Archive for April, 2016

Update: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Posted in Uncategorized on April 18, 2016 by deontologistics

<insert usual apologies about lack of substantial posts>

Now that that’s out the way I can update you all about a few important developments.

Good: After several years of unsuccessful applications, I’ve landed a postdoctoral research fellowship at the University of Johannesburg. In the long term, this should mean more writing (hopefully some of it here on the blog), but in the short term it means I’m busying myself with the ins and outs of moving to South Africa. There will be a chance to catch me giving a few talks before I leave Europe though:

  1. I’ll be speaking at Prometheanism 2.0 at the Dutch Art Institute in Arnhem on the 1st of May.
  2. For UK people, I’ll be giving the same paper a few days later in the Visual Cultures department at Goldsmiths on the 5th of May.
  3. I’ll also be speaking at the Continental and Analytic Kantianism conference organised by Fabio Gironi on the 15th-17th of June.

Bad: I have regrettably had to cancel my New Centre Course on Art and Value. I was looking forward to the course, and I’m sad I won’t have the chance to work through material with the wonderful students of the NCRP. Hopefully I’ll still get a chance to work out some of these ideas at some point in the future.


I don’t think I’ve said much about the book or its reception on here since the incident with Jon Cogburn a while back. Urbanomic recently put up a transcript of an interview I did at the book launch, which explains some of my thoughts on it. I’m still pleased with the book overall, both as a polemic and as a commentary on various issues in metaphysics and philosophy more generally. However, some might wonder whether I’m still happy with the tone of the book, given the seeming importance such considerations had in previous blog debates, and Jon’s visceral reaction to my use of the word ‘pathological’ in the preface.

One of the most interesting things about Jon’s reaction was his reference (in the comments) to “Brassier’s people”and their insidious influence upon me (presumably through the medium of dubstep). This shadowy organisation surrounding Ray Brassier has been around for a while, variously called ‘the neurology death cult’, ‘retroactive bootlicks of scientific work’, and most recently “sneering “dark” rationalists who are really only dark in the sense that a Grim Reaper Halloween costume is dark.” They also go by various permutations of ‘scientism’, ‘nihilism’, ‘eliminativism’, ‘pessimism’, in combination with sundry negative adjectives and faux-renegade imagery. Their modus operandi is to destroy all that is wholesome and good in Continental philosophy, through a combination of perfidious science worship and mellifluous brainwashing of impressionable grad students. Fortunately, Graham Harman has done his best to bring the tenebrous antics of this hidden cabal to light over the years, bravely divulging its secret names in various blog posts, and carefully warning students of its dubstep mind control…

…and that’s about as much sarcasm as I can manage for the moment. As the above link indicates, respectful tone has never really been as high on Harman’s list of priorities as he suggests. My book contains some fairly acerbic remarks, but at least they emerge from a serious philosophical engagement.

If you are really interested in insidious philosophical influence, I suggest looking into OOO’s ongoing penetration of the artworld (e.g., this recent overview and this recent piece by Tim Morton). If you want to see my most caustic comments on where this influence might lead, Urbanomic have generously made available the hyperbolic reading of OOP at the end of my book.