A More Whiteheadian Merleau-Ponty

I’m in the process of reviewing an excellent book, Nature and Logos: A Whiteheadian Key to Merleau-Ponty’s Fundamental Thought, by William Hamrick and Jan van der Veken.  It’s so thorough in its research and references, you can get a lot out of the book even if you don’t pay attention to the overall argument that the authors areContinue reading “A More Whiteheadian Merleau-Ponty”

Plato on Drugs, Imagination, and Ecology

There are always so many books on Plato coming out, it’s hard to keep up, especially if you’re not a devoted Plato scholar (and I’m not).  In any case, I’ve been trying to keep up with a few of the recent books on Plato.  First, a new book on Plato and ecology was recently released, William Ophuls, Plato’s Revenge:Continue reading “Plato on Drugs, Imagination, and Ecology”

Unity Versus Multiplicity in Object-Oriented Ontologies

Are objects unities?  Identities?  Or, on the other hand, are they multiplicities?  This question is answered in different ways in different kinds of object-oriented ontology.  Object-oriented philosophy (represented by Graham Harman) is more focused on unities and identities, whereas onticology (represented by Levi Bryant) prefers multiplicities.  Consider Bryant’s remarks in a recent post: While objectsContinue reading “Unity Versus Multiplicity in Object-Oriented Ontologies”

Speculative Philosophy and the Specter of Religion

Reflecting on an upcoming conference, Thinking the Absolute, Levi Bryant posted some thought-provoking remarks on the implications of the speculative turn in philosophy for thinking religion.  The topic reminds me of the anthology edited by Anthony Paul Smith and Daniel Whistler, After the Postsecular and the Postmodern: New Essays in Continental Philosophy of Religion (2010).  Bryant’s concludingContinue reading “Speculative Philosophy and the Specter of Religion”

Plato and Ecstatic Trance

In a passage from the Phaedrus (265a), Socrates provides an outline of the varieties of mania, of which there are two main types, “one arising from human diseases, and the other from a divine release of customary habits.”  Although discourses such as that in the Timaeus (86b) focus on mania as a disease, specifically dementiaContinue reading “Plato and Ecstatic Trance”

Outside of Time in Time

There is a radical temporality of things, such that any present thing harbors an uncanny past that is always already past, never present or presentable.  This past that was never present is, for Maurice Blanchot, an “outside of time in time.”  It is inescapably ungraspable.  The infinite obscurity of this radical temporality is what makes creativityContinue reading “Outside of Time in Time”

Alien Phenomenology: Of, By, and For Things

I am anxiously awaiting the publication of Ian Bogost’s Alien Phenomenology, or What It’s Like to Be a Thing.  Alien phenomenology is a great phrase.  It is important to distinguish Bogost’s alien phenomenology from that developed by Bernhard Waldenfels.  Reminiscent of Husserl, Schutz, Merleau-Ponty, and Levinas, Waldenfels’ Phenomenology of the Alien explores the place ofContinue reading “Alien Phenomenology: Of, By, and For Things”

Environmental Philosophy is Activism

“All environmentalists should be activists, but activism can take a variety of forms.  The way that environmental philosophers can be the most effective environmental activists is by doing environmental philosophy.  Of course, not everyone can be or wants or needs to be an environmental philosopher.  Those who are not can undertake direct environmental action inContinue reading “Environmental Philosophy is Activism”

Be afriad: an uncanny thing, a good deed, a joyful leap into the abyss

A massive and sudden emergence of uncanniness, which, familiar as it might have been in an opaque and forgotten life, now harries me as radically separate, loathsome.  Not me.  Not that.  But not nothing, either.  A “something” that I do not recognize as a thing.  A weight of meaninglessness, about which there is nothing insignificant,Continue reading “Be afriad: an uncanny thing, a good deed, a joyful leap into the abyss”

Overstatement in Philosophy: A Joke

Whitehead observes that “the chief error in philosophy is overstatement” (Whitehead, Process and Reality, p. 7).  That sounds true to me, and, like a lot of philosophical statements, it also sounds like a joke. It’s not that some kinds of overstatement in philosophy can be erroneous to some extent.  Overstatement is erroneous, period.  And itContinue reading “Overstatement in Philosophy: A Joke”