(Re)Introducing Aristotle, 2: Life and Soul

In a previous post, I started (re)introducing some of the basics of Aristotle, focusing on his view of nature (phusis) and thinghood (ousia), showing how the cosmos can be understood as an individual thing that is in motion—material swinging from form to form.  In other natural bodies, the movement of material to form is characterizedContinue reading “(Re)Introducing Aristotle, 2: Life and Soul”

Environmental Humanities in Social Media

The Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society  started a blog recently: Seeing the Forest.  With an international and interdisciplinary focus, the Center is launching the blog to extend the reach of the environmental humanities through social media (they also tweet).  The blog accepts submissions from students, scholars, and professionals. The environmental humanities are alsoContinue reading “Environmental Humanities in Social Media”

(Re)Introducing Aristotle, 1: Nature and Things

Aristotle is underrated.  He is not some dry systematic thinker who abstracted and oversimplified the insights of his teacher.  Plato and Aristotle are too often reduced to straw men who are guilty of establishing the structures (especially dualisms) that have caused most of the world’s subsequent problems.  Some people rescue Plato by reminding everyone ofContinue reading “(Re)Introducing Aristotle, 1: Nature and Things”

Five Theses for Emancipatory Music

1. Music is the art of the hope for resonance: a sense that does not make sense except because of its resounding in itself. Jean-Luc Nancy, Listening (Fordham UP, 2007), p. 67 2. No music has the slightest esthetic worth if it is not socially true, if only as a negation of untruth; no socialContinue reading “Five Theses for Emancipatory Music”

APE: Actor-Partnership Ethics

Carolyn Merchant gives a good summary of the problems with anthropocentric and non-anthropocentric ethics in Reinventing Eden: the Fate of Nature in Western Culture (Routledge, 2003).  She proposes a “new ethic of human partnership with nature” in which humanity and nature are “considered as active agents.” Self-interested, or egocentric ethics (what is good for the individualContinue reading “APE: Actor-Partnership Ethics”

Occupy Strata: never believe that only a rhizome can save us

Thinking of OWS and other movements resisting corporate globalization, I wonder if another world is possible.  It’s an open question.  If another world is possible, and we are going to facilitate its arrival, we will need a lot more than acentered, deterritorialized, destratified, or horizontal networks.  A lot more than rhizomatic flows and smooth spaces. Continue reading “Occupy Strata: never believe that only a rhizome can save us”

Burning Man

People have varying opinions on the Burning Man festival and on Burner culture in general.  Every year, when the time comes for the festival, I’m happy to get an earful of those opinions.  I’ve found it interesting that most of my students live in a countercultural hotspot (San Francisco), yet they have little or nothingContinue reading “Burning Man”

Joy and laughter, or Why I am So Happy

Nietzsche’s practical teaching is that difference is happy; that multiplicity, becoming and chance are adequate objects of joy by themselves and that only joy returns.  […]  The death of God needs time finally to find its essence and become a joyful event.  Time to expel the negative, to exorcise the reactive—the time of a becoming-active. Continue reading “Joy and laughter, or Why I am So Happy”

Obama, VMAs, Macbeth, and Nothing

What an amazing evening… the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards, and at the same time, Barack Obama giving a speech accepting his nomination for president by the democratic party.  If those two events don’t inspire you, I can’t imagine what would.  I was not happy to hear Obama say that “climate change is not aContinue reading “Obama, VMAs, Macbeth, and Nothing”