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.

Monday, August 5, 2013

some forthcoming publications

For those interested, I'll list below some things that I've recently finished publication-wise that are due to appear sooner rather than later (I should note that some of these have been a year or longer in wait, but that is typical from what I've experienced in my short writing career thus far).  My first book took nearly two years to appear in print.

I am really doing this just so I myself am clear that I really do have a clean plate at the moment and am ready to gear up and put more things in the publication pipeline.  For the moment though it does feel good to have a clean plate and take a breather.


"Aesthetic Value in Peirce's Theistic Naturalism" in The Peirce Quote Book: Semiotics, Communication, and Cognition (Mouton De Gruyter)

"Speculating God: Meillassoux's Divine Inexistence" in The Future of Continental Philosophy of Religion (Indiana University Press)

"Speculative Naturalism: A Bleak Theology in Light of the Tragic" in Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture

Review of Creative Experiencing: A Philosophy of Freedom by Charles Hartshorne, for American Journal of Theology & Philosophy

"21st Century Speculative Philosophy: Reflections on the New Metaphysics and its Realism and Materialism," in Cosmos and History

A Philosophy of Sacred Nature: Prospects for Ecstatic Naturalism (co-edited with Nam Nguyen) 

Currently under review...

Review of Nature's Sublime: An Essay in Aesthetic Naturalism by Robert S. Corrington

Entries on "The Divine Inexistence" for The Meillassoux Dictionary (Edinburgh University Press)

Just about done...

Animal Experience: Consciousness and Emotions in the Natural World (Open Humanities Press Living Books About Life Series).    This is a co-edited book, we just need to finish writing the Introduction and then it's done.  This has already been accepted for publication, just polishing up at this point.  All material is selected, organized, ready to go, etc. etc.

Conferences, appearances, talks...

"Bleak Theology," for P.E.S.T. - UPenn, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Aug. 21st)

"The Pain of Eternal Becoming," for Schelling Society of North America - UWO, London, Canada (Aug. 31st)

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Ecologies of the Moving Image

A special thanks is in order to Adrian Ivakhiv for sending me a copy of his newest, Ecologies of the Moving Image.  I am excited and certainly grateful to say that I've even made my way into the acknowledgements section of this fantastic looking book (!!!)

For those interested, in a massive 418 pages one finds the major players of the book to be Whitehead, Peirce, Deleuze, Bergson, and Heidegger - all coming from a process-relational "ecophilosophical" perspective.

Very excited to dig into this.  Congrats again to Adrian on this.  What a fine accomplishment.

Friday, August 2, 2013


Is an old name for forest.

(Summer hike: A view from the trail in the Poconos.)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Iain Hamilton Grant "Philosophy and the Natural History of Mind" (VIDEO)

Iain Grant (UWE) talk from the Human Experience and Nature, Royal Institute of Philosophy Conference 2011, UWE, Bristol.

is matter mental? Charles Birch on science and soul

Biologist, ecologist, and theologian Charles Birch discusses Whitehead, process philosophy, ecology, and panpsychism HERE.  (Note: there is also a transcript of the talk, HT dmf.)