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”

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”

Learning to Swim with Deleuze

The movement of the swimmer does not resemble that of the wave, in particular, the movements of the swimming instructor which we reproduce on the sand bear no relation to the movements of the wave, which we learn to deal with only by grasping the former in practice as signs.  That is why it isContinue reading “Learning to Swim with Deleuze”

(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”

Post-Wild, Rambunctious Ecology

Invasive species aren’t always bad.  Biodiversity isn’t always good.  There is no such thing as “pristine” nature.  Organic gardening isn’t always the best use of land.  Those are some of the points raised in the recent book by Emma Marris, Rambunctious Garden: Saving Nature in a Post-Wild World (Bloomsbury, 2011).  Marris is a science writer. Continue reading “Post-Wild, Rambunctious Ecology”