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 Amerikaand 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 On. In 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!
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.
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 Ontologythat 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.
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.
In his book, Death, Todd May argues, among other things, that death is not an accomplishment. It is not “the fullest expression of life” nor does it “bring a life to what it most characteristically is”. May argues that death is, quite literally, the opposite of this.1)Todd May, Death. (New York: Routledge, 2014), 25-26. During the course of this post, I will attempt to show that May’s argument is not correct and that death is a structuring principle of existence that serves to affirm, as opposed to negate, meaning in life – in other words, death is the “fullest expression of life”. To achieve this, I will look at life and death as structuralistic binary opposites wherein the meaning of either one is conferred upon it by the existence of the other (its opposite).2)The full paper I wrote from which this post is excerpted contains a Jüngerian analysis that I am still working on fleshing out.