Speculative Philosophy

If you’re looking for a good book to read while enduring the holidays, give this one a try – Donald Phillip Verene, Speculative Philosophy. It is short and crisp. It’s about true speculative philosophy, Hegelian speculative sentence [Satz], but also so much more. Having been rather disappointed by objectological disavowal of speculation (mostly, I think, due to fear of the accusation that it lacks scienticity and seriousness) and the subsequent denial that “speculative realism” describes any real philosophical substance (Bryant’s rather strange proposition that “speculative” in “speculative realism” has as much “speculativeness” as Apple computers have “appleness” – I haven’t checked, but I really hope he erased that post, because it’s just plain wrong to draw this analogy), I turned to Hegel and true speculative philosophy – I’m telling you, dear objectologists, there’s plenty of really exciting philosophical potential in the idea of speculation and “speculative realism” sounds much more philosophically interesting than “object-oriented ontology” – although there is already a conference planned (“inaugural” conference, as Objectologist the Father called it – let the self-aggrandizing begin!) for this “object-oriented ontology” stuff, I think there should be some efforts to revive “speculative realism” now freed from obsessively controlling (and humorless) presence of Father/Son twosome…

Verene’s preface is rather eloquent and makes you want to read the whole thing in one sitting (and you should give it a try) – I’m too lazy to type, so here’s just an image of a couple of paragraphs (click to enlarge): Continue reading

Metaphysics: Unrequited Love and Air-Architecture.

An old observation from Kant came to mind again, while I was quietly contemplating why so many people these days are so enamoured with all things metaphysical – I went back to reread it, and found the book even better than I remembered it (Dreams of a Spirit-Seer):

Metaphysics, which it is my fate to be in love with, even though I cannot boast of having received any favors from her, offers two advantages. [2:367]

This is at the end of chapter two of the second part of the book, a sort of conclusive thought that Kant drops in passing. As is well-known, Dreams of a Spirit-Seer is a strange book which basically reveals Kant’s disillusionment with metaphysics.  Some parts of the book, I think, need to come back and reassert themselves as the interest in metaphysics makes me think of passages like this (from Part I, chapter 3, translation for the linked above old English version): Continue reading

On A Newly Raised Speculative Tone In Philosophy.

Since putting the word “speculative” everywhere is the recent fashion, and if you’re not yet on the wagon, hop on because it’s getting crowded here. Nick of Accursed Share wrote a dense summary-reflection on the state of affairs in the newly minted “speculative realism” and, as always, I have enjoyed reading it very much. Partly because it strikes me as peculiar that we are discussing philosophy as if there was never any Kantian issues (or almost), not really overcoming Kant, but simply going back to the pre-critical phrase, which is, of course, totally fine with me as I don’t see why folks should follow any specific rules in their philosophizing but the basic rules of reasonable discourse, partly because I have been recently rereading some discussions form the 17th and early 18th century and I have to say that the tone is very similar. Take, for example, already mentioned Leibniz-Clarke correspondence: both proponents are able to discuss their positions on a number of important issues without having to propose any new philosophical principles (Leibniz, of course, pushes for his “principle of sufficient reason,” but Clarke is willing to accept it without much fighting). They simply make propositions and proceed to evaluate each other’s opinions and positions based on a sort of common philosophical courtesy of being rational.

Nick writes in the above-mentioned post: Continue reading