Tag Archives: philosophy

Robert Anton Wilson, Finitude, and Realism

The late Robert Anton Wilson has been a person of interest to me for a while now, and although his thoughts are very sporadic and aphoristic (being spread amongst his numerous novels and speeches), his contributions to Discordian thought have been vital. More specifically, however, a quotation by him in The Historical Illuminatus Chronicles has held my attention for a long time. In Nature’s Godwriting as Sigismundo Celine, Wilson says the following:

“Is,” “is.” “is” — the idiocy of the word haunts me. If it were abolished, human thought might begin to make sense. I don’t know what anything “is”; I only know how it seems to me at this moment.1)Robert Anton Wilson, Nature’s God: The History of the Early Illuminati (The Historical Illuminatus Chronicles Vol. 3), (Las Vegas: New Falcon, 2007).

Clearly channeling the general semantic theory of Alfred Korzybski and its later incarnations as E-Prime (topics that will no doubt be written about in the future),2)Indeed, in later posts on general semantics and E-Prime, which ‘is’ we’re talking about must be sorted out as the ‘is of identity’ — for example, “Max is a dog” — is, arguably, ontologically different than the ‘is of predication’ — for example, “Max is diabetic.” the quotation has a certain ring of idealism to it. Indeed, while I think Wilson’s comment is insightful, I’ve been hesitant to fully accept his disdain for the word ‘is’ insofar as such an acceptance seems, at first glance, to relegate one to a strictly phenomenal (and arguably, consequently idealist) understanding of the world. While I’m unsure whether or not I’m willing to jump aboard the ‘anti-is’ train, I do think there is a way to reconcile Wilson’s view with ontological realism by utilizing both a brief discussion of what Quentin Meillassoux calls “finitude” and Graham Harman’s ontology of objects.

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References   [ + ]

1. Robert Anton Wilson, Nature’s God: The History of the Early Illuminati (The Historical Illuminatus Chronicles Vol. 3), (Las Vegas: New Falcon, 2007).
2. Indeed, in later posts on general semantics and E-Prime, which ‘is’ we’re talking about must be sorted out as the ‘is of identity’ — for example, “Max is a dog” — is, arguably, ontologically different than the ‘is of predication’ — for example, “Max is diabetic.”

End of the Year Discussion with Brett Stevens

As The Current YearTM — the year of the Alt-Right, as Richard Spencer calls it — comes to a close, fellow thinker, friend, and author, Brett Stevens (editor of Amerika and author of Nihilism: A Philosophy Based in Nothingness and Eternity — a book I reviewed here), and I decided to fire a couple dozen emails back and forth discussing everything from what the Alt-Right is to multiculturalism and Anti-Semitism (along with other scapegoating tactics) to metaphysics and morality in the coming decades. Our discussions, as Brett has noted, have been “all over the place,” but thanks to his tireless work, some of our back and forth has been edited down into an easily digestible conversation format.

The first entry in what we hope will be a series of discussions, “A Conversation Between Peter Heft and Brett Stevens,” has been published on Right OnIn this dialogue, Peter and Brett sit down with warm drinks and good food to discuss the rising Alt-Right, multiculturalism, the implications of anti-Semitism and similar scapegoating, and the historical legacy of a liberal society.

So please, do check out the dialogue, share your thoughts, and don’t hesitate to contact either of us.

Thank you all for your readership and I hope you have a happy New Year!

-Peter

Book Review: “Nihilism” by Brett Stevens

Brett Stevens’ Nihilism: A Philosophy Based In Nothingness And Eternity1)Brett Stevens, Nihilism: A Philosophy Based In Nothingness And Eternity (Australia: Manticore Press, 2016). serves as both an attempt to clarify a long misunderstood term — nihilism — while also critiquing the caricature of nihilists as fatalists. Further, Stevens attempts to reinvigorate the realism-idealism debate with novel insights into the meaning of both terms. What follows is not simply a generic Amazon.com review, but rather a critical analysis of Stevens’ arguments…so if you’re ready to take the plunge, read on.

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References   [ + ]

1. Brett Stevens, Nihilism: A Philosophy Based In Nothingness And Eternity (Australia: Manticore Press, 2016).

The Philosopher’s New Clothes: An Introductory Survey into Object-Oriented Ontology

I haven’t written much this summer because, as you know if you follow me on Twitter, I have been involved in a summer-long research project. As I mentioned at the start of my last post, Latour and the “Arche-Fossil,” “[o]ver the past many weeks I’ve been doing research into Speculative Realism and Object-Oriented Ontology (SR/OOO) by reading the works of Quentin Meillassoux, Graham Harman, Ian Bogost, Bruno Latour, and Levi Bryant.” This project has culminated in 6 chapter paper entitled The Philosopher’s New Clothes: An Introductory Survey into Object-Oriented Ontology that will be bound and published at my local university and will, of course, be available for you all to read here.

The abstract, for those interested, is:

My project for the past 10 weeks has been the study of the philosophical movements of Speculative Realism and Object-Oriented Ontology as developed by a few prominent philosophers: Graham Harman, Bruno Latour, Levi Bryant, Ian Bogost, and Quentin Meillassoux. My paper starts by analyzing the critical stance post-Kantian philosophy takes and its view (dubbed “correlationism” by Meillassoux) where subjectivity reigns supreme and knowledge of any real world external to the mind is impossible. I then examine Harman, Bryant, Bogost, and Latour’s philosophies and explicate their views as well as compare and contrast them to each other. The project concludes with a chapter where I reflect upon these individuals’ ontologies and offer my own ontology of objects. My hope is that this project will serve as the first building block in a larger project aimed to aggregate the wide ranging and disparate views of Speculative Realists and Object-Oriented Ontologists. In the end, this longer term project is intended to serve as a primer, if you will, for those interested in Speculative Realism and Object-Oriented Ontology.

http://www.petersaysstuff.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/The-Philosophers-New-Clothes-An-Introductory-Survey-into-Object-Oriented-Ontology.pdf

4/20 Posts

META

On this glorious 4/20 (Hitler/Stoner Day), two of my articles have been published around the web. While I normally don’t do this, since it’s hard to promote two different ones in the same day, I have aggregated them here as well. Check them out!

The Moral Conservative’s Case Against Torture (Right On)

It is not uncommon to see image macros online (particularly amongst mainstream conservative circles) that display a picture of a wounded solider with the caption, “This is why I don’t care how we interrogate terrorists.” If one buys the often touted conservative claim of “Western morality is the best system of values to follow,” however, then we as a society ought to eschew the practice of torturing suspected terrorists. As a society, we ought to refrain from torture as a method of information gathering, not because the methods used are ineffective, but rather because claims to the superiority of Western morality rest upon a meta-moral high ground that must be maintained.

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Jews As Mediators Between The Right And The Left (Amerika)

The Right Stuff raised an crucial issue with an article entitled “Zero Tolerance: Why Aren’t White Nationalists and Jewish Nationalists Fellow Travelers?”. In it, the author argued that “the (traditional enemies of the White Man)” — including Jewish people — ought to be excluded from alt-right conferences and identitarian movements.

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