Oracular Realism

Certain realists (or, rather, “realists”) simply proclaim what the world is like, what it consists of, what sort of stuff is real (or, rather, “real”) – without even a hint of argumentation or even decency of explaining how they arrived at such conclusions. I propose to call this form of realism (or, rather, “realism”) oracular realism. Continue reading

Žižek Žižek

One of the weirdest things in Žižek’s books is the large amount of editorial failures – and I don’t mean the editors who read his books, I doubt such people exist or have any say in the matter. I mean the sorts of errors where he repeats himself word-for-word. I almost gave up while reading Less Than Nothing, but finally we have one only 200 pages in:

In the same way, a radical revolution does (what previously appeared as) the impossible and thereby creates its own precursors—this, perhaps, is the most succinct definition of what an authentic act is. Such an act proper should be located in the trilogy etc etc [209]

But what about the retroactivity of a gesture which (re)constitutes this past itself? This, perhaps, is the most succinct definition of what an authentic act is: in our ordinary activity, we effectively just follow etc etc [214]

Only 5 pages apart. Repeated down to “perhaps” and the italicized “act” – too much cutting and pasting, I suspect. I really hope that his next book is 2000 pages in 3 volumes.

Reading Žižek’s Less Than Nothing (1)

Having been away from blogging for a good year or two, I realized that the positive side of that entire endeavor we undertook in 2007 was, in addition to mocking various laughable philosophical trends (there are always many), the chance to write things down for one’s own convenience. I miss that part. Other authors of this glorious outfit found other ways of expressing themselves, but I keep coming back to PE, not willing to just abandon it. I stopped blogging because it became impossible to avoid a certain group of topics. It still is but one must try and move on. The insidious activity of those who took it upon themselves to discredit me and others connected to this venture succeeded only partially in that the vile (and untrue) slander they spread (and are still spreading) only revealed the inherent insecurities of the authors and propagators themselves. As these “scholars” are entering the public sphere in a more or less traditional sense, more and more people come to the same realization that I already had several years ago – these aren’t very pleasant men, they aren’t interested in philosophy as such, their ideas are full of ridiculous holes, they will do (and have done) anything it takes to take down their real and imaginary opponents. And yet they do not quite live up to the level of Shakespearian villains. They are mostly one-dimensional souls, with their own hang-ups and shortcomings. And that’s what makes them human…

Now to Reading Žižek’s Less Than NothingContinue reading

A sincere question (about Meillassoux)

I raised this question on Twitter yesterday, and I’m still curious: Does Quentin Meillassoux represent such a sea-change in philosophy he needs a book introducing his, er, one book, and handful of articles? Really, I’m not being sarcastic or snarky, but am asking this question in good faith because I’m genuinely perplexed.  Here’s the blurb:

…a unique study of the fastest-rising star in French philosophy since Derrida in the 1960s: Meillassoux. He discusses a broad range of his work, which includes After Finitude, and some of his remarkable yet unpublished work, such as L’Inexistence Divine, all of which assure his prominent position in the London-based speculative realism movement. Continue reading

File Under…

…Things I don’t care about.

Just got this, which didn’t make it through the comment filter (note that he’s making a MAJOR appearance, not just a mere appearance AND the stupid invocation to “hide your tulips.” Ack):

Greetings from Verso Books NYC! Please help us promote this great event by posting it to your blog or adding it to your organization’s calendar of events.

Thanks for your time and support!

Verso Books
Brooklyn, NY

Slavoj Žižek reveals the signs of the coming apocalypse… Continue reading

A Boring CFP Post: North American Levinas Society

Sixth Annual Conference and Meeting
“Celebrating Totality and Infinity at 50”
May 1-3, 2011 | Texas A&M University

Call for Papers

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the publication of Totality and Infinity, the North American Levinas Society invites submissions of individual paper and panel proposals for our sixth annual meeting and conference, hosted by Texas A&M University, to be held May 1-3, 2011. We are especially interested in organizing the conference around considerations of Totality and Infinity, with regard to both its historical framework and relevant contemporary readings and questions that the work continues to engender. Although preference will be given to papers that address the conference theme, papers and panels on any topic related to Levinas will be considered. Continue reading

New Agamben translation (and annoying ploys to sell books)

I noticed the other week that Stanford UP is publishing a translation of some of Giorgio Agamben’s essays, entitled Nudities, next month. Here’s the blurb:

Encompassing a wide range of subjects, the ten masterful essays gathered here may at first appear unrelated to one another. In truth, Giorgio Agamben’s latest book is a mosaic of his most pressing concerns. Take a step backward after reading it from cover to cover, and a world of secret affinities between the chapters slowly comes into focus. Take another step back, and it becomes another indispensable piece of the finely nuanced philosophy that Agamben has been patiently constructing over four decades of sustained research.

Perhaps I’m being cynical, but this seems like a mere ploy to sell books, and frankly, it’s annoying.  That is to say, I think the text in bold needs to be translated: “The essays are admittedly loosely related non-sequiters, in fact, the only connection is that they are written by the same personThat said, suckers like Ozeri and Emelianov will purchase the book, nonetheless due to the cult of personality, or popularity of Agamben.  Readers will have to make all the connections on their own, we basically threw together these essays.”

Maybe that’s too harsh, but really, what’s wrong with saying we liked these essays and we’re publishing them all together?  Read the rest of the blurb here

Phenomenology and Naturalism

With regards to the business of naturalizing phenomenology, or more minimally, the relation between naturalism and phenomenology, I think the  stakes are highest when the status of the transcendental is broached.  That is to say, without the transcendental phenomenology becomes sort of like beer without alcohol.  I don’t have any answers to such questions, but for some reason I’ve been thinking (obsessing or maybe fretting) about such things all day.  Anyway, it’s well known that Husserl was somewhat hostile to naturalism.  Here’s a well known passage from Ideas I: Continue reading

Higher Education?

In an otherwise confused and incomprehensible discussion about academic life in the NY Times, Mark C Taylor made one comment that I actually agree with: “Nothing represses the free expression of ideas more than the long and usually fruitless quest for tenure.” I’ll leave aside whether or  not it’s a fruitless quest, but Andrew Hacker makes a similar case in The Atlantic.

A lot of the pressure to publish is tied in with the pressure to earn tenure. You argue that tenure actually doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do—it doesn’t preserve academic freedom.

Here’s what happens. Academics typically don’t get tenured until the age of 40. This means that from their years as graduate students and then assistant professors, from age 25 through 38 or 39, they have to toe the line. They have to do things in the accepted way that their elders and superiors require. They can’t be controversial and all the rest. So tenure is, in fact, the enemy of spontaneity, the enemy of intellectual freedom. We’ve seen this again and again. And even people who get tenure really don’t change. They keep on following the disciplinary mode they’ve been trained to follow. Continue reading

New Open Access Kant Journal

A new open-access, peer reviewed Kant journal, Kant Studies Online.  Details:

Kant Studies Online publishes articles written in English on all aspects of Kant’s works including historically informed studies, applications of Kantian thought to contemporary problems, the relationship between Kantian and Neo-Kantian thinking, and detailed scholarly works on interpretation of Kant’s works. It will also include review articles of secondary works on Kant. An issue of the journal will be deemed to exist whenever an accepted article is published. The journal is edited by Gary Banham in association with an editorial board and is published in the spirit of the open access movement. Whilst its target audience is academic philosophers and students it aims to attract non-academic readers by making all its material freely available without restriction.

(h/t Self and World)