Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Carnal hermeneutics, anatheism, and God after God: a radio interview with Richard Kearney (AUDIO)

Very good interview. Kearney picks up on themes found in Hartshorne's book Omnipotence and Other Theological Mistakes and gives them a Continental twist: another reason I read Kearney (and Caputo ) as being in the process tradition.

Kearney also presents his future work on "carnal hermeneutics" and talks of his fantastic Anatheism book (a must read).


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

How life began and why it can’t rest (Aeon magazine)

Teleology, order, and purpose are to be found even within the non-living mechanical world, so says science. Or to quote the article, "All things restlessly search for rest."

Essentially science has discovered that classical and neo-classical metaphysics (from Aristotle to Hartshorne) were right. That is, in a sense, matter both "living" and "dead" enacts with an ultimate though perhaps unachievable goal in mind. There is, we have discovered, a telos.

What is Insect Media? (Jussi Parikka)

Great article introducing "insect media" by Jussi Parikka, featuring the philosopher and science fiction author Ernst Juenger (among others).

Monday, April 28, 2014

more congrats are in order for Terry Blake (Agent Swarm blog)

Congratulations are in order to Terry Blake for his recent appointment to the faculty of the Global Center for Advanced Studies.

Also, congratulations are in order for the fact that Meillassoux (with a friendly smile) has endorsed some of Terry's translations, citing them as valid and "technically precious."

Congrats, Terry!

Very interesting conference! Reconceiving Naturalism: The Speculative Challenge

This is a reason why I am going to have to get in touch with Watkin (I am hoping to respond soon to his Meillassoux and naturalism paper, as well as respond to Terry Blake's insightful comment on that paper with respect to Kacem's criticism of Meillassoux).  A great looking conference.

If anyone has mp3s of any of these talks I'd be interested.

It's worth noting Gare's talk is titled "A Manifesto for Speculative Naturalism" (see also my talk on "Bleak Metaphysics" where the same title is mentioned), found on my page.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Call for Papers: Philadelphia Summer School in Continental Philosophy - Topic: Continental Philosophy of Religion and the New Metaphysics

Call for Papers: Philadelphia Summer School in Continental Philosophy

Topic: “Continental Philosophy of Religion and the New Metaphysics” (featuring seminars on the work of Quentin Meillassoux, Ray Brassier, Bruno Latour, and Catherine Malabou)

Seminar Leader: John Caputo

When and where:
Saturday, August 9th, 2014; 9am-4:30pm
Campus of Immaculata University
Malvern, Pennsylvania


Topic: Continental Philosophy of Religion and the New Metaphysics

John Caputo will be leading two one hour seminars with catered lunch in between: one seminar on Quentin Meillassoux and Ray Brassier; one seminar on Bruno Latour and Catherine Malabou.  Select attendees will present their research during the morning and afternoon flanking the Caputo seminars.

Attendees are encouraged to purchase The Future of Continental Philosophy of Religion (Indiana University Press, 2014) and The Insistence of God (Indiana University Press, 2014).   A reading list featuring works by Meillassoux, Brassier, Latour, and Malabou will be provided.

Location: Immaculata University, Malvern, Pennsylvania

Organizers: Leon Niemoczynski (Immaculata University) & Stephanie Theodorou (Immaculata University)

Cost: $70.00 faculty; $45.00 student or other (seating is limited, pre-registration required.  Cost includes catered lunch)


Immaculata University is pleased to announce the"Philadelphia Summer School in Continental Philosophy," a one day seminar style “summer school” and workshop that, this year – its first – features John Caputo as its seminar leader.  The event will be organized with two new books as a backdrop: The Insistence of God and The Future of Continental Philosophy of Religion (both Indiana University Press, 2014), although a formal reading list including works by Meillassoux, Brassier, Latour, and Malabou (for the seminars) will be provided.  John Caputo will lead two one hour seminars/classes flanked by morning and afternoon mini-research presentations where researchers present 2000 word abstracts/summaries of their work and engage other participants in query designed to further research goals and enhance the nature of research projects through mutual dialogue. 


The theme of this year's summer school will explore the relationship between the future of Continental philosophy of religion and new schools of thought emerging in contemporary Continental metaphysics, identifying possible routes of exploration as well as areas of influence, cross-over, or challenge.

Topics such as materialist approaches to theology and religion, speculative materialism and non-theology, environmental aesthetics and theology, political theology and ecology, the speculative theologies of German idealism, process-relational philosophy and theology, phenomenology and contemporary French theory and theology/religion, as well as questions of atheism’s relationship to contemporary Continental philosophy of religion will be of central importance for the school. The "new metaphysics" in its most contemporary forms will be a major point of discussion as it bleeds into its Continental philosophical antecedents, especially vis-a-vis thinking about religion, theology, and the Absolute.

Philosophical naturalism (Ray Brassier), the divine inexistence (Quentin Meillassoux), non-philosophy and theology (Francois Laruelle), the Absolute (Iain Hamilton Grant), plasticity (Malabou), or the factish gods (Bruno Latour) are some possible starting points, but one could also see discussion of historical figures as well: whether Bergson, Deleuze, Schelling, Hegel, Kant, Whitehead, Heidegger, or Derrida for example, as participants explore those figures' importance for the future of Continental philosophy of religion and corresponding areas of realism, materialism, and metaphysics.  Those who have an interest in contemporary French philosophy (Badiou, Meillassoux, Kacem, Laruelle, Malabou) should certainly apply.

How to Apply: Those interested should send a summary of a current research project (no more than 2000 words, fit for a 20 minute presentation) to: by May 30th, 2014.  

Those accepted into the summer school will be notified by June 10th, 2014.  

Please attach research statements/summaries as .rtf or MS Word .doc files.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Reza Negarestani and Guerino Mazzola, presented by Glass Bead in NYC

Charles Sanders Peirce, <i>Labyrinth</i>. From Charles Sanders Peirce papers, MS Am 1632 (1537). Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.
Charles Sanders Peirce, Labyrinth. From Charles Sanders Peirce papers, MS Am 1632 (1537). Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.

Reza Negarestani and
Guerino Mazzola, presented
by Glass Bead

Reza Negarestani: “What Philosophy
Does to the Mind”
Tuesday, April 22, 2014, 7–9pm
Guerino Mazzola: “Melting Glass Beads—The Multiverse Game of Strings and Gestures”
Friday, April 25, 2014, 7–9pm
e-flux311 East Broadway
New York, NY 10002
T 212 619 3356

Link HERE.

Friday, April 18, 2014

interview with Adrian Johnston

The following has me perplexed.  Where do Bennett and Connolly "hypothesize the Infinite" and "chant endlessly" about natura naturans?

 When asked about current vital materialists who are claimed to be "monists" (really?), Johnston supplies the names of Jane Bennett and William Connolly, saying that they and other "neo-Spinozicists" are his target.

Who exactly is he referring to? (He was asked to be specific.)  Who specifically are these "neo-Spinozicists"?  Bennett and Connolly?  If so I am not recognizing them in his caricaturization.

Link: HERE.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Global Center for Advanced Studies Seminar "Contemporary Continental Philosophy of Religion" (VIDEO)

Video of the live feed on Google Hangout, seminar with John Caputo and Peter Rollins on "Contemporary Continental Philosophy of Religion" for the Global Center for Advanced Studies.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Massumi on relations and relationalism versus interactionism and the problem of novelty/change (VIDEO)

I've always agreed with this critique: if we try to go with "interactivity" we are at a loss for how there is change and genuine novelty in the universe.  Additionally, it seems that outcomes must in some sense be "certain" if always already formally individuated particulars/agents "interact" on a scale of pre-individuated essential/formal natures rather than relate between partially unspecified natures, whose potential for change is informed by the capacity to mutually participate in an ever-becoming reality.

Things/agents/particulars are defined by participation in such a becoming reality.  If novelty and the potential for change is true, then things are indeed exhausted by their relations (as Massumi points out); that is, things are exhausted by the relation of mutually relating to an unspecified future.  So it is the indeterminacy of the future which "trumps all."  Agentially speaking, however, there is an upside to this indeterminacy: the freedom of things.

An unspecified future means that things - individuals - can be otherwise than what they are, i.e. self-determining.  If this were not true the inner power for things/agents to self-determine would mean nothing.  In this way not only are relation and change ultimacies, but freedom, too, becomes an ultimate metaphysical category.  Here a long-lasting truth of existentialism, construed in the form of modern agentialist metaphysics (Stengers, Latour) but also found in process-relational philosophy (Whitehead, Deleuze), rears its head.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Sunday, April 13, 2014

quote of the day

Reason liberates its own spaces and its own demands, and in the process fundamentally revises not only what we understand as thinking, but also what we recognize as “us.”
- Reza Negarestani

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Philadelphia Summer School in Continental Philosophy

I am very proud to announce that as of today we've officially obtained approval to host the first annual "Philadelphia Summer School in Continental Philosophy" at Immaculata University this coming August. This is fantastic news and I am elated to be co-organizing this year's event!

Details will be forthcoming in the next few weeks, including our main school "leader" and the specific topic that we'll be studying.

I'll post an official CFP here at After Nature. But until then stay tuned and please help spread the word about what I hope will prove to be an exciting and fruitful gathering and exhange of ideas!

Monday, April 7, 2014

What is mathematics about?

Interesting article, HERE.  Some highlights below:
To the question: ‘Is mathematics about something?’ there are two answers: ‘Yes’ and ‘No’. Both are profoundly unsatisfying. 
The ‘No’ answer, whose champions are known as nominalists, says that mathematics is just a language. On this view, it is just a way of talking about other things, or a collection of logical trivialities (as Singer claims), or a formal manipulation of symbols according to rules. 
Nominalism might have a certain down-to-earth appeal, but further reflection suggests that it can’t be right. Although manipulation of symbols is useful as a technique, we also have a strong sense that mathematics makes objective discoveries about a terrain that is in some sense ‘out there’.  
It seems as if pure mathematics reveals the topography of a region whose truths pre-existed investigation, even language. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

some afternoon reflections and an interesting interview with Kadmon ofAllerseelen (Natur Spiritualität Part 3)

Kadmon / Allerseelen
Interesting interview with Kadmon of the Austrian electronic/neo-folk experimental band, Allerseelen.  HERE.  Youtubing some related projects as well.  The music herein speaks to my interest in, and passion for, "natur spiritualität."

I think my most "philosophical" connections to forests and mountains, for example, took place while I was in Heidelberg in my early twenties, traveling, listening to lectures by Gadamer shortly before he passed away, and researching the likes of Ernst Juenger, Martin Heidegger, and German romanticism and idealism.

There along the banks of the Neckar River, along the Philosophenweg - where Goethe, Hoederlin, Jaspers, Juenger, and Heidegger all walked - I became transfixed by the philosophical power of nature as I came to appreciate it from the romantic perspective, informed by my studies at that time.  Of course, at a much, much earlier age - in my teens and even before - my "spiritual" love for nature was fostered while growing up in the Pocono Mountains (mostly in Cherry Valley, which is now a nature preserve), taking hikes with my sister or even sometimes going alone into the forests simply to sit in silence and think quietly.

From an early age, I learned, that if anything, the power of nature, its utter and absolute indifference and stubbornness, at times, affords its sublimity and lines of religious insight.

To that end I remember how I actually came to first have that thought as a philosophical kernel for future work. I was enticed by the romantic and dare even I say mystical-idealist moments of Plato and Hegel, but also the German Romantics (German romanticism, mostly Schiller, influenced the American pragmatists, especially C.S. Peirce - as Peirce adored Schiller's Aesthetic Letters).

I remember Gadamer once saying that he believed that it was nature's ability - its aesthetic ability - to disrupt our most deeply held convictions and beliefs - that made the understanding and unification of nature and art through dialectic a spiritual exercise (Gadamer was influenced by Plato and Hegel alike). Reading a natural semiotic, then, this occurs in a sort of environmental "saturation."  While in Germany that stuck with me mostly through a cultural lens of course, but the romantic notion of it is something that I've kept since.  Reading or encountering a natural semiotic, that is, nature as semiotic, is as much a spiritual exercise as it is an aesthetic one.  And vice versa. 

[UPDATE: During the summer of 2017 I re-visited Europe, and in addition to Netherlands, Italy, and elsewhere, I revisited the  "Philosopher's Path" in Heidelberg. Twenty some years later. Who would have known.  A far off land and time, but the fixation and immersion, the natural love for, the world of nature remains the same.]

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

10th International Whitehead Conference: Seizing an Alternative: Towardan Ecological Civilization | June 4-7th, 2015 @ Claremont

The conference website is immense. I can't help but chuckle to myself when I see the size of the website and then think of that now infamous line, "process philosophy is yesterday's rallying cry."

Either these conference goers are severely misled or Whitehead and *process* philosophy is alive and well.