The March 2018 issue of Explorations in Media Ecology is now available online here. You can view the abstract for my article “Media Ecology and Bios Theoretikos: Philosophy as Extended Cognition” here, but unfortunately the full article is behind a paywall. You can email me at email@example.com if you’re interested in reading the full essay but don’t have access to a university or library computer. The description is below.
In this article, I take a media ecology perspective on philosophy. This approach supports the German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk’s claim that first philosophy is not metaphysics, aesthetics, ethics or epistemology but rather practice (askēsis). Sloterdijk’s practice-centred view of philosophy is shared by Pierre Hadot and Michael McGhee, both of whom give askēsis a central role in philosophy. I draw on the work of these philosophers to show that philosophy is best conceived as an act of extended cognition performed amidst different media ecologies. To make this point, I start not with humans and our practices, but with spiders and theirs. When philosophy is seen as an instance of extended cognition, I argue, one can draw parallels between our practices and those of non-human species, who like us build artefacts to deepen their perception and understanding of their environments. To this end, I explore the settings that enable philosophical training. Philosophy on this view is facilitated by an ecology of affordance spaces – academies, libraries, monasteries and more – whose design helps the philosopher perform certain manoeuvres in thought, manoeuvres that make apparent the conditions required for the Bios Theoretikos (the life of contemplation).
Dear Adam Robert
I am very curious about your article and very interested in reading it. Could you send me a copy? Yours
congrats, what makes this sort of Heideggerian equipment approach to philo (whereas say Alva makes the case for art or dance) different from any other human activity in our enabling/manufactured environs? Is there something in particular that I learn from things labeled philo and how, or is this just a kind of skillful attention that could apply more universally?
I don’t think philosophy is a difference in kind from other actions, really. I think it’s more the concerns that set it apart (loosely the standard branches of philosophy).
gotcha, raises questions about effectiveness and how you may not so much be continuing a tradition as reforming it:
Very interesting, would be interested in getting a copy if possible.
Send me an email at the above address and I’ll be happy to share a copy!
against turning us into simple-machines
these folks might publish yer research