indeed the ‘is not-ness’ non-exisent-ness of everything – the non-being of Being). How is it there contact between that state, and the state where the universe maximally and competely ‘is’?

There can’t be such a contact unless that contact consists precisely in the universe

I want to take a bus from one space (where there’s no universe yet) to one where there is a universe. What happens to the bus on its journey?

I board an inexistent bus (this is Cartesian: I get on a bus that doesn’t exist, and it is from that that I get existence – ‘cogito ergo sum’ means I think before there is existence 0 Descartes is a universal creationist).

The bus is in fact the bus of all creation – creation occurs in that passage from inexistence to existence, and I must somehow not have existed before boarding the bus, or it’s not true that the bus is the passage from inexistence to existence.

I announce the end of the universe – the statement of the end of the universe has occurred – the end of the universe is at least preprared for. Has the end of the universe occurred?

Let’s say it does: that my announcement of the end of the universe is performative. If this is the case, where am I when I am making the claim? I’m making the claim from the position of a ‘nature after nature’, i.e. it’s not the case that nature has been illuminated in the end of the universe, since the only place form which that claim can be made is that universe – or ‘a’ universe.

If this ‘universe’ from which my proclamation of the end of the universe is not the performatively ended universe, but another universe entirely, then how is my statement of the end of the universe simultaneous with/ performative of the end of the (other, first) universe?

If there is coincidence between my statement of the end of the universe and the end of the (other) universe, then there must be causal connection between these universes. Without this connection, there can be no such coincidence between my announcement of the end of the universe, and the end of the universe.

Therefore, the announcement of the end of the universe occurs only if the universe includes its own illumination – but it includes it regionally.

It’s true that nature has been killed – we’ve decided in advance of the answer to the question, ‘what is nature’, that it has finitude – and its finitude consists in its vulnerability to the space of reasons.

The claim that the space of reasons is fully autonomous with respect to nature falls foul of the question of what sort of bus it is I take in order to travel from the space of reasons to that nature.

If it’s a ‘space of reasons bus’ (run by the ‘space of reasons’ counsel), how does it transfer to the space that isn’t the space of reasons – it cannot – or if it does, there’s no true separation between the space of reasons and nature.

Nature is only nature insofar as nature after nature is the only nature that there is.

This means that if there’s nature, and if nature’s generative, then there is no nature until it has a sequel.

What does this mean that nature is NOT? – what is the species of non-being that properly attaches to what nature IS?

There is one space (not all spaces) within the universe wherein the end of the universe obtains, if that weren’t the case, the end of the universe couldn’t obtain. That’s one species of ‘not-being’.

There’s a necessary overlap between a power and its product; if there were not, the power and the product would be identical, and thus the product would be a product without being a product – an eternal object, that never came into existence, but always was and always will be.

‘Platonia’ is a name for the ‘configuration space of the universe’.

The universe is made up of whatever configuration space obtains , from which some configuration of the universe ‘results’, i.e. the configuration space of the universe is never exhausted in the universe.

Where is Platonia with respect to the universe?

If ‘Platonia’ is within the universe, then the configuration space of the universe from which possible configuration spaces emerge, is only a configuration space if it obtains in that universe -which makes it not the configuration space of the universe. Or, if it remains the configuration space of the universe whilst remaining in fact part OF the universe, if it contains all the possible universes, but is in fact part of that universe, then it follows that that configuration space of the universe is precisely the issuance of innumerable universes from the universe in which it occurs.

The configuration space of the universe is only the configuration space of the universe if it is within the universe; therefore it’s a local element within the universe that consists in the multiplication of universes.

That is to say, nature after nature obtains if the whole is contained in the part, not only to the higher scales of the universe, but also to the lower; so the whole is contained in the part just if the whole remains the whole but nonetheless local within a universe within which it occurs.

A universal, when stated, is locally environed by the universe in which it is stated; that is to say, there is no universal which can be stated which is not environed by an environment.

It follows, then, that the environment of the universal either reduces it to a particular – but then the universal hasn’t obtained – or the universal is only a universal because it is a local element in the universe by which it’s environed.

The universal is a local function by which ‘nature after nature’ is perpetuated.

Why is ‘nature after nature’ perpetuated?

If there is a hyper-egg is the hyper-egg only if it’s local, and if it continues to be the origin of all things. What is the hyper-egg then?

We located/ individuated the hyper-egg by virtue of its ubiquity – that is, it’s everywhere!
Nature after nature is the only condition under which the hyper-egg obtained.

The hyper-egg must be local, and al things must be ‘it’

Is everything reducible to the hyper-egg? – can everything ‘return’ to the hyper-egg?
Or is the hyper-egg the simple fact of the locateability of the particular within a universe being required just if that locate-able particular is to obtain at all.
The end of the universe obtains only if it obtains in that universe, and that end of the univese must be in some sense recorded in that universe, because if it’s not recorded, there is no ‘end’ of the universe.

However, if the end of the universe does occur and is recorded, is this the end of the universe? – yes, insofar as it’s a local event, and no insofar as such an event can only happen within a universe.

The end of the universe obtains all the time – it is ubiquitous – why? – because the end of the universe is consistently announced just when something arises that was not.
i.e. if there’s something, and that ‘something ‘has come into being, then the end of the universe must not be merely one local element within the universe, but ubiquitous.
This ubiquitous element which is the end of the universe obtains exactly when ‘nature’ is after nature.

Plato: after nature is ‘after powers’ – the ‘after’ should be regarded as meaning ‘after’ in the sense of ‘following’, but also in ‘accordance’ with. So nature acts in accordance with powers: it is not a collection of objects; nor, therefore, is it a hyper-object. There is no ‘one’ thing that nature ‘is’.

A completed nature is nothing more than a nature outside which its completion stands, i.e. once I can view nature as one thing, i.e. as being one thing, it’s no longer possible that that is all that is – a new space emerges – a new space in which I claim that this i all that is.  But I can only make  a claim insofar as I am environed – and I am precisely environed by nature.

Nature is never only a thing, but always after nature.

John Mcdowell’s space of reasons is not a space unless it obtains within the space that the theory of the space of reasons is premised on eliminating – nature.

What is it that requires nature’s elimination so that the space of reasons be what it is? – if the sae of reasons is causally responsible for any nature that can therefore inhabit that space of reasons, and, therefore, the space of reasons is the fundamental determining element that make s nature what it is.

What is nature according to Mcdowell? – nature is its own elimination as the act of a rational being.

What kind of rational being eliminates nature, just to make a point?!

Accelerationism makes its way to VICE

Wolfendale for that interview would have been pretty cool, though. He's much closer to to the Accel. pulse. Internet ally and friend Nick Land gets a small mention which is good.

But where's NRx, Vice?


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Program highlights for Ecstatic Naturalism 2015

Fifth International Congress on Ecstatic Naturalism

2015 Theme: American Philosophy of Nature

Drew University, Madison, NJ

The Shore of the Turquoise Sea – Albert Bierstadt, 1878

Friday – April 10th, 2015

Registration Table: 8:30-9am (Seminary Hall)

Morning sessions:

9-10:15am: American Philosophy of Nature and the Sublime
Yeol “Earl” 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  - “Is a Process Form of Ecstatic Naturalism Possible? A Reading of Donald Crosby”
Wesley Wildman and Robert Cummings Neville – “The Crosby Dialogues”
Donald Crosby – “Response

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 (Seminary Hall)

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 - "Disclosing the Image: Ecstasy and Imagery in Emerson and Nietzsche"

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 of Nature and Process Naturalism from Chaosmos to Cosmos
Keunsik Lee – "The Role of Personality within the formation of Community identity"
Austin Roberts – "Chaosmic Naturalisms: 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 6:00 – 7:30

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

William Connolly to be the speaker for the 2015 American Journal of Theology & Philosophy Lecture

"The Institute for American Religious and Philosophical Thought is pleased to announce that William Connolly will be the speaker for the 2015 American Journal of Theology & Philosophy Lecture (Nov 22 at the American Academy of Religion meeting in Atlanta -- more details soon). 

Connolly is the Krieger-Eisenhower Professor of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University and the author of many celebrated works of political theory, including The Terms of Political Discourse (1974), Capitalism and Christianity, American Style (2008), and The Fragility of Things: Self-Organizing Processes, Neoliberal Fantasies, and Democratic Activism (2013)."
 This should prove to be excellent.  AJTP is a top journal in the field of philosophy of religion, philosophical theology, and philosophical naturalism. The journal is linked with IARPT, the Institute for American Religious and Philosophical Thought, or link HERE.  The journal and institute, while grounded in the American philosophical tradition, does present Continental figures, usually in the process tradition, e.g. Deleuze, Schelling, Meillassoux, Hegel.

As an aside, I've published several articles in AJTP (one on Deleuze, creativity, and naturalism) as well as several book reviews on Hartshorne, Whitehead, and Corrington.  I am glad Connolly is doing the lecture - he is a major figure in process and is also adored (along with Jane Bennett) by the process philosophers in the speculative realism crowd.  This lecture is going to bring closer together in their similar perspectives process philosophy and speculative realism, I am sure.

Friday, March 13, 2015

The New Existentialism + quote of the day

This is what I meant by interpreting, via Tristan Garcia, how the New Existentialism seems to be retrieving yet updating the notion of how the static, conceptual "human being" disappears into an "ontological darkness." (In response to a Twitter comment which questioned my riffing/brainstorming a few posts back.)

The human being is not a static object, simple abstract concept, nor historicized idea within a frozen epistemological order, pace Foucault in the infamous last paragraphs of his The Order of Things. "The human" both dissappears yet continually reappears as an agency, actor, architect, or self-author dependent on that specific pillar of freedom which chooses to *assert itself,* existentially, *as* something "human." Here is Foucault with something similar - the human dissappears, as if erased in the sand at the edge of the sea. One simply can't *assume* the identity of that being without regard for the non-epistemological ontological conditions that have helped to create it. Or in a Whiteheadian-Jamesian vein: nothing comes "ready made."  All is within a continuous act of self-creation.  Here's Foucault:
"One thing in any case is certain: man is neither the oldest nor the most constant problem that has been posed for human knowledge. Taking a relatively short chronological sample within a restricted geographical area – European culture since the sixteenth century – one can be certain that man is a recent invention within it. It is not around him and his secrets that knowledge prowled for so long in the darkness. In fact, among all the mutations that have affected the knowledge of things and their order, the knowledge of identities, differences, characters, equivalences, words – in short, in the midst of all the episodes of that profound history of the Same – only one, that which began a century and a half ago and is now perhaps drawing to a close, has made it possible for the figure of man to appear. And that appearance was not the liberation of an old anxiety, the transition into luminous consciousness of an age-old concern, the entry into objectivity of something that had long remained trapped within beliefs and philosophies: it was the effect of a change in the fundamental arrangements of knowledge. As the archaeology of our thought easily shows, man is an invention of recent date. And one perhaps nearing its end.

If those arrangements were to disappear as they appeared, if some event of which we can at the moment do no more than sense the possibility – without knowing either what its form will be or what it promises – were to cause them to crumble, as the ground of Classical thought did, at the end of the eighteenth century, then one can certainly wager that man would be erased, like a face drawn in sand at the edge of the sea.”

Monday, March 9, 2015

interview with me on Speculum Criticum Traditionis blog

Bryan from Speculum Criticum Traditionis blog has sent me a series of wonderful interview questions that I am going to have alot of fun answering (and will be putting alot of hard work into answering!)

Bryan and I have been corresponding for several years now and we have alot of the same interests.  He is a kind and intelligent person and alot of our blog exchanges have often led to scholarly collaborations such as our co-authored post on Justus Buchler that appeared here at After Nature as well as on his blog (see HERE and HERE).

More soon.

Friday, March 6, 2015

quotes of the day

"Nature is the negative because it is the negative of the Idea. Jakob Böhme says that God’s firstborn is Lucifer."
- G. W. F. Hegel, Philosophy of Nature §248

"For vertigo and creativity is indeed what the romantic dialectic seeks to find at the center of rationality itself, insofar as rationality is invention and therefore a fragment of natural force."

- Alain Badiou, ‘Forward: What is it to Live?’

"The theory of induction is the despair of philosophy - yet all of our activities are based upon it."

- Alfred North Whitehead

Hegel and the Art of Negation: Negativity, Creativity and Contemporary Thought (amazon link HERE).

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

quote of the day

"Many philosophers of the present day are convinced that every existing thing and event is logically unconnected with any other and could disappear from the world without necessarily affecting anything else. Such a rubbish-heap view of the world I cannot accept."

- Brand Blanshard, The Paul Carus Lectures

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Many Faces of F.W.J. Schelling (special issue of AnalectaHermeneutica)

HERE, featuring a book review written by me.  Interesting article by Iain Hamilton Grant as well published in the same issue.  Grant's article is called "The Law of Insuperable Environment: What is Exhibited in the Exhibition of the Process of Nature?"

Monday, March 2, 2015

the phenomenology of insect life

Safari from Catherine Chalmers on Vimeo.

Also see THIS program about the philosophy of insects, on The Philosopher's Zone. Jakob von Uexküll HERE or HERE.

"The Phenomenology of Animal Life," article HERE. "A Picture Book of Invisible Worlds: Semblances of Insects and Humans in Jakob von Uexküll's Laboratory," HERE.