Saturday, September 17, 2016

"Blogos Synopticon: six years of philosophical blogging" (post by Agent Swarm blog)

BLOGOS SYNOPTICON: six years of philosophical blogging

The blog AGENT SWARM has existed for a little over six years. There is a great coherence in my blogging over this period.
My constant theme has been epistemological and ontological pluralism. In fact, pluralism has been my concern for over 44 years, it was behind my coming to live in France 36 years ago. The only philosophical pluralist of any note in the Anglophone world during the 1970s was Feyerabend. Despite working in a philosophy department that took an active interest in contemporary French philosophy I was very intellectually isolated during that period and I was overjoyed to discover Deleuze, Lyotard, Foucault and Serres as fellow proponents of the pluralist hypothesis.
Today pluralism is still a living hypothesis in France, elaborated and defended by Badiou, Latour, Stiegler, and Laruelle. This French pluralism is the major context for my thought. It has determined my amused interest in such storms in a tea cup as OOO and Speculative Realism.
From 1980 to 1987 I lived in Paris and I attended the seminars of Deleuze, Lyotard, Serres and Foucault. Now I live in Nice, but I follow Badiou's and Stiegler's seminars on youtube, and have been doing so for 5 years now. I participated in Latour's AIME project, made some contributions to the site, and Latour published a chapter by me in his catalogue RESET MODERNITY. I gave a paper at Stiegler's Summer Academy (French: video, text; English: text). Michel Serres is still going strong, and his pluralism has evolved over 50 years. I follow his publications, and I often listen to him on the radio or watch him on TV. I have just received his new book on philosophy of history.
I have had no career inside the university, but I have had and continue to have priceless access to pluralist thought in the making. I speak out of this immersion. I am living the pluralist dream.
Another of my interests is science fiction. I publish a science fiction oriented blog XENO SWARM. Twice in Nice I have given a paper on science fiction and philosophy. The first paper was on DUNE AND DELEUZE, the second was on Neal Stephenson's ANATHEM discussed from a Deleuzian-Badiousian perspective on immanentising Plato as the contemporary task of both philosophy and speculative literature.
The general compatibility condition of my philosophy blog is pluralism. This distinguishes it from other philosophical blogs which make scientism, or worse "speculative realism" or OOO, their boundary condition.
The principal contribution that has emerged from my philosophy blog is the treatment of the differing pluralist Continental philosophies, of Badiou, Laruelle, Zizek, Serres, Stiegler and Latour, as alternative metaphysical research programmes (in the sense of Popper). I analyse and evaluate these research programmes in terms of a set of criteria (pluralism, realism, diachronicity, apophaticism, and democracy). These criteria are taken from Feyerabend's later philosophy.
Note: François Laruelle has produced a constipated long-winded jargonised version of Feyerabend's view and criteria. His Anglophone disciples and popularisers have not the slighest care for situating Laruelle's thought within any realistic context. They prefer to contribute to a more general movement of rewriting philosophical history and of falsifying the recent past so as to create the illusion that their own research programme is unique and in progress over other programmes.
Bruno Latour has elaborated a very innovative system of modes of existence based on the concept of being-as-other, expressed in accessible prose, that well satisfies these criteria. Although Badiou has trouble reconciling his demand for universality with his criterion of equality, his system is also a good embodiment of these criteria. His immanence of truths project is pluralist, diachronic, apophatic, realist, and egalitarian (he calls this criterion of equality "communism" instead of "democracy" for his own special reasons).
Note: we are not talking about voting or government here, but about epistemology and ontology.
The problem with Laruelle is he thinks that he can define himself out of metaphysics. The linguistic naivety of his approach astounding. Badiou, like Deleuze, has no problem with the category of metaphysics, even if they transform it. Their philosophies are at least as "non-standard" as that of Laruelle, as are those of Zizek and Latour. Laruelle preaches non-philosophy, but he does not practice it very well. And "democracy" and "pluralism" even less.
The principal concept that has emerged out of my SF blog is that of "noetic estrangement" which permits a unified approach to SF and fantasy. A good example of this approach is to be found in my review of China Miéville's most recent novel: THE LAST DAYS OF NEW PARIS.


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