Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Update to Reading Groups for Academic Year 2022-23


This semester's reading group is on Rescher's Axiogenesis and select readings by William James and John Dewey called "Philosophy of Organism III: Rescher's Axiogenesis and Readings in James and Dewey" running weekly on Fridays.  It's the third reading group in the topic of philosophy of organism which I've done over the years.

It's been decided that for Winter term (Dec 15-Jan 15) to read select chapters from John Dewey's How We Think and Knowing and the Known, focusing on the logic, concepts, and technics of organic consciousness (i.e. inferential reasoning by biological organisms, considering also briefly the philosophy of artificial life).

Spring 2023 will be a reading group called "Logic and Normativity" to coincide with the Logic class I'm teaching, followed by Exophilosophy in the summer (specific readings or philosopher tbd).

Link HERE.

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Podcast: William Desmond and The Excess of Being with Steve Knepper

William Desmond and The Excess of Being with Steve Knepper
Hermitix Podcast

Steven E. Knepper is Associate Professor in the Department of English,  Rhetoric, and Humanistic Studies at the Virginia Military Institute. In  this episode we discuss his book Wonder Strikes: Approaching Aesthetics  and Literature with William Desmond, alongside discussions on being,  God, grace, prayer, silence and more...   


The book:  ---  

Listen on Apple Podcasts:

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Thoreau on Solitude, Sympathy, and the Salve for Melancholy

Beautiful write-up replete with enchanting illustrations and some interesting historical photos. I used to yearly visit Maine summers and would often read the Transcendentalists as part of my healing nature-worship. My love for Thoreau, Emerson, first ignited in graduate school Ph.D. in a seminar simply titled "Transcendentalism" run by Doug Anderson. It was also in that seminar where I first encountered the Fruhromantik and Naturphilosophie influences amongst the Concord-Jena philosophers, Schelling being among them.

Sunday, July 24, 2022

What are our rights and duties towards alien life?


Very interesting article from Aeon covering a topic within my newfound obsession with "exophilosophy" (or exopolitics, or cosmopolitics - describe it how you wish). Save the absolute hubris in the passage below, the rest of the article at least takes a much needed philosophical approach to the subject, something refreshing in light of the short-sighted hardnosed scientism which prevails in its investigation and which lacks the phenomenological openness toward a "phenomenon" we simply cannot hope to understand without a more capacious sense of reality - nature - guiding the way.

None of this eliminates the possibility that alien life might discover us. But if NASA’s current timeline holds water, another civilisation has only a few more decades to get here before we claim the mantle of ‘discoverer’ rather than ‘discovered’. With every passing day, it grows more likely that ‘first contact’ will not take the form of an intellectual or moral back-and-forth between equals. It will be more like the discovery of a natural resource, and one we might be able to exploit.
Link HERE.

Monday, April 25, 2022

The Partially Examined Life Philosophy Podcast: Ep. 292: Langer on Symbolic Music (Part One) (Podcast)

Ep. 292: Langer on Symbolic Music (Part One)
The Partially Examined Life Philosophy Podcast

On Susanne Langer's Philosophy in a New Key (1942), ch. 8-10. Is music (the supposedly non-representational artform) a language? If it's "expressive," what exactly does it express? Part two of this episode is only going to be available to you if you sign up at 

Listen on Apple Podcasts:

Friday, April 22, 2022

Nature and Naturalism in Classical German Philosophy


A new book appearing in August looks quite fascinating.

Nature and Naturalism in Classical German Philosophy is a collection of essays that sets out to present exactly what the title depicts. I'll copy below the table of contents - however I'd urge anyone who is interested in Naturphilosophie to take a look at this. Obviously a high price-point prohibits easily adding it to one's collection, but from the essay titles alone it seems like the sort of thing that would be essential in the philosophical naturalist's library.

Introduction: Nature and Naturalism: The Relevance of Classical German Philosophy, Luca Corti and Johannes-Georg Schülein 1. Kant’s Regulative Naturalism, James R. O'Shea 2. The Concept of Life in Classical German Philosophy: A Question of Nature or the Lifeworld?, Brigit Sandkaulen 3. Nature and Freedom in Schlegel and Alexander von Humboldt, Elizabeth Millán Brusslan 4. The Challenge of Plants: Goethe, Humboldt, and the Question of Life, Dalia Nassar 5. Beyond Nature? The Place of the Natural World in J.G. Fichte’s Early Wissenschaftslehre, Daniel Breazeale 6. The Fichte-Schelling Debate, or: Six Models for Relating Subjectivity and Nature, Philipp Schwab 7. Schelling and Von der Weltseele, John Zammito 8. The Freedom of Matter: Self-Constitution in Schelling’s ‘Physical Explanation of Idealism’, Johannes-Georg Schülein 9. Beyond A Naturalistic Conception of Nature: Nature and Life in Hegel’s Early Writings, Luca Illetterati 10. The Phenomenology and the Logic of Life: Heidegger and Hegel, Robert Pippin 11. The Logical Form of a Living Organism: Hegel, Naturalism, and Biological Autonomy, Luca Corti 12. Genus-Being. On Marx’s Dialectical Naturalism, Thomas Khurana

Friday, January 14, 2022

Reading Groups updated for Spring and Summer 2022

I've updated the plan for our weekly get-together Reading Group for spring and summer 2022.  I began running these reading groups my first year of grad school and chose not to stop once I graduated with the Ph.D.  (I took my Ph.D. in 2009.)  Hard to believe but they've proved invaluable in encountering new ideas and discussing ideas with others so as to get real hands-on experience with texts and research that, more often than not, helped me move in profitable directions while avoiding the pitfalls of others.

Link HERE.

Thursday, January 6, 2022

quote of the day

 "Here and now is the Forest Rebel's motto - he is the spirit of free and independent action."

- Ernst Junger, The Forest Passage

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Didier Debaise: Nature and Its Others. The Invention of a Political Force (video)


 The moderns have invented a ‘nature’ and made it one of their most important political institutions. The talk will revisit this very singular adventure through which a number of local inventions, gestures, and operations, namely within experimental systems, have given birth to a new political force. Disconnecting this nature from the very conditions of its emergence and existence, the moderns have instantiated it as an essential actor within processes of normalization of practices and as a crucial instrument justifying the extension of their impact on all other territories. Today the question has become the following: How to resist the hegemonic tendencies of this modern version of nature in order to restore space and give back legitimacy to other ways of inhabiting the earth. 

 Didier Debaise is a permanent researcher at the Fonds National de la Recherche Scientifique (FNRS) and the director of the Center of Philosophy at Free University of Brussels (ULB) where he teaches contemporary philosophy. He is one of the co-founders, with Isabelle Stengers, of the Groupe d’études constructivistes (Geco). His main areas of research are contemporary forms of speculative philosophy, theories of events, and links between American pragmatism and French contemporary philosophy. He wrote three books on Whitehead’s philosophy (Un empirisme spéculatif, Le vocabulaire de Whitehead and L’appât des possibles), edited volumes on pragmatism (Vie et experimentation), on the history of contemporary metaphysics (Philosophie des possessions), and wrote numerous papers on Bergson, Tarde, Souriau, Simondon, and Deleuze. In 2017, two of his books appeared in English: Nature as Event: The Lure of the Possible and Speculative Empiricism: Revisiting Whitehead. He is currently working on a new book, Pragmatique de la terre.

Link HERE.