I'm a philosophy student that tends to post about really serious things unseriously and about really unserious things seriously.

I was once described as a "beautiful, intelligent iguana".

27th April 2013

Post reblogged from all latitudes all longitudes with 18 notes

just another example of how amazingly weird and awesome ooo is

whentherewerebicycles:

“Viewed through this lens, it is equally valid to say that cows exploited human desires for fat, compelling us to clear forests and protect them from predators, enhancing their reproductive possibilities. But domestication doesn’t end here. It is not simply that cows domesticated us in the sense of leading us to develop a set of practices such as raising cows and clearing forests so they would have more grazing land. No, the conspiracy of cows against humanity go far deeper. It is likely that cows also introduced extreme selective pressure on human populations dependent on cows for food, weeding out those members of our species that couldn’t tolerate high-beef diets and selecting for those that could. It’s likely that in many human populations cows changed our very genetics. As Scu has argued, we are addicted to meat. This addiction, in part, was carefully cultivated by cows themselves.

Note well, I am not saying this is good or that this morally justifies our ugly and ecological destructive treatment of livestock. I am saying that there are a variety of different teleologies involved in the evolution of cows. Some involved human aims. Others involved nonhumans such as chickens, cows, pigs, lamb, etc. The same could equally be argued for various grasses such as wheat, as well as a variety of other plants upon which we’re deeply dependent. And, I would argue, the same would be true of technologies, social groups, and texts […] 

There will never be a society composed just of humans because humans always dwell among a variety of different agencies including humans but also including all sorts of nonhumans. These nonhumans are never just wax for human intentions, but introduce all sorts of differences of their own that are irreducible to human intentions.”

-Levi Bryant, “The Materialism of Onticology”

Tagged: this is really quite goodlevi bryantbryantOOOphilosophy

5th February 2013

Post with 4 notes

I’ve been away from this blog for a while because basically I’m sick of all of you, a bit disgusted with humanity and academics at the moment, and have been busy as hell (more the third thing than the other two).

Levi Bryant really gets me.

Tagged: levi bryantspeculative realismonticologylarval subjectsphilosophyhatreddisgust

4th January 2013

Photoset with 6 notes

Say what you will about SR/OOO as types of philosophy, but whoever they have making the covers for their books is fucking fantastic.

(I can to that realization after looking at that cover for ‘New Materialism’. A lot of them look so swarming and biological - it’s damn lovely.)

Tagged: Jeffrey Jerome CohenMeillassouxRick DolphijnLevi BryantEugene ThackerJane Bennettanimal vegetable mineralthe number and the sirennew materialismdemocracy of objectsafter lifevibrant matterbooksbook coversphilosophyspeculative realismooo

12th November 2012

Post with 9 notes

Hey, Rhizombie!

Sorry if I’m belaboring a point here, especially if you’ve already decided to move beyond the whole OOO/SR discussion, but I just found this post by Bryant that I thought you might find interesting in trying to answer the question of “what’s the point of looking into OOO?”

I mean, you can disagree with the claims of people working in OOO and stuff, but it seems really hard to see them as absolutely useless, or not worth looking into. They’re worth looking into, and I don’t think enough people are giving them a good enough chance, especially when that whole “toy story of philosophy” comment actually passes at all as being a description of OOO (even jokingly).

[I know I could have just sent this to you via a message or something, but I thought it was a good post generally, so I wanted to post it here as well.]

Tagged: rhizombieOOOobject-oriented ontologyobject oriented philosophylevi bryantbryantphilosophy

17th September 2012

Quote reblogged from DROP OUT. HANG OUT. SPACE OUT. with 9 notes

What OOO refuses is the thesis that we have to either hold that “physical beings” are constructed by discourses (discursivism) or that we must hold that discourses are mere figments of the mind that are unreal. Both, for OOO, belong to the domain of being or existence. This is probably why OOO tends to come under so much criticism from both sides of the debate. The scientific realists are aghast that we would claim that things like myths or the discourse of creationism are real entities in the world that have real effects, and thereby take us to be undermining science and treating it as equal with creationism (we’re not). The social constructivists are aghast that we would say that rabbits, aardvarks, black holes, etc., are real material entities in the world irreducible to discursive constructionism, and take us to denying the discursive construction of things like race, gender, nationality, etc., thereby allowing a dangerous essentialism in the door (we’re not). What we’ve instead tried to do is adopt a more inclusive ontology that allows us to think the complex imbrication and interaction of a variety of entities, discursive and material, in the world.

Levi Bryant - Let’s Talk About Politics Again!

Well the OOO / Deleuzian blog-facebook-o-sphere (Alexander Galloway et al) have been having this somewhat silly back and forth about politics for the last few days. Levi offers a pretty good discussion here. I would also suggest looking into Bogost’s post that sparked this response. Graham Harman has also been writing a bit. Generally it’s been a rather frustrating go-round of the same questions, but this is worth looking into. There’s a lot to disagree with in OOO, but most of the time its opponents are making straw men attacks without doing their homework. “I saw somebody on a blog say this is what you mean and so obviously that’s what you mean” depth of substance.

(via dropouthangoutspaceout)

I’ve been annoyed with the back and forth too. It’s been a bit of “Yes, I agree generally with everything the other 10 people said, but I must add my voice to this with my ever so slightly tweaked version.” This post was good though, both with the quote above, and the part with Levi talking about how theory hopes to test the consistency of a theory with itself, and tries to find things that the theory can’t account for, even if the theorist almost certainly believes in those things separately from their theory.

Or was that another post? Ugh. So much back-and-forth.

Tagged: Levi BryantOOOObject-Oriented philosophyMaterialist-Oriented Philosophysocial constructivismscientific realism

4th June 2012

Post reblogged from tanacetum vulgare with 8 notes

OOO stuffs

becoming-wave:

Maybe I’m missing something here, but Graham Harman is always railing against what he calls “Philosophies of Access” for denying reality to anything outside the human mind, which, sure….? That’s a thing some people do? But it seems so obvious to me that what he should be railing against is simply using it as a basis for ontological claims, but acknowledging that the problem of access remains an epistemogical issue. The problem of access is irresolvable! That’s why it never goes away.  So… sure we can “epoche” it if we want to talk about ontology without having to do backflips through an irresolvable minefield, but we can’t do away with it, because it just isn’t possible to throw it out.

Please, tell me if I’ve missing something. This just seems so absurdly simple and obvious to me I feel like I must have missed something.

Tell me if I’m not answering your question, but the problem here seems to be the “epistemological fallacy” as outlined by Bryant - basically conflating ontological and epistemological claims. We can’t “think” objects outside of a mental sphere, we can’t know them epistemologically, but we can posit their existence ontologically. Here’s a small quote from his book “Democracy of Objects”:

We have seen why this is so, for our experimental practice is only intelligible based on a series of ontological premises and these ontological premises cannot be reduced to our access to being. They are ontological in the robust sense. These ontological premises refer not to what is present or actual to us. Indeed, they refer, as we will see, to beings that are radically withdrawn from any presence or actuality. And as such, they are genuinely ontological premises, not epistemological premises pertaining to what is given.

In recognizing that the epistemic fallacy emerges from foundationalist aspirations on the part of philosophers, Bhaskar hits the mark. It is the desire for a secure and certain foundation for knowledge that leads philosophy to adopt the actualist stance and fall into the epistemic fallacy. These decisions, in turn, ultimately lead to correlationism. In raising the question, “how do we know?” and seeking an argument that would thoroughly defeat the skeptic or sophist, the philosopher concludes that only what is present or given can defend against the incursions of the skeptic. But what is present or given turns out either to be mind or sensations. Therefore the philosopher finds himself in the position of restricting all being to what is given as actual in sensations. From here a whole cascade of problematic consequences follow that increasingly lead to the dissolution of the world as a genuine ontological category.

Personally, I would recommend reading this section of his book, because the problem Bryant talks about here is one I still don’t totally get, and the fallacy he describes here is one I fall prey to a lot. Basically, I can’t do justice to it by describing it here.

Here’s a link to the book: http://openhumanitiespress.org/Bryant_2011_The%20Democracy%20of%20Objects.pdf

If you go to page 57, he starts discussing the epistemological fallacy there, and it continues somewhat for the rest of the chapter (not terribly long, I promise - I hate overburdening people with reading in lieu of my not being able to answer something).

In sum, I think Harman realizes that the notion of access is an epistemological problem, and one he fully assumes. This is why he posits that being are ontological withdrawn, and why he disagrees with Meillassoux so much on the issue of finitude. I think what Harman’s so against is that people commit this fallacy so often: even when they try to claim a realist ontological position, they conflate this with the epistemological problem of access, and then end up in some variant of correlationism. He, like Bryant, wants to separate the two categories (with good reason, I think), so that a fully realist ontology, and the consequences of such, can be explored.

I hope that answered your question.

Tagged: Levi BryantGraham Harmanphilosophy of accessOOOobject-oriented ontologycorrelationismDemocracy of Objectsspeculative realism

30th May 2012

Post reblogged from Tower of Sleep with 8 notes

Levi Bryant v. Graham Harman

towerofsleep:

sterwood:

Levi Bryant and Graham Harman have just posted some responses and reflections to each others’ philosophical positions. I think this is an important moment for both of them, as neither has really engaged with the other all that much, even though there are definitely points of contention present. I’d like to make a response post to both of theirs, if I get the time, but who knows if I’ll get around to that. In the meantime, I’ll just link to both posts, as they’re really great reads, and worth taking the time to go through.

Levi’s Post: http://larvalsubjects.wordpress.com/2012/05/30/harman-withdrawal-and-vacuum-packed-objects-my-gratitude/

Harman’s Response: http://doctorzamalek2.wordpress.com/2012/05/30/on-bryants-philosophy/

And, equally important, is Levi’s post that started this discussion in the first place, which was a response to David Berry’s horrible mischaracterization of Speculative Realism: http://larvalsubjects.wordpress.com/2012/05/29/worries-about-ooo-and-politics/

Finally, Graham hints in the article posted above that he plans to do a more sustained critique and engagement with Levi’s philosophy when the latter posts a more coherent presentation of his own position (though, I must ask, what does Harman regard “The Democracy of Objects” as then?). That hint is really exciting to me honestly, because I see much more fruit in the exchanges between Bryant and Harman than I do in the Harman/Meillassoux divide that’s much more common to see discussed (the more I read Meillassoux, the less reason I see for continuing to read him).

Great stuff! I’ve made no secret of the fact that Brant is by far my favourite object-oriented philosopher and I’m almost always on board with what he has to say. I’m less interested in Harman by himself, but the man is a great mover. Without Harman’s influence, Bryant wouldn’t be following the leads that he is. In fact, without Harman, it’s doubtful that anyone would be talking about OOO in the way that they are. My problem with Harman is that I think the essential problems he cares about aren’t that interesting — unlike Bryant, he doesn’t really like to talk about politics or ethics or even relations. He seems almost maniacally focused on his main idea of withdrawn, vacuum-sealed, individual objects. The ramifications of that idea, however, are far-reaching. As a scholar of Heidegger, Harman likes to talk about Heidegger’s pedantry. Heidegger, he argues, barely had more than a single idea, laid out over and over again in varying guises, but it’s a very deep idea that had an incalculable influence on 20th-century philosophy. Harman might turn out to be a similar figure, himself.

[emphasis mine]

I agree with pretty much everything here, except I wish to comment on the bolded part. I mean, isn’t it weird? He talks about politics quite a lot on his blog and elsewhere (especially with the Egyptian elections going on; he was posting a lot on that), but that’s just it: he posts on politics, not on the politics of OOO, or even the political possibilities of his philosophy more specifically. I have to wonder if it’s because he’s so indebted to Heidegger - maybe he sees something very dangerous about connecting his ontological theories with an explicit politics, as was the case with Heidegger. Maybe that’s why he’s so reluctant. I think Bryant’s right here though: there’s poltical/ethical/etc. consequences to Harman’s thought, and those consequences should be fleshed out and explored.

Tagged: OOOGraham HarmanLevi Bryantspeculative realismphilosophy

Source: sterwood

30th May 2012

Post with 8 notes

Levi Bryant v. Graham Harman

Levi Bryant and Graham Harman have just posted some responses and reflections to each others’ philosophical positions. I think this is an important moment for both of them, as neither has really engaged with the other all that much, even though there are definitely points of contention present. I’d like to make a response post to both of theirs, if I get the time, but who knows if I’ll get around to that. In the meantime, I’ll just link to both posts, as they’re really great reads, and worth taking the time to go through.

Levi’s Post: http://larvalsubjects.wordpress.com/2012/05/30/harman-withdrawal-and-vacuum-packed-objects-my-gratitude/

Harman’s Response: http://doctorzamalek2.wordpress.com/2012/05/30/on-bryants-philosophy/

And, equally important, is Levi’s post that started this discussion in the first place, which was a response to David Berry’s horrible mischaracterization of Speculative Realism: http://larvalsubjects.wordpress.com/2012/05/29/worries-about-ooo-and-politics/

Finally, Graham hints in the article posted above that he plans to do a more sustained critique and engagement with Levi’s philosophy when the latter posts a more coherent presentation of his own position (though, I must ask, what does Harman regard “The Democracy of Objects” as then?). That hint is really exciting to me honestly, because I see much more fruit in the exchanges between Bryant and Harman than I do in the Harman/Meillassoux divide that’s much more common to see discussed (the more I read Meillassoux, the less reason I see for continuing to read him).

Tagged: Levi BryantGraham HarmanOOOMaterialist-Oriented OntologyObject-Oriented Philosophyphilosophyspeculative realism

26th May 2012

Link reblogged from DROP OUT. HANG OUT. SPACE OUT. with 7 notes

Larval Subjects: Materialism, Form, and Purpose →

As I argued in an earlier post, all my materialism commits me to is the thesis that if something exists, it is material.  That’s it.  It doesn’t commit me to the thesis of reductionism or that the smallest units of matter are the really real things of the world.  H2O is a real entity in the world and while it cannot exist without hydrogen and oxygen, we have to observe H2O itself to discover what it’s powers are.  Signifying systems are, for me, real material beings in the world that have to be studied in their own terms.  While signifying systems can’t exist without electro-neural-chemical systems, we would learn next to nothing about a particular signifying system by studying neurology.  At most, we would learn about certain constraints on signifying systems by studying neurology, not how a particular signifying system is itself structured.  This is because neurological systems exist at a different level of scale and are composed of different types of elements.  Someone will say “but signifying systems are not like rocks!”, and they would be right.  But hurricanes aren’t like rocks either and no one doubts that they’re material phenomena.  Or maybe they do.  It would be peculiar if they did.

This is basically what I always considered materialism to be as well. Regardless, awesome post.

Tagged: onticologymaterialismLevi Bryant

17th May 2012

Link reblogged from DROP OUT. HANG OUT. SPACE OUT. with 14 notes

Larval Subjects: Speculative Realism, the Commons, and Politics →

dropouthangoutspaceout:

I do think, however, speculative realism and onticology are able to exclude certain ethico-political positions or, at least, substantially modify the terms of the debate.  For example, it’s clear that under an onticological and new materialist approach to being, the normative axiomatics of liberalism and neo-liberalism can no longer be sustained.  Since Locke and probably before, that ethico-political framework has been based on the idea that our body is our property and that therefore we enjoy sovereign rights over our body (a position probably worth preserving), but more importantly that through the entanglement of our bodies with other entities in our labor we transform these beings into our property.  My land and my products are mine because my labor in working them over transformed them and made them extensions of my body.  Yet this idea is premised on the assumption that the products of my labor that result from interactive entanglement with the labor of my body remain in place, infringing on no other bodies.  I can do whatever I like to “my property”, the story goes, because it doesn’t affect any other body; or, more colloquially, it doesn’t affect anybody else.

This is a great post! FUCK YOU NEOLIBERALISM YOUR SHIT DONT STAY IN PLACE THAT SHIT IS IN THE COMMONS.

Tagged: ONTICOLOGY WUTOOOSPECULATIVE REALISMNEOLIBERALISMLEVI BRYANT