Eric Schliesser on one of the more obnoxious interviews I’ve read by a philosopher, namely with Peter Unger of NYU: Unger Knew, but Didn’t Want to Know – Digressions&Impressions. Schliesser picks up on Unger’s strange point scoring on who is smarter than whom (it comes up several times), like somebody who last developed ideas on this in high school, and his “pick up the ladder behind him” approach to the discipline (he claims it should be done with, after a career doing it). Anyway, it’s interesting what he claims philosophy to be (basically leave it to the scientists), which then makes it easier to claim it should just wilt on the vein. Clearly he’s not a political thinker and that doesn’t count for him (he derides what were some of the high points of Russell’s writings) as philosophy. He did well at the institutional game but then doesn’t note the problems of that game except that it allows him to deride the work of almost all others, a priori it seems.
Probably should have put this up with more notice, but for any Thai readers (according to WordPress, there are some!), I’ll be talking tomorrow on “Liberty, Equality, but not Fraternity” (chosen by my host) at the centrally located Chulalongkorn University, Boroomrajchakumaree Building, room 706. I’m looking forward to it–not just for meeting the department, etc., but also any political discussion (especially about questions of sovereignty) here given the recent coup (all but the most tourist-y of areas are still under curfew and a firm date is not forthcoming on the implementation of a new constitution) is bound to have more than the discussed resonances (though I won’t go into it myself).
After that, it’s off to Munich and the nearby Augsburg, with whom we are setting up a join-PhD program, for a block seminar on nature (my focus will be on the recent Continental turn to naturalism–and where I see its problems). While there, I’ll also be writing up my paper on Jacques Rancière’s Aisthesis for the International Philosophical Seminar later this month in the Südtirol, Italy. Thus three longish papers in three weeks on different topics, then back to book work while staying in Europe until the end of July.
This is obviously troubling. And no doubt this shows Taylor and Francis–at least those who were behind this–don’t get academics or even media 101: far more people have now noticed this than would have otherwise and it demonstrates some of the very problems the issue set out to highlight.
An article in Times Higher Education reports that the editorial board of the journal of Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation, has threatened to resign. Why? The journal’s publisher, Taylor & Francis, delayed the publication of a special issue of Prometheus on the topic of academic publishing and profits and made changes to the issue’s articles, including removing the names of academic publishers. The publisher also inserted a disclaimer alongside the main article, saying that “the accuracy of the content should not be relied upon”. (via Sam Liao)
Taylor & Francis publish many philosophy journals. Any editors care to weigh in on this?
Another NDPR Review: J. Colin McQuillan reviews Sean Gaston’s The Concept of World from Kant to Derrida. The weakest part of the book, I found, was a reduction of any thinking of the world prior to Kant (and even after) to some “tradition.” While it’s true there’s an ordering of the kosmos in post-Platonic thought, it’s another to say that’s the only thought of the “world” until Kant came along–even in Plato, given how the Timaeus is almost vertiginous in the “likely story” it gives. As McQuillan writes:
The history of the concept of world is a worthy subject, but one might question the dismissal of “metaphysical” concepts of the world with which Gaston begins his history. Dispatching ancient Greek thought, medieval theology, and early modern philosophy in the space of a few sentences is less common and less welcome than it used to be, not only because the falsehood of such sweeping claims about the history of philosophy is readily apparent, but also because contemporary philosophers are less committed to a view shared by many analytic and continental philosophers in the 20th century — the idea that metaphysics is a monolithic edifice that should be torn down and consigned to the past. Historians of ancient, medieval, and early modern philosophy have shown that there is not only a diversity of views on metaphysics during these periods, but also that there is much to be gained by studying Plato’s Timaeus and its reception, debates between Muslim and Christian scholars about Aristotle’s views on the eternity of the world, the mechanistic view of nature Descartes proposes in Le Monde, and Leibniz’s pre-established harmony. Should readers really believe that there is only one “metaphysical” concept of world at work here?
That said, the reviewer’s conclusion that what’s really missing is Kripke and Lewis (with a dash of physical cosmology) just says that one should have a book that covers everything (I guess it is about the world!) without saying what that would have added other than covering wholly other areas of philosophical discourse.
Jean-Luc Nancy and the Thinking of Otherness: Philosophy and Powers of Existence // Reviews // Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // University of Notre Dame. My first publications were on Nancy’s relation to Heidegger, specifically as a counter to Levinas’s notion of alterity, so this is an interesting read by Raffoul on Rugo’s book going back to those themes.
Stuart Elden has been nicely providing links to Barry Stocker’s Lectures on the Punitive Society XIII, which he is now concluding. I’ll be looking to teach it in the Fall as part of my course on Foucault/Derrida on Punishment and the Death Penalty, so this is helpful. (I’m just presuming I can get away with teaching a French text to a graduate class in Canada–if anyone knows otherwise, let me know.)
xI’m writing a paper called “Reading Ranciere in Thailand”–part for obvious reasons given where I am but also because his Aesthesis manages to speak of aesthetic modernity wholly in terms of the male gaze of authors and doesn’t mention the post/colonial that is another word for modernity. It polices it’s own discussions of un-policing the aesthetic.