Friday, June 19, 2020

Message from Iain Hamilton Grant: Attempt to Close UWE Philosophy

Dear Friends of the North American Schelling Society,

Please see the following email from Dr. Iain Grant, no doubt well known to you all. We would be appreciative if members of the NASS community could voice their support for the continuation of philosophy at UWE by emailing the contacts below. Dr. Grant and UWE have been integral to the growth in Schelling studies in English, and the closure of philosophy at UWE would be devastating to us all.

Thank-you,

The NASS Executive

---

The Philosophy team at UWE, Bristol were recently called to a meeting at which it was announced that the university is initiating a process to close the Philosophy BA and BA with Foundation Year. The intention is that there will be an intake this year (2020) onto level 1, but that no students will be admitted to the programme after that, and no foundation students will be admitted in 2020. We are shocked and saddened that the university is moving towards the closure of philosophy.



We believe we offer a distinctive and innovative philosophy programme, with excellent research led teaching. This is reflected in how much our students value the course, which our outstanding National Student Survey scores testify to. The closure of UWE philosophy would be a great loss to prospective students, to the university, and to the wider intellectual community in which philosophy plays such an important role. We are therefore challenging the planned closure and urging the Vice Chancellor to stop the closure process and to maintain the Philosophy programme at UWE, Bristol. We are hopeful that we can successfully challenge the closure of philosophy and want to send a positive message which highlights to the Vice Chancellor the value, distinctiveness and quality of our course.



We would be very grateful if you could voice your support for the continuation of UWE Philosophy as a programme by emailing:



Professor Steve West, Vice Chancellor of UWE, vicechancellor@uwe.ac.uk

Dr Marc Griffith, Pro-Vice Chancellor & Executive Dean Marc.Griffiths@uwe.ac.uk

Professor Amanda Coffey, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost, Amanda.Coffey@uwe.ac.uk



We would also be grateful if you could forward this email to all your colleagues and relevant contacts who can input on the importance of philosophy and may wish to share their support for us.



Some key points you may choose to include in your message are listed below. We welcome additional points and perspectives making a positive case for the role of philosophy.



And if you want to know more about what we do you might find our staff run website interesting http://www.uwephilosophy.org.uk.



Thank you for your time and your help,

Best wishes,



Iain



Key Points

The value of philosophy to wider culture and addressing contemporary, urgent problems - we need philosophy more than ever now
The value of philosophy to our students, in their personal development and in developing their potential to contribute to the community and succeed in the world of employment
UWE philosophy is innovative and treats as a priority preparing students from diverse backgrounds to succeed on graduation, building their confidence through placements, skills workshops, and varied assessments whilst maintaining high academic standards and developing subject specific skills
UWE philosophy is highly valued by its students, reflected in the National Student Survey Scores (100% student satisfaction in 2019, and consistently above 90% for student satisfaction and teaching)
UWE philosophy is an excellent programme reflected in its Guardian league table scores (7th, 4th and 6th for philosophy in the last 3 years)
UWE philosophy is a distinctive course - in particular it covers a wide range of European philosophy (staff research expertise is reflected in our course content and includes Schelling, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Husserl, Kant, Foucault, Frankfurt School, and Patočka), as well as having a focus on topics in social and political philosophy, such as solidarity and feminist philosophy, and a specialist module joint with UWE robotics on the ethics of technology
UWE philosophy is engaged proactively in a process of decolonizing the curriculum, and committed to continuing this process in a self-reflective way, and encourages critical reflection on the environment, gender, economic and race-based oppression, through both our curriculum and our teaching practices
UWE philosophy as a team is extremely proactive in organising local public engagement events - bringing our research to a non specialist audience and engaging in dialogue with the public. Recent events include Thought in Action - a partnership between Watershed and UWE Philosophy that since October 2018 has engaged 1079 people (of which 278 are UWE students). We also have an annual international feminist conference which is open to the general public.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

quote of the day


"The dissatisfaction of the spiritual man is even more dangerous than that of the starveling."

- Ernst Junger (as the character "Manuel Venator in Eumeswil, 1977)

Syllabus and Course Materials for "The Philosophy of Technology and Organic Being"


HERE. This is an online research seminar with hopes of decent output of a publishable paper or two, or chapter or two for a book, by fall.  I've been live-streaming on my YouTube channel each lecture and have been considering live-streaming as well discussions on Kant's third critique, which is the other major thing that I am reading this summer.

Monday, May 4, 2020

Na’s painting, and an update


A summer of aesthetics (Kant's third Critique) and a new online seminar I'm running, "The Philosophy of Technology and Organic Being." Deleuze, Ruyer, Simondon, and lots of Bernard Stiegler. The painting below was done by my talented wife. Her paintings are beautiful.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Bernard Stiegler, Nanjing Lectures

Amazing work by Stiegler in this; picked up his original trilogy which, so far, looks just as good.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Tales from the Loop TV Review (Amazon Prime Original TV Series)

No, just... no.

About five years ago I discovered and recommended a little gem of a show called Black Mirror (see HERE) which at that time I described as "smart" and "compelling," and  I stand by those words today.  I had found Black Mirror quite by accident on Netflix before it had wound up becoming the phenomenon that it is and am glad to have gotten in on the ground floor.  When I saw Amazon Prime release its own futuristic sci-fi series with a dystopian twist I certainly had to check it out thinking there might be a good possibility it would be up to the standards set by fellow Black Mirror. 

Don't. Waste. Your. Time.

I watched two episodes, but one, really, is all that it will take to show you that this has nothing on Black Mirror, and still further less with the '80s throw-back Stranger Things. In a nutshell the premise of the show is that there is a machine called "the loop" which is built "to unlock the secrets of the universe" (or something like that) and then episodes refer back to the machine or people who've dealt with it in some way.

Ok, so-far-so-good.

The first episode "Loop" pretentiously trudges through, quite literally, fifteen minutes of silence at a time attempting to appear deep and contemplative all the while giving you, well, zilch to be contemplative about.  The acting in this episode is probably the worst I've seen - like, ever - on streaming television, and the plot is flat-out stupid. The plot description reads, "A young girl living in a small town becomes curious about the mysterious work her mother conducts beneath ground at a facility known as the Loop." Whelp, that's about it. Like I said, it is hopelessly vague and at bottom just vapid. But, maybe that episode was just a ding. So I tried again.

Episode three, "Stasis" repeats a Twilight Zone plot from "A Kind of Stopwatch" and the more poignant "A Little Peace and Quiet." Unlike those episodes, though, the plot here may as well have been written by a sixteen year old who is discovering the difference between puppy-love and reality.  Leann Lei's performance (and I use the word "performance" loosely) is horrid, and I mean... horrid.  As "May" she has a crush on Ethan while tied up in a current relationship - and having found a machine that can stop time, rushes to use it in order to go on a date with him (which includes having sex in the middle of the street while time is stopped, by the way). In her words, "I've found a way for us to be together."  Not like breaking up with her current boyfriend would be a much easier thing to do - if we're to follow the sort of "empowered woman" logic that is thrust in our face on more than a few occasions in all of this and thus appears quite charlatan rather than sincere. No, she has to stop time to peruse her options.  Add that to the fact while in stopped-time she accidentally finds her mother naked and prone atop a man who is not her father and then doesn't even bother to tell her father (and what's with all of the sex-pose-on-top stuff anyway?) - and she ditches Ethan after calling him a "cripple" and decides that the fact that he was freaked out about a machine that could stop time and potentially keep them there forever if the machine broke again was just too much for their budding relationship.

Garbage. Two hours of my life I'll never get back. I am utterly speechless, amazed even, that Amazon would attach their name to this complete and utter trash. If it sounds like I have some sort of axe to grind against this show then trust me, I don't.  It's just that this was so terrible that I am actually offended.  It basically insulted my intelligence like no other program has before and most likely will insult your intelligence as well.

The reviews I've read concerning this program are luke-warm.  That's too warm for me.  Honesty is best policy: this is pretty terrible stuff. Go watch re-runs of Stranger Things or Black Mirror. You'll thank me for it.

Deleuze and New Materialism


In the world of contemporary philosophy there are those who comment on Deleuze and who "get it," and others not so much. Keith Ansell-Pearson "gets it" and obviously is a foremost scholar in Deleuze studies. His "Deleuze and New Materialism" paper -found in Sarah Ellenzweig and John H. Zammito, The New Politics of Materialism (Routledge, 2017) - is top rate. Link HERE.


Friday, February 21, 2020

It's Time to Go: United States Conservative Secession is Here


Modernity is apocalypse. If you can't see that you soon will. As early as 2014 I predicted the acceleration of this apocalypse, based only however on a prognostication from a much more capable philosopher, that of Nick Land (see my "A Humble Attempt to Introduce the Philosophy of Nick Land, HERE). In many ways Land's accelerationist idea of hyper-fragmentation makes even more sense now than it did then. In short, Nick Land is a prophet and what he has prophesied has turned out to be true.



The United States is fragmenting, and quickly. Yet also, there is a cultural fire that has slowly been consuming more and more, and becoming hotter and hotter. Near its peak, how will things turn out? What will be left after all has been consumed? Is there a place, a zone, where freedom might continue to live?

There are philosophers who have provided us with some clues, some pieces of maps, who have already forecast the condition. It is to those philosophers to whom we must turn. Contemporary, Nick Land. And adding in from the history of philosophy and literature, Ernst Junger (1895-1998). 

That said, I direct you to below where you'll find a few important Landian After Nature posts on Land's work, as well as a book recommendation. These posts - written as far back as 2014 - were written  in the spirit of secession, in full cognizance of the oncoming cultural apocalypse. Not because I am a conservative, but because  afterall, the Jungerian anarch - the spiritual reactionary - wears chameleon like colors until the end, until it's time to go.

In some sense the ship has already sunk, or better, the city already burned to the ground. Liberalism's sacred nihilism revels in its own continual self-destruction.  The endless self-loathing and self-destruction is never enough, yet it fuels the elan vital of those spiritual reactionaries who sit back and watch the world burn. It is the reason why the forest flight was necessary - from warrior, to worker, to anarch, to forest fleer, to ...

Inner emigration is a tricky game. In order to "cross the line" as Junger puts it, one must be able to forecast conditions. Nick Land is extremely good at doing that.

This article, "Secession fever spikes in five states as conservatives seek to escape blue rule" uncovers the already-emerging blue-prints of a US divided into self-governing new states.

The time is now. It's time to go.


Nietzsche, the other great prognosticator tells us that,

"Pity is the practice of nihilism. To repeat: this depressive and contagious instinct crosses those instincts which aim at the preservation of life and at the enhancement of its value. It multiplies misery and conserves all that is miserable, and is thus a prime instrument of the advancement of decadence: pity persuades men to nothingness!”

— Nietzsche, The Antichrist"

“Being nationalistic in the sense in which it is now demanded by public opinion would, it seems to me, be for us who are more spiritual not mere insipidity but dishonesty, a deliberate deadening of our better will and conscience.”

— Nietzsche, Unpublished Note

***

From After Nature:

Nick Land (and Ernst Juenger) on Ultimate Exit

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

And finally, an interesting book parallel to our reaction against liberalism's sacred nihilism.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Is Socrates’ politics theological? Or is a Blackwing pencil created by the gods?

I decided to present to my readers a photo of my note-taking gear used for reading and doing research.

So, it's kinda a thing with me. Never read without a pencil. It's always been like that. And it shall always be so in the future. However the thing with me is that basically all of the world's pencils today suck. They break, they cannot erase or destroy your paper if they can, the graphite is weak or strained and smudges easily or disappears. Just, today's pencils are horrible. Gosh, any yellow pencil I have ever used wasn't proper for writing down anything.

But then I discovered two pencils in particular, and now knowing them and using them, they are essentials.

One is the Ticonderoga pencil that you can get from the Dollar Store for, yes, somewhere around a dollar. Crisp and clean graphite lays down nicely and evenly, fine enough wood, fine enough eraser but using a separate eraser is advised.

The Blackwing 602 however, *changed my world*. Yes, we are talking about a pencil. If you read the reviews, the rumors are true. I myself had my doubts. But no, it is indeed the single most greatest pencil on earth. Throw the Staedtler pencil sharpener for a superb writable point into the mix, and to the side have handy your Artgum eraser (with these two items you will have the cleanest, razor-fine point ever and an eraser that absolutely will not nor ever smudge picking up perfectly any and all graphite - and the eraser's gumminess is so addictive to squeeze in your hand as you read), and you have the ultimate note-taking armory.

The Blackwing writes so smoothly, it glides with "half the pressure twice the speed" putting down to paper buttery and smooth graphite cleanly and evenly. I will spare you the full review (I am not sponsored by these products) but the Blackwing Palamino 602 is not just an ordinary pencil. It is not just any pencil that could be manufactured by anyone. No.

It is a pencil created by the gods.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

An amazing paper on Schelling: Sean McGrath - "The Ecstatic Realism of the Late Schelling"


Saw this in my academia feed and after a quick initial read (a more careful second read is pending, time permitting) I must say that this is probably one of the best papers I've seen concerning Schelling within the past decade, if not ever. Absolutely amazing. Check it out, HERE.

Sean McGrath - "The Ecstatic Realism of the Late Schelling" 

Wow. Definitely read it.


Thursday, February 6, 2020

Call for Papers: Tenth International Congress on Ecstatic Naturalism (the last conference!)


The Tenth International Congress on Ecstatic Naturalism will be held on the Drew University campus on April 18 and 19, 2020. As this will be the last Congress, the topic is open, although papers on the topic of climate change will be especially welcome. All that is required is that your paper mention however minimally some aspect of ecstatic naturalism.

Please send an abstract of your proposed paper with a title to corring@optonline.net. Please indicate if you are interested in competing for the Emerson Prize ($500) for the best paper by a junior scholar. If you wish to be considered for the prize, we will, of course, need the full paper (by March 25th). The criteria for the Emerson Prize are: 1) you must be either a student or have received your degree no more than five years earlier, 2) you have not won the prize before, and 3) your paper must be on ecstatic naturalism.

For more information please see Robert Corrington's blog at https://ecstaticnaturalism.org/

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

“The Lure of the Maine Coast and the Ticking Clock”

Corrington has put up a nice little post ruminating about the Maine coast's aesthetic virtues. For those not aware, Robert retired end of the fall 2019 semester - where afterward he and his wife relocated to the Maine coast. Maine always was (and still is) a special place for me (and Na) as well: its beauty unparalleled in mystery and majesty. I remember I wrote a large section of my first book there, and subsequently a few articles while overlooking our favorite place to go, Moosehead Lake. Naturphilosophie.

https://ecstaticnaturalism.org/f/the-lure-of-the-maine-coast-and-the-ticking-clock

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Peirce and Heidegger in Dialogue

This is interesting, haven't seen in my research something like this out there (other than my own work) save for the dissertation "Possibility in Peirce and Heidegger: A Propaedeutic for Synthesis" - the David Jeremiah Higgins U of Missouri Columbia 1968 dissertation I accidentally discovered and which prompted me to triangulate with Schelling Peirce and Heidegger. I do highly recommend the reading of that dissertation for like-minded scholar with an interest in the overlap or even union of American and Continental philosophy, "Euro-American philosophy," as my old mentor Robert Corrington would put it.

https://www.academia.edu/41735824/The_Intersection_of_Semiotics_and_Phenomenolgy_Peirce_and_Heidegger_in_Dialogue

Friday, January 24, 2020

quote of the day

"Words had separated me from my body. The sun released me. Greece cured my self-hatred and awoke a will to health. I saw that beauty and ethics were one and the same. Creating a beautiful work of art and a beautiful oneself are identical."

- Yukio Mishima

Friday, January 10, 2020

quote of the day




“But the life of Spirit is not the life that shrinks from death and keeps itself untouched by devastation, but rather life that endures it and maintains itself in it. It wins its truth only when, in utter dismemberment, it finds itself.... Spirit is this power only by looking the negative in the face, and tarrying with it. This tarrying with the negative is the magical power that converts it into being. This power is identical with what we earlier called the Subject.”

- Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Review of Ronald Beiner's Dangerous Minds: Nietzsche, Heidegger, and the Return of the Far Right

I am posting the below video at least in part to alleviate *some* of my disgust after glancing through a loaned copy of Ronald Beiner's Dangerous Minds: Nietzsche, Heidegger, and the Return of the Far Right. Trust me, I am going to review this piece of trash book on my YouTube channel soon enough.

The fact that University of Pennsylvania Press (of all places!) would publish this absolute piece of sensationalist TRASH is beyond belief. Just the fact that the names of Nietzsche and Heidegger - HEIDEGGER - would appear atop of an image of the Charlottesville demonstrations, torches and all, makes me sick. Literally sick, as in I want to vomit when I think about it.

Again, so I am perfectly clear: I am going to review this book on my YouTube channel. And I will trounce it as it deserves to be. There is no Bibliography, the notes are complete garbage and lack any scholarly integrity completely, and the ideas within are so shopworn run-of-the-mill "connect Heidegger and Nietzsche to Nazism as fast as you can" that I absolutely cannot believe in any way that U Penn published this.

It reminds me about how many, many years ago I attended a picnic get-together hosted by my undergraduate mentor (who took his Ph.D. at U of Toronto, where sadly Beiner apparently now teaches) after I had just completed my M.A. (which, incidentally, was on Martin Heidegger and Friedrich Nietzsche). There my mentor disclosed how he met Charles Guignon - the somewhat famous Heidegger scholar at the University of South Florida -- who told him that he thought my thesis was "Nazi philosophy." So, that goes to show the sort of mentality with which we are dealing here. Beiner is in that same camp. Completely clueless.

Anyway, enjoy the below video, English subtitles. I suppose because the folks in the video discuss Ernst Junger and Carl Schmitt that they, too, are "Nazi philosophers." Give me a break.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

the world tour continues...


It's been a grueling three weeks of travel, one more to go. I have to say that Thailand is more of a family-in-law visiting thing but nevertheless an extremely enjoyable place. By far exciting though for me personally is Japan's allure - which has grown on me since my first visit a few years ago (this is my third or fourth time there).

As I am catching up on some work I don't have time now to explain why Japan is growing on me, but I do know that Japan, along with Iceland and Switzerland, are among my favorite places to visit in the world. It's a shame I suppose that I don't have much of an interest in Japanese philosophy aside from maybe the Kyoto school, but I do know that the people, the food, the culture, the history - all just so wonderful.

It even prompted me to create a video about it on my YouTube channel. In a world where more time existed I would definitely like to create some blog entries on Iceland and all of the great things there, in addition to Japan. It may not be worth the effort as blogging has long, long ago taken a back seat to video on YouTube. I can't say my YouTube channel's traffic competes with my blog's traffic, but I imagine one day that it will.

Photo credit above to Na, my wife.