My thoughts on Sellars have benefited hugely from Brassier’s recent talks (here in Zagreb, here in Bonn) as well as Pete Wolfendale’s comments, Dan Sacilotto’s comments, and their comments on each other. What I’m interested in doing, and what a third of dissertation will attempt to do, is read Schelling as a realist through philosophies of dispositions (Molnar, Bird, Ellis, and Mumford), through Sellars, and through Peirce (each being their own chapter). While I’ve already done work in regards to the first, and groundwork has already been laid by Bruce Matthews, Michael Austin, and others in regards to the third (as Schelling’s kind of abductive non-logic), the second chapter, on Sellars, is the roughest in my mind and to draw him close to Schelling is a bit tricky.
First, given the use of Hegel by Brandom and McDowell to bring another German Idealist into analytic thought is not altogether odd.
Second, I believe that there methodological congruities between Schelling and Sellars. The double series of Schelling’s work (whether discussed as negative versus positive, or naturphilosophie vs transcendental philosophy) can be compared (though is not strictly analogous to) Sellars’ scientific image vs the manifest image, or things as bundles of microphysical processes as well as sensa or irreducible causes in and of experience. What is central here, as James O’Shea points out in relation to Sellars, that physical grounds and logical grounds need not be collapsed. This ties to Schelling’s relation to Peirce (who called himself a Schellingian transformed in the light of modern physics).
Filed under: Brassier, Deleuze, Hegel, history, Iain Hamilton Grant, Kant, nature, Schelling, transcendental materialism | 1 Comment
In a trilogy of posts about escaping the Earth, Land is in perfect form over at his blog Urban Futures.
In the first part Land discusses how in exploring the Shanghai 2010 Space pavilion the future is bound to a lack of hardware and an emphasis on children as the potential inhabitants of outerspace. He writes: “Anybody hoping for soul-crushing cyclopean military-analog launch vehicles and the acrid stink of rocket fuel had clearly wandered into the wrong century.” Furthermore, the naivete which must be bound to space travel leads to odd cultural developments such as denial of the moon landing conspiracy theories. One could also add the poorly executed sci-fi horror Apollo 18 as trying to give the ‘real reason’ for why the US never went back to our now haunted dusty satellite.
A distinction which forms the background (at least aesthetically) of Land’s work here is that of the industrial and futurist split in sci-fi where the former is often associated with pessimistic or captialist-realist sci-fi whereas the latter is optimistic at its core and is rooted more in the politics and look of the Cold War. JJ Abrams reboot of Star Trek is pivotal in this regard as it attempts to (in the form of the story as being a knot of space time to justify its own similarity yet licence with old material) combine both of these tendencies: the bridge looks like a hyperstitional version of the Apple Store while the engine room looks like a nuclear power plant from fifty years ago (as well as the smaller touches like re-skirting the women on the ship in a laughably covered sense of sexist nostalgia).
Filed under: comic books/graphic novels, Deleuze, fantasy, television, video games | Leave a Comment
Tags: accelerationism, capitalist realism, mark fisher, nick land, outward bound, sci-fi, sci-fi western, warhammer 40k
Now that the semester has started up again it will become a bit more of a hectic time but I want to update the blog more regularly than it has been thus far. One course is on Gilles Deleuze the other is on Darwin, Freud, and Foucault. For the former I presented on “Subtraction and Contraction” last week so there’s that!
Slime Dynamics is out on some Amazon sites but not others as the release date is the 16th on Amazon.ca and Amazon.com but the 28th on Amazon.uk There was a small launch for the book yesterday afternoon which was quite nice…I’m glad to say its a done deal now. Something I don’t think I’ve adequately expressed is my thanks to Mark Fisher for editing and for Tarriq Goddard for supporting the project.
It’s a bit strange looking back on Slime Dynamics now but I still like it and see it mostly as an inside job on vitalism whereas On an Ungrounded Earth is an inside job on Geophilosophy. I see them as part of a trilogy – the third part being a proposal I’m currently working on which will focus on epistemology and the nonhuman/posthuman. Details on that will emerge in the next few months hopefully.
But, of course, I am also beginning to outline my dissertation which will be on making Schelling a realist (a third of it will be on systematic thinking – naturalism, monism, history, a third will be on analytic thought and Schelling – Pierce, Sellars, and dispositions, and a third will be on various sciences and Schelling’s relation to them). There will be quite a bit of Deleuze comparing and contrasting and Laruelle’s cloning will play an important part.
Filed under: Brassier, Deleuze, Iain Hamilton Grant, nature, ontology, Schelling, Speculative Realism | 2 Comments
Tags: Slime Dynamics, Zer0 books
Graham responds to my note below here. I did not intend to say that he was saying Grant was Fichtean, that was meant in relation to the previous point about reflection and intuition (bad writing on my part!). I have tried to clarify it below.
Something that has been bothering me is that when SR is discussed in print and online Iain Hamilton Grant’s name is left out. Obviously I find this personally frustrating as Grant’s work is hugely important to me but it also does injustice to the full range of what Speculative Realism (for all its much discussed nebulousity) means. There are plenty of reasons for this: for one Grant does not have an internet presence (though neither does Brassier), another is that Grant is sometimes seen as simply doing German Idealism and puts him in the shadow of Zizek and others. Lastly, Grant is not direct in what it is he is doing besides a reading of Schelling. This last bit causes confusion and I think leads to the second problem in particular.
So what is it that Grant is doing? From even his earliest work on Deleuze and Guattari (Burning AntiOedipus, At the Mountains of Madness) Grant is interested in grounds and/or conditions of thinking in a naturalistic world. In a broad sense Grant believes that what is required is a meontology or force-based metaphysics which defer (at least in part) to the sciences (in particular physics) which does not make philosophy science’s handmaiden (as Kant famously put it) but pushes philosophy (and in Grant’s case post-Kantian thought) to redefine the transcendental and the conditions of thinking in the wake of a thoroughgoing naturalism. This is why Grant has long been supportive of a field-theoretical ontology in which becoming is segmented by the interaction of activities themselves.
Hence the critical push of Philosophies of Nature after Schelling being against somatism, logocentrism, and hyper-subjective Fichtean idealism as tactics which attempt to run nature aground in the name of the subject or the subjectified absolute (whether as Transcendental I or as ‘Objective Idealism’). For Grant Schelling’s project is one that seriously and deeply questions what does it mean to say productive nature exists? That is, how is it that given the apparent truths of transcendental philosophy (ie post-Kantian thought about thought) do we grapple with the ontological posteriority of nature, of being?
Filed under: Brassier, cognitive science, Deleuze, Hegel, Iain Hamilton Grant, nature, ontology, Schelling, Speculative Realism, transcendental materialism, Zizek | 17 Comments
Tags: Fichte, fwj von schelling, Iain Hamilton Grant, nature, Naturphilosophie, philosophy of nature, productive nature, Schelling
A few weeks ago there were some strange convergences – reading Nick Land’s comments on violent feminism, Deleuze and Guattari’s becoming-girl (celebrated by Cederstrom and Fleming at the end of their Dead Man Working) and most recently Tiqqun’s Preliminary Materials for a Theory of the Young Girl. Suddenly there were all these concurrences of the politicization of the figure of the girl. This was bookended by endless discussion of HBO’s Girls and an issue of Rhizomes dedicated to Becoming Girl to the now recent explosion of stupidity would could loosely be collected under ‘the war on women’ title in terms of recent discussions of rape from Tosh’s attempt to make a joke, to the incredible harassment of Anita Sarkeesian in trying to set up a series of videos analyzing the role of women in video games, to avoiding any comment of Assange’s charges, to recent republican stupidities which seem as naive in regards to basic biology as to women. To say nothing of Pussy Riot.
What the hell is going on? Part of this was particularly odd reading about ‘becoming-girl’ in conjunction with reading Sadie Plant‘s old shorter texts online as well as critiques of her work. While Plant’s theory may be cyber theory most broadly construed it is a strange form of feminism (a form which was criticized for leaning too hard on the liberative capacities of technology) and also one that combined apparently opposed forms of feminism: namely Luce Irigaray and Donna Haraway. The essentialism which Plant pulls from Irigiray is not an crudely Platonic one but more an embodied (or strategic) essentialism – it is one in which feminism pulls from a Deleuzian materialism but in the more realist sense or at least scientific sense as it is articulated by De Landa or Luciana Parisi. But since technology is capable of changing those very materials directly or less directly (more slowly) through the ‘second nature’ of culture and technology.
The technological liberation seems premature or outright utopian now, part of the strange materialization of cyberspace which appears in bad 90s movies like Lawnmower Man and Virtuosity. In a more common sense when Sarkeesian is slandered by brainless hackers who are threatened by even the potential of her project of somehow toning down the sexiness of female characters in games or even simply pointing out how lopsided the representation of women in games is. Not that I agree with all of Sarkeesian’s critiques as some I think are a bit too quick. She discusses the gradual unclothing of Samus Aran in the original Metroid as part of the ‘Woman as Reward’ trope. While this is it overlooks the effect of first realizing Samus is a girl to younger male players. For myself there was nothing sexual about it (or at least nothing that registered consciously) instead it was a sudden realization of the simultaneously difference and non-difference of being a girl mediated by technology doubly mediated. Mediated by play through the Nintendo and through the realization that, in a robotic suit, what does it matter if one if a boy or a girl? As a form of unexpected mediation I can see here the value of becoming-girl though I question the deeper ontological basis suggested by D and G as well as the transformation’s purported ease.
But technological access and power (outside the abilities of hackers at least) has become so much a tentacle of capital. For Tiqqun the figure of the Young-Girl is not a gendered concept but a model for the capitalized citizen who first began to emerge after The Great War. The figure of the Young-Girl marks the valuation process coinciding with capital as they put it. Here one can also think back to Nina Power’s sentiment that women cannot be friends under capitalism.
Another interesting example, and one that connects to Flemming and Cederstrom’s example of Charlie from Firestarter as becoming-girl is Aggie from ParaNorman. [SPOILERS FOLLOW] Norman, who can see and speak to the dead, is tasked with reading a book at the grave of a witch who after her trial and execution cursed her seven accusers to rise from the dead every year (that is unless the book is read). It is eventually revealed that the witch was only a small child at the time of her death and was accused because she, like Norman, was communicating with the deceased. Norman realizes that reading her a bedtime story merely pacifies her for another year and decides to talk to her to giver her true peace in order to stop the curse but, more than that, to try to tend to her unjust murder.
In way the films stages of the little boy from Cederstrom and Flemming’s Dead Man Working (Danny from The Shining) and the figure of the little girl (Charlie from Firestarter). Furthermore the film shows (though not as strongly as it could) the gap between the accusation of witchcraft and actual witches. As Sadie Plant discusses in Writing on Drugs, witches were often exposed to ergot or other psychoactive substances. Particularly striking in Plant’s account is the historical accounts of women using psychoactive ointments and greasing staffs to use them (hence witches’ brooms as transporting devices). One does not have to squint very hard to see the slut accusations of those fighting for birth control as being the target of a witch hunt, as a form of chemical access and sexual freedom. Politics (or at least political theory) writ large runs from the agency of women.
If there’s revolutionary power in the unanswerable question ‘What does a little girl want?’ as is suggested in Dead Man Working, it is buried in a cavalcade of historical shit that still refuses to see women as capable of having wants beyond mere biology or not filtered through men as to reify their object status. The purportedly exceptional cases such as Assange which appear capable of sweeping rape under the table without actually admitting to doing as such are another example of a notion of politics which is gesture over construction. Don’t tell me about the critique of empire over women’s rights – you are actually erasing half the world’s claims to exist unharmed.
Filed under: Deleuze, feminism, gender, politics | 3 Comments
Tags: becoming girl, haraway, Irigaray, Julian Assange, metroid, nick land, Nina Power, Paranorman, radical feminism, Sadie Plant, Samus Aran, wikileaks, witchcraft
There will be spoilers!
Besides the shadow of the Aurora shooting as well as the ridiculous comments from Romney’s camp that Bane was somehow riffing on Bain capital (suggesting that the Romney camp is incapable of a two second wikipedia search to note when Bane was created) most of the talk around the Dark Knight Rises (DKR going forward) is whether it is a conservative or a progressive or something else politically.
First off the accusations that the film is an attack on OWS seem a bit off the mark (at least initially). If anything, Bane’s revolution is (to borrow from Badiou) a ‘simulacra of the event,’ it is an uprising in the form of a revolution against the rich which is really composed mostly of criminals, paid mercenaries/former league of shadows thugs, and led by two individuals who are primarily motivated by revenge. This could be read as ‘all popular uprisings are dangerous,’ or ‘OWS could turn into that’ but the headless nature of OWS coupled with the fact that Bane’s so called revolution is so not a revolution of the people, seems to be fairly clear. While Bane and his thugs attack Wallstreet (or the Gotham equivalent) it is only to give a particular capitalist the upper hand. If it had been, say, to randomly redistribute the virtual wealth or a less vengeance-caused motive, one could say the film was taken a leftist stance or, given Bane’s later actions, was equating OWS with terrorism.
Filed under: Badiou, comic books/graphic novels, politics | 1 Comment
Tags: batman, charlie jane anders, christopher nolan, dark knight rises, mark fisher, OWS
Spinoza is amenable to ecology because his nature is a collection of things all vying for power, everything is interconnected and equally important. Yet, for the concept of mind, that power’s efficacy is rooted in the mind of God. This connection holds to the end of The Ethics (despite Sharp’s protestations that God drops away in place of nature) whereas for Schelling God is a personality, a mad self lacerating creature, not the measure of thought. Thought exists because of extension for Schelling, it is parallel to substance (though for Schelling substance is secondary to an agon of forces) only methodologically because we are caught in thought but being precedes thought for Schelling. In this sense God is a metaphor which can easily be ditched in Schelling’s system. But for Spinoza it seems that god is the metric of all thought.
Filed under: feminism, nature, ontology, politics, Schelling, Speculative Realism | Leave a Comment
Tags: alexander galloway, deleuze, deleuzian politics, Hasana Sharp, line of flight, societies of control