Some time ago, I wrote myself into a corner in a chapter from Pantheon, in which a character was forced to solve a conundrum: he had to stay at a location, safeguard a highly sensitive museum, but prevent interlopers from coming inside, while not showing himself to them, or destroy them, or the critical objects of desire. The more I thought about this, the less confident I was at solving this Gordian knot. After all, if the aforementioned options prevented all possible solutions, then somewhere there was an assumption that made the conclusion false.
Alan Moore and fan fiction
Some years ago, Alan Moore, the acclaimed author of Watchmen and Miracleman, claimed that all comics after the 1960s were fan fiction, largely for several reasons related to the massive replacement of the original writers with a younger generation.
I will argue why he is right… and why he’s wrong. Continue reading Alan Moore and fan fiction
On reviving the carcass of philosophy
The following are collected tweets (@thanatology) I’ve made in the past month about posthumanism, or reviving the carrion of philosophy:
Once the window to a frozen thanatosphere opens, thought becomes razor sharp enough to slice through the rotting corpse of anthropocentrism.
Posthuman thought adjusts its peripatetic trail among the gravestones of exhausted theologies in the misty light of the Polaris of nihilism.
The failure of philosophy of religion
This semester I’m taking a graduate course in the philosophy of religion. I already took one as an undergraduate, but under a different professor who was a proficient expert on Hegel. This time, the current professor seems far more culturally informed and global, which leads to an entirely different angle to assess religion philosophically. Continue reading The failure of philosophy of religion
All roads lead to Ferdinand
This blog explores the radical insights of a Swiss linguist, Ferdinand Saussure, but first I will start with how linguistics changed from its early days as philology to a full-blown human science. By the 20th century, we (Americans) had become comfortable with the notion that man in general is to be defined by his language as opposed to the powers of the mind. Ideas can no longer exist in the mind without words, and nor can anyone reason without the aid of sentences. Man is the unique animal that employs a unique instrument to think with. However, such stipulations were taken further in the works of Saussure. Continue reading All roads lead to Ferdinand
A new philosophy of the human sciences
Several years ago, I was in deep discussions with a theologian about the base to superstructure model. He declared it to be no longer feasible after the age of information, where the Internet has reversed this model, and the base is no longer the foundation of the superstructure. Originally in the Marxist model, the base shaped the superstructure – both relations of production (where the capitalist takes advantage of the worker) and means of production (material required to produce – machines, factories, land, owned by capitalists) determine education, religion, family, media, politics. The superstructure in turn maintains and legitimates the base. However, the Internet actually inverts this model by changing the relations of production – the worker gains power and takes advantage of capitalists, and the means of production are disseminated via the internet. Now, this was a neat revamp of a classic model, but I took another look: perhaps this is not just a cute insight, but a crucial one that applies to the rest of the human sciences. Continue reading A new philosophy of the human sciences
Deafness & writing
Every community has its myths, but one in particular struck me. In the deaf community, your writing competence is supposedly related to how English you sign or mouth your signs. If you sign in pure ASL, then your writing competence in English or any other textual language may not be up to snuff. Now, if you mouth your signs, enunciate your words a little too clearly, you seem to be introducing an unnecessary element to your signing, as if you’re embarrassed of signing without appealing to another language. Continue reading Deafness & writing
Critique of the Theory of Knowledge, part II
In the previous blog, I discussed the ontology presuppositions and the conditions of the theory of knowledge. Now, I will go over the limits of the theory of knowledge and the Bataillean concept of non-knowledge.
Limits of the theory of knowledge
The combination of classical empiricism, the platonic distinction and the natural sciences provided a fertile ground for the modern theory of knowledge (TK). This theory implies that knowledge is pre-structured and that it cannot be acquired independently of this structure. Kant implies as much in his critique of traditional metaphysics, with the categories and the synthetic a priori, and so does Husserl’s later phenomenology that was concerned with the transcendental conditions of knowledge. The same implication of knowledge is found in many other variants: paradigm, language games, lebenswelt, unconscious, hard core, and so on. Continue reading Critique of the Theory of Knowledge, part II
A return to subjectivity
What is subjectivity other than a pattern of life? A pattern that answers the question posed by a dialectic of subjectivity. Among the candidates of this pattern: Locke’s selfhood, Husserl’s transcendental ego, personal identity. In this blog I will show how a different logic reveals this pattern of life: Gilles Deleuze’s “impersonal individuation,” (Difference and Repetition, p. 277) one that is distinct from personal individuation, a singularity instead of something particular.
If life is indefinite, then no pattern can ever completely graph life tout court; it is always just “a” life. The characterization of life as “impersonal, yet singular” distinguishes it from the self and obliges a more unbridled version of empiricism, that of transcendental empiricism. Continue reading A return to subjectivity
“Man” is a recent invention on the verge of its expiration date
“….as the archaeology of our thought easily shows, man is an invention of recent date. And one perhaps nearing its end. If those arrangements were to disappear as they appeared… as the ground of classical thought did at the end of the eighteenth century, then one can certainly wager that man would be erased, like a face drawn in sand at the edge of the sea.” (Order of Things, p. 387)
Man is an epistemological concept that did not exist during or before the Classical age, because “there was no epistemological consciousness of man as such.” (p. 309) Continue reading “Man” is a recent invention on the verge of its expiration date