I whole-heartedly believe a number of their “interpretations” in the paper are correct. However, I also find some of their thoughts extremely puzzling, in light of drawing certain interpretations to their logical conclusion, as one philosopher, Kant, has hundreds of years ago. I will give a little technical breakdown of the paper —just bear with me through the math/math-speak, which I only include for the sake of the clarity that my colleagues in the sciences would prefer—, and then discuss issues I see. Given that I have been, for a long time, working with another philosopher of physics on a scientifically-technical philosophical paper that forcefully argues some of the same points, I will not comment on those items I agree with, so as not to give anything away from unpublished work.
I am posting a prelude to a more exhaustive work, which will eventually put Latour and Meillassoux in conversation, so as to develop non-correlationist philosophy of science, effectively a speculative turn in the philosophy of science. Comments on this draft are welcome, and, if you email me, I will even send you a word document version, if you are interested in providing criticism, thoughts, or whatever. Click the following for the pdf version: On Whether Meillassoux’s Philosophy Can Serve as Basis for a Speculative Turn in the Philosophy of Science.
At a conference I presented at, held at Duquesne University, notable scholar, Adrian Johnston, stopped me in the middle of something I was saying. ‘Whoa, whoa,’ he said (and I paraphrase), ‘but Meillassoux does away with phenomenology.’ What I had said prior is not important. What is important are the words “phenomenology” and “Meillassoux.” I really had no real clue what he meant. I mean, I knew that Meillassoux threw Heidegger, a phenomenologist, in the correlationist brig with all the other correlationists (Kant, Berkeley, etc.), and I knew that I was referring to phenomenology qua assessment of phenomenal experience. However, at that time —much has changed in a few months—, I knew absolutely nothing about phenomenology: nothing about Brentano, Meinong, Husserl, and the gang, and what their philosophies were all about. Coming from the hard sciences, the reason I jumped on the opportunity to work with the Speculative Turn in philosophy was because it requires an extraordinary knowledge of contemporary and near-contemporary philosophy, which constituted a knowledge gap for me, and has done much to remedy that. Continue reading →
There was a very nice turnout at Duquesne University’s 7th Annual graduate conference in philosophy (themed “Nomos and Physis”). A big thanks goes to the Duquesne Department of philosophy and Matt Lovett for running such a well-organized event. The spread of papers presented was diverse array of subtopics: Phenomenology and Nature; Nature In Itself, Nature for Us; Nature in Ancient Philosophy; Contemporary Ontologies and Nature. The general sentiment around the room seemed to be that the questions, discussion, and commentary was productive. Probably the most fascinating element of the conference —I know not if it was by design or happenstance— was that the papers reflected holistic approaches to philosophical considerations pertaining to Nature. Continue reading →
This is the full, uncut version of the paper I sent to the Harvard-MIT graduate philosophy conference. It is entitled, “Why Emergence Doesn’t Emerge and Secondary Qualities Are Not Secondary.” I may pursue this project further, depending on feedback. There are a number of shortcomings, among them being that I am not as well versed in Aristotle, and it has come to my attention (through al-Kindi, of all people!) that Aristotle’s epistemology contains the an idea of subtraction from perception to arrive at mental content. Contingent upon looking further into this, I may add a significant section on Aristotle, or just had his philosophy, insofar as it is applicable, to the Meillassoux-Objectivism discussion.
Also posted on my blog are two papers, “Cognition as Negation” and “The Onto-Epistemic Stance,” which line up with the purpose of this paper. If I take this collective project any further, I may look into writing a full-length monographic work for publication.
Again, this is the raw form of the paper, well over 5,000 words, and exceeding the 4,000-word limit imposed by the conference. Nonetheless, feel free to comment.
The cognitive version of the onto-epistemic stance paper can be acquired by clicking on: Cognition as Negation. Unfortunately, due to length restrictions, I had to summarize the original onto-epistemic paper, which has grown to forty pages, and try to slip in how I think it can be extended to cognition. The headache of trying to organize the previous paper was trebly difficult, because I could not speak at length in this paper to describe in detail what was intended in: The Onto-epistemic Stance. I included a couple of modified portions of the earlier text in this newer paper, which is being sent to the joint conference on cognition held by the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. As a result of the inordinate constraint placed on the text length of this paper, I did not have the space to do a ground-up presentation of how the onto-epistemic stance seems to be present already in cognitive science. In fact, I am wondering whether the totality of the venture might not merit full monographic treatment. With as little exposure as I have had to the sciences of mind, further research on, for instance, phonemes will assuredly thicken up the text, leading me to believe that a full-length endeavor might be necessary.
At any rate, please send me an e-mail or leave me a comment if you have any ideas on how to make the paper better, ideas that need to be explained further/clarified, or anything of that sort.
Okay, so I have falsely advertised: I can’t actually say what Bruno Latour said in his e-mail to me, because he asked that it stay private. I am incredibly grateful for his response, and I respect his request and his reasons for the request; so I will comply. However, I assume the meta-information, such as what my initial email asked, is okay to discuss, as are those things that I thought before the email. I will say —again, this is meta-information— that what he said surprised and even shocked me, so let me get right to what I asked him. Continue reading →
In one of Slavoj Žižek’s numerous talks, he discusses the notion of “virtuality” in a very insightful way, paraphrasing something Donald Rumsfeld said: “There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.” It’s an unlikely source for an explication of a philosophical idea, but it does the job and well. However, Žižek was talking about epistemic virtuality, which, even if not by name, is familiar to everyone. Continue reading →