Friday, December 16, 2016

Free-writing a pensive post (Part 2 of 3)

In my last post I had reflected on the roughly ten or so years since my teaching career began (or more appropriately seven year teaching career since I took my Ph.D. in 2009, twelve years if you count since the M.A. - I usually just round and say ten years roughly) and spoke of how Immaculata University had been my home institution until this past month when, in terms of career and trajectories, Moravian College became my new institutional home.  I discussed how difficult it was for me to turn down Anna Maria College in Boston last summer placing all bets on Moravian and how the location of Moravian seemed to make all the more sense when it came to Na and I  being happy where we are in Pennsylvania, given our home, her job, and overall where  we are in life. So things have worked out and we consider ourselves fortunate.

In this post I want to reflect abit just about where my scholarly interests have been this year alone; for I fear if I go too far back the post itself will balloon out of proportion.  I do want to quickly nod to how the year previous was dedicated to animal emotions, philosophical ecology, and environmental aesthetics (overall what I would group as "the philosophy of organism") and how that year or so of research led to several articles, radio appearances, and reading groups unto themselves.


0. In addition to environmental philosophy I and a few brave students circled back around to Hegel to look again at how Hegel in his early theological writings and Phenomenology might figure into contemporary environmental discussions concerning the philosophy of organism (pace the trinity of Schelling-Hegel-Peirce).  This in turn led me to one John William Miller whose books I read for a winter break (Miller was all of a naturalist, idealist, realist, influenced by pragmatism, etc. etc.) Miller is on par with the likes of C.S. Peirce, who by today's standards is still somewhat of the least read of the American philosophers who is nevertheless brilliant and ought to be read more, but sadly isn't. In my opinion Miller was truly one of the first American philosophical ecologists and fits neatly into discussions concerning environmental philosophy, philosophical ecology, and the idealism/realism debate in contemporary metaphysical-speculative philosophy.

1. As the year went on I found out that for the 2016-17 school year I would be teaching courses geared toward aesthetics, and so that was my one hallmarks in addition to the above.  In the summer we began to read Kant's Critique of the Power of Judgement followed by Merleau-Ponty's The Phenomenology of Perception (summer for Kant; fall for MP).

2. Fall had me teaching Philosophies of Art & Beauty, which was phenomenal.  I ran the course how it was taught to me as an undergraduate - and the students loved it.  Two texts I could recommend are Joshua Billings Genealogy of the Tragic: Greek Tragedy and German Philosophy and the very dated but still very relevant Schopenhauer by Patrick Gadiner.  Neither text was required: I read both for fun while teaching the course and found out alot of very interesting background information. We ran the course seminar style and from the feedback I received the students really enjoyed the course and learned alot.

3. Speculative Realism: An Epitome is complete and now in the proofing/editing process with Kismet Publishing.  More than likely the book will now appear in early 2017 and will be made available Open Access, but will also have a print version available for purchase too. I have been told that the Preface especially is "brilliant," and among my academia,edu papers it garnered the most number of visits in the fewest amount of days (somewhere around 600+ views within three days time).  I am told by the publisher that this is one of their most anticipated books and I am expecting that this book's publication is going to be huge.  So be on the look out for that.

4. Other than Speculative Realism: An Epitome I'll be working on a number of short book reviews, although I plan only to publish in hardcopy for a journal somewhere only one or two of them.  This upcoming year (2017) I plan to see to publication Speculative Naturalism: An Ecological Metaphysics which I am now thinking about changing the title to the more simple title of, Transcendental Naturalism.  I am literally on version number four or five of the book as the more time that passes the larger it grows and the ideas morph and change.  But I am considering McGrath's New Perspectives in Ontology Series through Edinburgh for that.  I'd rather the book take a natural course and thus take a time to find an organic expression of publication rather than be rushed and forced.  I think its good that the Kismet book would appear first so that readers could see how I approach speculative philosophy to begin with before they dive into a 500+ page magnum opus of mine.

I also have the idea of using UMinnPress's "Forerunner Series" to engage in some "gray publishing" by publishing a very short book I would call After Nature.  It would feature the best of/re-written blog posts from here at After Nature in an essay book format.  But that is just an idea so far and its still very much up in the air, mostly because I am attempting to trim back on publishing over the course of the next two years. But, if pressed I think that series/publisher would be a good fit for an idea like that. 

5. It seems as I go forward my guiding question has been (and will continue to be), "In what ways can transcendental philosophy be incorporated into a rigorous, thorough-going naturalism regarding 'what is'?"  I have been looking at Schelling, Hegel, Kant, and Fichte within light of contemporary European/Continental philosophy especially with aesthetics, ecology, and logic and metaphysics in view.  Whatever I write will take up that theme conversing with the work of Ray Brassier and Iain Hamilton Grant. But this last part I shall save for elaboration in my upcoming and third (last) part of this post's series.

More soon ...