Tag Archive: Merleau-Ponty


SR, Whitehead, etc.

I’m just catching up with this interesting exchange between Gary Williams (Minds and Brains), Graham Harman, and Tom Sparrow (Plastic Bodies). Williams takes issue with Harman’s and others’ portrayal of Speculative Realism as “revolutionary.” “The narrative of ‘finally’ moving beyond the ‘Kantian nightmare’”, he writes, “is tired and overplayed.” He argues that it’s not a big revelation that there is a world that’s independent of human minds. In reply, Harman and Sparrow defend the Speculative Realists’ originality and claim that Merleau-Ponty, Heidegger, and others did not sufficiently break with Kantian “correlationism.”

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Responding to a post on this blog, Kvond, a little while ago, raised the question of the relationship between Arne Naess, originator of “deep ecology,” and Spinoza – which made me think of the interesting if sporadic/uneven/episodic relationships between the main traditions of continental philosophy and environmental thought. A glance at the changing editions of Environmental Philosophy, a reader originally edited by Michael Zimmerman but now collectively edited and in its fourth edition, shows us how the place of continental philosophy has grown from barely a mention in the first two editions (1993, 1998) to an entire six-chapter section in the fourth. How that came to be is a story that has yet to be written, though a few brief accounts exist, such as Michael Zimmerman’s chapter in Rethinking Nature , comments scattered through Zimmerman’s Contesting Earth’s Future, and Bruce Foltz’s brief but excellent piece in John Protevi’s Dictionary of Continental Philosophy, which I discovered as I was wrapping up this post.

What follows is a highly selective and episodic overview of key moments in that unfolding relationship. But I start with a few caveats.

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