Monday, August 28, 2017

quote of the day

Heidegger on a forest path.

"Nature is present in all that is real. Nature unfolds in human work and in the destiny of peoples, in the stars and in the gods, but also in stones, things that grow, animals, as well as in streams and thunderstorms... [Yet] Nature can never be found somewhere in the midst of the real as simply one more isolated thing. [Nature as] the "all-present" is also never the result of combining isolated real things. Even the totality of what is real is at most but the consequence of the all-present... The "wonderful" [that is Nature] withdraws from all human producing, and nevertheless it flows through everything with its presencing."

- Martin Heidegger [GA 4: 52-53, Commentary on Hölderlin's "As When On a Holiday,"]

Hallstaater Lake, Austria (from cable car). Photo by Niemoczynski, June 2017.
Thanks goes to Keith Hoeller, and also to Richard Capobianco from the Heidegger Circle for emailing me the quote. 

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Podcast: "Experiential togetherness through readings of William James, Alfred North Whitehead, Gilles Deleuze, and Isabelle Stengers" (mp3 audio download)

Dirk (know to many as "dmf") sent along THIS link. Haven't listened to the whole thing yet but will soon. From my guess of it, it appears to cover what process-relational philosophers interested in the likes of Deleuze, Whitehead, etc. would enjoy.

Thanks Dirk!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Call for Papers: Eighth International Congress on Ecstatic Naturalism

Eighth International Congress on Ecstatic Naturalism 
April 6th & 7th, 2018
Campus of Drew UniversityMadisonNew Jersey

"Nature and the Symbolic in the Human and Non-human"

A central feature of any naturalism is that there is at least some form of continuity between mind and nature – or, that mind "stretches" to meet nature (in the words of John Dewey). But, what is "mind" within a naturalistic register? A basic premise for naturalists such as Charles S. Peirce, John Dewey, George Herbert Mead, Alfred North Whitehead, or Susanne Langer – naturalists in the American philosophical tradition – is that "mind" is essentially symbolic. This is to say that, conceptually, mind is both expressive and representational. This, though, begs the question: what within nature might be able to "think?" As any "ecstatic" naturalism seeks to explore nature's deeply embedded transformational potential, the theme of this year's congress questions nature's potential for "mind" – or "intelligence" - and questions how that mind might be at work within the natural world, especially as expressed by means of symbol. What precisely is nature's potential for expressive intelligence and how is it expressed through symbol and concept? And further, what other than the human might be able to "think?" What does it mean to think? Can machines think? Can forests think? Insects? Birds? Fish? Transcending beyond the boundaries of the human, we seek papers that wish to explore especially non-human modes of intelligence within the realm of the symbolic in order to connect naturalism to applied philosophical fields, whether animal ethics, cognitive science and artificial intelligence, political ecology, biosemiotics, and so on. Papers need not be exclusively about the philosophy of ecstatic naturalism but are encouraged to at least minimally address its perspective before moving on to present a different thesis of the paper so as to place all papers of the congress within the stream of contemporary philosophical naturalism.

Submissions of abstracts 300-500 words in length should be emailed to: no later than October 31st, 2017. Authors of accepted papers will be contacted no later than November 30th with a paper deadline (no more than 15-20 minutes in length of reading or 6-8 pages double-spaced) of March 1st.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

How our attention is harvested

Lengthy article/review which goes into detail regarding the neuro-livestock addicted to their iPhones, mostly through a discussion of Facebook - although Twitter is as much to blame in that users are essentially performing free labor for the benefit of the platform they use.

YouTube is just as guilty of this as well. In my research in (possibly) starting a YouTube channel I discovered that its bad news for YouTube if those who create content actually end up with a profit. Unless views directly translates to traffic to one's own business then the only money to be made is through ads, most of which pay pennies on the dollar. Full-time YouTubers barely make anything, contrary to popular belief.

What this all boils down to is an attention-economy where content-creators are the cybercattle and the platform the slaughterhouse. If one creates content they must always do so with the masses in mind, and the platforms ensure that this is the way it must be for it suits their business model, not those who create the content.

As Instagram is the new "thing," it appears that every few years the masses migrate from one platform to the next. Myspace to Facebook to Twitter to Instagram to... and so on. The whole "trending" thing and idea of mass viral influence disgusts me. I'd rather be a black sheep than some lab-rat addicted to my smartphone tapping and scrolling my life away.

Anyway, the review is quite long - but do read if you can find the time to do so.

Article HERE.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Ontologies of Nature: Continental Perspectives and Environmental Reorientations (new book)

New book discussing various ontologies of nature from a Continental environmental philosophical perspective, which is a new (and good, I think) trend in Continental scholarship.

This volume contains essays that offer both historical and contemporary views of nature, as seen through a hermeneutic, deconstructive, and phenomenological lens. It reaches back to Ancient Greek conceptions of physis in Homer and Empedocles, encompasses 13th century Zen master Dōgen, and extends to include 21st Century Continental Thought. By providing ontologies of nature from the perspective of the history of philosophy and of contemporary philosophy alike, the book shows that such perspectives need to be seen in dialogue with each other in order to offer a deeper and more comprehensive philosophy of nature. The value of the historical accounts discussed lies in discerning the conceptual problems that contribute to the dominant thinking underpinning our ecological predicament, as well as in providing helpful resources for thinking innovatively through current problems, thus recasting the past to allow for a future yet to be imagined. The book also discusses contemporary continental thinkers who are more critically aware of the dominant anthropocentric and instrumental view of nature, and who provide substantial guidance for a sensible, innovative “ontology of nature” suited for an ecology of the future. Overall, the ontologies of nature discerned in this volume are not merely of theoretical interest, but strategically serve to suspend anthropocentrism and spark ethical and political reorientation in the context of our current ecological predicament. - Editors: Kuperus, Gerard, Oele, Marjolein (Eds.)

Link HERE.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Spotlight on Carbondale: Illinois Town Sits at Solar Eclipse 'Crossroads'

My Ph.D. alma mater SIUC makes the news.
Spotlight on Carbondale: Illinois Town Sits at Solar Eclipse 'Crossroads'

By pure cosmic coincidence, the town of Carbondale has found itself at the center of eclipse mania.

SPEP 2017 full program

The 56th annual meeting of SPEP: Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy, held at the University of Memphis, Oct. 19-21, 2017. Full program in .pdf format for download, HERE.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

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

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Mathematics is Metaphysics: Zalamea in translation:

A statement in favor of synthetic thought, Zalamea's metaphysics is one whose backbone is mathematics. I picked up his Synthetic Philosophy of Contemporary Mathematics and as a non-specialist in the philosophy of mathematics (yet still holding an interest) I must say it is a very good and very clear book. THIS article is its summarizing statement.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

North American Schelling Society website updated

It's abit clunky, although you can sign up for emailed updates. Apparently they are launching a journal called Kabiri (I wish the journal had a much better name), which looks like will be an online open-access journal. On the website one can also find a fairly extensive bibliography of Schelling scholarship in English, but it looks like an embedded data-base of some sort and is very, very slow. Like I said, the website is clunky and s-l-o-w.

This year's NASS conference (the fifth annual meeting) will take place at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in Mexico City from February 21-25. Its theme is "Schelling: Crisis and Critique."

Link to the updated website HERE.

Monday, August 14, 2017

International Society for Nietzsche Studies: Call for Papers

HERE. The Cfp is for presentation and discussion at its annual workshop to be held at Birkbeck – University of London (March 16–17, 2018). Papers are welcomed on any aspect of Nietzsche’s philosophical thought. Deadline is November 1st 2017.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

A gift

... from my wife for my birthday. Incredible sound: bright and clear, with wonderful tone (string length is equal to a baby grand piano). What a surprise - I love it!
New book on facts and values featuring many contemporary pragmatist writers. See below:

Facts and Values. The Ethics and Metaphysics of Normativity . Edited by Giancarlo Marchetti , and Sarin Marchetti

Table of Contents

Behind and Beyond the Fact-Value Dichotomy. Giancarlo Marchetti and Sarin Marchetti

Part I: A Counter-History of the Dichotomy

1. The Fact/Value Dichotomy and the Future of Philosophy . Hilary Putnam

2. Pragmatic Constructivism: Values, Norms, and ObligationsRobert Schwartz

3. Contingency and Objectivity in Critical Social Theory: Horkheimer and Habermas . Maeve Cooke

4. From the Positivismusstreit to Putnam: Facts and Values in the Shadow of Dichotomy . John Mcguire

Part II: Varieties of Entanglement

5. Reflections Concerning Moral Objectivity . Ruth Anna Putnam

6. On MatteringNaomi Scheman

7. Change in View: Sensitivity to Facts and Prospective Rationality . Carla Bagnoli 

8. Normativity without Normative Facts? A Critique of Cognitivist Expressivism . Alex Miller 

9. The Evolutionary Debunker Meets Sentimental Realism . Mauro Rossi and Christine Tappolet 

10. How to Be a Relativist . Kenneth Taylor 

Part III: Some Applications

11. Science and the Value of Objectivity. David Macarthur 

12. The Environment and The Background of Human Life: Nature, Facts, and Values . Piergiorgio Donatelli 

13. Fact/Value Complexes in Law and Judicial Decision . Douglas Lind

About the Book
This collection offers a synoptic view of current philosophical debates concerning the relationship between facts and values, bringing together a wide spectrum of contributors committed to testing the validity of this dichotomy, exploring alternatives, and assessing their implications. The assumption that facts and values inhabit distinct, unbridgeable conceptual and experiential domains has long dominated scientific and philosophical discourse, but this separation has been seriously called into question from a number of corners. The original essays here collected offer a diversity of responses to fact-value dichotomy, including contributions from Hilary Putnam and Ruth Anna Putnam who are rightly credited with revitalizing philosophical interest in this alleged opposition. Both they, and many of our contributors, are in agreement that the relationship between epistemic developments and evaluative attitudes cannot be framed as a conflict between descriptive and normative understanding. Each chapter demonstrates how and why contrapositions between science and ethics, between facts and values, and between objective and subjective are false dichotomies. Values cannot simply be separated from reason. Facts and Values will therefore prove essential reading for analytic and continental philosophers alike, for theorists of ethics and meta-ethics, and for philosophers of economics and law.


"The concept of normativity spans a series of interrelated dichotomies that lie at the heart of philosophical inquiry: fact and value, is and ought, the objective and the subjective, causes and reasons, the natural world and human sensibilities. Much philosophical effort has been devoted to accentuating the gaps between the concepts juxtaposed by each of these pairs, and the fallacies involved in their conflation. This volume, however, seeks to bridge these gaps. The papers collected here—all written expressly for this volume—set out to show that normative discourse must be sensitive to the facts, and that reasoning about facts is inherently value-laden. They demonstrate that the descriptive and the normative meet in language, in expressions that are both descriptive and normative. And they highlight the objective aspects of moral reasoning, and the normative aspects of objectivity. These challenges to the traditional view are as relevant to social and political discourse as they are to philosophy" - Yemima Ben-Menahem, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

"This distinguished volume of essays draws creatively on several rich traditions in philosophy—including Wittgenstein, Murdoch, philosophy of law, critical social theory, and Deweyan and Peircean pragmatism—to bring together an important variety of new challenges to the supposed "fact/value gap" and its alleged consequences for philosophy. For all those who want think harder and deeper about "fact and value", it will be essential reading" - Sophie-Grace Chappell, Open University

"Marchetti and Marchetti have gathered here a comprehensive collection of positions critical of the coherence of the fact/value dichotomy; each coming at the problem from a different perspective; each offering a different (dis)solution. Their introductory overview of the origins of the dichotomy in the western philosophic tradition is valuable, tying together the various strands, from Hume through Russell, that have provided support for the distinction in its current emotivist and non-cognitivist forms. The collection is also noteworthy for its attention to the critical voices found in the American pragmatist tradition and taken up by a number of contemporary thinkers whose work is represented here, such as Hilary Putnam" - Sharyn Clough, Oregon State University

"Explicit interest in questions about the relation between facts and values has waxed and waned, inside and outside the academy, over the last several decades. But the questions themselves, which often turn up under different labels, remain immediately relevant both to our efforts to do justice to the world and to ethical challenges we confront within it. Marchetti and Marchetti have given us a collection that clearly brings out the importance of fact-value debates while also stressing the debates' multifaceted character. Taken together, these essays – from a group of distinguished thinkers – offer not only a helpful tour of the complexity of the issues but also a forceful impression of how and why they matter today" - Alice Crary, The New School

"That there is a clear and unequivocal distinction between facts and values is something all too often assumed and only very seldom actively interrogated. Facts and Values takes up this question from a range of philosophical perspectives (including but not restricted to the 'analytic') that nevertheless converge in their rejection of the idea that the distinction can be given any unqualified application. This has important consequences, allowing us to recognise, for instance, the interconnection between ethics and ontology, and forcing us also to acknowledge the way in which evaluative commitments are inextricably bound up with all of our engagements in the world. The volume provides both an excellent point of entry into the topic at the same time as it also sets out important new insights and approaches. It contains contributions from many key figures in the area, but is especially notable for including one of the last pieces of writing by a seminal thinker of the last fifty years, Hilary Putnam, who together with Ruth Anna Putnam, has been central in bringing philosophical attention back to this important question" - Jeff Malpas, Univerity of Tasmania

"Throughout the history of analytic philosophy, the fact-value distinction has been baked into nearly every research program within the tradition. Hilary Putnam has shown that we had better not just assume that the distinction -- or its sophisticated variants, e.g., the contrast between science and ethics -- can be sustained. If it cannot, there is a great deal of rethinking to be done, both across the many philosophical subspecializations and in the broader intellectual culture. This collection keeps this very important ball rolling, advancing an agenda with the potential to reshape philosophy." - Elijah Millgram, University of Utah

Sunday, August 6, 2017

a music recommendation

An After Nature reader emailed in (wishing for her name to be withheld, no problem) asking for the possibility of more music recommendations, something which has always been just in the "background" here at the blog. I used to post alot more music-type things but only do so infrequently now.

In any case, I decided to oblige. I know not all readers are crazy about music postings as musical tastes vary quite wildly. But, it was a request. So...

Jesu is a band that was introduced to me by my good friend Kevin S. who lives out in Arizona. I want to say this was back in '05-ish. The band is the brainchild of Justin Broadrick, formerly of the industrial band Godflesh (who released the landmark "Streetcleaner" EP back in 1989). Jesu is abit like Godflesh but with much more tonal emotion and expression.

First track is "Sunday" which around the four minute mark really opens up. Definitely be prepared to sit down and get taken through the track, perhaps as you are working on the computer or reading or whatever. Very, very emotional - nearly melancholic. It's just an experience to listen to.

Second track is "Silver" which is just a tight song all around and which interestingly picks up around the four minute mark as well.

Maybe readers will enjoy these. Who knows.

Friday, August 4, 2017

After Nature on YouTube, coming soon

As many After Nature readers know, for awhile I've been toying with the idea of an After Nature YouTube channel. Originally I had considered creating a podcast, however then decided that video would be more personable. The plan has become for me to fade out After Nature blog and transition wholly over to a YouTube "vlog" ("video log.")

With that said, I have a general time-frame in mind to do this, which would be, at some point, next year - perhaps in the spring. As the blog fades out at the end of this year I plan to keep everything up (for now) and make available as a downloadable file all of the blog content.

In the meantime I'll be creating a test "pilot" episode and will make available on YouTube. If all goes well this would happen during the fall, with a first episode to appear in early spring when the blog officially closes. As the channel will (mostly, hopefully) be anonymous you would have to look for it rather than being linked here.

Anyone who watches YouTube and is interested in philosophical "vlogging" would know people like Greg Sadler (who was kind enough to offer to me a consultation some time back concerning how one might run a YouTube channel) and Clifford Lee Sargent of Better than Food Book Reviews. Their links are HERE and HERE. Incidentally Cliff had also offered to get together over Skype and offer some advice as to how things might go. Here is Cliff offering an interesting review of Jünger's On Pain.

For awhile I have also been watching the very sporadic posts of Tilo Kaiser, a näturphilosopher, sentionaut, and organicist who lives in Germany. His videos are (quite obviously) in German but if you speak German and want to hear some beautiful poetry then his channel could be quite interesting for you. I first discovered him when he posted a video about Ernst Jünger's Die Schere, where in particular he discusses dreams, the afterlife, Jünger's LSD experience, and "the light of the cosmos," the inner paradise. In yet another video on the same book he discusses "the Plutonic essence." Even if you don't speak German I think it is fascinating to just listen to him articulate his poetry and thoughts, which covers a number of subjects, authors, and viewpoints.

Here below Tilo reads Ralph Waldo Emerson. Emerson quotes: "What is the most difficult task in the world? Thinking ...." "Finally, nothing is sacred except the purity of our thinking." "Childhood is the everlasting Messiah who comes to the aid of the fallen man and asks them to return to paradise."

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Lorenzo Sleakes on panpsychism

Philosopher (and After Nature reader) Lorenzo Sleakes emailed me awhile back sending links to two papers he's authored. They look fairly interesting. Check them out for yourself HERE and HERE.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Why Millennials are the worst and Gen-X will save the world

A recent article suggests the obvious, that when it comes to dating, Millennial online culture is catching up with that generation born between 1980-ish and 2000-ish.  Many Millennials experienced their "age 25 mid-life crisis" and now are approaching age 30 (so many are still 20-somethings about to turn 30). However, according to the article, whereas in the past many young people had begun to settle by their '30s many Millennials are unable to commit to any sort of long-term relationship and in turn are having trouble finding life-partners, and in turn trouble settling enough to buy a home, let alone hold any one career path or even have children.

As the article points out Millennials yearn for a long-term relationship but are either unable to find one, or hold one.  Some of the reasons? The article cites unconquerable focus on self and self-absorption (narcissism), unwillingness to grow up (or inability to mature having been raised by helicopter parents), a general distrust toward everyone, a general laziness and apathy couched in a "I want to be left alone" or "I'm busy!" attitude, and unrealistic narratives perpetuated by social media which endorse the existence of that "perfect someone." In reality though the formation of romantic relationships online as well as the maintenance of those relationships online has led to issues with self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and the inability to communicate (or perhaps even feel) any genuine or real emotions. Many Millennials are simply unable to grow up, even at age 30, and that as much shows in their love life according to this article. See HERE.

Following, this lost generation who is unable to communicate in full sentences and relies on emoji to express their love interests has become "incapable" of love, save for narcissistic self-love. They are incapable of intimacy. See HERE. Millennial women blame their hoodie-wearing iPhone-grasping male peers and have turned to older men who have grown up as their new dating pool. See HERE. Millennial males in their '30s still inhabit the adolescent mind, as evident on Tinder.

THIS article is quite harsh and clearly blames feminism (perhaps mistakenly) for gender confusion, as much as it does mistakenly identify Generation-X as Millennials' parents (this is impossible: Millennials' parents are Baby Boomers...Gen-X is only old enough to be their long-distant cousin or older brother). And, further, Gen-X has waited until they hit 40 or later to have children, making Generation Z the children of Gen-X, not Millennials. In essence though the article does correctly identify that fragile sense of self had by Millennials - the one that enjoys all of the praise, expects to be paid more for doing less, and expects the world, just like their parents, to cater to their every whim and need (baby-sit them, basically). See HERE.

When it comes to cohort effects, we Gen-X'ers look on in horror as we see 30 year-old grown up children leech off of our '80s nostalgia in vain attempts to recover the meaningful and magical (rather than pandered and shallow) "childhood they never had." Part of this perpetual childhood for Millennials includes, other than that narcissistic over-self confidence that "love will find a way," a childlike fascination with sexuality and complete inability to experience true romance.

On the job front, many employers now struggle with Millennials who now make up half of the US workforce. Consistently late to work, consistently not accomplishing enough work, and consistently not working hard enough, Millennials are apparently fired in droves.  As the ultimate "let down" of society, the generation at war with Boomers continues to whine and complain, call their parents, show up late for work (and leave early), while Gen-X can only do what it does best: ignore the drama, put its nose to the grindstone, and save the world. See HERE and HERE.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Beyond the Black Rainbow

In the vein of Stanley Kubrick or John Carpenter, Beyond the Black Rainbow (2012) is a film whose aesthetic harkens back to those '70s mind-bending science fiction films that I discussed last week. Definitely worth checking out as is the soundtrack.

Some interesting music. I also included a video of my favorite Carpenter film, Escape from New York (1981). Newer Deru album, "1979," added for good measure.