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Showing posts from March, 2016

Rethinking BUG's monadology of fragments

In my contemporary philosophy class, I'm approaching Meillassoux's book and diagnoses through some traditions of Kantism in the XXth century, especially post-Sellars. Yesterday I was speaking about the two response-dependence alternatives conceptions of the content of the perceptual experience put forward by McDowell in, respectively, Mind and World and "Avoiding the Myth of the Given". In both case, one needs to be prepared to exercise receptivity, and this preparation involves being able to become a human perceptual reporter. In both cases, the espontaneity involved in the exercise of conceptual capacities ties the perceiver to self-determination as a human subject, capable to recognize the authority of concept and to formulate empirical judgments in perceptual experience. The response-dependence itself, though, is a broader strategy to avoid the Given - the idea that something can be given to me without any contribution of anything that needs to be acquired. In Wh

Some despaired words about Brazil

It all looks awful in Brazil today. A scary articulation of corrupt politicians, class-driven judiciary and big capital is getting close to produce a coup d'état showing how colonized the South of the world still is. It is still as submissive and obedient as in the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s of last century. As a consequence, nothing good could come out of a coup. It will be only few months for concentration of wealth to be worsening by the hour just like in the last similar episode around here, that took place almost precisely 52 years ago. Plus, social conservatism will make sure this nation carries on being trans-cite, white supremacist and as male chauvinist as a country could possibly be. In other words, it will just bring about injustice. It makes me feel like going underground. (And it is, certainly, all about oil.)

The ontology of agency (5 positions)

[This is the introduction to The Diaspora of Agency, a book I'm writing with Jadson Alves. In the introduction I distinguish 5 ways to understand the spread of human agency and extend them to agency in general: 1. Transcendence of agency: there is no agency among concreta, agency is in God, in the laws of nature or rather nowhere (here I find Meillassoux, Brassier and also eliminativists like Dennett or the Churchlands); 2. Immanence of agency: there are no agents among concreta, but there are agential forces that produce individuals (here I find Foucault, Simondon and Karen Barad); 3. Immanence of interdependent agents: there are agents but they can only be identified with reference to the rest of the world or of their environment (here I find the monadologies, Lebniz's but also Tarde's, Whitehead's and Latour's); 4. Immanence of independent agents: there are agents and each of them can be defined independently of all the others, they have substrata and they preced

The universe without agency

Writing about a conception of agency where it transcends anything sensible (concrete), I realize that agency could then be ascribed to a transcendent element (a God) or to transcendent laws (like the laws of nature) but could also be understood as radically absent from the sensible because it is absent from everything. In other words, it could be that ontos is devoid of any arché - any capacity to command (or to commence). Ontos would be an- arche . Interestingly, in both cases the sensible is incapable to command - any sensible thing is incapable even to provide a self-government. They can follow, or they can be alien to whatever happens in the game of commanding and obeying. It seems like the power of the idea of arché is forced upon us in a way that we cannot conceive the absence of governance but as a lack of power. Maybe an- arché is precisely a move beyond the game of commanding and obeying, a move that escapes us. I thought that Meillassoux hyperchaos (the necessity of fact


It is usually said that some generalizations carry nomic capacities - associated by Goodman with the capacity to enable counterfactuals - and therefore express a law, or a physical necessity. The difference between universal statements with and without a law-like character is hard to spot in a roughly formal way because often it relates to the terms used in the statement. Laws are formulated in sanctioned terms - which are sometimes called "kinds", or "natural kinds". Hence there could be laws with "mammals" but not with "my favorite animals" or even with "pets", there could be laws with "heavy bodies" but not with painted bodies. If laws are formulated with kinds, causal relations genuinely occur between things that can be described as kinds - hurricanes and tempests but not headlines of Monday and news on Thursday , to recall an example given by Davidson to show that a causal relation between two events is not expressed b


I started my course on contemporary philosophy. It is a big overview of five intertwining traditions of the twentieth century with their developments in the 21st. I start with the marginally analytic Kantian tradition going from Sellars through McDowell towards speculative developments in Brassier and Meillassoux. Then we go to Whitehead and Deleuze to arrive in Latour. The third tradition is Husserl and Heidegger towards object-oriented ontology maybe going through Tom Sparrow. Then we move to a mainstream analytic tradition started in Wittgenstein read by Wettstein and moving towards the Kripkean and post-Kripkean discussions of reference, essence and direct denotation. The last tradition is one that started with Levinas (and is sui generis in many respects) and goes towards Derrida and helps to understand the work of Malabou. The first class was a general one on correlationism and the myth of the Given. I drew on Kant's use of the word 'spontaneity' in contrast with re