March 20, 2014 § Leave a comment
After a short break the AIME reading group is back in action. Philip Conway leads this week’s discussion with his post on Chapter 8 here. Philip is easily one of the best narrators of Latour’s work we have available. His blog, Circling Circles, is highly recommended to anyone interested in Actor-Network theory, Science and Technology Studies; and the philosophies of Bruno Latour, William James, Alfred North Whitehead, and Isabelle Stengers. I suspect many readers of this blog will appreciate what Philip is up to.
March 2, 2014 § 8 Comments
[Image: Morgan Herrin]
Yesterday, as I was listening to Melanie Sehgal’s lecture on Whitehead’s metaphysics as situated metaphysics, I was reminded of two passages in Whitehead’s work that have stuck out to me ever since reading them. The first is the oft-quoted airplane analogy Whitehead gives in Process and Reality to describe his mode of speculative thinking. Through this analogy, Whitehead suggests speculative thinking always takes flight from a given location — a context, a historical epoch, a field of concerns, etc. — and then, from this atmospheric perspective, the speculative philosopher attempts to give, in Whitehead’s own words, “a coherent, logical, and necessary system of general ideas” that are also “applicable” and “adequate” to every element of our experience. In other words, for Whitehead, speculative philosophy’s method is a practice of thought wherein one starts with experience, ascends as though in an airplane to the height of generality — away from the structure of particular experience to the structure of experience in general — and then lands once again back into the particularity of experience. « Read the rest of this entry »
February 21, 2014 § 17 Comments
Over the past few weeks there has been extensive discussion over the so-called “ontological turn” in anthropology. Many of these commentaries were written either in direct response to a recent meeting of the American Anthropological Association (AAA), or were aimed at the rising tide of “ontology” in anthropology more generally. I first came to learn of the AAA’s shift to ontology through friend and colleague Jeremy Trombley (see here and here). Like so many “turns” this one has inspired seemingly equal parts enthusiasm and dismay, and that’s not surprising. « Read the rest of this entry »
February 20, 2014 § 7 Comments
As an editor I read a lot of academic scholarship. In 2.5 years of work I have edited some 200 unique pieces of writing, most of them from different authors. Around 80 of these have been graduate-level theses or dissertations (the rest being articles, chapters, proposals, or smaller qualifying papers). Having had the opportunity to reflect on so much research, it strikes me that there are a few recurring themes and issues that almost universally characterize the thesis / dissertation process. In this post I want to describe a common issue that plagues many writers at the graduate level: The ability to focus in on a very singular topic or issue. In the way of achieving this ability are a few common obstacles. « Read the rest of this entry »
January 23, 2014 § 3 Comments
I just got around to updating my Academia.edu page. The account has been sitting idle since I first signed up — I think to download another paper from the site a few years ago — but now that I’ve uploaded some of my talks and papers it seems like a worthwhile account to have. In addition to the papers I just uploaded I have four articles and chapters currently sitting with their respective editors (and a fifth that I no longer think will see the light of day as it should have been published 1-2 years ago). These papers will be available soon and I’ll be sure to link to them as they emerge. In the mean time you can find my Academia.edu page here.