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Speculative Medievalisms: Discography

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ISBN: 9780615749532 Year: Pages: 316 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0021.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Languages and Literatures
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Proceedings from the two Speculative Medievalisms symposia, held at King’s College London (Jan. 2011) and The Graduate Center, City University of New York (Sep. 2011), and organized by The Petropunk Collective (Eileen Joy, Anna Klosowska, Nicola Masciandaro, and Michael O’Rourke). These interdisciplinary events were dedicated to dialogue and cross-contamination between traditional concepts of speculatio, present-minded premodern studies, and contemporary speculative realist and object-oriented philosophies. In its medieval formulation, speculatio signifies the essentially reflective and imaginative operations of the intellect. Here the world, books, and mind itself are all conceived as specula (mirrors) through which the hermeneutic gaze can gain access to what lies beyond it. “To know is to bend over a mirror where the world is reflected, to descry images reflected from sphere to sphere: the medieval man was always before a mirror, both when he looked around himself and when he surrendered to his own imagination” (Giorgio Agamben, Stanzas). Correlatively, speculative realism, as the term suggests, is characterized by the self-contradictory intensity of a desire for thought that can think beyond itself — a desire that proceeds, like all philosophy, in a twisted and productive relation to the phantasm of the word. Aiming to rise above and tunnel below the thought-being or self-world correlation, speculative realism “depart[s] from the text-centered hermeneutic models of the past and engage[s] in daring speculations about the nature of reality itself” (The Speculative Turn). Speculative Medievalisms, like some weird friar-alchemist in an inexistent romance, plays the erotic go-between for these text-centered and text-eccentric intellectual domains by trying to transmute the space between past and present modes of speculation from shared blindness to love at first sight. Possibly succeeding, the volume brings together the work of a motley crew of philosophers and premodernists into prismatic relation.

Pedagogies of Disaster

Authors: --- ---
ISBN: 9780615898711 Year: DOI: 10.21983/P3.0050.1.00 Language: Albanian|English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Social Sciences
Added to DOAB on : 2019-06-12 09:24:43
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We live in an era where the university system is undergoing great changes owing to developments in financing policies and research priorities, as well as changes in the society in which this system is embedded. This change toward a more market-oriented university, which also has immediate effects in academic peripheries such as the Balkans, the Middle East, or South-East Asia, is of great influence for the pedagogical practice of “less profitable” academic areas such as the Humanities: philosophy, languages, sociology, anthropology, history. Because of the absence of a historically grounded establishment of the Humanities, academic peripheries, usually accompanied by a weak civil society infrastructure, seem to offer the most fertile ground for rethinking the Humanities, their pedagogical practice, and their politics, as well as the greatest threats, such as the ongoing capitalization of research, and profitability as the norm of educational achievement. The sprawling presence of for-profit universities and in academic peripheries such as Albania and Kosovo is indicative of this problematic, as are consistent underfunding of universities and the relentless budget cuts in American and English, and to a lesser extent European, universities. Motivations for this ongoing attack on the university are often driven by a political system or a politics with an aggressive stance to critical thought.

Divine Name Verification: An Essay on Anti-Darwinism, Intelligent Design, and the Computational Nature of Reality

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ISBN: 9780615839080 Year: Pages: 424 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0043.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Philosophy
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In this book, Noah Horwitz argues that the age of Darwinism is ending. Building on the ontological insights of his first book Reality in the Name of God in order to intervene into the intelligent design versus evolution debate, Horwitz argues in favor of intelligent design by attempting to demonstrate the essentially computational nature of reality. In doing so, Horwitz draws on the work of many of today’s key computational theorists (e.g., Wolfram, Chaitin, Friedkin, Lloyd, Schmidhuber, etc.) and articulates and defends a computational definition of life, and in the process lays out key criticisms of Darwinism. He does so in part by incorporating the insights of the Lamarckian theories of Lynn Margulis and Maximo Sandin. The possible criticisms of a computationalist view from both a developmental perspective (e.g., Lewontin, Jablonka, West-Eberhard, etc.) and chaos theory (e.g., Brian Goodwin) are addressed. In doing so, Horwitz engages critically with the work of intelligent design theorists like William Dembksi. At the same time, he attempts to define the nature of the Speculative Realist turn in contemporary Continental Philosophy and articulates criticisms of leading figures and movements associated with it, such as Object-Oriented Ontology, Quentin Meillassoux, and Ray Brassier. Ultimately, Horwitz attempts to show that rather than heading towards heat death, existence itself will find its own apotheosis at the Omega Point. However, that final glorification is only possible given that all of reality is compressible into the divine name itself.

Nicholas of Cusa and the Kairos of Modernity: Cassirer, Gadamer, Blumenberg

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ISBN: 9780615840550 Year: Pages: 114 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0045.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Philosophy
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In this far-reaching essay, historian Michael Edward Moore examines modernity as an historical epoch following the end of the medieval period — and as a “messianic concept of time.” In the early twentieth century, a debate over the meaning and origins of modernity unfolded among the philosophers Ernst Cassirer, Hans-Georg Gadamer and Hans Blumenberg. These thinkers tried to resolve the puzzle of the fifteenth-century master Nicholas of Cusa. Was Cusanus the last great medieval thinker, his ideas a summa of medieval tradition? Or was he a mysterious epochal figure, seated at one end of the bridge leading to modern thought? Nicholas of Cusa lived during a time of historical and existential crisis, or kairos, when medieval governments and cherished sources of unity were shaken. Likewise, the debate over his significance took place during a later phase of crisis for Europe, in the decades before and after the Second World War, when the collapse of European civilization was witnessed. Moore argues that modernity, so intently examined as an historical and spiritual problem, has significance for our contemporary sense of crisis.

Speculations IV: Speculative Realism

Authors: --- --- --- --- et al.
ISBN: 9780615797861 Year: Pages: 122 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0032.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Philosophy
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With this special volume of Speculations, the editors wanted to challenge the contested term “speculative realism,” offering scholars who have some involvement with it a space to voice their opinions of the network of ideas commonly associated with the name. Whilst undoubtedly born under speculative realist auspices, Speculations has never tried to be the gospel of a dogmatic speculative realist church, but rather instead to cultivate the best theoretical lines sprouting from the resurgence, in the last few years, of those speculative and realist concerns attempting to break free from some of the most stringent constraints of critique. Sociologist Randall Collins observed that, unlike other fields of intellectual inquiry, “[p]hilosophy has the peculiarity of periodically shifting its own grounds, but always in the direction of claiming or at least seeking the standpoint of greatest generality and importance.” If this is the case, to deny that a shift of grounds has indeed become manifest in these early decades of the twenty-first century would be, at best, a sign of a severe lack of philosophical sensitivity. On the other hand, whether or not this shift has been towards greater importance (and in respect to what?) is not only a legitimate but a necessary question to ask. Whatever the intrinsic value in the name, the contributors to this volume have all engaged, more or less directly, with a critical analysis of the vices and virtues of “speculative realism”: from the extent to which its adversarial stance towards previous philosophical stances is justified to whether it succeeds (or fails) to address satisfactorily the concerns that ostensibly motivate it, through to an assessment of the methods of dissemination of its core ideas. The contributions are divided in two sections, titled “Reflections” and “Proposals,” describing, with some inevitable overlap, two kinds of approach to the question of speculative realism: one geared towards its retrospective and its critical appraisal, and the other concerned with the positive proposition of alternative or parallel approaches to it. It is believed that the final result, in its heterogeneity, will be of better service to the philosophical community than a dubiously univocal descriptive recapitulation of “speculative realist tenets.”

Of Learned Ignorance: Idea of a Treatise in Philosophy

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ISBN: 9780615822549 Year: Pages: 58 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0031.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Philosophy
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What is a problem? What’s asked in that question, and how does one even begin to take its measure? How else could one begin, except as one does with any other problem—by way of its impulsion. Of Learned Ignorance: Idea of a Treatise in Philosophy is about philosophy because philosophy is about problems: philosophy, in a word, is where problems become a problem. After Anti-Oedipus, in the Kafka book and in A Thousand Plateaus, what Deleuze and Guattari counsel, strikingly, is sobriety. Sobriety is what they praise in Kafka. And it is sobriety that seems above all else to be necessary here. (Steven Shaviro has pointed out the prominence of structure in Deleuze’s writing: “even when Deleuze’s prose, by himself or with Guattari, seems to be ranging anarchically all over the place, in fact it has a rigid and unvarying architecture, which is what keeps it from falling apart.”) Of Learned Ignorance is a dead letter because it names a problem. It’s a dead letter because it is, cautiously, a love letter. It’s a dead letter because it lovingly stages an experiment in whimsy, and perhaps above all, because it is problematic (in the Kantian sense): It is a (sober) attempt at exemplifying what it talks about — and what eludes it: A series of footnotes, with blank (transcriptive) pages above, effects something like the integration of a differential, the reciprocal determination where the sources enter into in relation to one another in order to produce a paper, essay, or (inexistent) (chap)book. Of Learned Ignorance, in facing down a problem, makes a wager; it courts failure; it puts it all on the line. All, yes, for love — a kind of love … (of wisdom?)

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