New Year’s greetings to everyone. Sorry there hasn’t been much up here in a while. For those of you who don’t know, I’m teaching an online course for the New Centre for Research and Practice titled ‘Reintroduction to Metaphysics’. The first half of the module, ‘The Speculative Return’, which dealt with the history of metaphysics, its 20th century decline, and its return to popularity within the Continental tradition, took place last year. The second half, ‘Method and Practice’, which will attempt to say something positive about the methodology of metaphysics and tackle a few specific metaphysical topics, is starting next week, and there’s still time to sign up to take it or audit it if you’re interested. For those who are curious, the syllabus is available here.
For those of you who may not be aware, myself and Armen Avanessian organised a Summer school on ‘Emancipation as Navigation‘ at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in July. This involved seminars given by Reza Negarestani, Armen, myself, Anke Hennig, James Trafford, Deneb Kozikoski, Nick Srnicek, Lucca Fraser, Benedict Singleton, Helen Hester, and Ray Brassier, and a bunch of fantastic participants.
Some of these participants (most notably Benjamin Tippin) have now set up a blog to host the available audio of the event, and have started with the audio of my seminars. Unfortunately, not everyone wants their seminars made publicly available, but given some more audio magic (courtesy of Lendl Barcelos) there should be more audio made available soon, and maybe even some thoughts from the other participants.
Jon Cogburn recently received a review copy of my forthcoming book on Graham Harman’s Object-Oriented Philosophy, the preface for which is already available online (here). On Friday, he decided to pre-empt his review by commenting on this “crapulent” preface, and the correspondingly “obnoxious” postscript written by Ray Brassier (here). The comments are most definitely negative, and have been further reinforced by Graham Harman (here). Daniel Sacilotto has already contested these comments (here), as have a number of people (most importantly my editor, Robin Mackay) on the comments thread (here), but I feel compelled to say something in response myself, if only because of the way Jon’s post positions me. Continue reading
Hello again. Just popping in to provide some follow ups to the most recent news:-
1. For those of you anywhere near the North East of England, or willing to travel, there is going to be a launch party for my upcoming book with Urbanomic (‘Object-Oriented Philosophy: The Noumenon’s New Clothes’) at the BALTIC in Gateshead on the 7th of November. There will be a discussion with me about the book that should be streamed via Google hangouts and open to contributions from twitter and G+ for those people who can’t make it. More details can be found here.
2. For those of you interested in taking or auditing my course with the New Centre for Research and Practice (‘Reintroduction to Metaphysics’), the syllabus for the first half has just gone online over on the facebook page. It contains all the readings along with the dates and titles of the four sessions.
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
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.
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)