Category: GeoPhilosophy

“14 billion years” (a pet peeve)

When people say “the universe began 14 billion years ago,” do they realize that this is not true in the slightest?

It’s not true not because they aren’t measuring things accurately. Rather, it’s not true because the standards of measurement cannot have possibly remained unchanged over such a time period.

To put it crudely, this is because View full article »

Latourian inquiries

Bruno Latour fans will know that the French anthropologist’s long-awaited follow-up to 1991′s game-changing theoretical provocation We Have Never Been Modern was released in its English translation just a few weeks ago. The book is called An Inquiry Into Modes of Existence (and is becoming better known by its acronym “AIME”), and it provides a state-of-the-art summation of Latour’s project of producing an “anthropology of the moderns” — that is, of us.

Most interestingly, it does this as a multi-phase exercise in “interactive metaphysics,” which includes a participatory online web site intended to fill in the details and elicit commentary, debate, and refinement.

Hard-core fans will also likely have heard about Adam Robbert’s online AIME research group, which will be conducting a group reading beginning next week. The group currently involving several dozen participants (including myself — so you will be hearing about it here), but it is open to the public.

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It arrived a few days ago. Feels good to grasp in the hand: thick, solid, “capacious” (as Steven Shaviro says in one of the cover blurbs). And Tarkovsky has rarely looked as green as on the cover.

But I’ve already found an indefensible oversight: View full article »

The conceptual machine

I’ve always been more of an improviser than a long-range planner, but my job requires that I occasionally dabble in long-range projections of my work. Here’s one.

While a number of concerns have framed my scholarship over the years — ethical, political, cultural, ecological, and theoretical concerns — the philosophical core of it has been solidifying around a certain conceptual machine, which I am setting to work in different contexts.

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The AAR panel responding to 2013 Holberg Prize winner Bruno Latour’s Gifford Lectures has now been scheduled. Information is as follows.


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Shaviro interview

A few cousin blogs have already mentioned Figure/Ground’s interview with Steven Shaviro, which I recommend for those interested in Whitehead, speculative realism, media theory, and other themes explored on this blog.

Shaviro has insightful things to say about Isabelle Stengers’ role in reviving an interest in Whitehead, Gilbert Simondon and his (and Whitehead’s) relevance for ecological thinking, and Francis Fukuyama’s neo-conservative critique of the academic tenure system.

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This continues the consideration of subjectivity begun in the last post (on Zizek and Buddhism). It also continues the series on process-relational ecosophy-G, or pre-G.



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This started out as a response to Slavoj Zizek’s recent talk here at the University of Vermont on “Buddhism Naturalized,” but evolved into a consideration of subjectivity, which happened to be the topic of my next post in the pre-G (process-relational ecosophy-G) series. So this can be considered part 1 of a 2-part series.


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CFP: Thinking & Acting Ecologically

The International Society for Environmental Ethics (ISEE) presents the Tenth Annual Meeting on Environmental Philosophy, to be held 12-14th of June 2013 at The University of East Anglia, UK.

“Thinking and Acting Ecologically”

The ISEE invites submissions on any topic in environmental philosophy / ecophilosophy broadly conceived. The focus of the tenth annual meeting will be on developing ideas and concepts that are not only thematically concerned with the environment but are themselves contributions to ecological action.

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Deacon’s Incomplete Nature

Jason (Immanent Transcendence), Matthew (Footnotes to Plato), Adam, Michael, and Leon have begun their cross-blog reading of Terrence Deacon’s mammoth and ambitious Incomplete Nature. (See also Asher Kay’s post from February and Matt’s post on his conversation with Deacon about Whitehead.)

Deacon’s book has been getting unwelcome attention for his seeming unwillingness to appropriately credit his predecessors (and also for his writing style); see Matt’s summary and this page here for the details.

But process-relational bloggers are quite correct that there’s more to Deacon than the arguments of others, be they emergentists and dynamic systems theorists, autopoieticists like Varela and Evan Thompson, et al. Deacon’s Peircian pedigree is significant, and my own reading of his argument will include careful attention to the degree to which the Peircian underpinnings, which were quite evident in his 1998 tome The Symbolic Species and in work since then, remain in this latest volume.

See here for more on the Deacon-Peirce connection.