Monday, December 30, 2013

The new edition of Cosmos and History is now published

The new edition of Cosmos and History is now published, and can be found

In it I've published a paper and an interview.

a helpful tweet

350+ views of my post in its very first day thanks to EVC himself.  That number has now swollen to over 1300.  Thanks again to EVC for the below helpful tweet, it has helped After Nature find many new readers.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Jägerblut "Maria durch ein Dornwald ging"

can plants really communicate with each other?

Good friend Adrian from Immanence blog poses the question HERE.  He cites some very interesting research from the publication Quanta.  

“It turns out almost every green plant that’s been studied releases its own cocktail of volatile chemicals, and many species register and respond to these plumes.”

“Just a few months ago, the plant signaling pioneer Ted Farmer of the University of Lausanne discovered an almost entirely unrecognized way that plants transmit information — with electrical pulses and a system of voltage-based signaling that is eerily reminiscent of the animal nervous system.  ’It’s pretty spectacular what plants do,’ said Farmer. ‘The more I work on them, the more I’m amazed.’

Some of this reminds me of James' A Pluralistic Universe, Lecture IV, on Fechner.  Specifically I am thinking about the section on "the plant soul."  See HERE. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

"We're more microbial than human."

Interesting piece from NPR.  From the article,
"When you're looking in the mirror, what you're really looking at is there are 10 times more microbial cells than human cells," Proctor says. "In almost every measure you can think of, we're more microbial than human." 
The horde of microbes is so vast that their genes swamp our genes. In fact, 99 percent of the genes contained in and on our bodies are microbial genes. 
This expanding view of the microbiome is changing how some people think about humans — not as individual entities but as what philosopher Rosamond Rhodes calls a "supraorganism."

For the rest of the article, link HERE.  This brings to mind the Whiteheadian concept of organism as nexus.  In particular, this thought from a post I wrote some time back comes to mind:
Hartshorne's ethical treatment of Leibnizian monads in Whiteheadian vein - that is, as societies of occasions guided by a dominant monarchical monad, is something that I look favorably upon due to my metaphysical commitment to panpsychism and panentheism.  For more information on that, see the section "Social Process," HERE.    

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

SAAP 2014 full program

HERE.  Of particular note are the sessions "Experience and Reality: Thinking with Whitehead and the Pragmatists" and "New American Naturalisms."  The panel proposals are worth downloading and looking at.

naturalism's philosophy of the sacred

Congratulations to Martin Yalcin on the publication of his fine manuscript, Naturalism's Philosophy of the Sacred.  (Amazon link HERE.)  The book features a very detailed yet comprehensible introduction to "ordinal metaphysics," as well as the philosophies of Justus Buchler and Robert S. Corrington.

I look forward to working with Martin at this year's (our fourth!) ecstatic naturalism conference.  From what I've heard, Martin is also starting up an open access online journal that shall cover topics in the metaphysics of religion, philosophical naturalism, and speculative thinking in the American and contemporary continental philosophical traditions.

quote of the day

"Natura naturans [nature naturing] is the productive power, self-generative, active, yet suspended, as it it were, in the product.  Natura Naturata [nature natured] is the sum total...nature in the passive sense."

- Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Aids to Reflection

"This Aids to Reflection book, especially [James] Marsh's [American 1829] edition, was my first Bible."

- John Dewey, Collected Works v. 9

Monday, December 16, 2013

quote of the day

"Logic is the backbone of philosophy. And nothing is quite clear logically unless it can be put mathematically. Ideally at least, a philosopher should be a mathematician and logician as well as metaphysician. Perhaps this could be said of Plato, certainly of Leibniz, Peirce, and Whitehead."

- Charles Hartshorne, Creative Synthesis & Philosophic Method

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Accelerationism Symposium Berlin livestream (VIDEO)

Accelerationism event (feat. Brassier, Noys, Negarestani, and others) livestream link HERE.

reflections on Eduardo Viveiros de Castro's pluralist "universal relationism" and "multinaturalism"

Eduardo Viveiros de Castro has recently joined others, such as Mehdi Belhaj Kacem, in appropriating savagery as a way to do “imaginary” (speculative-metaphysical) philosophy where ethnography, anthropology, and cosmology are included at once.  MBK does so in the realm of nihilistic but spirited culture where EVC’s culture is firmly positioned with reference to nature, pace Descola, Latour, etc. etc.  EVC’s nature-culture ontology is radically pluralistic and “multinatural”: it includes humans, other animals, gods, spirits, and the dead, as much as it includes “inhabitants of other cosmic levels,” meteorological phenomena, plants, objects, and artifacts.

EVC’s metaphysics, like MBK’s, states, in agreement with Q. Meillassoux, that “correlationism” must be “dealt with” and “overcome” (dismantled, reappropriated, and reinstalled).  For EVC this means passing through “the metaphysics of others” and returning to the “dissident” tradition of panpsychism via Tarde, Latour, James, and Whitehead.

Taking anthropology to be a truly pluralistic science, EVC calls for a reinscription of perspectivalist metaphysics – a metaphysics he finds at work in Amerindian cultures.  Not merely another view about “Nature” EVC calls for the very reinscription of human relations to nature by way of a “multinatural perspectivalism” inspired by these Amerindian cultures.

In place of current “modern” relations to nature, then, we are told that a “radical materialist panpyschism” must also be an “immanent perspectivism.”  One must place relations over substance and “the alterity of nexus” over any essentialist unities.

In the words of Benjamin Noys, EVC is thus “anti-correlation but pro-relation.”  While Amerindian multinaturalism and perspectivalism are indeed anthropomorphic they are not anthropocentric.  Again Noys: “The real way to break with correlation is via anthropomorphism, via panpsychism, and to, in a sense, drown ‘correlation’ [as but] one form of relation within a sea of other forms of relation.”

As Noys concludes, “A panpsychism of existence [is a] thought that places all in relation and otherness.  There is a universal relationality, of which even the thinking of relation is only one part.”

For more on EVC's pluralist universal relationism and multinaturalism, see his "Cosmologies: perspectivism" HERE.

Friday, December 6, 2013

quote of the day

"We must become nothing, we must go down to the vegetative level; it is then that God becomes bread. "

- Simone Weil, Gravity and Grace

HT Paroikein & P.E.S.T

Friday, November 29, 2013

netocracy: slow and fast thinking

HT Terry from Agent Swarm blog.  He's pointed me in the direction of two posts about "slow thinking" and the absolute need for time, covering Badiou and Deleuze.  See Recollecting Philosophy blog's posts "Slow-thinking and the absolute need for time" HERE and "Internet Revolution, attentionalism and slow-thinking, Bard and Bourdieu" HERE.

I'd like to post a link to the tag "Deleuze" HERE over at Recollecting Philosophy blog as well, due to the fact that I have a "Deleuze and Theology" reading group coming up in December. Might be a useful resource.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

New Study Suggests Crabs Can Feel Pain After All

And thus on Bentham's, Singer's, Rachel's analyses, crabs belong to the moral community. These creatures' pain is no less important than a human being's. Clearly crabs value "not feeling pain" by choosing to avoid it. Subjective experience of pain and memory of the negative experience of pain are present, according to this study.

Let us examine Justus Buchler's concept of ontological parity applied to the realm of value here. It is ignorance to say that value or importance is simply a "human construct," as crabs clearly find importance in avoiding pain - there is a basic value in it *for them* regardless of human judgement. As with any basic emotion experienced by animals, what makes creatures equal is the univocal fact of value (contrasts of positive and negative aesthetic value: whether through sensation or intensity) experienced by those creatures. In other words, a sense of value or importance makes for the subject of a life in the aesthetic contrasts of value felt by that life.

If Buchler's ordinal metaphysics is applied to animal ethics suddenly value theory and ecology take on new meanings.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

"Noble Spacemen, Sacrificing All for Science"

"Claustrophobic and stylish, Europa Report is a slow-burning thriller that puts the science back into science fiction."

NY Times reviews the movie HERE.  Currently on Netflix and other than being a gorgeous film to watch, it's fun and incredibly realistic.

Hägglund (and others) in NYC

Karen Barad (University of California at Santa Cruz,), Elizabeth Grosz (Duke), Martin Hägglund (Yale), and Michael Naas (De Paul) will be delivering Keynotes at the 4th Annual Derrida Today conference, May 28-31 at Fordham University in NYC.

For more information, the conference website is HERE.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Irreducible relationality and infinite density: quote of the day and a thought or two

"A new creation in which the inner and outer realms are united, and the interior depths of inwardness are identical with the exterior and outer depths of every other. 

Thomas J.J. Altizer - The Descent into Hell

This quote was taken from Matthew McCraken's blog about radical theology.  On his blog THIS post in particular had me thinking (again) about the metaphysics of individuation: specifically about the concept of relations and their necessity, as well as about how - following Adam Kotsko to some degree (see quote below) - individuals, centers of experience, are "nodal" in the sense that each center is "infinitely deep" in terms of the potential that actuates those centers. Yet, in being self-actuating, individuals, centerpoints of experience, singulars etc. etc. are *related* by the fact that all require that potential in order to *be* individuals. In other words, through that potential - a generic category of freedom; indeed, a relational universal, individuals are capable of their self actuation.

A significant part of this actuation is semiotic communicative expression by way of feeling, sensation, emotion, or empathy - as well as temporal future self-creation.  In the end we have a relation of self to other, self to self, and other to other (thus my interest in the Altizer quote).  

"The world is a network of physical and spiritual relationships of which humanity forms a nodal point. The world is not somethinggiven or static, but continually arises out of the interactions among thesingularities that make it up."

Adam Kotsko - The Politics of Redemption

When it comes to articulating the *nature* of singulars and how they express but also partake in relations, I believe that it is not just about articulating an environmental aesthetic construed strictly in terms of sensation or materiality.  What we need is an environmental aesthetic ground in what I call an "ecological metaphysics," one that takes aesthetics, and more specifically the expression of the aesthetic into consideration.  This is to say that information also comes into play in discussion of what it means to be an individual.

The material aesthetic expression of singulars is semiotic in the sense that semiosis accounts for agents (singulars that act through potential, ontological freedom), their relations, and the expressions of those agents in and through relations.  Stated differently, an environmental aesthetic, one that is truly ecological, must account for the information produced by agents, their relations, and their various conjunctive and disjunctive syntheses that make for a natural semiotic.  This semiotic exists, or better "subsists," within an ecological network, and indeed, in part constitutes it.  Therefore, as much as aesthetics understood traditionally contributes to our understanding of metaphysics in the most general sense, semiotics understood within the realm of an "ecological metaphysics" is an invaluable tool as well.  Knit with aesthetics this ecology produces biosemiotics if "bio" refers to the living sensate empirical world in its most radical and broad sense (Jamesian and Whiteheadian empiricism). Afterall, what *doesn't* self-communicate?

What this boils down to is that relations are irreducible and that an environmental aesthetic, if it is to be thoroughly ecological, must account for relations and the natural semiotic that goes with them.

See these posts from some time back:

Monday, November 11, 2013

Thinking with a Forest's Thoughts (VIDEO)

Eduardo Kohn discussing his How Forests Think (amazon link HERE).

Phenomenology of Vegetal Life (VIDEO & MP3 AUDIO)

Michael Marder, "Phenomenology of Vegetal Life." See also Plant-Thinking: A Philosophy of Vegetal Life of Vegetal Life on amazon HERE.

Marder interviewed on The Philosopher's Zone HERE.

Friday, November 8, 2013

How Schleiermacher Defends Religion (MP3 AUDIO)

There is a new podcast that I've grown to like called The Partially Examined Life.  The episodes on Heidegger and Quine are quite good, but THIS episode in particular is one that I've listened to twice because it was so informative - especially in explaining Schleiermacher's response to anyone who asks critically why the title of "God" is needed (at all) if one's God looks nothing like the "traditional" God of the philosophers.

It's worth noting that I've been looking into whether orthodox titles are warranted for God - rather, than say, the Absolute - due to some interesting research that I've come across while doing some readings for our Hegel's Logic reading group.  One book (and series) that I should recommend is The Making of Modern Theology series.

In that series there is a volume on Schleiermacher - the father of liberal Protestant theology - as well as on Hegel.  The Hegel volume is something that I am reading now, and it is excellent.  See G.W.F. Hegel: Theologian of the Spirit, HERE.

There is also THIS podcast from The Philosophers Zone on Hegel and Hegel's God.

Monday, November 4, 2013

we need to talk about Hegel (MP3 AUDIO)

Paul Redding speaks out about Hegel's contemporary importance for politics, ethics, and religion HERE.

The interview, conducted by the Australian radio program The Philosopher's Zone, was prompted by the recent controversy surrounding Redding's ARC funded research project. (See HERE for more info about that.)

Thursday, October 31, 2013

What Jaron Lanier Thinks of Technology Now : The New Yorker

Lanier on technology & social-media. One great idea was how he (correctly, I believe) stated that social networking sites are more often driven by hate and fear, rather than by love.

And remember Jong's quote: "Gossip is the opiate..."

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Aesthetic Appreciation of Natural Disasters

Reblogging this from NewApps and Aesthetics for Birds (where it first appeared).  Please visit their sites.  (As a side note, I also found this post by Mohan Matthen - on beauty and evolution - informative, but also conversant with the reblogged post below.

The Aesthetic Appreciation of Natural Disasters

[this post originally appeared in Aesthetics for Birds as a guest post] Hayao Miyazaki's animation movie Ponyo features a tsunami. The tsunami is shown in its full threatening and destructive power, yet is rendered with a great aesthetic sensibility. On several occasions, Miyazaki expressed his aesthetic delight in natural disasters, and defended it as follows:
There are many typhoons and earthquakes in Japan. There is no point in portraying these natural disasters as evil events. They are one of the givens in the world in which we live. I am always moved when I visit Venice to see that in this city which is sinking into the sea, people carry on living regardless. It is one of the givens of their life. In the same way people in Japan have a different perception of natural disasters.
Miyazaki is not the only artist to find inspiration in natural disasters. William Turner depicted with gusto a hapless steamboat, struggling in a snowstorm. That we find aesthetic delight in natural disasters is puzzling. Why do we sometimes delight in natural disasters? And is it morally appropriate to do so? These questions have not often been addressed because both aesthetics and psychology have tended to focus on positive and pleasurable aesthetic properties of nature, such as the delicacy of a flower, the slow twirling of autumn leaves, the majesty of a waterfall. But we are not only be moved by nature (as Noël Carroll describes our intuitive and visceral response to nature) in its delicate, pretty form, but also in its destructive form.

Turner Ponyo

There is a wealth of research indicating that humans prefer natural, green environments (e.g., farmland, forest, oceanside) to built, urbanized surroundings. In his recent book, The Artful Species, Stephen Davies points out that evolutionary approaches to landscape aesthetics tend to equate desirability with beauty: the hidden assumption is that we take aesthetic delight in environments that are attractive to live in. Evolutionary aestheticians have launched the “savanna hypothesis”, which stipulates that a large part of human evolution took place in savannah-like landscapes with plenty of access to water and food sources (such as fruit-bearing trees). This sort of environment, unsurprisingly, pops up as the image of paradise across cultures (the garden of Eden in Christianity and Judaism and Jannah in Islam for example). This is exactly the sort of environment that is popular in landscape and park design, such as the grounds of Blenheim Palace where I regularly walk.

But this evolutionary story is inadequate. The fate of the work of the garden architect of Blenheim, Capability Brown illustrates this well: shortly after his death, his works became depreciated as smooth and bland by a public that had become more excited by wilderness rather than meticulously kept Italian gardens, stark snowy mountains rather than gently sloping hills, a stormy sea rather than a calm lake. Davies suggests that the great adaptability of humans to their environments could be key: people can feel at home in a wide range of environments, often molding them to their own needs, such as the arid wastes of northern Australia or polder landscaping. 

However, that still does not explain why we can be fascinated, and sometimes even aesthetically moved, by things that are definitely not conducive to human flourishing, such as volcanic eruptions, tornadoes or tsunamis. Such ambivalent aesthetic experiences of nature in its forbidding forms are encapsulated in Kant's concept of the sublime. According to Kant, volcanoes and tornadoes provide both aesthetic pleasure and displeasure. We feel pleasure because of our superiority of reason over nature (this is why we only appreciate the sublime when we have some safe distance from the natural disaster at hand), yet also displeasure, an awareness that we are physically powerless in the face of such events. We oscillate between these feelings of attraction and repulsion. How can we make sense of the sublime within contemporary cognitive psychology? The feeling of repulsion could be explained by an evolved aversion to events that are potentially dangerous. But how to account for the feeling of attraction? Awe, an emotion that is still in need of further study, may be a good candidate for this. 

The prototype model of awe by Keltner and Haidt suggests that awe - the emotion most commonly associated with the sublime - is elicited by stimuli that are vast and that prompt a need for psychological accommodation. Keltner and Haidt see awe as an adaptive emotion that arose in our primate ancestry, in particular, in the need for lower-status individuals to recognize the status of higher-status individuals within the group: by feeling awe for an alpha individual, one would desist in fruitlessly trying to challenge his or her authority, which would have been adaptive. Keltner and Haidt propose that the primordial form of awe is the emotions a low status individual feels towards a powerful one. This model does not explain why awe is felt in situations other than the social domain, such as when we are confronted with natural disasters. We do not feel social emotions like shame or guilt in the presence of landscapes, whereas a site like the Grand Canyon elicits awe - indeed natural landscapes are more frequent elicitors of awe than other humans according to self-reports. Keltner and Haidt's explanation for this is that the features of powerful others that elicit awe, such as high rank, dominance or fame can be transposed in landscape terms, such as physical vastness. To me, this is quite a stretch (for instance, they think vastness can not only be social or physical, but also conceptual, as when we are in awe of the scope and power of a mathematical formula, or a scientific idea).

A complicating factor in the psychological study of awe is that its negative valence has disappeared in the shifting semantics of the term. Awe used to be an ambivalent term, for instance, awe and fear are synonymous in the Hebrew Bible, as still clear in terms like a 'God-fearing person'. When Haidt asked his students whether they felt awe at the 9/11 attacks, they were reluctant to do so. “I think our current use of the word awe has been bleached into a positive emotion, so people in my emotion class were reluctant to say they felt awe on 9/11” (Haidt, quoted in Sundararajan). So we have a concept that is disappearing in everyday discourse, even though the emotion associated with it still occurs. We are sometimes aesthetically moved (awed) by natural disaster, and from a psychological perspective, it is currently unclear why this is the case. Moving into the normative domain, Yuriko Saito argues that such feelings should be resisted: it is not morally appropriate to appreciate the sublimity of a tsunami, volcanic eruption or tornado, given the pain and suffering it provokes. Clearly, natural disasters were not produced with artistic intent. Nevertheless, according to Saito, “our human-oriented moral sentiments do dictate that we do not derive pleasure (including aesthetic pleasure) from other humans’ misery, even if it is caused by nature taking its course”.

There are theological parallels. In the Hebrew Bible, Elihu, one of Job’s friends cites his aesthetic appraisal of storms and floods as marks of God's divine majesty; ironically, the very same things that destroyed Job's house and killed his children. One cannot help but feel how insensitive and morally objectionable Elihu is when he says this. When discussing the question, Bruce Janz (UCF) remarked that such aesthetic delight would “certainly be morally risky, in the same sense that humor based on things like race or religion can be morally risky.” What does it say about someone who finds, say, sexist jokes funny, whereas others find them demeaning? “Did those others find them not funny at all, or did their moral sense override their sense of humor?” Similarly, what does aesthetically appreciating natural disasters say about that person? Does it indicate a decreased sensitivity for the suffering associated with these disasters? This may explain the moral risk involved in the aesthetic delight in natural disasters. Perhaps this would still allow for such aesthetic appreciation under some conditions, for example, when one is in a situation where the safe distance is smaller or gone, as when one lives in an environment where one could be affected by it.

Monday, October 28, 2013

quote of the day

"The idea that only substances can produce changes goes back to Aristotle. In Plato and the pre-Socratics however, the causal efficacy of principles is recognized (e.g. the love and strife of Empedocles)."

"There is no discernible reason why an existential fact cannot be grounded in nonexistential ones, why substantial things cannot be explained on the basis of some nonsubstantival circumstance or principle...Modern science teaches living organisms from complexes of inorganic molecules. If such a principle fails as regards matter and life, need it hold for substance?"

- Nicholas Rescher, A System of Pragmatic Idealism (Vol. 3: Metaphilosophical Inquiries)

Sunday, October 27, 2013

can Whitehead be a Christian philosopher? on the monarchical social organization of actual occasions

Hartshorne's ethical treatment of Leibnizian monads in Whiteheadian vein - that is, as societies of occasions guided by a dominant monarchical monad, is something that I look favorably upon due to my metaphysical commitment to panpsychism and panentheism.  For more information on that, see the section "Social Process," HERE.

The fact that it may be possible for a dominant occasion (dominant in its ontological integrity and positive aesthetic, moral, and political value) to guide or lure all other becoming occasions, monads, etc. etc. - looked at within the domain of theology - may thus place Whitehead, if his ontology be universalized sufficiently enough, within the domain of Christian or dare even I say "Catholic," i.e. "universal," metaphysics. See HERE

How the diversity of these occasions, or ever-becoming qualitative forms of life, is organized under a singular vital function or principle, thus constituting not only an ecological metaphysic but an ecotheological metaphysics, is HERE.

process-relational philosophy and value experience

Steven Shaviro has two posts HERE and HERE covering among other topics processes of individuation (Simondon) and the basic nature of value experience (Whitehead).  These two posts have prompted me to go and dig through my own posts/thoughts on the subject and repost them below, as I apparently have covered alot of similar themes and thought readers might benefit from taking a look.  But first just a thought of introduction.

A basic truth spoken by Whitehead and Hartshorne is that the value character of experience is determined by various intensities which, relating to each other, form the basic aesthetic contrasts of experience.  The crucial question does not concern the relations between or among the intensities of experience (although this is an interesting question), but rather how these intensities communicate singular expressions of perspective and thus may be taken as self-determining becoming-subjects in their own right.  In other words, how do singular "firsts" come to be?  In the generation of "firsts" (dynamic singular agents) the value character of experience becomes ethical and political when "seconds" and "thirds" are added - although as a "first" any agent is always already primitively aesthetic - felt as some positive character of experience.

Or to put it another way, from Firsts (aesthetic quality) we get Seconds (reaction, clashes) and Thirds (generalities, law) together in a categorial scheme.  Peirce saw this quite clearly, as did Whitehead.
  1. Hartshorne on internal and external relations 
  2. In defense of relations (again)
  3. Whitehead's concept of importance and James' "On a Certain Blindness in Human Beings" 
  4. Hartshorne, Leibniz, panpsychism 
  5. Whitehead's God and powers: a response to "subjectalism" 
  6. Shaviro on aesthetics and forms of life 
  7. What is Nature? 
  8. The upholding and sharing of value intensity 
  9. Do animals grieve?

"The correction of defects in traditional versions of Idealism."
From Charles Hartshorne, The Zero Fallacy.

MV: One perhaps puzzling aspect of your philosophy is your “ideal­ism.” For you, objects do not depend on our particular experiences of them; rather, you believe in the asymmetrical dependence of subjects on their objects. Thus, epistemologically speaking, you are not an idealist but a real­ist. However, you contend that “Epistemological realism is entirely compati­ble with metaphysical idealism.” What, exactly, does your “metaphysical idealism” entail, and is “idealistic” indeed an appropriate label for your type of metaphysics? 

H: I deal with this especially in “The Synthesis of Idealism and Real­ism,” Theoria 15 (1949); also in “What was True in Idealism,” Philos 43 (1946). The key is fourfold: (1) subject-object relations are subject-subject relations so far as objects are active singulars and concrete, otherwise the objects are abstractions from or collections of such subjects; (2) actual objects are temporally prior to and hence independent of subjects to which they are given; (3) subjects (Leibniz) are enormously varied and in the vast majority of kinds more or less radically different from human persons, vary­ing from feelings of electrons, say, at the lower end of the hierarchy, to God at the upper end; (4) fully concrete and particular subjects are not persons and the like, but single experiences (Whitehead’s actual entities). My psychical­ism and Whitehead’s “reformed subjectivism” are virtually the same, so far as I can see. The subject-object relation is prehension. No one else ever clearly had this idea previously. Tibetan Buddhism seems to have come fairly close, Berkeley and Hegel not at all. 

interesting Stengers and Whitehead article + some thoughts on society or social vs. nature and individual

Interesting article on Whitehead and Stengers titled "Realities to be-come: on Cosmopolitics," HERE.  The article brings up the distinction between social and non-social, between a society of occasions and thinking that transcends modal dichotomies in favor of plurimodal actualities.  For example, a thinking beyond nature and culture (Descola, Stengers) but one, also, that embraces the reality of singular actualities that are "individuals" that ever be-come.

I have been reading alot lately about the social nature of actual occasions, the social nature of the individuating process, with hopes of discovering within it a more subjective, personal, and "private" process of self-articulation and process of individuation.  On this road, the metaphysics of individuation, I've traveled along with the likes of Tarde, Simondon, Deleuze, Ruyer, Stengers, Latour, Leibniz, and Whitehead.  I've even immersed myself within Weiss's Privacy and You, I, and the Others (that's an obscure reference, but an avenue that has taught me much)Ecologically speaking, I am now interested in the value of individuals and societies.

How is it that I've made my way through these philosophers in just a few months?

The secret to reading alot is to read whenever you can.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Unlike Us #3 - Social Media: Design or Decline

Unlike Us #3 - Bernard Stiegler: Social Networking As a Stage of Grammatization and the New Political Question from network cultures on Vimeo.

Unlike Us #3 - Social Media: Design or Decline

Session 1: Theory and Critique of ‘Social’

Bernard Stiegler (FR) Social Networking As a Stage of Grammatization and the New Political Question

Conference Day #1 (22 March 2013)

Social networking and engineering are dimensions of the digital stage of a process of grammatization that began thirty thousand years ago. With the advent of digitization, psychic and collective memory as well as social relations have all become objects of exchange value. What this means is that, given digital technologies are organs of publishing, that is, of the production of public space and time, digitization is a process of privatization of the public thing – of the res publica. Privatization here means: commodification. In short, what is occurring is the destruction of the psychic and collective process of individuation that began with the Greek polis. Furthermore, the domination by those giants that are Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon is possible above all because very little genuine work is being done on the stakes of digitization by either the academic sphere or the political sphere.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Platonic forms and process-relational philosophy

Can Plato contribute anything to process-relational philosophy, or is Platonism process-relational philosophy's opposite?

How might we draw upon notable process philosophers of the twentieth century (Whitehead or Deleuze, for example) in order to ask whether there is room for Platonic Forms in a process-relational ontology, whether in the shape of eternal objects or virtualities? 

These questions and others are entertained in a book which considers Plato's relationship to process philosophy, as well as to the philosophy of religion, HERE.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Philosopher Profile: Nicholas Rescher

Nicholas Rescher (b. 1928) is a Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh.  He received his doctorate in philosophy at Princeton University in 1951 and has since served as a President of the American Philosophical Association, the American Catholic Philosophy Association, the American G. W. Leibniz Society, the C. S. Peirce Society, and the Metaphysical Society of America (founded by Paul Weiss).  While Rescher has published over 400 articles and 100 books (on a staggering array of topics), he is most famous for his system of “pragmatic idealism” that combines elements of continental idealism with American pragmatism. He has written widely on logic (in its various forms), epistemology, the philosophy of science, metaphysics, process philosophy, ethics, and political philosophy.

Typically I write my own coverage of a philosopher in "philosopher profile" posts, however as I am still learning Rescher I defer by linking to two web addresses.

First, the IEP entry on Rescher absolutely fantastic (link HERE).  Given the sheer breadth of Rescher's corpus I was abit overwhelmed in trying to find a summary of his work online.  But the IEP entry, from what I can tell, is an excellent summary which seems to lose very little.  To get a very good overview of what Rescher's work is about this is a "must read."

Second, THIS interview is very good and provides the flavor of Rescher's main interests, background, and future plans.  (Published in Kinesis (where I published my interview with Robert S. Corrington.)

Peirce on Epicurus and Lucretius

I am teaching Epicureanism in my ethics class (and then moving on to Stoicism).

Therefore I thought that this was fitting.  Link HERE.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

more on Latour and religion

Terry Blake from Agent Swarm HERE and Chris Watkin HERE.  Some interesting reflections on how Latour sees commonalities between religious discourse and lover's discourse.  The point is that we must remain sensitive to "melody" and "rhythm" (or better perhaps "dissonance" and "consonance") when it comes to religious speech, and do so in a way that does not "literally" oblige one to the content of religious speech.

Watkin takes Latour to task with the "literally" part.  Is Latour "demythologizing" religion, a Derridean "religion without religion," pace Caputo (or even Santayana for that matter)?  Yes, Latour is calling for a "renewing repetition" of the rhythm and melody of religious speech, its transformative power of information, but for him, given the call for sensitivity to rhythm and melody, this information is not specifically Christian in content.  Why?

This leads Latour to an "awkward" position as both Blake and Watkin point out, although for different reasons it seems.

Again, I'll provide some of my initial thoughts - and they are roughly the same today as when I posted them some months back - HERE.

Bruno Latour, Talking “Religiously”, part 1 (MP3 AUDIO)

Link HERE.  My thoughts HERE.

Adrian Johnston interview (with some of my thoughts linked)

A very good interview making the rounds, link HERE.  The interview is care of Peter Gratton (of Memorial U Newfoundland) who conducted the interview.

Peter is a great personality to work with.  He is editing The Meillasssoux Dictionary (EUP, forthcoming) and I am glad to be a part of that, having contributed some entries on Meillassoux and the divine inexistence and related etc. etc.  Be sure to check out his blog Philosophy in a Time of Error - it's been around for awhile, is established, and has some great content.  Anyway, I'm thankful he posted the interview; a great read.

Adrian Johnston is an interesting guy as well - and he gave some fantastic responses to Peter's questions.  I've written to Adrian once, asking about his trilogy through Northwestern UP (it was listed as "available" on amazon, but was not available, at the time).

My interest in Adrian's work stems from some provocative comments he has made while giving talks on panels with Ray Brassier in particular, and of course there are one or two items in Peter's interview that I'd like to address.  I have as of yet to "officially" speak to Adrian's work via publication, but I've made my thoughts known HERE, HERE, and HERE.

I've been told on more than one occassion that mutual interests (naturalism, German idealism, Hegel, materialism, realism, etc.) but wildly different conclusions may make for a good debate between us.  The same has been said concerning Ray Brassier.

We'll see, hopefully one day. 

For now, these videos featuring Johnston and Brassier are worth rewatching if you haven't already seen them.  See HERE and HERE.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Louis Morelle: French "scene report" nature philosophy and metaphysics

I've been corresponding with Louis Morelle this past week, with curious questions concerning the state of metaphysics in France - particularly nature philosophy and metaphysics, the "nature ontologists."  Louis has agreed for me to publish a portion of our correspondence.  Perhaps this week at some point I can post thoughts/comments.  Below is what Louis reports.

- Pierre Montebello, who works on what he calls "l'autre métaphysique", by which he means Tarde, Ravaisson, Nietzsche, and Bergson, and is very much one important figures in trying to think a metaphysics of nature
- Frédéric Worms, who I mentioned in my first email, is a specialist of Bergson and contemporary (i.e. XXth century) French philosophy more generally, and an important number of PhD students under him are working around Bergson and therefore sometimes on issues related to nature
- Meillassoux is obviously instrumental to bringing contemporary metaphysics into view in the last decade
- Olivier Surel, who works on Nature and social ontology, is one of the few young people who writes on matters I feel affinity with, and who deals with Speculative Realism beside Meillassoux and Badiou
- The Simondonians have a journal, Cahiers Simondon ; besides Barthelemy (who has written a book on Simondon and nature philosophy), there are Baptiste Morizot Anne Sauvagnargues, and Anne Lefebvre ; they held a colloquium this summer at Cerisy :
- Around Didier Debaise and Isabelle Stengers, other Belgian names that regularly turn up are Michel Weber and Vinciane Desprets. They also held a Cerisy colloquium this year : It is noteworthy, I think, that the center of gravity for francophone Whitehead studies is actually outside France
- The CIEPFC  is one of the major places, in Paris, where activity on such matters takes place ; their members list ( ) points to quite a few interesting names, such as Camille Riquier or Ioulia Podoroga, and Patrice Maniglier ; I wrote you a few months back about the collection at PUF, MétaphysiqueS,, which published Souriau, Garcia, and Viveiros de Castro
- A noteworthy book was published in 2011, an anthology on the "Philosophie des possessions", by Debaise, Latour, Stengers, and others :
- People working on or around Schelling, like Alexander Schnell, Miklos Vetö, Xavier Tilliette or Emmanuel Cattin, or Jean-Christope Lemaître are interesting. Schnell has recently written a book trying to alter phenomenology in order to make it speculative, En voie de réel, which looks like a must-read : ; he wrote what looks like a summary of it in english :
- Descola, Latour, de Castro and others, had a Cerisy colloquium (again !) this year, which I attended, and which was a wonderful moment of intellectual life at its best : ; there I heard, among other things, about Eduardo Kohn's book on Forest-thinking, which references Peirce's theory of signs in trying to apply it to nature. He's American, so not a part of this report, but I think you might like his book !
- Mathias Girel works on James, Peirce, and pragmatism, has read some of Corrington's writing (on nature), and is very fluent in American philosophy in general. His site :
- Klesis , an important philosophy journal, published an issue on philosophies of nature this year :

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Accelerationism – A Symposium on Tendencies in Capitalism

Link HERE.

ACCELERATIONISM – A Symposium on Tendencies in Capitalism
14 December 2013, Alexanderplatz  /

Contemporary capitalism is an object of high abstraction. The symposium is an invitation to discuss and disclose the anonymous and inner tendencies of capitalism, to study its monetary, algorithmic and energetic viscera. How can one grasp the living drives of financial markets and technological innovation? And more importantly: who really produces and controls those drives and how could any alternative political subject emerge without such a complex knowledge?

The recent debate on accelerationism and the philosophical scene of Speculative Realism just reminded of an old question posed by Deleuze and Guattari: Which is the real revolutionary path? To withdraw from the world market or, on the opposite, to go further and “accelerate the process”, as Nietzsche already suggested long before the current Stillstand? For example today Germany finds itself in the eye of the storm: a mild social democracy at the center of Europe watching neoliberalism freely devastating the rest of the world.

There are multiple strategies of how to cross a stormy passage. In Ballard’s first and prophetic novel The Drowned World (1962), an imbalance in solar radiation causes the polar ice caps to melt and global temperatures to rise, leaving cities submerged by tropical lagoons where flora and fauna restart their evolution. Human population migrates towards the polar circles. Rather than being disturbed, the protagonist is enraptured by the new nature that is replacing the old world and decides to move south towards the sun. 

Though encaged within cognitive capitalism, we call for an epistemic acceleration. The symposium convenes to refresh the cartography of the keywords employed in the last centuries to describe economy and the political response to it: development, progress, growth, accumulation, peak, degrowth, revolution, speculation, entropy, singularity, sustainability and so on. Today it is time to anticipate and accelerate, for sure, time for anastrophism and not catastrophism.

metaxology: thinking from within the "in-between"

This came up during our "Metaphysics of Individuation" reading group this past summer.  A student from the group recently emailed me these two links to post, for those interested.  We had looked at some of these issues in Stengers, Latour, Whitehead, Tarde, Simondon, Deleuze, Leibniz, and the other usual suspects.

Didier Debaise, "What is Relational Thinking?" from Inflexions (no. 5, 2012) and Didier Debaise, "A Philosophy of Interstices: Thinking Subjects and Societies from Whitehead's Philosophy" from Subjectivity (no. 6, 2013).  The latter article's abstract is worth posting below.  I see resonance with metaxological ontology, e.g. William Desmond, Robert Corrington, Robert Neville, i.e. the American process ontologists. The space or interstice, the space of the "in-between," usually thought of as something empty or secondary with no importance to the identity of things, actually can itself through a negative activity be involved in the process of how "selves" come to be, especially within environments where this "in-between" is said to be absent or "not."  Rather, as Debaise points, it is quite the opposite:
The notion of interstice appears in philosophy as something empty, an in-between, with no importance in the constitution of things. I argue, on the contrary, that the concept can be retaken in a new interpretation of living subjects as a main category to interpret the spatial and temporal dimensions of a subject.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Technobiophilia: Can we get all the nature we need from the digital world? [updated, again]

Link to a fantastic Aeon article, HERE.  It discusses whether nature digitally experienced - that is, digital or virtual environments - can supplant experience of "traditional" nature, that is, "nature" understood as the physical world and the living things in it.

A major premise of the article is that there is nothing "unnatural" (of course).  Thus computer viruses are just as "natural" as biological viruses.  But one might ask whether connections to the natural world (natural in the tradition sense, ie. organic, biological) are indeed vital to our experiences of the digital and electronic world.  In other words, how does one world "stretch" into the other, and vice versa.

With respect to this "stretch," one may say for example that there is a "culture" of bees as much as there is a an "online culture."  How is a "beyond" of each's specific reality status, that is, beyond nature and culture, beyond experience and nature, constituted?  The "beyond" of nature and culture, of nature and experience, to my mind, begins in the refusal to pose each against the other or taking each in strict distinction to the other.  The "natural" understood in its most generic sense is simply whatever is in and of the world.  This is the meaning of a capacious and judicious naturalism.

There is no category more generic than "nature" if nature means "whatever is, in whatever way it is."

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Caputo's 'Insistence of God' now available

Amazon link HERE.  I'm previewing the book in google books.  Lots of Latour, Meillassoux, Brassier. Caputo is definitely moving on and engaging some very contemporary ideas with his A-game.

Looks to be a great read.

Friday, September 27, 2013

interview with William Desmond

Was perusing the contents of a new open-access journal, Radical Orthodoxy.  I found it by running into an interview with William Desmond by Christopher Ben Simpson (see link HERE).

I wouldn't link Desmond necessarily with RO (Milbank, Ward, Cunningham, and friends) although I could see where a conversation might take place in terms of Desmond utilizing a "return to sources" type approach in order to break new ground (however his sources are not, say, biblical or even philosophically Aquinas and Augustine, as they are in RO.  He works more closely with Hegel, Nietzsche, Plato).

The movement "radical theology" - something entirely different from RO in spirit - is perhaps a more true conversation partner, but I understand that the title of "radical theology" has been challenged in any meaning or potential meaning by two blogs that I read from time to time, each having their own perspective on the issue.

Regardless, the interview is first rate and definitely worth a read.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Brian Massumi interviewed and a talk from the 21st century Nonhuman Turn conference (VIDEO)

HERE.  It's a very good interview and deserves a slow attentive read.  I am somewhat new to Brian's work but have heard great things about him.

I enjoyed his talk from the "Nonhuman Turn" conference in Milwaukee, from May of 2012, so I'll copy that below.

Interview with Professor Robert Corrington 09/28 by Radio for the Thinking Person | Psychology Podcasts

This Saturday 5pm EST.

new Meillassoux book

Expanded upon from the Berlin lectures (HERE).  Link to the forthcoming book HERE, in German.  The "Iteration" paper is just shy of 40 pages, so I imagine the book may be anywhere between 75-100+, but that is just a guess based upon where the paper seemed to be going.

My German is fairly good, my French fairly poor - so, I have a good shot of translating some passages of the expanded edition and putting them here on my blog if anyone is interested.

HT atheology blog who posted about this yesterday I believe.  I've tagged this post "Meillassoux" but also "Peirce" due to the Berlin lecture's focus near the end on semiotics.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

some *more* reflections on lines of future research

In environmental philosophy I've been reading:

Ecologies of the Moving Image, Adrian Ivakhiv.  400+ pages, this will take me awhile.  Ecophilosophy in the tradition of Peirce, Whitehead, Deleuze, Bergson, James.

Dark Green Religion, Bron Taylor.  This is more of a popular philosophical book, but there's enough there that it can be used as a stepping stone to bigger things.  It is comparable to Griffin's Reenchantment without Supernaturalism, which is an entertaining but informative introduction to process thought and the question of God. This book serves the same purpose as an introduction to environmental thought and the question of God.  Pretty big read, so, this too will take me awhile.

I've been chipping away at the above and probably will do so until I'm done with them in the next month or two.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Richard Dien Winfield: Lecture Course in Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit

HT Perverse Egalitarianism blog.  Richard Dien Winfield Hegel lectures on the Logic and Phenomenology of Spirit.  I knew about the lectures being recorded (I haven't listened to them yet) but was unaware that there are corresponding texts by Winfield available on amazon.

Link HERE.

Monday, September 23, 2013

"Phenomenology Never Goes Out of Date" (3AM interview)

Interview "Phenomenology Never Goes Out of Date," with Susanna Siegel (Harvard) at 3:AM.

Link HERE.

blogging and ecology

Why haven't ecology blogs bloomed?  Great article in Discover magazine, HERE.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Latour on Stengers' Whitehead

A review (in English) of Stenger's Thinking with Whitehead (Harvard, 2011) published in the journal In Boundary.  The review is of the original 2005 French edition.

To my mind the review aides in establishing why process-relational thought is far from "yesterday's rallying cry." Judging by the literature, process thought, Whitehead and company, are more relevant now than perhaps ever.

I really don't think you can claim to have fully thought through a systematic pluralist ontology without having wrestled with Whitehead. 

Link HERE.

CFP Under Western Skies: Intersections of Environments, Technologies, and Communities

HT Adrian Ivakhiv of Immanence blog for alerting me to the upcoming "Under Western Skies" Conference in Calgary, Alberta, Canada (I am still making my way through Adrian's massive Ecologies of the Moving Image, which is - to no surprise - a great book).  The topic is Intersections of Environments, Technologies, and Communities.  Official call page is HERE, but I'll copy below.

Adrian is speaking, as is Bron Taylor (who has produced a very interesting body of work, see my previous post HERE - he also edits the Journal for the Study of Nature, Culture, and Religion...see the upcoming issue covering ecstatic naturalism due out soon), as is Bruno Latour, among others.

I'm not sure if I'll be putting in for this or not, but the deadline for submissions is January 10, 2014.

Intersections of Environments, Technologies, and Communities
Call for Proposals and Panels

September 9 – 13, 2014                                         
Mount Royal University
Calgary, AB CANADA    

Under Western Skies is a biennial, interdisciplinary conference on the environment. The third conference welcomes academics from across the disciplines as well as members of artistic and activist communities, non- and for-profit organizations, government, labour, and NGOs to address collectively the environmental challenges faced by human and nonhuman actors.

The conference is held on the Mount Royal University campus (Calgary, Alberta, CANADA) in the LEED Gold-certified Roderick Mah Centre for Continuous Learning.

Keynote speakers for the 2014 conference include:
•Timothy Ingold (
•Adrian Ivakhiv (
•Bruno Latour (
•Patty Limerick (
•Bron Taylor (

The theme of UWS 2014 is Environments, Technologies, and Communities.

This is a call for contributions from all environmental fields of inquiry and endeavor, including the humanities, natural and social sciences, public policy, business, and law.  Artistic, creative, and non-academic proposals are also welcome.  Possible directions may include, but are not limited to

agriculture, food, and food security
alpine and glacial change
animal rights and commodification
architecture and design
borders and transnational issues
climate shock
collaboration between scientific and non-scientific communities
continental “perimeter security”
community health
determinants of health
direct action and activism
ecology economics
ecosystem services
environmental catastrophe and community
environmental colonialism
environmental devastation as neo-colonialism
environmental economies
environmental humanities
environmental racism and justice
environmental technologies
feedlots and runoff
fisheries and oceans
forests and forestry
Global Great Lakes
historical perspectives
human and nonhuman migration
indigenous environmental kinship
indigenous land, air, and water rights
indigenous worldviews and sovereignties
interdisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity
invasive species
the Keystone and XL Pipelines and continental integration
law and public policy
prose and poetry
marine ecosystems
nanotechnology and the environment
national and regional Parks
new continental weather patterns
nuclear culture and power after Fukushima
oil culture
oil/tar sands
politics of meat
restoration, reclamation, reparation
resurrection of species
the rights of nature
seeds and seed patents
senses of place
technology as social construction
tourism and amenity migration
urban wilding and wilderness
water rights, watersheds, and water ecosystems
weather patterns
wildlife and animality
women’s, gender and/or sexuality studies
youth, education, and activism

A selection of papers will go forward for an edited book publication following UWS 2014. The collection of edited papers stemming from UWS 2010 is forthcoming from Wilfrid Laurier University Press as a part of its Environmental Humanities Series (

UWS 2014 conference proposals/abstracts should run no more than 250 words in length and be attached to an email as a .doc or .docx file. Proposals for papers, readings, panels, screenings, displays, and workshops are welcome.

Direct all proposals, together with brief bio and contact information, to Liam Haggarty:

Closing Date:   January 10, 2014

Saturday, September 21, 2013


HT Pete Wolfendale Deontologistics blog. Alberto Toscano on Prometheanism HERE from Stir magazine.

Me, fascinated by the topic (and some closely related other themes), HERE, HERE, and HERE.

[Update: I should mention that online friend Ben Woodard of Naught Thought blog has for awhile had a post up on Prometheanism, HERE.  I await the second part of that.]

Friday, September 20, 2013

life at the edge of extinction

Thanks to Deborah Rose from Life at the Edge of Extinction blog for the short note about Hans Jonas.  It alerted me to her very interesting blog which you should check out.  Deborah's work focuses on, among other topics, the intertwining of social and ecological justice and extinction studies.

Always good to make a new acquaintance.

Link to her blog HERE.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Elie During on Floating Time (VIDEO)

Elie During (University of Paris 10 Nanterre) has written extensively on metaphysics, Bergson, Whitehead, French theory in America, scientific epistemology - to name justa few topics - and he is a series editor along with Quentin Meillassoux of PUF's 'MetaphysiqueS' series. This talk, delivered at the European Graduate School, discusses "floating time" as coexistence, Bergson, community, Deleuze, Serres, and the metaphysics of the twin paradox.

Friday, September 13, 2013

"Chaos or Relationalism?" in Trumpeter: Journal of Ecosophy

Very good article on pragmatism's relationship to the metaphysics of surcontingency, taking up the issue of relational versus essentialist philosophies in the context of ecology.  Link HERE.

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.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

speculative research project called "a waste"

Paul Redding (Sydney) and his ARC funded research project, "The God of Hegel's post Kantian Idealism" (HERE), has been called "wasteful" and "ridiculous," being targeted and ridiculed by the Australian political "Liberal Party" (Austrialia's conservative party).

Australia's Coalition (presumably of the Liberal Party) would like to audit and call under review funds directed to Redding's speculative philosophical project, whose research covers among other topics, Hegel and the philosophy of religion.

University of Sydney's Vice-Chancellor has called the move "distressful."

Link to the article HERE.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Monday, August 12, 2013

introduction to mathematical philosophy

I've opted to try Coursera's new class "Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy" at the urging of my good friend Keith Brian Johnson.  Keith is a world class mathematician (and philosopher), and we've been good friends since graduate school.  I've always thought that logic and mathematics were the "backbone" of any good metaphysics, so it is natural that I try a course like this.  In our reading groups for this fall I've placed this online course to go alongside our reading of Hegel's Logic.

As an aside, I've been doing "reading groups" for about five years now, possibly more if I were to sit down and count.  They usually consist of meetings with my graduate students, online reading groups, "personal" directed readings, or any focused reading that happens to be going on locally or online where I'd be dedicating my efforts to that subject or text for at least a semester.  It's a good way to keep interests focused.  Anything I work on is organized by semester - which of course can change - but I've found it's a good way to organize what things I'll be working through.

Working in a semester to semester "course-like" fashion has several benefits.  First, I am not bouncing around too much according to sheer fancy.  Fancy is good, it is what helps energize research, but you don't want to bounce around so much that nothing results from that initial fancy.  But second, and less thought of, is that it helps me refrain from dwelling too long on a topic, figure, or area where I would get mired down and never move forward, rehashing the same tired debates, figures, and moments.  Those things can get reviewed when the time is right - but you don't want to dwell for so long that you aren't open to new things that come your way.  Thus, if I approach my research in a directed manner, as if I were proceeding through a course, I tend to stay with that topic, digest its literature, incorporate it into my repertoire (or review the topic/figure as a mainstay of my repertoire), and move on.  This all within the general "framework" of my specializations and general interests.  All in all, I've found that this approach keeps me fresh and producing relevant and timely pieces.  It also helps me keep my finger "on the pulse" of what's going on out there, keeping current and up to date.

For example, for the past year I focused on aesthetics; simultaneously I spent about a year with Hegel's metaphysics; this year I am finishing Hegel and moving on to Nietzsche and Laruelle.  I do both topics and figures, usually with an eye for contemporary relevance but also to keep skills fresh and to keep my interests moving forward.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

an exciting edition to the below

Great news.  Received word this morning that Cosmos & History will be publishing an article that I wrote on continental realism and materialism.  I'm told that the article will appear in the next issue which is due out before the end of the year.  Needless to say, I am *very* excited about this.  C&H are among my top choices for open access online journals and probably are my favorite. (Their issue on "What is Life? is probably the best OA effort that I've come across.  All of their issues are good and I always look forward to whatever they publish.)

I'll post the abstract below in hopes to generate some excitement about the forthcoming article and new issue.

"21st Century Speculative Philosophy: 
Reflections on the 'New Metaphysics' and its Realism and Materialism"


Regarding the state of contemporary metaphysics, as it has been said, “There’s something in the air.”   My goal in this essay is to offer some brief reflections on the state of contemporary metaphysics, otherwise called contemporary “speculative” philosophy – the “something in the air” – that has resurfaced within the early part of the 21st century.  In order to clarify the nature of the new metaphysics in question I proceed by isolating geographically and topically two main tendencies of thought which appear to constitute it: namely continental realism and continental materialism.  With respect to the possible ambiguity of “continental realism” or “continental materialism” in the 21st century, a consideration of “speculative realism” seems necessary if only to position my analysis upon a specific conceptual map.  From there I offer thoughts as to how contemporary continental realism and materialism (the “new metaphysics”) may be said to be defined first and foremost by its engagement with a concept identified as “correlationism,” a central feature of the new metaphysics’ rejection of the sort of philosophy that has come before it.