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.)