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Showing posts from July, 2015

Being Up For Grabs: the second birth

I'm glad to read the favorable referee reports on my book Being Up For Grabs. It is now on its way to be out. This is how I described the book the other day: More than stating that chaos reigns, the book spells out the details of its governance in a metaphysics of accident. This is a book on the metaphysics of contingency. It looks at what could be otherwise, at what lacks the weight of necessity, at what is up for grabs. In doing so it engages with the Aristotelian idea of metaphysics and makes use of some of his ideas on priority. The book discusses with recent ideas about contingency coming from process philosophy, speculative realism, Deleuze and other philosophers who attempt to think the accident. The book proposes three images of the contingent: the first based on fragments and how they connect together and is akin to both monadology and process philosophy, the second based on the structure of doubts and facticiy and the third based on rhythms and contagion in a way th

Beyond pariochialism in philosophy

A book by Jeffrey Bell, Andrew Cutrofello and Paul Livingston calls for what they call for what they call pluralistic philosophy - meaning what goes beyond the analytic-continental divide. I think it is high time to attempt (again) at breaking this divide. I guess since the 90s where Rortyans were around making connections between Sellars and Derrida or Heidegger and Davidson the divide has gone stronger and the two traditions more enclosed in themselves. I can see nothing to be lost in blurring the division line. Plus, there is much to be gained especially because a lot of philosophy lies precisely in the attempts to translate things from one tradition to another. Cosmopolitanism is a good idea - at least when it comes to thought. However, analytic and continental traditions seem now well split. Tradition is the world I use for lack of a better one - in fact, there are many traditions within each of the two. I myself try always to ignore the divide - and more often than not to litt

Animals out there

They mean, they do mean - animals. They are not symbols though. I've been watching films about animals - pigs (Pasolini's Porcile ), birds (Hitchcock's The Birds ) and rats (Daniel Mann's (and Glen Morgan's) Willard ). In all three cases, animals mean a lot as outsiders of the human order, as something that goes beyond both obedience and disobedience, They interfere (in the three cases they kill) but they display an element of something coming from outside, not quite intelligible in the matrix of human alliances and violences. They are foreign, intruders to the narrative. Zizek invites us to imagine what would be an horror film like without the horror element - without rats, pigs and birds the plots will be nonexistent for things will carry on in a business as usual way. That is, Willard would carry on in his worker's misery routine, powerless and restraint, Melanie will just get to make family with Mitch and Giuliano would be likely to follow his fate to be t

Incompetent knowledge

This is my sketchy and very hastily concocted short paper for the Colloquium tomorrow around Sosa's new Judgment and Agency : 1.A salient and attractive feature of the virtue approach in epistemology is that it tends to place human knowledge within a realm of genuinely epistemic phenomena in the world. Zagzebski, in her Understanding Knowledge (2001), diagnoses that we are entering an askeptical period where the treat of skepticism is taken as dissolved or innocuous and epistemologists turn their eyes to the connection between knowledge and the rest of the world by seeing knowledge within a more general context of practices with truth and action-guidance. A symptom of this askeptical turn – or at least of the move towards seeing human knowledge within a broader epistemic realm – is the widespread use of expressions like animal knowledge as basis for comparison with human epistemic endeavors and norms. Philosophers have found themselves having to provide reasons to justify acco

Conservation against politics

This week I ended my course on the prospects for a philosophy of Earth discussing Bergoglio's encyclical letter Laudato Si . He starts out beautifully with Francis of Assisi and his community - or family - with the non-human but quickly drifts towards conservation-like rhetorics. The conservation line is one where the non-human is there to be kept comes what may, either as a resource that requires management or as a vulnerable minor that requires protection through custody. The pope's slip towards it is nastily illustrated in the anti-abortion paragraph (120) where he quotes Ratzinger rant on accepting the vulnerable: the embryo is a fragile being needing tutelage (supposedly from the law of the State and the Church) as much as anything else that is made vulnerable by the increasing human power. It becomes clear that the quasi-pagan move of Francis where the non-humans are empowered as members of a community is left behind and a discourse on the non-humans as minors who require