Dialectical Insurgency

As anyone who has been reading this blog for any length of time knows, brevity is not one of my virtues. I’m quite pleased with the whole project of Deontologistics, and still plan to continue posting the sorts of long pieces that it’s known for (albeit less frequently than I used to). However, I’ve come to realise the benefit of having a space to express thoughts that are too long for twitter (@deontologistics) but too short or ill-formed for me to be comfortable posting them here. At the same time, although I have occasionally touched on topics that extend beyond pure philosophy, this blog is very much a philosophy blog, and I’m reluctant to use it to take positions on questions of politics, art, and other issues.

For these reasons, I’ve opened up a new tumblr blog, Dialectical Insurgency, with the aim of encouraging myself to share (and thus formulate) shorter and more in-progress ideas on a variety of topics.  I’ve just put up some thoughts on cognitive economics and stress that’ve been floating around in my brain for a while now. I hope some of you might find it interesting.

5 Responses to “Dialectical Insurgency”

  1. Paul Smart Says:

    Those are some really interesting ideas Pete. I take it you’re familiar with Bert Dreyfus’ suggestion that understanding the world in terms of resources is the ‘postmodern’ understanding of being – and with that, the superego injunction becomes maximization of our possibilities. (HAL from 2001: “I am completely operational, and all my circuits are functioning perfectly. I am putting myself to the fullest possible use, which is all I think that any conscious entity can ever hope to do”).

    The distinction between cognitive and non-cognitive resources – but
    it’s also *strange* to those with modern sensibilities – you’re running together affects and background enabling conditions. And you’re selling this non-cognitive matter as stuff we can HEAR – SENSIBLE matter – I love it! The rider I suspect is that the matter also contains INTELLIGIBLE differences. Latour’s Modes of Existence project, and Merleau-Ponty’s distinction between the visible and the invisible, are coming for the materialists😉.

    Unlike your other more philosophical work, this stuff will be straightforwardly intelligible to non-philosophers. There’s also philosophical work that backs it up – Stanley and Williamson’s analysis of know-how as propositional knowledge allows us to bring practical knowledge (skill) into formalist cog-sci, so this stuff should definitely have some force.

    But, your aesthetic decisions, Pete, are likely to dissuade people from reading it – “Dialectical Insurgency” a sexy title isn’t. Cognitive economics sounds to me like a good way of steering management culture away from neoliberal stupidity – there are clear ethical demands that follow from making explicit the cog/non-cog elements of the social world, it’s not a radicalism of any kind. The division of labour can’t be thought of as between theory and practice any longer, rather as between thinking and doing.

    A question – how do you think that putting cognitive-economic ideas into practice would actually affect stress? You’re proposing a functional theory of stress, but it seems to me that some of the elements of cognitive resources are products of the human situation – the metaphysical nature of time is massively controversial, attentional capacities depend upon embodiment. It seems to me that that giving people more theoretical control over their ‘attention’, particularly the kinds of individuals who are high up in management (lacking in empathy), could be harmful, even politically dangerous.

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