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 Irony in Pierre Hadot

Pierre Hadot is well-known for his idea that philosophy is not a merely professional endeavor or simply a system of ideas but is a way of living, a practice for which one must engage in “exercise” or “training” (askēsis). That point is evident throughout Hadot’s writings, but it is especially emphasized in Philosophy as aContinue reading “The Practice of Irony in Pierre Hadot”

Provocation and Interruption

Provocation and interruption are, respectively, the origin and goal of philosophy. This sense of philosophy finds expression in the following quotations from Peter Sloterdijk, the first of which suggests that philosophy is a trace of an unavoidable provocation, while the second articulates the function of the philosopher as an interrupter. It is a characteristic ofContinue reading “Provocation and Interruption”

Is Sloterdijk Conservative?

In terms of his social and political views, Peter Sloterdijk is sometimes described as a conservative thinker. Is that right? Is Sloterdijk a conservative? That question itself depends upon the hermeneutic question: What do you mean by “conservative”? He’s definitely not a neocon or a paleocon. He’s not a Reagan conservative. But he’s not exactlyContinue reading “Is Sloterdijk Conservative?”

Animal intelligence and the emergency of being

In keeping with the evolutionary varieties of animal and early human intelligence, present danger is assessed in emergency-ontological terms: one interprets the situation as an interruption of prolonged calm by a now acute threat. The deep biological rootedness of the major stress reaction proves that the utmost is evolutionarily commonplace. Though the state of emergencyContinue reading “Animal intelligence and the emergency of being”

Coexistentialism: the reviews, the description, the ride

Coexistentialism and the Unbearable Intimacy of Ecological Emergency Ecocritical Theory and Practice Series, Lexington Books, 2016 The philosophy of existentialism is undergoing an ecological renewal, as global warming, mass extinction, and other signs of the planetary scale of human actions are making it glaringly apparent that existence is always ecological coexistence. One of the mostContinue reading “Coexistentialism: the reviews, the description, the ride”

Freedom and Thymotic Politics in Sloterdijk

Peter Sloterdijk has written extensively about the political function of thymós (the spirited part of the soul in Plato’s three-fold schema of intellect-spirit-appetite). Here his reflections on that term open onto a discussion of freedom (libertatem). It turns out the liberals and neo-liberals are getting it wrong. This term [thymós] referred to an inner affective centreContinue reading “Freedom and Thymotic Politics in Sloterdijk”

Coexistentialism

Coexistentialism: Unbearable Intimacy, Ecological Emergency. The manuscript is finished and off to the publisher. It’s around 110,000 words. The best thing about coexistentialism is the “co-,” indicating an ecological redistribution of Heidegger’s Mitsein (being-with) to include all beings, human, nonhuman, and otherwise. The worst thing is the “ism,” which is no doubt risky; it can degenerateContinue reading “Coexistentialism”

Upcoming Conference Appearances

It looks like I’ve got my conference engagements lined up for the second half of the year.  I’m only doing a few things, and they’re all in California, which isn’t entirely incidental, as I try to avoid travel scenarios that involve high financial and environmental costs. First, I’m delighted to be presenting on a panelContinue reading “Upcoming Conference Appearances”

One Earth: Sloterdijk and Monogeism

Affirming the transition of humanity toward a global or planetary civilization, Peter Sloterdijk proposes what he calls “monogeism,” a term which Bruno Latour adopts in his recent works.  From monotheism to monogeism…from God to Globe…. Here’s a couple of excerpts on monogeism from Sloterdijk’s In the World Interior of Capital (Polity, 2013). […] the historical object, the terrestrialContinue reading “One Earth: Sloterdijk and Monogeism”