The context for these interviews was a seminar [Peter Gratton] conducted on speculative realism in the Spring 2010. There has been great interest in speculative realism and one reason Gratton surmise[s] is not just the arguments offered, though [Gratton doesn't] want to take away from them; each of these scholars are vivid writers and great pedagogues, many of whom are in constant contact with their readers via their weblogs. Thus these interviews provided an opportunity to forward student questions about their (...) respective works. Though each were conducted on different occasions, the interviews stand as a collected work, tying together the most classical questions about “realism” to ancillary movements about the non-human in politics, ecology, aesthetics, and video gaming—all to point to future movements in this philosophical area. (shrink)
Since Kant, philosophy has been obsessed with epistemological questions pertaining to the relationship between mind and world and human access to objects. In The Democracy of Objects Bryant proposes that we break with this tradition and once again initiate the project of ontology as first philosophy. Drawing on the object-oriented ontology of Graham Harman, as well as the thought Roy Bhaskar, Gilles Deleuze, Niklas Luhman, Aristotle, Jacques Lacan, Bruno Latour and the developmental systems theorists, Bryant develops a realist (...) ontology that he calls “onticology”. This ontology argues that being is composed entirely of objects, properties, and relations such that subjects themselves are a variant of objects. By way of systems theory and cybernetics, Bryant argues that objects are dynamic systems that relate to the world under conditions of operational closure. In this way, he integrates the most vital discoveries of the anti-realists within a realist ontology that does justice to both the material and cultural. Onticology proposes a flat ontology where objects of all sorts and at different scales equally exist without being reducible to other objects and where there are no transcendent entities such as eternal essences outside of dynamic interactions among objects. This work will be of great interest to Continental philosophers, ecologists, cultural theorists, media theorists, and those following recent developments in the thought of speculative realists. (shrink)
The emotional traumas news photographers experience are not often discussed outside the newsroom. Here professional newspaper photographer Garry Bryant offers a personal testimonial on the effects his job has had on him, as well as on the public. The excitement and drama of shooting spot news at accidents and disasters have caused a certain dulling of the senses, but on the other hand have heightened Bryant's awareness of the importance of his work. A variety of Bryant's favorite (...) photos illustrate this article, capturing the range of the human condition. (shrink)
From one end of his philosophical work to the other, Gilles Deleuze consistently described his position as a transcendental empiricism. But just what is transcendental about Deleuze’s transcendental empiricism? And how does his position fit with the traditional empiricism articulated by Hume? In Difference and Givenness , Levi Bryant addresses these long-neglected questions so critical to an understanding of Deleuze’s thinking. Through a close examination of Deleuze’s independent work--focusing especially on Difference and Repetition-- as well as his engagement with (...) thinkers such as Kant, Mai;mon, Bergson, and Simondon, Bryant sets out to unearth Deleuze’s transcendental empiricism and to show how it differs from transcendental idealism, absolute idealism, and traditional empiricism. What emerges from these efforts is a metaphysics that strives to articulate the conditions for real existence, capable of accounting for the individual itself without falling into conceptual or essentialist abstraction. In Bryant’s analysis, Deleuze’s metaphysics articulates an account of being as process or creative individuation based on difference, as well as a challenging critique--and explanation--of essentialist substance ontologies. A clear and powerful discussion of how Deleuze’s project relates to two of the most influential strains in the history of philosophy, this book will prove essential to anyone seeking to understand Deleuze’s thought and its specific contribution to metaphysics and epistemology. (shrink)
Why are nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) so successful in today’s world? How do they empower themselves? This insightful book provides important new perspectives on the strategic thinking of NGOs, the way they identify themselves, and how they behave. Raymond L. Bryant develops a novel theoretical perspective around the concept of moral capital and assesses that concept through in-depth case studies of NGOs in the Philippines. The book’s focus is on perceptions of NGOs as moral and altruistic and how such perceptions (...) can translate into social power. Bryant examines the ambiguous qualities of NGO strategizing, the ways in which the quest for moral capital is bedeviled by the need to compromise with political and economic elites, and the possibilities for NGOs to achieve political goals as moral leaders. (shrink)
Levi Bryant, Nick Srnicek, and Graham Harman (eds): The Speculative Turn: Continental Materialism and Realism Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 1-5 DOI 10.1007/s10746-012-9218-0 Authors Geoff Pfeifer, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, MA, USA Journal Human Studies Online ISSN 1572-851X Print ISSN 0163-8548.
Thanks to the kind cooperation of Mrs. Elise Harding-Davis, director of the North American Black Historical Museum and Cultural Centre, we are able to reproduce the score of this famous melody which features so prominently in Sartre's Nausea. This museum is located in Amherstburg, Ontario, some thirty kilometers southwest of the Ambassador Bridge which links Detroit, Michigan with Windsor, Ontario. Shelton Brooks, who composed the melody in 1910, was a descendent of black slaves who made their way to freedom by (...) way of "the underground railway" and settled in Southwestern Ontario. He was born in Amherstburg; toured widely in Canada, the United States and Europe and he finally settled in Fontana, California where he died in 1975 at age 86. In the conclusion of Nausea Roquentin identifies him incorrectly as a New York Jew and refers to the singer as black. In fact the composer was an Afro-Canadian while the singer was New Yorker Sophie Tucker, who was Jewish. (shrink)
Following the U.K. Labour government commitment to marriage in the 1998 Green Paper ‘Supporting Families’, Barlow and Duncan produced a robust critique calling for ‘realism’ in recognising that many couples are now choosing not to marry, that too many do not make informed decisions as to whether to marry or not and that, on the basis of their survey, over 40% of respondents believed that some form of family law protection would be available to them, despite their lack of marital (...) status. When added to a concern that economically vulnerable cohabiting women do not receive adequate protection in property law, it seemed all too obvious that the government commitment to marriage should be challenged. In fact, government policy does seem to have shifted somewhat when, partly as a tactical manoeuvre to help the passage of the Civil Partnership Act 2004 and specifically recognising concerns with the needs of economically vulnerable parties, the issue was referred to the Law Commission for England and Wales. This places the ‘realism’ arguments firmly within the reform agenda. However, this article argues that there is a need to look more closely at the arguments used by the ‘realists’, in particular at the evocation of the figure of Mrs. Burns. The more contemporary case of Oxley v. Hiscock is used to both raise questions about the socio-economic profiles of cohabitants, as well to question the presentation of property law as failing women (and family law as offering the protection they need). I argue that feminists should take a cautious approach in relation to the seemingly compelling argument that cohabitants will benefit from the extension of aspects of marriage law to cover property issues at the end of a relationship. (shrink)
In philosophical circles, Electress Sophie of Hanover (1630-1714) is known mainly as the friend, patron, and correspondent of Leibniz. While many scholars acknowledge Sophie's interest in philosophy, some also claim that Sophie dabbled in philosophy herself, but did not do so either seriously or competently. In this paper I show that such a view is incorrect, and that Sophie did make interesting philosophical contributions of her own, principally concerning the nature of mind and thought.
Over the past decade the use of closed circuit television (CCTV) as a means of crime prevention has reached unprecedented levels. Though critics of this development do not speak with one voice and have pointed to a number of different problems in the use of CCTV, one argument has played a dominant role in the debate, namely, that CCTV constitutes an unacceptable violation of people’s right to privacy. The purpose of this paper is to examine this argument critically. It is (...) suggested that the argument is hard to sustain. (shrink)
In a recent article in Respublica, Jesper Ryberg argues that CCTV can be compared to a little old lady gazing out onto the street below. This article takes issue with the claim that government surveillance can be justified in this manner. Governments have powers and responsibilities that little old ladies lack. Even if CCTV is effective at preventing crime, there may be less intrusive ways of doing so. People have a variety of legitimate interests in privacy, and protection for these (...) is important to their status as free and equal citizens. Consequently, though necessary, effectiveness is insufficient to justify CCTV in a democracy. (shrink)
Girls learn the lesson of cognitive deference most clearly, perhaps, growing up in patriarchal families. Taught to discount their own judgments and to depend on those of the family's dominant men, they lose self-trust and cannot take themselves seriously as moral deliberators. I argue that through the telling of counterstories, which undermine normative stories of oppression, it is sometimes possible for women to reclaim these families as places where they have cognitive authority.