Enter, the Speculative Realists
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Dialogue with Graham Harman After reading Capitalist Realism , Graham Harman had a few questions for me. I present our email dialogue below.
A sequel to Cyclonopedia and the second installment in the Blackening trilogy, The Mortiloquist is a barbaric interpretation of the life and problems of Western philosophy. Feasting on the theatrical resources of Greek tragedy, Jacobean revenge drama, grand guignol theater, the theater of cruelty, aktionism (especially Herman Nitsch's Fall of Jerusalem and Orgien Mysterien theater) and employing the dialogue-commentary of scholasticism, The Mortiloquist is a cross-breed of play and philosophy. In this textual mongrel, the life of Western philosophy is gutted out by outlanders and barbarically staged. Taking place in an alternative history of the Greek Empire during a hypothetical siege of Athens, The Mortiloquist begins with a heated debate among three philosophers. Aristotle, Speusippus and Andronosos have refused to flee from the Academy.
March 18, 2013 Theory-fiction as Philosophy's Minecraft @ UPenn / Kelly Writers House Structural symmetries and perspective variations of Raphael's The School of Athens in Mazzola, et al. Rasterbild - Bildraster
Larval Subjects August 17, 2012 Transcendence and the Problem of Boundaries: A Confession In response to my last post, some folks asked me what it is about logics of exceptions, transcendence, or sovereignty that ineluctably generate violence and exclusion?
I was inspired by Kvond’s excellent post at his blog Frames /sing —please do read it—responding to my informal comments over at this Perverse Egalitarianism thread , where I wrote a brief critique of the work of Graham Harman and the object-oriented philosophy (henceforth, OOP) movement that has recently coalesced around him, to formalize them a little bit into a post here at the Howler. On the topic of Steven Shaviro and Graham Harman’s recent conversation/debate about object-oriented aesthetics, Mikhail Emelianov over at Perverse Egalitarianism perspicaciously notes: If I understand Shaviro’s point about OOP being an essentially aesthetic position (and Harman himself, I think, said that much), then it doesn’t seem as though anyone is really pretending to sell anything to anyone.
Graham Harman As twentieth century philosophy enters its final months, there have been fewer retrospective surveys of its past one hundred years than might have been expected. Whether this is due to widespread disorientation, or simply to the understandable wish to avoid melodrama, is anyone's guess. But at least one historical model of philosophy is being aired on a regular basis. This is the view that the great philosophical achievement of our century lies in its "linguistic turn."
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*As readers have likely gathered, here at the blog we’re mighty keen on “design fiction” and “architecture fiction,” while science fiction is, of course, pretty much an existential given. *But what might unify these disparate strands of cultural interest? Well, they’d be united as disciplines within “speculative culture” generally. They’d still remain different in the way that architecture, design, science, and literature are different, but they’d be based on some larger zeitgeist.
The German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk achieved much acclaim (and a wide readership) in the United States during the heyday of critical theory with the translation of his Critique of Cynical Reason (University of Minnesota Press, 1988), in which he introduced a multifaceted style of writing, freely engaging with philosophy, history, anthropology, fiction, poetry, literary theory, and colloquial language. This unique discursive repertoire was widely perceived as constituting an altogether new take on the role of philosophy, one that continues to mark his work. If Sloterdijk's subsequently translated Thinker on Stage: Nietzsche's Materialism (University of Minnesota Press, 1989) also captured his performative philosophy (itself a continuation of the Nietzschean project that provides the book with its subject), the title was perhaps not the follow-up to Critique of Cynical Reason that American readers had expected.
Critical Animal has posed a series of questions to the so-called “Speculative Realists”. I’ll take a stab at trying to respond to some of them. (1) For an intellectual movement that has such a strong internet presence, why do you all have such an unhelpful wikipedia entry? No doubt this has to do with those who are writing the wiki entries. It would be rather self-indulgent to write one’s own wiki entry.
Quentin Meillassoux - After Finitude: An Essay on the Necessity of Contingency - Reviewed by Gabriel Riera, University of Illinois, Chicago - Philosophical Reviews - University of Notre DameScientific knowledge often produces statements that refer to realities prior to the appearance of human life, such as the age of the earth and the universe, or the exact dating of a fossil whose species vanished well before human knowledge came into existence. Such statements of astrophysics, geology, and paleontology imply a temporal discrepancy between thinking and being, between the world and the very emergence of thinking. At stake in what Quentin Meillassoux refers to as "ancestrality," the "arche-fossil," and "dia-chronicity" is the nature of empirical science in general, and most importantly, the question of the contentious relationship between philosophy and contemporary scientific discourse. Even though he begins After Finitude with a question pertaining to empirical knowledge, it soon becomes clear that, by taking the meaning of ancestral statements literally, he raises a series of issues that touch the very core of current philosophical debates.
About this Volume Collapse IV features a series of investigations by philosophers, writers and artists into Concept Horror . Contributors address the existential, aesthetic, theological and political dimensions of horror, interrogate its peculiar affinity with philosophical thought, and uncover the horrors that may lie in wait for those who pursue rational thought beyond the bounds of the reasonable.
Today I’m working on the chapter of the Meillassoux book on After Finitude . Rather than “summarize” a book that is already written with sufficient clarity as it is, I’m going to try to isolate the key pillars in the argumentation of the book. (And I’ll categorize this as a “Composition of Philosophy” post, though I don’t intend to live-blog the writing of another book this summer. Maybe I’ll do it again in the future, but I don’t feel like it this time.) If you’re writing a book honestly, you’ll always change your mind about a few things while writing it. But at the moment, I would say that the following are the 6 pillars of After Finitude .