Book Announcement: Object-Oriented Philosophy

Posted in Uncategorized on September 19, 2014 by deontologistics

I promised an exciting announcement, and here it is. As anyone who has read this blog for a while knows, I have a long history with Object-Oriented Philosophy/Ontology, having criticised it quite extensively on this blog before (see here). I even published an article on it two years ago, titled ‘The Noumenon’s New Clothes’ (see here), which was quite optimistically subtitled ‘Part I’. I’m sure some people have been wondering what happened to Part II. The answer is that it got a bit out of hand, and the two part article grew into a full length book, which is about to be published by Urbanomic as part of their excellent new set of titles.

Of course, this might strike some people as overkill, but I’m quite proud of the book. It is a pretty scathing critique of Harman’s work, but it is more than just this. At the very least, it makes sense of certain metaphysical issues that OOP/O overlooks in its rush to speculate; locates OOP/O in a wider philosophical trend that I name ontological liberalism; and presents an account of the history of philosophy from Kant onwards that explains the evolution of correlationism, while incorporating both analytic and continental traditions. It also has a postscript written by Ray Brassier (‘Speculative Autopsy’), in which he gives us the last word on ‘Speculative Realism’. I thoroughly recommend you all pre-order it now!

P.S. I’ve also written the entries on ‘The Necessity of Contingency’ and ‘Ray Brassier’ in the forthcoming Meillassoux Dictionary

Online Course: Reintroduction to Metaphysics

Posted in Uncategorized on September 18, 2014 by deontologistics

Good news everyone! The New Centre for Research and Practice has asked me to teach an online course as part of their grand experiment in online pedagogy. In contrast to my more recent online offerings in which I’ve been dealing with issues in philosophy of mind, artificial intelligence, freedom, and beauty, I’m returning to some earlier theme explored on this blog under the heading ‘Reintroduction to Metaphysics’. This is a two part course, each half of which will consist in four weekly two and a half hour seminars, which will be roughly evenly split between lecturing and group discussion over google hangouts. This will be supplemented by structured online discussion over google classroom. There are a limited number of spaces available for those who want to take full part in the course, which includes involvement in the group discussions and essay assessment, but anyone who likes can pay to audit the course in real time or after the fact. For more information on dates, times, prices, and whatnot please consult the new centre page or the facebook page for the course. For more information on the content of the course, see the brief outline below.

I will also have another exciting announcement later this week, with any luck.

Reintroduction to Metaphysics

The end of metaphysics was a dominant theme in early 20th century philosophy. Even though the Western philosophical tradition sundered in two, one of the few things its analytic and continental halves seemed to agree upon was that the age of metaphysics was over, either because physics had finally usurped it or because philosophy had finally rooted out the pathological desires which drove us to speak of the fundamental structure of reality. The resurgence of metaphysics in the second half of the century in both traditions certainly came as a surprise, even if it has taken till the turn of the 21st century to become ingrained in both camps. However, despite it’s increasing popularity, there remains much confusion about precisely what metaphysics is: How does it sit within philosophy as a whole? How does it relate to the sciences (especially physics)? How do we go about doing it?

The purpose of this module is to reintroduce metaphysics by considering these sorts of methodological questions, and to do so by explaining the history of its rise, fall, and rise again. It will be broken into two halves:

Part I: The Speculative Return

We will begin by examining the return of speculative metaphysics, focusing primarily upon the advent of ‘Speculative Realism’ and its ramifications. This will provide us with a way of framing the historical arc of the decline of metaphysics (correlationism) and some purchase upon what has potentially been overlooked in the drive to speculate (the critique of metaphysics). We will address certain issues in contemporary metaphysics, but tour principal aim will be to construct a historical narrative through which to articulate the methodological questions these raise.

Part II: Metaphysics and Method

We will open by consolidating the methodological issues discussed in the first part, and attempt to present an account of what metaphysics is. This will provide answers to the most pressing questions regarding the philosophical role of metaphysics (e.g., its relation to science) and a methodology for orienting ourselves towards specific metaphysical questions (e.g., the problem of universals). We will then address a number of these specific questions, examining classical and contemporary debates on a number of topics from within this new methodological framework.

Some Translations

Posted in Uncategorized on August 31, 2014 by deontologistics

This is a short post to point people at some translations of my work done by some really fantastic people. I am in awe of people who take the time and effort to translate philosophy into other languages, as I have some understanding of how necessary and how thankless a task it is, but I am doubly in awe of anyone who translates my work to make it accessible to another audience. I am embarrassingly monolingual, and am grateful for any opportunity to engage with non-English speaking audiences.

Anyway, here are the relevant pieces:

1) My ‘Ariadne’s Thread’ paper on Deleuze’s metaphysics, translated into Spanish by Leonardo Bahamondes (here)

2) My ‘So, Accelerationism, what’s all that about?’ post from tumblr responding to Malcom Harris’ review of the #Accelerate reader, also translated into Spanish, this time by Giancarlo Sandoval (here)

3) The first part of the 5th Chapter of my PhD thesis on Heidegger, translated into Serbian by Milan Markovic (here)

PAF Seminar Q&A

Posted in Uncategorized on August 27, 2014 by deontologistics

Here is a follow up Q&A session I just did over google hangouts responding to questions about my PAF seminars. Hopefully it addresses a few things I couldn’t cram in to the talks themselves.

Get Reassembled: PAF Seminars

Posted in Uncategorized on August 20, 2014 by deontologistics

I’ve just gotten back to the UK from France after visiting PAF, as part of Get Reassembled: Time, Intelligence, Acceleration. This was a really fantastic event, and I can’t thank the organisers enough (Amy Ireland, Katrina Burch, and Deanna Khamis; with special mentions to Lendl Barcelos and Ben Woodard) for putting it together and inviting me to contribute. My contribution took the form of three seminars, which were very graciously streamed and recorded by The New Centre for Research and Practice. The seminars covered a lot of work I’ve been doing in various areas for several years, a good deal of which is catalogued here on deontologistics, but which I haven’t before had the chance to present in a unified form. As such, it is only fitting that I present them here, along with links to the reading I recommended for those attending them. The first two seminars are around 2 hours each, though the last is over 3 hours, partly because of the need to pull together the disparate ideas into a coherent thesis, but also because of some very good questions and subsequent discussions initiated by the participants. This is a lot to watch, but some of you might find the whole thing to be worth the effort.

Freedom, Reason, and AGI 

Required: http://www.theguardian.com/science/2012/oct/03/philosophy-artificial-intelligence 

Required: http://deontologistics.wordpress.com/2013/03/06/freedom-renewed/

Optional: http://deontologistics.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/metzinger-paper-uwe.pdf 

Desire, Autonomy, and Capital

Required: The first two sections of this post: http://deontologistics.wordpress.com/2011/04/22/comments-on-capitalist-realism-part-1/ 

Required: http://deontologistics.tumblr.com/post/91953882443/so-accelerationism-whats-all-that-about

Optional: The rest of the CR post and http://incrediblemachines.info/respondents/wolfendale/ 

Beauty, Justice, and Acceleration

Required: http://deontologistics.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/art-kettle-review.pdf

Optional: http://deontologistics.wordpress.com/2012/01/02/for-the-love-of-spinoza/ 

Optional: http://deontologistics.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/wolfendalefreedom.m4a

The Systemic Problems of Contemporary Academia

Posted in Discussion, Theory on July 6, 2014 by deontologistics

Since the beginning of the Emancipation as Navigation Summer school, I have had numerous discussions with people about the state of contemporary philosophy, and the state of contemporary academia more generally. Some of my thoughts on the matter are expressed in the posts on the Transmodern Philosophy blog accompanying the Summer school, and others were expressed during the first public panel. I’ve had numerous questions put to me about the perspective out of which these thoughts were developed, as people have rightly surmised that there’s a certain systematic account of academia underlying them, but this is an account that I’ve never actually published in any public forum. I did begin writing something on this topic just over two years ago, an essay somewhat ambitiously titled ‘The Systemic Problems of Contemporary Academia and their Solution’, but, although I was quite happy with my analysis of the problems, it turned out to be much harder to articulate their solutions (somewhat unsurprisingly). This isn’t to say that I didn’t (or don’t) have some ideas about this, but rather that the amount of effort required to seriously think them through within the framework I’d laid out was too great to justify spending the time on it (ironically, for reasons well explained in the problems section). Despite some abortive attempts to rework the material with the brilliant Fabio Gironi, I haven’t done anything with the portion of the essay that was completed. It seems to me that now is as good a time as any to put it out here, to give some background to the things I’ve said elsewhere, and to encourage some more discussion about the predicament we philosophers and academics find ourselves in.

—— Continue reading

Transmodern Philosophy

Posted in Announcement, Heads Up on June 26, 2014 by deontologistics

For those of you who don’t yet know, I have spent the last few months organising a Summer school at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin with Armen Avanessian and Reza Negarestani. The revised program for the Summer school with links to the recommended readings is now available (here). I can now also reveal that there will be a blog (Transmodern Philosophy) on the 60pages curation platform that is beginning today (Navigating the Philosophical Landscape), and which will provide some opening thoughts along with ongoing commentary on the various seminars over the course of the school.

UPDATE: I accidentally updated a draft version of the new programme rather than the finished one. The link has now been changed.

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