This impressive book is characterized by three special virtues: first, it presents difficult philosophical ideas and developments clearly; second, it manifests an unusual and admirable facility with both analytic and continental positions and methodologies; and third, it boasts an extraordinary level of scholarship. My strongest endorsement of Braver’s book is that I dearly wish I’d had it two decades ago.
A Thing of This World is carefully structured, both in terms of Braver’sdiscussion of developments and in his handling of operant ideas and positions. While the substantial structure is clear enough from the Contents page and the Introduction, the basics of the working structure need to be appreciated to insure productive reading. Braver provides a section he labels “Guide to Matrices” at the beginning of the book, in which he articulates twelve fundamental realist and anti-realist theses as well as five other propositions basic to discussion of the philosophers he considers. For example, “R1” is Putnam’s thesis that “the world consists of some fixed totality of mind-independent objects,” and “A1” is Hegel’s thesis that “consciousness will arrive at a point at which it gets rid of its semblance of being burdened with something alien” (xix-xx). Again, a basic proposition is the “Heideggerianparadigm” or “Historical Phenomenological Ontology,” namely, the view that “There is Being only in this or that historical character” (xx). Braver then proceeds in a manner reminiscent of Spinoza, referring back to individual matrix theses and propositions almost entirely as “R3” or “A5” and with initials like “HPO.”
Read the full review here
I read through Markus Gabriel’s essay, “The Mythological Being of Reflection” and was reminded of something I quickly posted a few months ago, “Should Philosophers just wear Labcoats?” I was avoiding grading a stack of papers and found myself quickly purusing Rorty’s Objectivity, Relativism and Truth:
…any academic discipline which wants a place at the trough, but is unable to offer the predictions and the technology provided by the natural sciences, must either pretend to imitate science or find some way of obtaining “cognitive” status without the necessity of discovering facts (35). Continue reading
Interesting results of asking philosophers about stuff.
So a large majority are realists? Where is the supposed hegemony of anti-realists? And now since “speculative realism” is dead or is just a label that was rudely imposed on a few thinkers who never, I say, never would have used the term themselves, it seems that it’s sort of strange that two books about it are just coming out – so sad, the movement is over before its two fundamental texts are out. Someone has to quickly change the names of the books to Away From Speculative Realism and The Speculative Dead End. You are welcome, humanity.
UPDATE (June 2010): A review of Lee Braver’s book in NDPR can be found here.
POSTS RELATED TO THE READING GROUP:
6/7 (Sunday) – we are a week away from the launch of this reading group and I am told there are some copies of the book available at amazon.com if you are interested in joining in. If you are looking for a deal on the book, check over here to see if you can get the book a bit cheaper.
6/15 – Introduction (by Mikhail Emelianov) and Chapter 1 (by Jon Cogburn) and A Rejoinder (by Mikhail Emelianov) and A Response (by Lee Braver)
6/16 – We get a nod from Leiter Reports.
6/22 – Chapter 2: Kant’s Revolution + a short digression (by Mikhail Emelianov) and A Rejoinder (by Jon Cogburn) and A Response (by Lee Braver)
6/29 – Chapter 3: Hegel: The Truth of the Whole (by Jon Cogburn) and A Rejoinder (by Mikhail Emelianov) and A Response (by Lee Braver)
7/6 – Chapter 4: Nietzsche’s Will to Truth (by Mikhail Emelianov)
7/13 – Chapter 5: Early Heidegger: Fundamental Ontology (by Jon Cogburn) and A Rejoinder (by Mikhail Emelianov) and A Related Post (by Gary Williams)
7/20 – Chapter 6: Later Heidegger: “The Great Turning Around” (by Mikhail Emelianov) with A Rejoinder (by Gary Williams)
7/27 – Chapter 7: Foucault’s History of Truth (by Jon Cogburn) with A Rejoinder I (by John Protevi) and
8/3 – Chapter 8: Derrida.