The 40-Year-Old Rhizome

In each of their co-written works, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari present a prolific array of concepts that traverse a wide range of theories and disciplines. To put it simply, their concepts are oriented around facilitating creative forms of life amid the erosion of subjectivity in capitalist societies. One of the most frequently cited ofContinue reading “The 40-Year-Old Rhizome”

Amoeba Words

“What is an amoeba word?” Amoeba words include many of the words thrown around when people are talking philosophically. The philosopher-priest Ivan Illich explains: I take the term from the work of Professor Uwe Pörksen of Freiburg, a linguist and medievalist. During the second part of the 1980s, he came to the conclusion that thereContinue reading “Amoeba Words”

Of Selves and Mirrors

If you want to know whether something or someone possesses a capacity for self-recognition or self-perception, a common test to use is the mirror test. Put people in front of a mirror, and see if they can recognize themselves in their reflections. Can you tell that your reflection is your image, that is, an imageContinue reading “Of Selves and Mirrors”

The Practice of Wisdom

Wisdom is not a mind-hack or life-hack or any kind of hack. It’s not a way of cutting through life’s difficulties with tips or tricks. It’s not a set strategies or operations that can be adopted in piecemeal or applied in pertinent situations. It’s more of a path than a hack. It’s a way ofContinue reading “The Practice of Wisdom”

The Beginning and End of Nature

When people talk about the end of nature, what exactly is this nature that has ended? It’s not like the whole universe imploded. Earth is still spinning. Nature isn’t the universe, and it’s not a planet. It’s nature. Nature is an idea, a word, a symbol, which is not to say that it is merelyContinue reading “The Beginning and End of Nature”

What is Philosophy?

What is philosophy? There are so many definitions of philosophy. It is not altogether unlikely that the “What is…?” question is not the best way to approach a definition of philosophy. There are many other important questions for defining and describing philosophy. Who are philosophers? What do philosophers do? How does one become a philosopher?Continue reading “What is Philosophy?”

The Task of Philosophy

Hegel gives an apt description of this salient difference between ancient and contemporary approaches to philosophical study. It basically goes like this. Under the weight of several centuries of tradition, philosophical study today finds ready-made theories and answers everywhere, a plethora of prefab homes for thinking. Whereas ancient philosophers learned to let a theory growContinue reading “The Task of Philosophy”

Doubling Down: Doing Deconstruction During Derrida’s Death

I’m doubling down on doing deconstruction, and apparently I’m doubling down on that phrase, “doubling down,” which I already said once (too much) in the title and have now used way too much at this point. I promise not to use it again here, but the excess is part of my point: an exercise inContinue reading “Doubling Down: Doing Deconstruction During Derrida’s Death”

The Irony of Practice: Hypocrisy

In a previous post, I pointed out the use of Socratic irony in Pierre Hadot’s writings on philosophy as a way of life involving spiritual exercises. The idea is that “Hadot’s practice of irony reveals the irony of practice.” To put it simply, practice is always hypocritical.

The Problem with Descartes: It’s Not Dualism

Some people, a lot of people, treat René Descartes as a sort of bogeyman of modern philosophy. Somehow, in the first half of the seventeenth century, Descartes sundered the seamless fabric of Being into two factions, mind and body, a thinking thing and an extended thing, res cogitans and res extensa. With that dualism setContinue reading “The Problem with Descartes: It’s Not Dualism”