Project-Oriented Philosophy


UPDATE: Reid of Planomenology takes on some of the issues in his recent post here.

The recent surge of project-oriented philosophy and its bellicose denial of such wonderful things as procrastination and idleness* made me think about a number of issues, but primarily about the projected work ethic of such philosophical attitude – why should one get a project and why does this attitude remind me so much of a “time is money” late capitalist attitude of middle managers trying to get as much value from their employees as possible?  In other words, what are the ideological underpinnings of such drive for productivity and originality?  Is it possible that an unexplored dimension of such calls for philosophical productivity is a simple influence of late capitalist model of production where original ideas are commodities to be exchanged for higher and higher academic positions and philosophical “work ethic” is a new religion of producing as much philosophical capital as possible in order to justify one’s existence as a philosopher?

Luc Boltanski and Eve Chiapello argue in their excellent The New Spirit of Capitalism that we are looking at a new ideological mode, a new (third) capitalist spirit: Continue reading

On Productivity (By Personal Example)


Graham Harman gives excellent advice to the people (as in “Advice to the People” – I suggest he initiates a series until this title) concerning productivity and I think he hits some great points in the process: 

Why do I enter upon this topic, in a genre somewhere between confession and advice column? Because people in the intellectual sphere generally do not help each other enough. This blog has occasionally taken a personal turn, and may as well do so again here. Some of the most brilliant people I’ve met in academic life were unproductive for a time, and many of them remained thus forever without end. 

The rest is here.