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Posts Tagged ‘ontology’

One of the tasks of this blog, since its inception in late 2008, has been to articulate a theoretical-philosophical perspective that I have come to call “process-relational.” This is a theoretical paradigm and an ontology that takes the basic nature of the world to be that of relational process: that is, it understands the basic […]

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(Warning: This is a long and involved post.) In reposting Steven Shaviro’s critique of DeLanda’s A New Philosophy of Society, Levi Bryant has reminded me of one of the impetuses (impeti?) that moved me to a Whiteheadian perspective. Steven’s review is excellent, and it prefigured what eventually became his book Without Criteria, which I think […]

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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 […]

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Glancing through a recent issue of the journal Subjectivity, I noticed that their very first issue — an impressive debut that featured an all-star cast of relational thinkers including Isabelle Stengers, Annemarie Mol, and Nigel Thrift — is freely available online (to non-subscribers). The issue also included an article by Paul Stenner that provides an […]

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There’ve been smatterings of commentary on the posts dedicated to specific chapters of Vibrant Matter, but not the kind of extended arguments I had originally anticipated (before reading the book). So I’m guessing we may be wrapping up this cross-blog reading group (though Scu may still post on chapter 8). To the list of entries, […]

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Just as I was getting ready to wind up the Bennett discussions yesterday, Scu posted a substantial piece about chapter 7, and promised more to come on chapter 8. I’m glad to see it, since I thought there could have been more discussion about both (and about some general issues throughout the book). Picking up […]

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Replying to me here, Graham Harman explains his objections to relational ontologies, arguing that they fail to make a distinction between the “two sorts of relations” in which an entity is involved. These are not “the famous ‘internal’ and ‘external’ relations,” but are what he “somewhat whimsically” calles the “domestic” and “foreign” relations of an object. (I like this distinction, though I’m not sure how it’s different from internal and external relations.)

GH: “Surely Adrian doesn’t want to claim that the cane toad is a set of all its relations? If Mars were five inches further along in its course than it currently is, would the cane toad be a different cane toad than it is now?” [. . .]

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I’m on my way this week to the Society for Cinema and Media Studies Conference in LA, where I’ll be presenting, in miniature, the ecocritical/ecophilosophical model of cinema that I’m developing in my book-in-progress. This “process-relational” model draws on Peirce, Whitehead, Deleuze, Bergson, Heidegger, and others, with inspirational nods to psychoanalysis, cognitive film theory (which, to be honest, is a little less inspirational, but to some extent inevitable), and individual theorists like Sean Cubitt, John Mullarkey, and Daniel Frampton. Its ecophilosophical basis is that it is primarily concerned with the relationship between cinema — as a technical medium, a thing in the world, and a form of human experience — and the ecologies within which humans are implicated and enmeshed. Here’s one articulation of that model. [. . .]

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I think the idea and image of dark flow streaming out of our universe has also been resonating with me because of the work I’ve been doing using Vipassana teacher Shinzen Young’s system of mindfulness training. [. . .] Dark Flow is the (cosmic) Real, the shimmering atomic structure of things behind the structured object-world we (think we) see, the wave-like spirit-energy that Buddhists calls “emptiness” only because giving it a more substantialist term would already be a way of trying to contain it. Call it emptiness, or dark flow. If astrophysicists hadn’t “seen” it, we would have had to invent it. (I mean we, invent, it.)

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I’m glad to see that Steven Shaviro and Levi Bryant have stepped into the fray of the debate over the relative virtues of object-centered versus relation-centered ontologies. (Among others, e.g. kvond, Peter Gratton, Graham Harman of course, and see the commenters to Levi’s posts on Harman and Whitehead). With some of the best blogging philosophers […]

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