Filed under journal | Tags: · materialism, ontology, philosophy, speculative realism
With this special issue of Speculations, the editors wanted to challenge the contested term “speculative realism,”offering scholars who have some involvement with it a space to voice their opinions of the network of ideas commonly associated with the name. Whilst undoubtedly born under speculative realist auspices, Speculations has never tried to be the gospel of a dogmatic speculative realist church, but rather instead to cultivate the best theoretical lines sprouting from the resurgence, in the last few years, of those speculative and realist concerns attempting to break free from some of the most stringent constraints of critique. Sociologist Randall Collins observed that, unlike other fields of intellectual inquiry, “[p]hilosophy has the peculiarity of periodically shifting its own grounds, but always in the direction of claiming or at least seeking the standpoint of greatest generality and importance.” If this is the case, to deny that a shift of grounds has indeed become manifest in these early decades of the twenty-first century would be, at best, a sign of a severe lack of philosophical sensitivity. On the other hand, whether or not this shift has been towards greater importance (and in respect to what?) is not only a legitimate but a necessary question to ask.
Whatever the intrinsic value in the name, the contributors to this volume have all engaged, more or less directly, with a critical analysis of the vices and virtues of “speculative realism”: from the extent to which its adversarial stance towards previous philosophical stances is justified to whether it succeeds (or fails) to address satisfactorily the concerns that ostensibly motivate it, through to an assessment of the methods of dissemination of its core ideas. The contributions are divided in two sections, titled “Reflections” and “Proposals,” describing, with some inevitable overlap, two kinds of approach to the question of speculative realism: one geared towards its retrospective and its critical appraisal, and the other concerned with the positive proposition of alternative or parallel approaches to it. It is believed that the final result, in its heterogeneity, will be of better service to the philosophical community than a dubiously univocal descriptive recapitulation of “speculative realist tenets.”
Edited by Michael Austin, Paul John Ennis, Fabio Gironi, Thomas Gokey, and Robert Jackson
Publisher Punctum Books, Brooklyn/NY, June 2013
Filed under book | Tags: · ontology, philosophy, philosophy of technology, technical object, technology, transduction, transindividual
The first sustained exploration of Simondon’s work to be published in English.
This collection of essays, including one by Simondon himself, outlines the central tenets of Simondon’s thought, the implication of his thought for numerous disciplines and his relationship to other thinkers such as Heidegger, Deleuze and Canguilhem.
Complete with a contextualising introduction and a glossary of technical terms, it offers an entry point to this important thinker and will appeal to people working in philosophy, philosophy of science, media studies, social theory and political philosophy.
Gilbert Simondon’s work has recently come to prominence in America and around the Anglophone world, having been of great importance in France for many years.
Contributors: Miguel de Beistegui, Elizabeth Grosz, Anne Sauvagnargues, Bernard Stiegler, Igor Krtolica, Jean-Hugues Barthélémy, Yves Michaud, Sean Bowden, Dominique Lecourt, and the editors.
Edited by Arne De Boever, Alex Murray, Jon Roffe, Ashley Woodward
Publisher Edinburgh University Press, 2012
ISBN 074864525X, 9780748645251
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Filed under book | Tags: · animals, biology, metaphysics, ontology, philosophy, plants
The margins of philosophy are populated by non-human, non-animal living beings, including plants. While contemporary philosophers tend to refrain from raising ontological and ethical concerns with vegetal life, Michael Marder puts this life at the forefront of the current deconstruction of metaphysics. He identifies the existential features of plant behavior and the vegetal heritage of human thought so as to affirm the potential of vegetation to resist the logic of totalization and to exceed the narrow confines of instrumentality. Reconstructing the life of plants “after metaphysics,” Marder focuses on their unique temporality, freedom, and material knowledge or wisdom. In his formulation, “plant-thinking” is the non-cognitive, non-ideational, and non-imagistic mode of thinking proper to plants, as much as the process of bringing human thought itself back to its roots and rendering it plantlike.
With a Foreword by Gianni Vattimo and Santiago Zabala
Publisher Columbia University Press, New York, 2013
ISBN 0231161255, 9780231161251
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Filed under book | Tags: · epistemology, hermeneutics, history, melancholia, memory, microhistory, ontology, philosophy, time
Why do major historical events such as the Holocaust occupy the forefront of the collective consciousness, while profound moments such as the Armenian genocide, the McCarthy era, and France’s role in North Africa stand distantly behind? Is it possible that history “overly remembers” some events at the expense of others? A landmark work in philosophy, Paul Ricœur’s Memory, History, Forgetting examines this reciprocal relationship between remembering and forgetting, showing how it affects both the perception of historical experience and the production of historical narrative.
Memory, History, Forgetting, like its title, is divided into three major sections. Ricœur first takes a phenomenological approach to memory and mnemonical devices. The underlying question here is how a memory of present can be of something absent, the past. The second section addresses recent work by historians by reopening the question of the nature and truth of historical knowledge. Ricœur explores whether historians, who can write a history of memory, can truly break with all dependence on memory, including memories that resist representation. The third and final section is a profound meditation on the necessity of forgetting as a condition for the possibility of remembering, and whether there can be something like happy forgetting in parallel to happy memory. Throughout the book there are careful and close readings of the texts of Aristotle and Plato, of Descartes and Kant, and of Halbwachs and Pierre Nora.
A momentous achievement in the career of one of the most significant philosophers of our age, Memory, History, Forgetting provides the crucial link between Ricœur’s Time and Narrative and Oneself as Another and his recent reflections on ethics and the problems of responsibility and representation.
Originally published in French as La mémoire, l’histoire, l’oubli, Le Seuil, 2000
Translated by Kathleen Blarney and David Pellauer
Publisher University of Chicago Press, 2004
ISBN 0226713415, 9780226713410
Karen Barad: Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning (2007)
Filed under book | Tags: · agency, agential realism, apparatus, epistemology, ethics, materialism, ontology, philosophy, physics, posthumanism, quantum mechanics, quantum physics, science
Meeting the Universe Halfway is an ambitious book with far-reaching implications for numerous fields in the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. In this volume, Karen Barad, theoretical physicist and feminist theorist, elaborates her theory of agential realism. Offering an account of the world as a whole rather than as composed of separate natural and social realms, agential realism is at once a new epistemology, ontology, and ethics. The starting point for Barad’s analysis is the philosophical framework of quantum physicist Niels Bohr. Barad extends and partially revises Bohr’s philosophical views in light of current scholarship in physics, science studies, and the philosophy of science as well as feminist, poststructuralist, and other critical social theories. In the process, she significantly reworks understandings of space, time, matter, causality, agency, subjectivity, and objectivity.
In an agential realist account, the world is made of entanglements of “social” and “natural” agencies, where the distinction between the two emerges out of specific intra-actions. Intra-activity is an inexhaustible dynamism that configures and reconfigures relations of space-time-matter. In explaining intra-activity, Barad reveals questions about how nature and culture interact and change over time to be fundamentally misguided. And she reframes understanding of the nature of scientific and political practices and their “interrelationship.” Thus she pays particular attention to the responsible practice of science, and she emphasizes changes in the understanding of political practices, critically reworking Judith Butler’s influential theory of performativity. Finally, Barad uses agential realism to produce a new interpretation of quantum physics, demonstrating that agential realism is more than a means of reflecting on science; it can be used to actually do science.
Publisher Duke University Press, 2007
ISBN 082238812X, 9780822388128
Filed under book | Tags: · art, art history, conceptual art, music, music history, musique concrète, ontology, phenomenology, rock'n'roll, sculpture, sound, sound art
An ear-opening reassessment of sonic art from World War II to the present.
Marcel Duchamp famously championed a “non-retinal” visual art, rejecting judgments of taste and beauty. In the Blink of an Ear is the first book to ask why the sonic arts did not experience a parallel turn toward a non-cochlear sonic art, imagined as both a response and a complement to Duchamp’s conceptualism. Rather than treat sound art as an artistic practice unto itself—or as the unwanted child of music—artist and theorist Seth Kim-Cohen relates the post-War sonic arts to contemporaneous movements in the gallery arts. Applying key ideas from poststructuralism, deconstruction, and art history, In the Blink of an Ear suggests that the sonic arts have been subject to the same cultural pressures that have shaped minimalism, conceptualism, appropriation, and relational aesthetics. Sonic practice and theory have downplayed – or, in many cases, completely rejected – the de-formalization of the artwork and its simultaneous animation in the conceptual realm.
Starting in 1948, the simultaneous examples of John Cage and Pierre Schaeffer initiated a sonic theory-in-practice, fusing clement Greenberg’s media-specificity with a phenomenological emphasis on perception. Subsequently, the “sound-in-itself” tendency has become the dominant paradigm for the production and reception of sound art. Engaged with critical texts by Jacques Derrida, Rosalind Krauss, Friedrich Kittler, Jean François Lyotard, and Jacques Attali, among others, Seth Kim-Cohen convincingly argues for a reassessment of the short history of sound art, rejecting sound-in-itself in favor of a reading of sound’s expanded situation and its uncontainable textuality. At the same time, this important book establishes the principles for a nascent non-cochlear sonic practice, embracing the inevitable interaction of sound with the social, the linguistic, the philosophical, the political, and the technological.
Artists discussed include: George Brecht, John Cage, Janet Cardiff, Marcel Duchamp, Bob Dylan, Valie Export, Luc Ferrari, Jarrod Fowler, Jacob Kirkegaard, Alvin Lucier, Robert Morris, Muddy Waters, John Oswald, Marina Rosenfeld, Pierre Schaeffer, Stephen Vitiello, La Monte Young
Publisher Continuum International Publishing Group, New York/London, 2009
ISBN 082642970X, 9780826429704
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Filed under book | Tags: · materialism, non-philosophy, ontology, phenomenology, philosophy, subjectivity, technics
This book gives a critical assessment of key developments in contemporary French philosophy, highlighting the diverse ways in which recent French thought has moved beyond the philosophical positions and arguments which have been widely associated with the terms ‘post-structuralism’ and ‘postmodernism’. These developments are assessed through a close comparative reading of the work of seven contemporary thinkers: Jean-Luc Marion, Jean-Luc Nancy, Bernard Stiegler, Catherine Malabou, Jacques Rancière, Alain Badiou and François Laruelle.
The book situates the writing of each philosopher in relation to earlier traditions of French thought. In differing ways, these philosophers decisively distance themselves from the linguistic paradigm which dominated so much twentieth-century thought in order to rethink philosophical conceptions of materiality, worldliness, shared embodied existence and human agency or subjectivity. They thereby open the way for a radical renewal of the claims, possibilities and transformative power of philosophical thinking itself.
This book will be an indispensable text for students of philosophy and for anyone interested in current developments in philosophy and social thought.
Publisher Polity, April 2012
ISBN 0745648053, 9780745648057