Friday, December 30, 2016
Monday, December 26, 2016
The newest issue of the Journal of French and Francophone Philosophy: "Bergsonian Continuations: Commemorating 75 Years Since the Death of Henri Bergson"
Journal of French and Francophone Philosophy
Vol 24, No 2 (2016)
Table of Contents
Introduction: 75 Years Later (1-2)
Mark William Westmoreland
Mysticism and War: Reflections on Bergson and his Reception During World War I (10-20)
Donna V. Jones
Human Rights and the Leap of Love (21-40)
Bergson and the Morality of Uncertainty (41-61)
Adriana Alfaro Altamirano
The Intuitive Recommencement of Metaphysics (62-83)
On Bergson’s Reformation of Philosophy (84-105)
Beyond Dualism and Monism: Bergson’s Slanted Being (106-130)
Darkened Counsel: The Problem of Evil in Bergson’s Metaphysics of Integral Experience (131-153)
Anthony Paul Smith
The Concept in Life and the Life of the Concept: Canguilhem’s Final Reckoning with Bergson (154-175)
Bergson before Bergsonism: Traversing “Bergson’s Failing” in Susanne K. Langer’s Philosophy of Art (176-202)
Iris van der Tuin
The Cinematic Bergson: From Virtual Image to Actual Gesture (203-220)
John Ó Maoilearca
Bergson(-ism) Remembered: A Roundtable (221-258)
Mark William Westmoreland and Brien Karas, eds.
Beauvoir’s Reading of Biology in The Second Sex (259-285)
David M. Peña-Guzmán
Solidarity and the Absurd in Kamel Daoud’s Meursault, contre-enquête (286-303)
Recent Work on Negritude (304-318)
Saturday, December 24, 2016
BADIOU ON INFINITY AND THE GOOD LIFE: “mathematical rudiments and poetic breakthroughs” (Agent Swarm blog post)
BADIOU ON INFINITY AND THE GOOD LIFE: "mathematical rudiments and poetic breakthroughs"
// AGENT SWARM
In my recent series of posts I have been presenting an entry into Badiou's system by way of his readings of various poets. For the moment I have translated and summarised from his discussion of poems by Arthur Rimbaud, René Char, and Victor Hugo, and next I will be moving on to Mallarmé.
Badiou's philosophy has been amply discussed in terms of the mathematical condition and of the political condition, but a more existential entry is possible. Badiou himself has placed increasing emphasis on the question of "what is it to live?", on the problem of the good life, true life, and happiness.
However, Badiou maintains that although this is a genuine and important philosophical question, it cannot be answered at the purely speculative level as it involves the category of "life", which is an empirical category. Poetry has the advantage of transposing life into language.
According to Badiou, poetry, like mathematics, is particularly suited to the critique of the dominant ideology of the finitude of human life. This ideology of finitude is the source of the multiple obstacles and repressions to the life of immanence, which is necessarily a life of immanence to truths conceived as infinite processes immanent to a determinate world.
After discussing Victor Hugo's poem "Words on the Dunes" and extracting the concept of infinity as point Badiou passes to a discussion of ω, the first infinite ordinal , which is the order type of the natural numbers, that can also be identified with the entire set of natural numbers. There is no immediate predecessor to ω, i.e. the meaning of ω – 1 is undefined, but ω has an infinity of successors.
Badiou concludes this discussion of "mathematical rudiments" by extracting a typology of infinities: the infinite as point, as place, as horizon, and as repetition. He then returns to poetry to "explore the labyrinth of the different forms taken by the couple finite/infinite".
The role of poetry and of the "poetic breakthroughs" it accomplishes (but I would argue this characterisation applies also to science fiction) is to provide figurations, between the speculative and the empirical, of the noetic life and its incorporation in or exclusion from the truths of science, art, politics and love.
Badiou concludes at the end of the first year of his seminar on the immanence of truths:
"The principal obstacle encountered…, the nucleus of the repressive practices that constrain us to be ignorant of the replies to the question "what is it to live?", is the multiform ideology of the finitude of life. Which is natural, as every process of truth is virtually infinite…We have thus explored the labyrinth of the different forms taken by the couple finite/infinite, making use of, in order to do this, mathematical rudiments and poetic breakthroughs".
Friday, December 23, 2016
// Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Gadamer (1900 - 2002) does not provide an account of the aesthetic in any customary sense. His approach to art runs, in many ways, against conventional philosophical expectations. Aesthetic qualities are not debated in the manner of the analytic tradition of modern philosophy, nor does he concern himself overtly with the problems of aesthetic pleasure. Gadamer's approach to aesthetic experience stands squarely in the phenomenological tradition.
Tuesday, December 20, 2016
"How can experience provide an external constraint on judgment without falling prey to the myth of the Given? Sellars vs Merleau-Ponty" (PowerPoint on academia.edu)
Monday, December 19, 2016
Episode 154: Wilfrid Sellars on the Myth of the Given (Part One)
// The Partially Examined Life Philosophy Podcast
On "Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind" (1956). Is knowledge based on a "foundation," as Descartes, Locke, et al. thought? Sellars says no: The allegedly basic elements upon which knowledge would be built either have to be propositions, in which case they involve a lot of prior knowledge involved in language use and so aren't really basic, or they're "raw feelings," in which case they can't actually serve as reasons for anything; reasons have to be propositional.
- Bernard Stiegler
(Pointer to Social Ecologies blog, link HERE. The quote seems especially appropriate: Twitter and Facebook being the "internet ghettos" that they are.)
And more...this time from Matt Drudge:
“I don’t know why they’ve been successful in pushing everybody into these little ghettos, these Facebooks, these Tweets, these Instagrams,” Drudge said. "While the Internet started out as a renaissance-style free range of ideas, establishment interests have since corralled Internet users into a handful of social media sites where dangerous groupthink can blossom in favor of the status quo, he pointed out."
Drudge added, “Because everybody is so hungry for referrals, for likes. I don’t need to be liked. I don’t need to be liked at all.”
Scroll, scroll, scroll...
Sunday, December 18, 2016
Matt Segall with some interesting commentary on Whitehead's ontology, enactivism, and neurophenomenology, HERE (audio commentary on YouTube).
Saturday, December 17, 2016
Beyond Objects: The Reversal of Phenomenological Ontology's Order of Analysis - Begin with Representamen as Perceptual Ground (Powers, not Things)
I have translated Lanigan's title to bring into relief this important underlying point of his paper.
For those who read Schelling or Peirce this specific form of phenomenological ontology - carnal yet semiotic, reversed into perceptual sensibility yet also translucently phaneroscopic, opens pathways yet to be explored in current debates surrounding idealism/realism in contemporary speculative-metaphysical philosophy. In this I have found the later work of Merleau-Ponty to be key. A true "transcendental naturalism" worth exploring.
Friday, December 16, 2016
In my last post I had reflected on the roughly ten or so years since my teaching career began (or more appropriately seven year teaching career since I took my Ph.D. in 2009, twelve years if you count since the M.A. - I usually just round and say ten years roughly) and spoke of how Immaculata University had been my home institution until this past month when, in terms of career and trajectories, Moravian College became my new institutional home. I discussed how difficult it was for me to turn down Anna Maria College in Boston last summer placing all bets on Moravian and how the location of Moravian seemed to make all the more sense when it came to Na and I being happy where we are in Pennsylvania, given our home, her job, and overall where we are in life. So things have worked out and we consider ourselves fortunate.
In this post I want to reflect abit just about where my scholarly interests have been this year alone; for I fear if I go too far back the post itself will balloon out of proportion. I do want to quickly nod to how the year previous was dedicated to animal emotions, philosophical ecology, and environmental aesthetics (overall what I would group as "the philosophy of organism") and how that year or so of research led to several articles, radio appearances, and reading groups unto themselves.
0. In addition to environmental philosophy I and a few brave students circled back around to Hegel to look again at how Hegel in his early theological writings and Phenomenology might figure into contemporary environmental discussions concerning the philosophy of organism (pace the trinity of Schelling-Hegel-Peirce). This in turn led me to one John William Miller whose books I read for a winter break (Miller was all of a naturalist, idealist, realist, influenced by pragmatism, etc. etc.) Miller is on par with the likes of C.S. Peirce, who by today's standards is still somewhat of the least read of the American philosophers who is nevertheless brilliant and ought to be read more, but sadly isn't. In my opinion Miller was truly one of the first American philosophical ecologists and fits neatly into discussions concerning environmental philosophy, philosophical ecology, and the idealism/realism debate in contemporary metaphysical-speculative philosophy.
1. As the year went on I found out that for the 2016-17 school year I would be teaching courses geared toward aesthetics, and so that was my one hallmarks in addition to the above. In the summer we began to read Kant's Critique of the Power of Judgement followed by Merleau-Ponty's The Phenomenology of Perception (summer for Kant; fall for MP).
2. Fall had me teaching Philosophies of Art & Beauty, which was phenomenal. I ran the course how it was taught to me as an undergraduate - and the students loved it. Two texts I could recommend are Joshua Billings Genealogy of the Tragic: Greek Tragedy and German Philosophy and the very dated but still very relevant Schopenhauer by Patrick Gadiner. Neither text was required: I read both for fun while teaching the course and found out alot of very interesting background information. We ran the course seminar style and from the feedback I received the students really enjoyed the course and learned alot.
3. Speculative Realism: An Epitome is complete and now in the proofing/editing process with Kismet Publishing. More than likely the book will now appear in early 2017 and will be made available Open Access, but will also have a print version available for purchase too. I have been told that the Preface especially is "brilliant," and among my academia,edu papers it garnered the most number of visits in the fewest amount of days (somewhere around 600+ views within three days time). I am told by the publisher that this is one of their most anticipated books and I am expecting that this book's publication is going to be huge. So be on the look out for that.
4. Other than Speculative Realism: An Epitome I'll be working on a number of short book reviews, although I plan only to publish in hardcopy for a journal somewhere only one or two of them. This upcoming year (2017) I plan to see to publication Speculative Naturalism: An Ecological Metaphysics which I am now thinking about changing the title to the more simple title of, Transcendental Naturalism. I am literally on version number four or five of the book as the more time that passes the larger it grows and the ideas morph and change. But I am considering McGrath's New Perspectives in Ontology Series through Edinburgh for that. I'd rather the book take a natural course and thus take a time to find an organic expression of publication rather than be rushed and forced. I think its good that the Kismet book would appear first so that readers could see how I approach speculative philosophy to begin with before they dive into a 500+ page magnum opus of mine.
I also have the idea of using UMinnPress's "Forerunner Series" to engage in some "gray publishing" by publishing a very short book I would call After Nature. It would feature the best of/re-written blog posts from here at After Nature in an essay book format. But that is just an idea so far and its still very much up in the air, mostly because I am attempting to trim back on publishing over the course of the next two years. But, if pressed I think that series/publisher would be a good fit for an idea like that.
5. It seems as I go forward my guiding question has been (and will continue to be), "In what ways can transcendental philosophy be incorporated into a rigorous, thorough-going naturalism regarding 'what is'?" I have been looking at Schelling, Hegel, Kant, and Fichte within light of contemporary European/Continental philosophy especially with aesthetics, ecology, and logic and metaphysics in view. Whatever I write will take up that theme conversing with the work of Ray Brassier and Iain Hamilton Grant. But this last part I shall save for elaboration in my upcoming and third (last) part of this post's series.
More soon ...
Thursday, December 15, 2016
Still, because today it is 22 degrees and snowing outside I thought this video was fitting. Plus, it is finals week so posts will be slow.
Featuring music from the Norwegian band Ulver from the Kveldssanger (1996) album. In their "trilogy" it is probably my favorite.
"Peirce is most generally considered a pragmatist and is most often presented to students as the first person in the trinity: Peirce-James-Dewey; yet, it is also accurate to say that he stands as the third person in the trinity: Schelling-Hegel-Peirce. It is an uncontroversial fact that he was never very much at home with the pragmatism of his day or with its advocates, and in his capsule autobiographies he closely associates himself with German idealism, and specifically with the philosophy of Schelling. In what follows I shall outline some of these perspectives."
Joseph L. Esposito, "Peirce and Naturphilosophie" in Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society Vol. 13, No. 2 (Spring, 1977): 122-141. LINK.
Tuesday, December 13, 2016
Saturday, December 10, 2016
|Gabrielle Library, Campus of Immaculata University, June 2011 (PHOTO: Niemoczynski)|
As I am sure is the case for many After Nature readers, this is the time of the year when the semester winds down and its great wheels slowly screech to a halt where, for a few brief moments, it seems possible - yes, *finally* possible - to just for a few moments simply "pause, collect, and reflect." (Note well: Inevitably this will be a longer blog post, so for those who are skimming this then the below might not be for you. Then again, maybe you are like me and today just happen to have some time and feel pensive enough as well in that you may be curious to read about what I have been up to.)
However let me just say that I don't have opportunities to just free-write like this very often, so the purpose of this post is just to free-write a little about where I've been, where I am, and where I might be going. I'll try to keep things as simple and to the point as I can. If that seems palatable then please feel free to continue. This first post will focus on where I have been, specifically in terms of my teaching. The second and third post will focus on my current teaching and scholarship and where I plan to take things in the future.
Transitioning *back* to the life of a full-time college professor: The past semester at my new VAP position was exceptional. This was my first semester in my new VAP position "officially" and in some ways it felt very familiar while in other ways it felt completely new. I think I am lucky to have had the former tenure experience that I did while teaching with the Loras College philosophy department out in Dubuque, Iowa some years ago (for as horrible as all of that was); and despite the, for lack of a better way to put it, "insanity" present out there, I at the very least was subjected to the grind that many first-year tenure track folks find themselves subjected to and have been able to apply that knowledge to the grind of my current position today. In other words, the 60-80+ hour workweeks of new full-time professor do not come as a shock to me (although with Loras there was plenty, and I mean plenty more that the average rational human being would find shocking in addition to any typical grind. But I digress...).
Looking back I do tend to look on the bright side as, unlike with Loras, Moravian is actually worth it. Not that that is a surprise. I knew that it was a great job the moment I first spoke with them over the phone. Very good people, extremely friendly and supportive, honest, and caring. Fitting in, having good, caring colleagues who have your best interests in mind, having bright students, and teaching interesting classes, there's alot that makes the pain of adjusting to your first year of full-time professor life worth it and my current position never ceases to amaze me - so much so in fact that it doesn't feel like a grind at all. True, I am tired...but again, when I reflect on just the experience of teaching there, I simply feel so blessed. If anything, it energizes me - if that makes sense.
So without trying to gloat, I am very, very happy in my new position and am very, very thankful for it. I think it is ok to be grateful for such an opportunity considering all of the drama I had to go through during those Loras years to make a come back and essentially prove "the haters wrong" by continuing to go forward. Which I did. Because, again, afterall, there were people out there who outright said "Oh, he'll never find another full-time teaching position again." Or, "Oh, his health will never allow him to teach again." That because they simply didn't like me, but also because they were intentionally trying to devastate my mindset of ever hoping to return to full-time teaching after just having had a "trans ischemic attack," otherwise known as a 'ministroke." So I have to smile to myself these days because through blood, sweat, and tears I have come this far and then some. There were people who literally wanted to see me destroyed and I wasn't destroyed. I came back better than ever. While it has only been four years since all of this happened, tops, it feels like all of that went down decades ago. But it's behind me now, and my recent successes achieved from my own hard work have helped me to to put that unfortunate past behind me. Having a modicum of security now as compared to then, knowing that I worked for it, is something that (with as much humility that is possible) I am proud of; proud and certainly glad to have survived that.
Leaving Immaculata: I began my teaching career in 2004, the summer I believe, while teaching with my Masters degree in philosophy for Immaculata University. The heart-breaker with this is that this semester was actually my last with them, so in effect a twelve year long teaching career with Immaculata has ended as of this month. Even while out on the tenure-track with Loras for a year I still taught online for Immaculata and over breaks. Even while I landed temporary full-time gigs at other schools such as West Chester University philosophy or East Stroudsburg University philosophy Immaculata was always there (and let's be honest, at the time it was for the money as much as it was for the experience). Although I did not teach there for the money exclusively - I needed to make ends meet, true. But Immaculata always had a special place in my heart compared to West Chester if only because they treated me eminently better. They truly cared. Until just this year, Immaculata was my institutional "home" and as of this semester I am saying good-bye to them. I do so with the utmost respect and gratitude.
For me, like Moravian is now, Immaculata was always about a loyalty to first the students and my colleagues; and second, a loyalty to the general mission or philosophical vision of the school. In my heart I was of course praying a tenure spot would open up with them, eventually, but it did not. Sadly the school's classes began to dry up as financial woes shrunk class sizes from 30+ students down to 10, and then down to 5 or 6 students in a class - at which point I was paid prorated. I did however give over a solid decade of what essentially was full-time teaching to Immaculata: 3/3 load each semester, teaching great classes. My colleagues were exceptional (especially Stephanie Theodorou, whom I became great friends with, and we even did some collaborative research together) such as the Philadelphia Summer School in Continental Philosophy and a co-edited online OpenAccess book on animal emotions. We even appeared together to do a radio interview!
As I mentioned above, fit is everything. And with Immaculata there was a great fit. But fit is also something that, honestly, takes at least a year or so to truly see if it is legitimate. And there is real heart-break when beyond a year then *everyone* knows how excellent you'd be working there. So that is why it was a heartbreaker to leave because I knew that it was a great fit, they just didn't have the money to open up a tenure line for me, nor would they any time in any foreseeable future. At least I knew that their words "We would if we could but we can't" were true. Other places where I was temporarily teaching (West Chester University philosophy for example) had said the same thing but didn't mean it. While relying on the numerous students I was bringing in to declare as majors and demonstrate to the Dean that the department required a tenure line in order to handle all of these new students, they decided to use my blood, sweat, and tears to open a line but then not even short-list me for an interview for the position. Once I realized that they were using me I left to continue on to teach where my hard work and genuine sincerity and care for the students would actually be appreciated. Immaculata was always leagues beyond West Chester in terms of honesty, integrity, fairness, justice, and most of all class.
Immaculata was always solid and supportive, between 2004 and 2016 they were my institutional home. I learned alot as a teacher, as a scholar, as someone contributing to their community. But, when one door closes another opens and they are certainly supportive in me leaving to take a more stable long-term (if not permanent, if converting to tenure) position with Moravian. So I thank Immaculata very much for everything they've given me during the past twelve years.
Turning Down Anna Maria College for Moravian: Yes, this is true. I can't remember if this was last summer or the one prior. I want to say last summer. I am nearly positive. In any case, this is when the whole banking on Moravian "is an all or nothing deal" idea came up where essentially my wife and I had to decide as a couple what would be best for us given the prospects of my career. When Immaculata fizzled out Anna Maria College was part of my last year on the job market and believe it or not they offered a tenure position. In Boston, about four hours away from where my wife and I had just bought our first home not even a year earlier. The home is near my parents, about an hour from Na's job (which she absolutely adores - she is now a "Global Project Manager" - and good for her, having come to the US with English as a second language, I am astonished by her tenacity and success); we are pretty much "in" the State Park with 80 acres of undevelopable land behind/surrounding us, mountains, forests, tress, etc. just beautiful.
I mean, if I really wanted I *could* make a four hour commute up to Boston and back each weekend (that's four hours each way - and then sleep in a studio apartment during the week) only seeing my wife on weekends - but is that the kind of life we would want? We tried the commuter marriage while I was out at Loras and neither of us enjoyed that very much: and really, neither of us want to do that again. So, it was then (last year) that I had to decide that my career or any prospect for a tenure career at least was "over." If not being able to accept a tenure offer in Boston then why would I continue to keep myself on the market? I had learned to accept that I would be adjuncting (or having the status as an "adjunct" despite 3/3 loads) with Immaculata. But then that is when Moravian called and suddenly things turned around pretty much out of nowhere. The timing was a life-saver, to say the least. Without Moravian coming in I probably would be in Boston right now making a four hour commute every Friday and Sunday. Yikes. I can't even fathom that.
Settling into my "new" institutional home of Moravian: But let me count my blessings. Things could be a lot worse. In the past many times they have been worse. But as Moravian finishes up this semester I look back and reflect upon how far I've come, especially when there were such negative forces trying to hold me back, kill my passion, tell me that I wasn't worth anything, and so on. Through our hard work I think we've come a long way. I am so proud of Na for her patience with my career, I am so happy and glad that she can finally see the fruits of my success after struggling for so many years in attempting to find some measure of stability that would work for us. I am glad that she has been able to see me through my health issues and see me finally return to teaching full-time which for a time looked like that would be an impossibility. So we have been truly blessed.
To close, being blessed for Na and I is first and foremost the fact that we have each other and that my health has stabilized for the time being; that I have been blessed to be able to accept the Moravian VAP. It is a great job where I am able to work with wonderful colleagues and students alike, it allows me enough time to slow down and focus both on my teaching and research by developing new, interesting classes that I haven't taught before or revamp older classes that could use a new twist; my classes are able to support my research trajectories - which is great - and the institution offers tremendous research and scholarship support. And of course, finally, there is the stability of a permanent rolling contract (every two years) which if not an outright plan for tenure was the next best thing that I was looking for. I couldn't ask for more.
Nalina and I have worked hard for the best ten years and I think we have both succeeded (she probably more than I! She never ceases to amaze me...) - but we now own our beautiful home, we live in a beautiful part of Pennsylvania with plenty of nature around and a good deal of privacy where we can enjoy ourselves, we can easily drive to my parents to take care of them if need be which is such a blessing for those who have aging parents, and we can still get to Philly or over to NYC on weekends for our cultural fix despite living in the remote wilderness that we do live in, but most of all...things finally settled down where we were able to take root. Being able to say that we've "taken root" in the world of philosophy is truly an accomplishment. As I looked back Nalina and I have been together for ten years and married for nine. I have only had my Ph.D. for seven years. Being able to say we are settled down and have taken root after seven years with the Ph.D. is nothing to sneeze at: I mean, that includes two or more tenure-track position offers in those seven years (there were more but that's a story for a different day), two VAP positions (one of which is now permanent), moving from the Midwest to the Eastcoast and back not just once but twice... I mean, that's alot. It's good to finally be able to settle down and just now finally start to look at myself and say, "Ok, that was where I have been, but where am I now?" What am I doing now and then where do I go from here?
In my next post I plan to journal about "where I'm now" and talk about my current scholarship, what I am reading these days, and what I am thinking about. In a third post I'll try to reflect upon where things might be heading in the future... So stay tuned!
And of course, thanks for reading.
Friday, December 9, 2016
Kop khun mak na kub.
Thursday, December 8, 2016
Uexküll's Stroll through the Worlds of Animals and Men, entry directory
by Corry Shores
[Central Entry Directory]
[Jakob von Uexküll, entry directory]
Uexküll, Jakob von. 1934. Streifzüge durch die Umwelten von Tieren und Menschen: Ein Bilderbuch unsichtbarer Welten. Berlin: Springer.
Uexküll, Jakob von. 1956. Streifzüge durch die Umwelten von Tieren und Menschen: Ein Bilderbuch unsichtbarer Welten. In Streifzüge durch die Umwelten von Tieren und Menschen: Ein Bilderbuch unsichtbarer Welten. Bedeutungslehre, pp.19–101. Hamburg: Rowohlt.
Uexküll, Jakob von. 1957. A Stroll through the Worlds of Animals and Men: A Picture Book of Invisible Worlds. In Instinctive Behavior: The Development of a Modern Concept, pp. 5–80. Edited and translated by Claire H. Schiller. New York: International Universities.
Uexküll, Jakob von. 2010. A Foray into the Worlds of Animals and Humans. In A Foray into the Worlds of Animals and Humans, with A Theory of Meaning, pp.41–135. Translated by Joseph D. O'Neil. London/Minneapolis, Minn.: University of Minnesota Press.
Tuesday, December 6, 2016
Here is the cover for Corrington's forthcoming new book Nature and Nothingness. It looks absolutely phenomenal. I really like the cover art. Content-wise this looks to be Corrington's best yet.