Hierarchy of Objects, or, Fuck Posthumanism

Look here. I know it’s a sexy new trend to talk about post-humanism and how humans are not as important and so on, but when it comes to it, everyone knows that it is not the case, nor should it be the case. Humans are still around and they are the most important component of reality. Does it mean we must destroy environment and kill nonhuman animals in order to achieve the highest level of human satisfaction? Not at all. Or, at the very least, not under all circumstances. If humans are objects (in a neutral sense), then they are the most important objects; there is a hierarchy of objects. There is no equality among objects – some are important and some are not. I do not care for the chair I am sitting on, I do care for those who built it.

All the idiotic bafflement regarding such anthropocentrism is hypocritical posturing. We are, as humans, always after our own survival and prosperity. We care for nonhumans only by extension. When all human conflicts are resolved and settled, we will still be struggling against nature, against the limitations of our physical states, against that which is nonhuman.


[UPDATE] This looks sufficiently thick and academic and controversial…

I am wondering if there is a good book on Venetian presence in Dalmatia that a reader might be aware of and recommend to me. Venice controlled everything there from 1420 until its demise in 1797. There has to be a good history of the region out there, right?

On What Critique Really Entails

Jodi Dean wrote a short post on critique some time ago that everyone loved (read, reposted) it and surely to critique that post is to live up to the stereotypes that are decried in it. Readers in the comments, of course, praised her positive assessment of the state of critique and so on. The “uncritical acceptance of the value of critique” and so on. Mostly by critique here is meant something very simple like “criticizing someone’s position” – obviously any position can be criticized for any reason. However, it seems that the assumption in critique is always that of correction, otherwise it is not a critique but a dismissal. When I dismiss something as unrealistic or idiotic, I do not critique/criticize it. I couldn’t care less about certain realms of political or philosophical activity. I dismiss them with whatever dismissive gesture I manage to formulate – my dismissal is not final, but it is a definitive gesture of non-engagement. Critique does not entail dismissal but engagement with the material that is being critiqued – critique is thus a form of engagement. There are of course other forms of engagement with material, but critique, in my judgment, is the best form of engagement for the following simple reasons:  Continue reading

Borges on Critique

I agree with Borges’ sentiment here. However, my own tirade would simply be a bunch of ad hominem attacks, for the most part.

Any time something is written against me, I not only share the sentiment but feel I could do the job far better myself. Perhaps I should advise would-be enemies to send me their grievances beforehand, with full assurance that they will receive my every aid and support. I have even secretly longed to write, under a pen name, a merciless tirade against myself.

Philosophy, Rotten Meta-Theory, Bullshit

Skholiast (Speculum Criticum Traditionis) has an interesting post about bullshit and philosophy, prompted in part by Rogers Albritton’s remarks about rotten meta-theory (discussed here):

The bullshitter, as the one who is, not a liar, but indifferent to whether their utterances are true or false, is in some way the inverse of the poet (who “Nothing affirmeth and therefore never lieth”), because this indifference is not a sublimation in the service of something higher (and to which one must metaphorically extend the category truth), but a willful repression for the sake of something lower (reputation, career, getting the sex object into bed).

One of the greatest struggles I have, philosophically speaking, is wedding the seriousness of philosophy with the humility incumbent upon finitude. This constantly risks a kind of bullshit, as Albritton sees; one devotes a love to work one cannot ultimately believe in. (It is here that I’d locate the close kinship between philosophy and scientific method, which must also remain corrigible.

Or as Faulker so aptly put it, “”The measure of a writer isn’t success,  but how hard he tried to do what he knew he couldn’t do.”

Most things are ignored, actually.

A silly story from CNN: “Survey: 71 percent of tweets are ignored:”

Ever feel like you’re talking to a brick wall on Twitter? That might be because 71 percent of tweets get absolutely no response from the world. Toronto-based social media analytics company Sysomos scanned 1.2 billion messages that were sent in August and September 2009 to try and get some idea of the kind of conversations that are going on.

They discovered that more than seven in every 10 tweets sink without any kind of reaction from the world. Of the remainder, just 6 percent get retweeted, and 92 percent of those retweets occur within the first hour. Multiplying those probabilities together means that fewer than one in 200 messages get retweeted after an hour’s gone by. Essentially, once that hour’s up, your message is ancient history. That leaves 23 percent of messages that get an @reply. Drilling down, Sysomos found that 85 percent of replied-to messages get just one reply, 10.7 percent get two, and just 1.53 percent get three replies. Similarly to retweets, 96.9 percent of @replies are posted within an hour of the original tweet.

It’s not clear how the company treated messages that were both replied-to and retweeted. The company also commissioned an animated visualization of the data. In this video, the spiral represents time, with the size of the blue dot representing the number of retweets and replies to that tweet. Following one dot over time, you should see it slowly grow as it gets replied-to and retweeted. Continue reading

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

Thomas Bernhard…

I just this morning started reading Thomas Bernhard’s novel, Wittgenstein’s Nephew, and came across this passage, which made me laugh out loud:

Of all medical practitioners, psychiatrists are the most incompetent, having a closer affinity to the sex killer than to their science.  All my life I have dreaded nothing so much as falling into the hands of psychiatrists, beside whom all other doctors, disasrous though they may be, are far less dangerous, for in our present day society psychiatrists are a low unto themselves and enjoy total immunity…Psychiatrists are the real demons of our age, going about their business with impunity and constrained by niether law nor conscience (8).

If you haven’t read Bernhard, you should. Bernhard’s books are unlike books that are, I don’t know, separated into paragraphs, or even chapters, or have some sort of visual structure. Bernhard also tends to put certain phrases in italics,  and repeat them over and over again.  Although I know that others I’ve given Bernhard books to read can’t get into him at all, I generally find myself sucked in early on by the unyileding prose. At first it’s somewhat exhausting, if not disorienting, but well worth it.   I read Correction a few years back, followed by Extinction. I enjoyed both books quite a bit.