News | Author: Sphaleotas

31 Dec 2015

2015-ish

Sphaleotas

1 Sec Let Me Chat About Sheafs
Urbanomic Office top memes of 2015

As a gradual crumbling which did not alter the physiognomy of the whole was interrupted in 2015 by a dawn which, like lightning, all at once revealed the edifice of a vaguely-post-SR world, the Suits At Urbanomic Press continued to hold steadfastly to their two major precepts, “destroy all humans” and “sciencey stuff not humanities”. Regrettable lapses notwithstanding (publications on site-specificity and the digital moving image, events on social media and capitalist subjectivation, choreography, and crime fiction), it is undoubtedly the dogged insistence on this impoverished worldview and the resulting decline that accounts for a relative paucity of faintly amusing Urbanomic-related memes over the past year. Let this not prevent Sphaleotas from fulfilling its dedication to snide and sarcastic reportage, even if it means swiping our way through a years worth of tedious G+ and twitter feeds.

  1. On the upside, 2015 saw three top Urbanomic celeb A-listers, Mackay, Negarestani, and Zalamea, featured among the 100 Global Minds catalogued in a mysterious but undoubtedly authoritative and finely illustrated volume on “the most daring cross-disciplinary thinkers in the world” published by Irish cultural trendsetters slash luxury goods company Roads (Illustrations by David Johnson).
      

  2. Envy and admiration for Ben Noys (qv. memes of 2014 mincemeat/meatgrinder/metallic skull condom) for his appearance in Private Eye’s “Pseuds Corner” – the one literary prize Urbanomic has always coveted (and to think we said drone thinkpieces were “going down” last year!)
  3. A foregone conclusion for Circumspect Response of the Year was the crushing blow with which the Object Lord (or Noumenal Emperor, if the spittlemongers are to be believed) – down 7 places at #75, solo after the supergroup split – put paid to the great Mark Gage New York Tower of Stuff vs Lamentably Awful Accelerationist Manifesto controversy, with one judicious put-down.
  4. As publisher of Fanged Noumena, Urbanomic were delighted to receive an invitation to the first annual convention of the Nick Land fan club, a gathering open exclusively to those icy, reptilian cogitators of sufficiently ubermenschlich clarity of mind to withstand the harsh truths of the Master’s eldritch auguries.

    The keynote was given by “number one fan” Angele Martinez, whose charming missive on perfumed notepaper arrived at the Urbanomic office in September:

    -(Ms Martinez née Lopez was later stripped of the title when her epistolary malware was intercepted by Urbanomic’s vigilant mailroom staff and other authorities).
  5. Then there was Bjork at MOMA. An anonymous NY artist sends us this puzzling Sellars-themed appropriative “response” to the Icelandic whimsy-queen’s collab with Tim “about three carpet runners wide” Morton (who, rumour has it, is the object of a new, meticulously-reasoned forty-six-chapter page-turner from “Warlock of Feyerabend Mountain” Pete Wolfendale)
  6. As accelerationism decelerated into the mainstream, Srnicek’s and Williams’s new masterwork Inventing the Future (subs, please check) caused further controversy, chiefly around that sensitive point of Marx interpretation, “the beards question”.
  7. Thinkiest Thinker of the Year
  8. Model of the Year: Gotta be CONSTRUCTIVIST GUY at Offprint Book Fair @ Tate Modern
  9. Best avant-niche speculative cosmetics metabrand: Beauty Cube
  10. Some other meagre hashtagcrumbs from the table of the 2015 internets:


Hi
I am Laura Robertson from [address redacted] OR 97520, United States.
I am an excellent writer. Since many years I have written great works. I have published several books at the publishing houses: “Random House”, “Harper Collins”, “Penguin Group”, “Macmillan”, “Simon & Schuster”, “Lulu”, “Amazon”, “Dorance” etc., in USA, and some ones at publishing houses in India. I can enumerate some titles:
1. “Parapsychology today”;
2. “Red and blue words”;
3. “Russian woman in the church”:
4. “Wonderful voice of dignity”;
5. “Japan – a miracle”.
The last 7 my manuscripts were not published because I have got a much better paid job and I have very much to work for this new job.
My manuscripts are wonderful, I have written them with passion and love, with hard work of documentation, with great care for the overall look and style, they are pleasant to read, engaging, interesting …
Because I have no time to look for publishers, to collaborate with publishers or publishing companies, or to seek clients who would buy my manuscripts at a good price, I decided to sell all 7 manuscripts, as soon as possible, at a low price: $ 100 per manuscript.
If you will buy such a manuscript – you will have ALL THE RIGHTS as an author on the manuscript, you will may sell it (at a much higher price), or you will publish it and you will get money as an author.
As soon as you will pay $ 100 via Paypal – you will receive IMMEDIATELY the manuscript by email.
These 7 manuscripts are:
1. “Candle in the Wind: Lady Diana, Princess of Wales” (106 pages)
As emblematic figure of British royalty, even world royalty, Lady Diana Planet has remained in people’s consciousness as a generous being, very warm-hearted, intelligent and realistic, with much common sense, aristocratic and well educated, with much love for her family and for everyone, an angel of the 21st century, a beautiful flower in the middle of admirers and supporters, an example of humanism, altruism, wisdom and love for people.
This work is dedicated to the memory of Lady Diana, with respect and piety, love and gratitude.
The memory of this wonderful being (Lady Diana) will be eternal, and the present work brings more details, appreciation, unique events, wonderful events, stories, humor and love, even the approach of femininity and sexuality in a fine and subtle manner, civilized and exhaustive, as a moment of modern royalty.
The work includes: early life, education and career, marriage to the Prince of Wales, engagement and wedding, Princess of Wales, royal duties, public appearances, charity work and patronage, problems and separation, divorce, personal life after divorce, landmines, death.
I paid special attention to the involvement of Lady Diana in life of fellows, especially in charitable activities. She visited and helped and was involved in hospitals, schools, various other establishments for poor people, was deeply involved in health issues, including AIDS and leprosy. She did a lot of charitable acts, visited very sick people and helped them with her beneficent presence, made animal protection campaigns, for AIDS, and fought against dangerous and inhumane weapons. She collaborated with numerous charitable agencies, with homeless people, young people, old people and children worldwide.
The chapter of her death is a sad, heartbreaking, with much regret and piety. She was a “candle in the wind”.
You can read an excerpt:
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“Diana was born on 1 July 1961, in Park House, Sandringham, Norfolk, and was the
fourth of five children of Viscount and Viscountess Althorp. The Spencers have been
closely allied with the Royal Family for several generations. The Spencers were hoping
for a boy to carry on the family line, and no name was chosen for a week, until they
settled on Diana Frances, after Diana Russell, Duchess of Bedford, her distant relative
who was also known as “Lady Diana Spencer” before marriage and who was also a
prospective Princess of Wales, and her mother. Diana was baptised at St. Mary
Magdalene Church, Sandringham. Diana had three siblings: Sarah, Jane, and Charles.
She also had an infant brother, John, who died only a year before she was born. The
desire for an heir added strain to the Spencers’ marriage, and Lady Althorp was reportedly sent to Harley Street clinics in London to determine the cause of the
“problem”. The experience was described as “humiliating” by Diana’s younger brother,
Charles: “It was a dreadful time for my parents and probably the root of their divorce because I don’t think they ever got over it.” Diana grew up in Park House, which was situated near to the Sandringham estate.
Diana was eight years old when her parents divorced, in which her mother later had an
affair with Peter Shand Kydd. In his book, Morton describes Diana’s remembrance of
Lord Althorp loading suitcases in the car and Lady Althorp crunching across the gravel
forecourt and driving away through the gates of Park House. Diana lived with her
mother in London during her parents’ separation. During Christmas holidays, however,
Lord Althorp refused to let Lady Althorp to return to London with Diana. Shortly
afterwards, Lord Althorp won custody of Diana with support from his former mother-in-
law, Ruth Roche, Baroness Fermoy. Diana was first educated at Riddlesworth Hall near Diss, Norfolk, and later attended boarding school at The New School at West Heath, in
Sevenoaks, Kent. In 1973, Lord Althorp began a relationship with Raine, Countess of
Dartmouth, the only daughter of Alexander McCorquodale and Barbara Cartland. Diana became known as Lady Diana after her father later inherited the title of Earl Spencer in
1975. Despite her unpopularity with Diana, Lady Darmouth married Lord Spencer at
Caxton Hall, London in 1976. Diana was often noted for her shyness while growing up, but she did take an interest in both music and dancing. She also had a great interest in
children. After attending finishing school at the Institut Alpin Videmanette in Switzerland, she moved to London. She began working with children, eventually becoming a nursery
assistant at the Young England School. Diana had apparently played with Princes
Andrew and Edward as a child while her family rented Park House, a property owned by Queen Elizabeth II and situated on the Sandringham Estate.
In 1968, Diana was sent to Riddlesworth Hall School, an all-girls boarding school. While she was young, she attended a local public school. She did not shine academically, and
was moved to West Heath Girls’ School (later reorganised as The New School at West
Heath) in Sevenoaks, Kent, where she was regarded as a poor student, having
attempted and failed all of her O-levels twice. However, she showed a particular talent
for music as an accomplished pianist. Her outstanding community spirit was recognised
with an award from West Heath. In 1977, she left West Heath and briefly attended
Institut Alpin Videmanette, a finishing school in Rougemont, Switzerland. At about that
time, she first met her future husband, who was then in a relationship with her older
sister, Sarah. Diana also excelled in swimming and diving, and longed to be a
professional ballerina with the Royal Ballet. She studied ballet for a time, but then grew too tall for the profession.”
=================
2. “Sexual life” (145 pages)
A complete work on sexuality, absolutely useful, eloquent in all related detail, modern, under the patronage and professional training of some great specialists: doctors, psychologists, sexologists, sociologists, journalists, lawyers, even politicians and military.
The work includes chapters:
1. Human sexuality
2. Sexual orientation
3. Heterosexuality
4. Human sexual activity
5. Child sexuality
6. Adolescent sexuality
7. Psychosexual development
8. History of human sexuality
9. Human female sexuality
10. Human male sexuality
11. Sexual response
12. Surprising health benefits of sex
13. Male pleasure positions
14. Giving her oral sex
15. Master the art of erotic spanking
16. Ultimate oral sex
17. Tips for better sex
18. Exploring female sexual fantasies
19. Useful sex positions
20. Multiple methods for multiple orgasms
I used a very extensive bibliography, works of great specialists in sexology in the US, Canada, Western Europe, India, Japan and Australia.
You can read an excerpt:
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“Human sexuality is the capacity to have erotic experiences and responses. Human sexuality may also involve a person’s sexual attraction to another person – which may be determined by their sexual orientation – whether it is to the opposite sex (heterosexuality), to the same sex (homosexuality), having
both these tendencies (bisexuality), to all gender identities (pansexuality or bisexuality), or not being attracted to anyone in a sexual manner (asexuality).
Human sexuality impacts cultural, political, legal, and philosophical aspects of life. It can refer to issues of morality, ethics, theology, spirituality, or religion. Some cultures have been described as sexually repressive.
Interest in sexual activity typically increases when an individual reaches puberty. Some researchers assume that sexual behavior is determined by genetics, and others assert that it is molded by the environment. This is the nature versus nurture debate, in which one can define nature as those
behavioral traits that are due to innate characteristics, such as instincts and drives. The concept of nurture can be defined as the environmental factors or external stimuli that influence behavior, emotions, and thinking. Biological and physical differences include the human sexual response cycle among men and women.
Evolutionary perspectives on human coupling and/or reproduction, including the sexual strategies theory, provide another perspective on sexuality, as does social learning theory. Socio-cultural aspects of sexuality include historical developments and religious beliefs, including Jewish views on sexual pleasure within the marriage and Christian views on avoidance of sexual pleasures. The study of sexuality also includes human identity within social groups, sexually transmitted diseases, and infections (STDs and STIs) and birth control methods.
Eroticism is generally understood to refer to a state of sexual arousal or anticipation of such – an insistent sexual impulse, desire, or pattern of thoughts, as well as a philosophical contemplation concerning the aesthetics of sexual desire, sensuality and romantic love. As French novelist Honoré de Balzac pointed out, eroticism is dependent not just upon an individual’s sexual morality, but the culture and time that individual resides in as well.
Because the nature of what is erotic is fluid, early definitions of the term attempted to conceive eroticism as some form of sensual or romantic love or as the human sex drive (libido); for example, the Encyclopédie of 1755 states that the erotic “is an epithet which is applied to everything with a connection
to the love of the sexes; one employs it particularly to characterize…a dissoluteness, an excess”. However, because eroticism is wholly dependent on the viewer’s culture and personal tastes pertaining to what, exactly, defines the erotic, critics have often confused eroticism with pornography, going so far as to say: “[Eroticism] is simply high-class pornography; better produced, better conceived, better executed, better packaged, designed for a better class of consumer.” This confusion, as Lynn Hunt writes, “demonstrate the difficulty of drawing…a clear generic demarcation between the erotic and the pornographic”: indeed arguably “the history of the separation of pornography from eroticism…remains to be written”.
For a psychoanalytical definition, as early as Freud psychotherapists have turned to the ancient Greek philosophy’s “overturning of mythology” as a definition to understanding of the heightened aesthetic. For Plato, Eros takes an almost transcendent manifestation when the subject seeks to go beyond itself and form a communion with the objectival other:
“the true order of going…to the things of love, is to use the beauties of earth as steps…to all fair forms, and from fair forms to fair actions, and from fair
actions to fair notions, until from fair notions he arrives at the notion of absolute beauty”.
======================
3. “Michael Jackson, King of Pop” (136 pages)
This artwork is a special one dedicated to a special artist: Michael Jackson.
Considered the King of Pop, Michael Jackson was a great personality, a man and a genius, a child and a grown man, a warrior and a defender of the rights of all people in the world.
Our planet would have been poorer without Michael Jackson.
His overflowing creativity, imagination without limits, sense of music and art, closeness to beautiful and wonderful things, friendship with the world of artists and fruitful collaboration with them, experience and memories of childhood, confrontation with great personalities (megastars) of the world, need for perfection and innovation in music, sentimental adventures and love stories in music and in life, changes of rhythm and style, collaboration with famous artists from other arts (literature, cinema, painting, drawing, dance, architecture, sculpture), knowledge of human races – from whites in America, Europe and Asia to yellows and blacks from Africa, Asia and North America, the loan of culture, customs, traditions, folklore and other cultural events, his walking on the Planet – from North to South, from East to West, his play with all populations of the Planet, his magical and triumphant influence on television, movies and media, his struggle for peace, friendship and a better world, his love for children, his instinct and genius as a musician, his ability to communicate with all people and change the world for the better – all these make Michael Jackson – King Michael Jackson.
This is the meaning and content of this work.
You can read an excerpt:
======================
“In March 2009, Jackson held a press conference at London’s O2 Arena and announced a series of comeback concerts titled This Is It. The shows would be Jackson’s first major
series of concerts since the HIStory World Tour finished in 1997. Jackson suggested
possible retirement after the shows; he said it would be his “final curtain call”. The initial
plan was for 10 concerts in London, followed by shows in Paris, New York City and
Mumbai. Randy Phillips, president and chief executive of AEG Live, stated that the first 10 dates alone would earn the singer approximately £50 million. The London residency was increased to 50 dates after record breaking ticket sales: over one million were sold in less than two hours. Jackson rehearsed in Los Angeles in the weeks leading up to the tour under the direction of choreographer Kenny Ortega. Most of these rehearsals took place at the Staples Center, which was owned by AEG. The concerts would have commenced on July 13, 2009, and finished on March 6, 2010. Less than three weeks before the first show was due to begin in London and with all concerts being sold out, Jackson died after suffering cardiac arrest. Some time before his death, it was reported that he was starting a clothing line with Christian Audigier.
Jackson’s first posthumous song released entirely by his Estate was titled “This Is It” which Jackson cowrote in the 1980s with Paul Anka. It was not on the set lists for the concerts, and the recording was based on an old demo tape. The surviving brothers reunited in the studio for the first time since 1989 to record backing vocals. On October 28, 2009, a documentary film about the rehearsals titled Michael Jackson’s This Is It was released. Even though it ran for a limited two-week engagement, it became the highest grossing documentary or concert movie of all time, with earnings of more than
$260 million worldwide. Jackson’s estate received 90% of the profits. The film was accompanied by a compilation album of the same name. Two versions of the new song appear on the album, which also featured original masters of Jackson’s hits in the order in which they appear in the movie, along with a bonus disc with previously unreleased versions of more Jackson hits as well as a spoken-word poem titled “Planet Earth”. At the 2009 American Music Awards, Jackson won four posthumous awards, two for him and two for his album Number Ones, bringing his total American Music Awards to 26.
On June 25, 2009, Jackson died while in his bed at his rented mansion at 100 North Carolwood Drive in the Holmby Hills district of Los Angeles. Attempts at resuscitating him by Conrad Murray, his personal physician, were unsuccessful. Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics received a 911 call at 12:22 (PDT, 19:22 UTC), arriving three minutes later at Jackson’s location. He was reportedly not breathing and CPR was performed. Resuscitation efforts continued en route to the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, and for more than an hour after arriving there at 1:13 (20:13 UTC). He
was pronounced dead at 2:26 local time (21:26 UTC). Jackson’s death triggered a global outpouring of grief.
The news spread quickly online, causing websites to slow down and crash from user overload. Both TMZ and the Los Angeles Times suffered outages. Google initially believed that the input from millions of people searching for “Michael Jackson” meant that the search engine was under DDoS attack, and blocked searches related to Michael Jackson for 30 minutes. Twitter reported a crash, as did Wikipedia at 3:15 pm PDT (22:15 UTC). The Wikimedia Foundation reported nearly a million visitors to Jackson’s biography within one hour, probably the most visitors in a one-hour period to any article in Wikipedia’s history. AOL Instant Messenger collapsed for 40 minutes. AOL called it a “seminal moment in Internet history”, adding, “We’ve never seen anything like it in terms of scope or depth.”
Around 15% of Twitter posts—or 5,000 tweets per minute—reportedly mentioned Jackson after the news broke, compared to the 5% recalled as having mentioned the Iranian elections or the flu pandemic that had made headlines earlier in the year.
Overall, web traffic ranged from 11% to at least 20% higher than normal. MTV and BET aired marathons of Jackson’s music videos. Jackson specials aired on multiple television stations around the world. The British soap opera EastEnders added a last- minute scene, in which one character tells another about the news, to the June 26 episode.
Jackson’s memorial was held on July 7, 2009, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, preceded by a private family service at Forest Lawn Memorial Park’s Hall of Liberty.
Because of the high demand, organizers of the service fashioned a lottery style distribution method to give out tickets to members of the public. 1.6 million fans applied for tickets to the service over the two-day period that registration was open. 8,750 names were drawn at random to decide who to distribute tickets to, with each recipient receiving two tickets each. Jackson’s casket was present during the memorial but no information was released about the final disposition of the body. The memorial service was one of the most watched events in online streaming history. The U.S. audience was estimated by Nielsen to be 31.1 million, an amount comparable to the estimated 35.1 million that watched the 2004 burial of former president Ronald Reagan, and the estimated 33.1 million Americans who watched the 1997 funeral for Princess Diana. Mariah Carey, Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, John Mayer, Jennifer Hudson, Usher, Jermaine Jackson, and Shaheen Jafargholi performed at the event. Berry Gordy and
Smokey Robinson gave eulogies, while Queen Latifah read “We had him”, a poem written for the occasion by Maya Angelou. The Reverend Al Sharpton received a standing ovation with cheers when he told Jackson’s children, “Wasn’t nothing strange about your daddy. It was strange what your daddy had to deal with. But he dealt with it anyway.” The memorial is best remembered for when Jackson’s 11-year-old daughter, Paris Katherine, speaking publicly for the first time cried as she told the crowd, “Ever since I was born, Daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine….. I just wanted to say I love him….. so much.” Reverend Lucious Smith provided a closing prayer. On August 24, several news outlets quoted anonymous sources as stating that the Los Angeles coroner had decided to treat Jackson’s death as a homicide; this was later confirmed by the coroner on August 28. At the time of death, Jackson had been administered propofol, lorazepam and midazolam. Law enforcement officials conducted a manslaughter investigation of his personal physician Conrad Murray, who was charged with involuntary manslaughter by prosecutors in Los Angeles on February 8, 2010. Jackson’s body was entombed on September 3, 2009, at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.”
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4. “Adolescence – a wonderful and ineffable universe” (105 pages)
This work is a wonderful teaching for children and adolescents. The universe of childhood and the evolution towards adolescence and then to adulthood are presented with much charm, artistic talent, with language pleasant, simple, coherent and eloquent, with plenty of examples from the lives of children around the world (in the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia), with significant moments in the relationship of children and adolescents with their parents and children relationship in daily life, at school, at play, in family, in various activities.
A special attention I have paid to adolescence, as the most beautiful and the most important stage of human life, with related changes – intellectual, moral, psychological, physical and sexual.
Adolescents are innocent and idealistic, but ambitious, with common sense, preoccupied with life around them and the entire society. Adolescents want to change the world for the better. The avidity of culture and information, their involvement in various events, the changes (sometimes too fast) in their life and personality – are described with much talent, pertinence, often with humor, common sense and eloquence, with advice and recommendations, with examples of various stories of teenagers worldwide.
Moral and spiritual profile of adolescents is described and analyzed deeply, accompanied by pertinent arguments and opinions of great specialists and of the heights of the spirit in the USA, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, China, India, Japan, Russia, the Arab world, South America, Australia, Africa.
The book is useful, interesting and enjoyable.
You can read an excerpt:
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“Childhood is the age span ranging from birth to adolescence. According to Piaget’s
theory of cognitive development, childhood consists of two stages: preoperational stage
and concrete operational stage. In developmental psychology, childhood is divided up into the developmental stages of toddlerhood (learning to walk), early childhood (play age), middle childhood (school age), and adolescence (puberty through post-puberty). Various childhood factors could affect a person’s attitude formation.
The term childhood is non-specific and can imply a varying range of years in human
development. Developmentally and biologically, it refers to the period between infancy
and adulthood. In common terms, childhood is considered to start from birth. Some
consider that childhood, as a concept of play and innocence, ends at adolescence. In
the legal systems of many countries, there is an age of majority when childhood
officially ends and a person legally becomes an adult. The age ranges anywhere from 15 to 21, with 18 being the most common.
Early childhood follows the infancy stage and begins with toddlerhood when the child
begins speaking or taking steps independently. While toddlerhood ends around age
three when the child becomes less dependent on parental assistance for basic needs,
early childhood continues approximately through years seven or eight. According to the
National Association for the Education of Young Children, early childhood spans the
human life from birth to age eight. At this stage children are learning through observing,
experimenting and communicating with others. Adults supervise and support the
development process of the child, which then will lead to the child’s autonomy. Also during this stage, a strong emotional bond is created between the child and the care providers. The children also start to begin kindergarten at this age to start their social lives.
Middle childhood begins at around age seven or eight, approximating primary school
age. It ends around puberty, which typically marks the beginning of adolescence. In this period, children are attending school, thus developing socially and mentally. They are at
a stage where they make new friends and gain new skills, which will enable them to become more independent and enhance their individuality.
Adolescence is usually determined by the onset of puberty. However, puberty may also
begin in preadolescents. The onset of adolescence brings various physical,
psychological and behavioural changes in the child. The end of adolescence and the
beginning of adulthood varies by country and by function, and even within a single
nation-state or culture there may be different ages at which an individual is considered
to be (chronologically and the legally) mature enough to be entrusted by society with certain tasks.”
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5. “Oscar-winning films”(147 pages)
We all love art, beauty of the human spirit, talent and creativity, love and struggle, hard work and success. A wonderful area of human activity that captured the attention and interest of entire generations, even from its occurrence, was cinema.
Who has not watched a good movie in his life? Who has not admired and appreciated great actors, directors, scriptwriters, camera operators, authors of music, authors of sets and costumes, real stars of the world?
But of all the films released in cinema’s history most compelling were (and still are) Oscar-winning films.
This work is a summary – coherent, interesting, pleasant, expressive, eloquent, original and with good sense of ALL Oscar-winning films, from 1929 to the present. Each film has its story and specificity, has its contemporary history and corresponding fashion to its year of occurrence, has its stars and charm, has its success and public.
This work presents in chronological order all the films in the world which were Oscar-winning. The references – for each film – are pertinent, realistic, with common sense, with eloquent and synthetic assessment, with listing the main filmmakers: directors, screenwriters, actors, authors of scenery, costumes authors, camera operators etc.
Each Oscar-winning film impressed – for its time – millions, even billions of people. You can find the legend of each Oscar-winning film. In addition, there are interesting, spicy, savory, exciting, impressive details about every Oscar-winning film.
You can read an excerpt:
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1930 – All Quiet on the Western Front
All Quiet on the Western Front is a 1930 American epic war film based on the Erich Maria Remarque novel of the same name. It was directed by Lewis Milestone, and stars Louis Wolheim, Lew Ayres, John Wray, Arnold Lucy and Ben Alexander.
All Quiet on the Western Front is considered a realistic and harrowing account of warfare in World War I, and was named #54 on the AFI’s 100 Years… 100 Movies.
However, it fell out of the top 100 in the AFI’s 2007 revision. In June 2008, after polling over 1,500 workers in the creative community, AFI announced its 10 Top 10—the ten best films in each of ten “classic” American film genres; All Quiet on the Western Front was ranked the seventh-best film in the epic genre. In 1990, the film was selected and preserved by the United States Library of Congress’ National Film Registry as being deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” The film was the first to win the Academy Awards for both Outstanding Production and Best Director.
Its sequel is The Road Back, which shows members of the 2nd Company returning home after the war.
The film opens in a boys’ secondary school in Germany at the beginning of World War I. The instructor, Kantorek, gives an impassioned speech about the glory of serving in the Army and “saving the Fatherland”. On the brink of becoming men, the group of boys is moved to join the army. The young enlistees are shown in basic training, aching for “action” fighting in the war. Their training officer, Himmelstoss — a strict disciplinarian who is hated by all the recruits — tells them to forget everything they know; they are going to become soldiers. Rigorous training diminishes the recruits’ enthusiasm some, but after little more than marching drills, suddenly the boys are told they are “going, up front”.
The new soldiers arrive by train at the combat zone, which is mayhem, with soldiers everywhere, incoming shells, horse-drawn wagons racing about, and prolonged rain. One in the group is killed before the new recruits can reach their post, to the alarm of one of the new soldiers (Behn). The new soldiers are assigned to a unit composed of older soldiers, who are not exactly accommodating. The young soldiers find that there is no food available at the moment. They have not eaten since breakfast – but the men they have joined have not had food for two days. One of them (Katczinsky) had gone to
locate something to eat and he returns with a slaughtered hog. The young soldiers “pay” for their dinner with cigarettes.
“For the Fatherland” the young soldiers’ unit is sent out on night duty and they move into position packed into a flat cargo truck. As the driver drops them off at their destination, he tells them, “If there’s any of you left, there will be someone here to pick you up in the morning.” The young recruits watch the truck intensely as it leaves. Katczinsky gives the “schoolboys” some real world instructions, telling them how to deal with incoming shells, “When you see me flop, you flop. Only try to beat me to it.” The unit strings up barbed- wire and tries to avoid shells. Flares light up the night sky as the enemy tries to spot them, machine guns hammer and a bombardment begins. Behn is killed by machine gun fire; most of the soldiers keep low in the trenches. Franz Kemmerich runs out to retrieve Behn, but, upon returning to the trench, realizes that he’s carrying a corpse. He is scolded by Katczinsky for risking his life. When the truck arrives in the morning most of the unit has survived.
Back at the bunker in the trenches, the soldiers play cards and fight off the rats who eat their food and gear. The young soldiers are showing signs of great stress: nightmares, shaking uncontrollably, and screaming about the unrelenting bombs. One recruit (Kemmerich) loses control, runs out of the trench and is injured. Some of the soldiers want to leave the trench and attack, but the enemy seems to have superior firepower.
When food finally comes, the men have to fight to get their share. Then they are overcome by rats and the soldiers kill the rats with spades. Suddenly there is a break in the bombing and the men are ordered out to fight.
A loud rumbling can be heard as the enemy approaches. The soldiers are in trenches with their rifles ready as incoming shells move closer and closer. They can do nothing but wait. The enemy French soldiers come into view, running toward the trenches, but the Germans hold their fire until the enemy is closer. Paul witnesses several soldiers die from shellfire. The Germans use machine gun fire, hand grenades and rifles to mow down the enemy. The enemy suffers great losses, but succeeds in entering the trenches, where hand-to-hand combat with bayonets begins. The Germans retreat to a
second line, from where they launch a counterattack. At great cost they enter the French front line, but are unable to hold their position, and are ordered to withdraw to their original positions.
The men of Second Company return from the battle and line up for a meal. The cook refuses to feed them because he wants the entire company to arrive. The men explain that this is all that is left of the company – 80 of the original 150 – and the cook refuses to give them all the food he has prepared. An argument follows and violence seems imminent when Lieutenant Bertinck arrives and orders the cook to give all the food to the men.
The men start out eating greedily, but then settle into a satiated torpor. They hear that they are to return to the front the next day and begin a semi-serious discussion about the causes of the war and of wars in general. They speculate about whether geographical entities offend each other and whether these disagreements involve them. Tjaden speaks familiarly about himself and the Kaiser. They speculate about whether it is the Kaiser or the manufacturers that need the war or whether it is the result of a fever.
Katczinsky suggests roping off a field and stripping the kings and their ministers down to their underwear and letting them fight it out with clubs. It is finally decided that they should go see their friend Kemmerich, who was wounded in the battle and is in a dressing station, and bring him his things.
Five of the men find Kemmerich in a very bad condition, complaining that his watch was stolen while he was under ether, and that he is in pain in his right foot. Not realizing that Kemmerich did not know, Müller lets slip that his right leg has been amputated; Kemmerich becomes upset. Kemmerich expresses regret that he would never become a forester and Paul tries to reassure him. Müller sees Kemmerich’s boots under the bed and tactlessly asks him for them. Kemmerich asks Paul to give his boots to Müller and then loses consciousness. Paul tries to summon a doctor, but the doctor and the medic can do nothing. As Kemmerich finally succumbs to his wounds, Paul leaves the dressing station with Kemmerich’s boots and breaks into a run. Müller is trying to talk about math to Katczinsky when Paul brings him the boots. Müller is pleased and says that he will not mind returning to the front in such fine boots. Paul describes how he reacted to Kemmerich’s death by running and how it made him feel more alive and then hungry.
In a sequence of battle scenes, Müller is wounded and his boots are passed on to another soldier, who is also wounded and presumed killed. One day Corporal Himmelstoss arrives to the front and is immediately spurned because of his bad reputation. In an attack on a cemetery, Paul stabs a French soldier, but finds himself trapped in a hole with the dying man in for an entire night. Throughout the night, he desperately tries to help him, bringing him water, but fails miserably to stop him from dying. He cries bitterly and begs the dead body to speak so he can be forgiven. Later, he returns to the German lines.
Then the company have a day off the front line, and soon everyone gets drunk and eats as much as they can. While washing in the river, the men catch the attention of French women who invite them in their house at night.
Going back to the front line, Paul is severely wounded and taken to a Catholic hospital, along with his good friend Albert Kropp. Kropp’s leg is amputated, but he does not find out until some time afterwards. Around this time, Paul is taken to the bandaging ward, from which, according to its reputation, nobody has ever returned alive; but he later returns to the normal rooms triumphantly, only to find Kropp in agony.
Earning a furlough, Paul then takes a brief trip back to his home, where he finds his mother is ailing. The people in his town are mindlessly patriotic and ignorant about what is happening at the front. He visits Kantorek, only to find him lecturing another class about the “glory of war.” Disgusted, he returns to the front, where only a few men of the Second Company have survived, including an old hand, Tjaden. Paul asks Tjaden about Katczinsky, thinking that he is dead, but Tjaden reveals that Katczinsky is still alive. Paul goes looking for Kat, finds him scrounging for food, to no avail. Kat is
wounded in the ankle by a bomb dropped from an airplane. So Paul decides to carry Kat to the field hospital. En route, though, the same plane drops another bomb, and the shrapnel from this explosion kills Kat, while Paul, in ignorance, continues to carry him to the field hospital. Paul is grief-stricken.”
==========================
6. “From Ptahhotep until Garcia Marquez” (85 pages)
History of writing has attracted and fascinated many writers, historians, linguists, journalists, philosophers, even psychologists and psychiatrists.
I made a history of writing using extremely numerous specialized works (about the history of writing) which I have studied, ordered chronologically and as the historical importance, and finally I have obtained a synthesis extremely interesting and useful, savory and pertinent, a whole history of the evolution of writing: in Egypt, Mesopotamia, Babylon and the current Iraq territories, ancient Greece and Rome, the Middle East and the Far East (India, China, Japan), the entire Arab world, Western Europe, Eastern Europe (including Russia), and the USA.
A special attention I have paid great for great writers of the world: from France, England, Italy, Russia, Germany, Spain, USA, India, China, Japan, the Arab world.
You can find in this work all world famous titles, starting from Ptahhotep until García Márquez.
The work is short, synthetic, very eloquent, very helpful, extremely necessary for children and adolescents and for anyone who wants to have a good vision of the evolution of the world (especially on the evolution of writing) and a good general culture (especially literary culture).
You can read an excerpt:
===========================
“Charles Dickens (1812 – 1870) begins his literary career with jocose sketches, which he publishes in the newspapers, then he writes novels. At that time, the important newspapers were publishing serials: each episode of the novel urges you to read the next one. Like this, “The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club” appeared in the newspaper. In 1837, the episodes of “The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club” were brought together into volume. Samuel Pickwick is the founder of an imaginary club
– Pickwick Club. He and his servant gather together strange guys, who tell their adventures. At the same time, Pickwick himself has a lot of adventures. This book illustrates with humor the bourgeois and popular stupidity of Victorian England. In his youth, Dickens made the acquaintance of the terrible poverty and misery of the children, forced to work. Some ones exploit children and don’t take pity on them. The themes of the children appear in several novels of Dickens . The children Oliver Twist and David Copperfield bear the wickedness and the nastiness of the adults. They endure, undergo and bear the cruel tyranny of the headmasters of the odious schools and know the misery and the hunger. The novel “Oliver Twist” (1838) tells us about an abandoned child. He grows in the orphanage, which is a sort of jail for the unhappy persons, and will get in the mechanism of the crime. A kind-hearted harlot and a generous old man will take him out this mire. This book depicts the image of the rubbish of the society in London during the industrial revolution. In “David Copperfield” we learn the story of the happy life of a boy when he was near his mother and his wet nurse.
His universe of tenderness falls down when his mother marries again, and, especially, after the death of his mother. The step father sends the boy to a boarding school, than obliges him to work in the shop in London. David wants to escape from the misery and goes to his aunt – who is an eccentric one – then he works for a lawyer and, finally, he becomes an writer. His destiny was influenced by various characters : odious , shameful , detestable , hateful , manginess , sordid , delicious , charming , enchanting , rapturous , delightful , ecstatic , prepossessing , droll , funnily , quizzical ones . Many of his novels, with their recurrent theme of social reform, first appeared in magazines in serialized
form, a popular format at the time. Unlike other authors who completed entire novels before serialization, Dickens often created the episodes as they were being serialized. The practice lent his stories a particular rhythm, punctuated by cliffhangers to keep the public looking forward to the next installment. The continuing popularity of his novels and short stories is such that they have never gone out of print. Notable works:
“Sketches by Boz”, “The Old Curiosity Shop”, “Oliver Twist”, “Nicholas Nickleby”,
“Barnaby Rudge”, “A Christmas Carol”, “Martin Chuzzlewit”, “A Tale of Two Cities”,
“David Copperfield”, “Great Expectations”, “Bleak House”, “Little Dorrit”, “Hard Times”, “Our Mutual Friend”, “The Pickwick Papers”.
=====================
7. “Adolf Hitler and his ability to change the world” (83 pages)
Considered as an evil genius, or strong personality, or the product of history in the beginning of the XXth century – Adolf Hitler marked the destiny of millions of people. If we consider only the number of deaths in World War II (20 million Russians, 8 million Germans, 6 million Hebrew, 4 million Polish and millions of deaths in the UK, France, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, USA etc.) we can understand the awful appearance of this war and terrible look of one who triggered it: Adolf Hitler.
The book includes a description of the personality and life of Adolf Hitler, from childhood to his rise in politics, and then during the Second World War.
His ability to influence large masses of people and getting them to go on a certain road, for a specific purpose – is the main feature of Adolf Hitler.
We can remark his attitude anti-Semitic, racial discrimination, favoring certain nations (especially, German nation), his desire to conquer the entire planet and make a new world order, led by Germany and by an intellectual, political and cultural elite.
This world order, with classes of competences and ethnic features, with strong ones and weak ones, rich people and poor people, smart ones and stupid ones, educated people and illiterate people, competent persons and incompetent persons, with masters and slaves – were in fact the idea and philosophical foundations of a World Empire. Hitler wanted to lead the world, to master the world, to change the world.
His moral and psychological profile is amply described in this work.
You can read an excerpt:
====================
“Adolf Hitler (20 April 1889 – 30 April 1945) was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the Nazi Party (German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (NSDAP); National Socialist German Workers Party). He was chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945 and dictator of Nazi Germany (as Führer und Reichskanzler) from 1934 to 1945. Hitler was at the centre of Nazi Germany, World War II in Europe, and the Holocaust.
Hitler was a decorated veteran of World War I. He joined the German Workers’ Party (precursor of the NSDAP) in 1919, and became leader of the NSDAP in 1921. In 1923, he attempted a coup d’état in Munich, known as the Beer Hall Putsch. The failed coup resulted in Hitler’s imprisonment, during which time he wrote his memoir, Mein Kampf (My Struggle). After his release in 1924, Hitler gained popular support by attacking the Treaty of Versailles and promoting Pan- Germanism, antisemitism, and anti-communism with charismatic oratory and Nazi propaganda. After his appointment as chancellor in 1933, he transformed the Weimar Republic into the Third Reich, a single-party dictatorship based on the totalitarian and autocratic ideology of Nazism.
Hitler’s aim was to establish a New Order of absolute Nazi German hegemony in continental Europe. To this end, his foreign and domestic policies had the aim of seizing Lebensraum (“living space”) for the Germanic people. He directed the rearmament of Germany and the invasion of Poland by the Wehrmacht in September 1939, resulting in the outbreak of World War II in Europe. Under Hitler’s rule, in 1941 German forces and their European allies occupied most of Europe and North Africa. In 1943, Germany was forced onto the defensive and suffered a series of escalating defeats. In the final days of the war, during the Battle of Berlin in 1945, Hitler married his long-time partner, Eva Braun. On 30 April
1945, less than two days later, the two committed suicide to avoid capture by the Red Army, and their corpses were burned.”
====================
Please reply if you are interested. For 100$ you can get an wonderful manuscript – to be your definitive property, intellectually, morally and financially.
Satisfied or money back.
Kind regards
Laura Robertson
From [address redacted] OR 97520, United States.

23 Oct 2015

Call for Papers: On the History of Being after the Black Notebooks

Special Issue of the Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology

Many philosophers experience difficulties when trying to follow Heidegger into the thought of The History of Beyng. Some of the main texts in which this thought is developed, written during the 1930s and 1940s, are rather difficult to follow. Adding insult to injury are Heidegger’s repeated statements that these thoughts are hardly communicable, and that only few will be able to understand the direction of this thought in its essence. Insofar as this thinking of the History of Beyng stands also for what Heidegger calls Another Thinking, our own, contemporary thinking seems inapt to follow these texts in the way that they develop their untimely nature. As Heidegger says, in opposition to Being and Time, for example, these texts are properly untimely. While it is easy enough to establish some cornerstones of the argument, and while, e.g., the Contributions to Philosophy themselves are quite clear in their critique of our contemporary age, to get a good understanding of these works as a whole seems a significant challenge, already reflected in the near impossibility to translate them faithfully. In the end, therefore, reading these works often requires a lot of trust in the path of thinking opened up by Heidegger, so that it remains possible for the reader to attempt the first steps from the early Question for the Meaning of Being to that of the Confrontation with the History of Philosophy. And yet, insofar as Heidegger’s later philosophy attempts to make our contemporary world questionworthy in an essential sense, it belongs to the most promising thought philosophy currently has to offer.

The main idea of this special issue is to explore the importance of the Schwarze Hefte (GA 94, 95, 96 & 97) as going far beyond their contribution to Heidegger’s political biography. While attention has up to now focused almost exclusively on the controversy concerning his alleged anti-Semitism, the ‘Black Notebooks’ also offer a lot of material opening up multifaceted views into the works of Heidegger from the 1930s, 1940s and beyond. And they do so from various different angles, amongst others by reflections on metaphysics, on politics as much as on the political situation of the time, on the main authors that he worked on during these years, on aesthetics, on his personal position in Germany, as well as on the works he had already published, etc. etc.

In other words, for anyone trying to understand, evaluate and transform Heidegger’s later thinking, these volumes offer immeasurable wealth. The question, then, is whether Heidegger, who has given us reasons to look for Nietzsche’s ‘real’ philosophy in his Nachlaß, left his own ‘real’ philosophy in this, his own Nachlaß?

Submission Instructions

This special issue of the JBSP will collect ca. six essays that make use of the ‘Black Notebooks’ in order to open up Heidegger’s later work in view of deepening the readers’ understanding of the question for the History of Beyng.

The volume is scheduled for publication in early 2017. Final deadline for submissions is the 1st of July 2016. Notifications of interest – in form of an abstract of ca. 500 words – are invited to arrive by the 31st of January 2016, in order to allow for a good balance of the discussion.

All essays submitted will be blind-double peer-reviewed. Essays that are positively reviewed, but do not fit into the special issue, will be considered, if the author so wishes, for later issues of the JBSP.

Submissions of interest and final copies should be submitted in .rtf, .doc or docx. file to u.haase@mmu.ac.uk. For any further questions, please write to the same address or direct yourself to the webpages of the British Society for Phenomenology (http://britishphenomenology.org.uk/) or the Publisher’s JBSP page (http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/rbsp20/current).

Dr. Ullrich M. Haase DEA SFHEA

Editor of the Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology
Head of Philosophy
Manchester Metropolitan University
Faculty of Humanities, Languages and Social Sciences
Dept. of History, Politics and Philosophy
Geoffrey Manton Building
Rosamund Street West
Manchester M15 6LL
United Kingdom
Tel: 0044 (0)161 2473452
Fax: 0044 (0)161 2476769
Email: u.haase@mmu.ac.uk
Web: http://britishphenomenology.org.uk/
JBSP: http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/rbsp20/current
Office Hours (Manton 4.57): Thursdays from 13:00 to 14:00, Fridays from 12:30 to 14:00, or by arrangement.

“Before acting on this email or opening any attachments you should read the Manchester Metropolitan University’s email disclaimer available on the website http://www.mmu.ac.uk/emaildisclaimer”

23 Dec 2014

PLEASE CAN I SEE YOUR ATTENTION FOR A BRIEF DISCUSS
Urbanomic Office Top Memes of 2014







1. #occupyebola
2. #bucketofspittle
3. #deadwhiteferrarienvy
4. #thesuitsaturbanomicpress
5. #accelerate
6. #speculativeautopsy
7. #Hasselhoffhasalwayshadanairoffuturality / #onehasresistedthetemptation / #RegiNegarestani
8. #objectivelycolonialist
9. #emancinav / #alternav
10. #neurolivestock
Oscar for Lifetime Achievement in Subtitling: Fabio Cunctator, Hitler is Told About the Rationalists in Berlin
Oscar for Most Thinkiest Thinkvid: Eilif Verney-Elliott, Speculative Realism, What is the Reality of a Sphere? (2013: Jason Wakefield, The Sublime)
Oscar for Best Fantasy Film in 17 three-hour Parts: The Neoreactionary Chronicles: 1. The Abyssal Dark Awakening Rises / 2. The Scouring of the Cathedral / 3. Enterprise Besieged / 4. Enter Gnon / 5. Age of Abyssal Blackdark / 6. Fracturing of the Thedes / 7. Catallactic Orcocaust / 8. Triumph of the Elvenvolk / 9. Foredoomed Aftermath of the NeverHinter Nigh Dawn of the Un-Now Future End / 10. The Statistical Hypertrophy of Hobbiton / 11. Populo and Crypton – The Final Comments Thread / 12. Hyperborean Gateway to Azathoth's Dude Ranch /13. Ultimate Exit – The Last Chapter / 14. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Templexigraphed Ebolistics / 15. Rout of the Goblamic Hordes / 16. Conspiracy of Trolls / 17. Fiscal Singularity (dir. Peter Jackson)

Vogue Model of the Year: Armen Avanessian
Collapse Watchword for 2015: The modern casino environment is no place for casual or shabby game protection philosophies. – Steve Forte, Collapse 8: Casino Real
GOING UP

Norms
Normativity
Norm Normenson

Drawing mincemeat backwards through a meatgrinder using a metallic skull condom
The NewCR&P
Watching Triangle again
Alex Williams and Nick Srin…Sirenic…the other one
Repeater
Laconically indicating police sirens in distance as argumentative gambit
Health Goth

Numogram Revivalist Cults
Netflix (Things Have Changed Since You Left)
GOING DOWN
Drone Thinkpieces
Speculation

Buddhastrapping Hipisterism
Cognitive turpitude and social vices
Pocket-size Collapse volumes
Stuff
Genetic Fallacies / AUFSlogic
Emailing Robin about Reza's contact details/whereabouts/existence
Folk Politics
SOUNDTRACKS
Lee Gamble – Koch
Ital Tek – Control
Aphex Twin – Syro
Russell Haswell – Conceptual Noise
DJ Benetti – Disco Caligula 6
Cut Hands – Festival of the Dead
Florian Hecker – Hinge
Sleaford Mods – Divide and Exit
Serial Podcast
Mike Paradinas – Footwork Mix
African Boy – One Day I Went to Lidl

22 Sep 2014


Readers are reminded that Peter Wolfendale’s new book, Object-Oriented Ontology: The Noumenon’s New Clothes, is now available for pre-order via the Urbanomic website.

01 Aug 2014

26 Jul 2013

With the renowned Deleuze scholar Claire Colebrook’s latest very public expression of steadfast approval, so much for Professor Clark’s lies about ‘supposed’ members of the Avello Publishing Journal’s editorial board ‘asking to be removed’ from it and wishing to have ‘no further contact’ with its Editor-in-Chief!

14 Jul 2013

‘What matter who’s speaking?’, wrote Beckett, and he may well have a point. In fact, in our fast-paced, hyperconnected times matters of attribution are proving increasingly difficult to determine. Scholars in this area, including Julia Kristeva, Roland Barthes and William T. Fisher, have not been slow to unmask the bourgeois ideology underpinning our conceptions of authorial intention, and one doesn’t need a Ph.D. to appreciate the insurmountable paradoxes that can arise upon their unthinking application.

Indeed, from our postmodern Marxist vantage-point, it is hard to stifle a titter at what a Lanson or Sainte-Beuve might make of the following:

Franklin [Mirror 2013-07-14]:

Let me begin with two personal stories.

Jason M. Austria [Mirror 2013-07-14]:

Let me begin with two personal narratives about my conception of God and how it relates philosophically to some of the principles of Isaac Newton, Frank Ramsey, Bertrand Russell and William James.

Franklin [Mirror 2013-07-14]:

It was one rainy day. I intended to be too early to go to UP for my afternoon Tuesday classes because I had to read my readings in the library.

Jason M. Austria [Mirror 2013-07-14]:

One morning I woke up too early to go to the UP, so I went instead to the library to read Ramsey’s ‘Probability and Partial Belief’ in The Foundations of Mathematics and other Logical Essays ed. R.B Braithwaite. London: Kegan Paul, Trench & Trubner.

Franklin [Mirror 2013-07-14]:

Around 11:30 am, I felt my hunger so I decided to go to the Shopping Center to have my lunch.

Jason M. Austria [Mirror 2013-07-14]:

Around 11:30 am, I felt my hunger develop, thus I decided to go to the nearby Shopping Center to have my lunch.

Franklin [Mirror 2013-07-14]:

As I was walking along the aisle of the Shopping Center, a big white teaser in a bulletin board posted by a certain Catholic Student Organization in UP caught my attention. I read its contents.

Jason M. Austria [Mirror 2013-07-14]:

As I was walking along the aisle of the Shopping Center, a big white teaser on a bulletin board posted by a certain Catholic Student Organization in UP caught my attention. I read its contents.

Franklin [Mirror 2013-07-14]:

What were written were a big question printed in capital letters and some answers from the students. The teaser asks: “DO YOU BELIEVE IN LIFE AFTER DEATH?”

Jason M. Austria [Mirror 2013-07-14]:

quietly intrigued by what was displayed, as a big, theological question was printed in capital letters, next to some answers from Ph. D students. The teaser asked: “DO YOU BELIEVE IN LIFE AFTER DEATH?”

Franklin [Mirror 2013-07-14]:

I did not answer the question at hand, even though I already knew what would be my answer if asked (minding that I stayed from the seminary for four years, comes from a religious family and became a Religion Teacher).

Jason M. Austria [Mirror 2013-07-14]:

I did not answer the question at hand, even though I already knew what would be my answer if asked, (considering that I stayed at a theological seminary for a period of four years; come from a religious family and eventually became a religious philosophy teacher myself).

Franklin [Mirror 2013-07-14]:

I tried to detach myself and hold my religious prejudices into abeyance and glanced first at the answers of some students. One sarcastic answer really struck me. The student’s answer was written in Filipino and reads likes this: “NO. I don’t believe in such a thing because I did not yet experience how to die. Don’t worry, if I die, I will come back to you and let you know if there is really life after death.”

Jason M. Austria [Mirror 2013-07-14]:

I tried to detach myself and hold my religious prejudices into silent abeyance and glanced first at the answers of some Ph. D students. One sarcastic answer really struck me. The student’s answer was written in Filipino and read like this: “NO. I don’t believe in such a thing because I did not yet experience how to die. Don’t worry, if I die, I will come back to you and let you know if there is really life after death.”

Franklin [Mirror 2013-07-14]:

It made me really rethink about my automatic answer if I were to be asked the same question. After that, I took my lunch. Across the Shopping Center is the Parish of the Holy Sacrifice, I decided to attend the Holy Mass. As I knelt down and pray, the answer of that student really perplexed my mind and stayed at the recesses of my heart.

Jason M. Austria [Mirror 2013-07-14]:

It made me really rethink about my automatic answer if I were to be asked the same question. After that, I took my lunch and thought about Ramsey’s psychological reading of subjective probability. Across the Shopping Center is the Parish of the Holy Sacrifice, I decided to attend the Holy Mass. As I knelt down and prayed, the answer of that Ph. D student really perplexed my mind and stayed in the recesses of my heart.

Franklin [Mirror 2013-07-14]:

Here is another personal story. It was a very ordinary Monday morning. I surf the Internet to check my e-mail and see who was online. I saw an online classmate in my Social Political Philosophy Class.

Jason M. Austria [Mirror 2013-07-14]:

Here is another personal narrative. It was a very ordinary Monday morning in the library reading about Ramsey’s theory of probability as a branch of partial belief logic. I surfed the Internet to check my e-mail and see who was online to speak about Ramsey’s inconclusive argument. I saw an online classmate in my Social Political Philosophy Class.

Franklin [Mirror 2013-07-14]:

I messaged her and we had a pep talk about many topics. Suddenly, she asked me if I believe in God. I replied that I believe in God and she said to me that she is an agnostic.

Jason M. Austria [Mirror 2013-07-14]:

I messaged her and we had a pep talk about many topics including the importance of probability not only to logic but also to statistical and physical science. Suddenly, she asked me if I believe in God. I replied that I believe in God and she said to me that she is an agnostic like Bertrand Russell.

Franklin [Mirror 2013-07-14]:

She tried to ask me about my reasons in believing in God. I gave her some answers and she tried to argue with me. One argument that made me ponder was when she said that most people who do not believe in God are those people who are indeed learned and critical thinkers, that is, great philosophers at that. I don’t know if her argument is factual.

Jason M. Austria [Mirror 2013-07-14]:

She tried to ask me about my reasons in believing in God. I gave her some answers and she tried to argue with me. One argument that made me ponder was when she said that most people who do not believe in God are those people who are indeed learned and critical thinkers, that is, great philosophers at that. I don’t know if her argument is factual enough to avoid a purely verbal controversy..

Franklin [Mirror 2013-07-14]:

Nonetheless, I tried to absorb the essence of the argument and it made me reflect on my own rationality in believing in God.

Jason M. Austria [Mirror 2013-07-14]:

Nonetheless, I tried to absorb the essence of the argument and it made me reflect on my own rationality in believing in God through the calculus of probabilities as a branch of pure mathematics.

Franklin [Mirror 2013-07-14]:

I suppose that it is still unclear to you about what position I really want to be highlighted. There are some grey areas that are not yet crystal clear to you.

Jason M. Austria [Mirror 2013-07-14]:

I suppose that it is still unclear to you about what position I really want to be highlighted. There might be some grey areas that are not yet crystal clear to you with regards to formulae and axioms.

Franklin [Mirror 2013-07-14]:

However I also suppose that you already got some grasps that it must have something to do about “believing in God.” To elucidate the issue that I am pursuing, let me draw it from the two above stories that I related to you.

Jason M. Austria [Mirror 2013-07-14]:

However I suppose that you already have some grasp that this article must have something to do with the symbolic calculus developed by Keynes and “believing in God.” To elucidate the issue that I am pursuing, let me draw it from the two above stories that I related to you.

Franklin [Mirror 2013-07-14]:

The first story forces me to examine if one have the right to believe in life after death or in God. The second story forces me to examine the rationality in believing in God. To put these into two intertwined questions: Do we have a right to believe in God? Are we rational in believing in God? To answer these connected questions is the endeavor of this opus.

Jason M. Austria [Mirror 2013-07-14]:

The first story forced me to examine if one has the right to believe in life after death or in God in terms of Ramsey’s ideas on partial belief. The second story forced me to examine the rationality in believing in God. To put these into two intertwined questions: Do we have an ethical right to believe in God? Are we mathematically rational in believing in God? To answer these connected questions is the endeavor of this opus.

Franklin [Mirror 2013-07-14]:

In order for me to do this, I will discuss first some concerns about evidentialism, which criticizes or even condemns such a belief in God, especially about religion. Then, I will try to criticize evidentialism adopting the attack of William James. Consequently, I can already give answers to the two questions posed above. Let us begin.

Jason M. Austria [Mirror 2013-07-14]:

In order for me to do this, I will discuss first some concerns about evidentialism, which criticizes or even condemns such a belief in God, especially about religion. Then, I will try to criticize evidentialism adopting the attack of William James. Consequently, I can already give answers to the two questions posed above. Let us begin.

Franklin [Mirror 2013-07-14]:

The student’s sarcastic answer in the first story captures the notion of evidentialism. Evidentialism holds that one ought to believe only that for which one has sufficient evidence. To put it in William Clifford’s words, “it is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.”

Jason M. Austria [Mirror 2013-07-14]:

The Ph. D student’s sarcastic answer in my first narrative captures the notion of evidentialism. Evidentialism holds that one ought to believe only that for which one has sufficient evidence. To put it in William Clifford’s words, “it is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.”i

(more…)

12 Jun 2013

09 Jun 2013

Bloodied but unbowed, Dr Jason Wakefield’s inaugural Avello Publishing Journal Conference is set to take place tomorrow in an as-yet undisclosed location at the
University of Cambridge. The conference topic, ‘The History of Newton’s Philosophy’ (inaccurately reported in some quarters as ‘The History of Oxbridge Philosophy’), will surely be of interest to scholars across the broadest range of disciplines and adepts of ‘the Hunting of the Greene Lion’ alike.

Unfortunately, shameless censorship and wanton misrepresentation on the part of Philos-L moderator Professor Stephen Clark has left many with the mistaken impression that
Dr Wakefield is a pathetic, deluded fantasist whose claim to a Cambridge Philosophy doctorate is nothing but a figment of his own fevered imagination, mere contact with whom
will prove fatal to one’s professional reputation.

Luckily, the Conference’s dramatis personæ (accurate at the time of writing) will surely prove a standing refutation of any such charge. I for one am particularly looking forward to Dummett protégé Howard Marks’s lucid and compelling contribution, not to mention the enigmatic Jason Austria’s ethical interruption!

Conference Program

Key — Note Speech:

Paradigm Shift: Rethinking Communication for the 21st Century David Gunkel, University of Northern Illinois.

Introductory Panel Chair:

Philosophy & Physics at Oxford Howard Marks, University of Oxford, U.K

Session 1:

Philosopiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica Jason Wakefield, University of Cambridge, U.K.

Session 2:

Isaac Newton and the Architectural Models of the People of Solomon Tessa Morrison, University of Newcastle, Australia.

Session 3:

Isaac Newton and Solomon’s Temple: a Fifty Year Study Tessa Morrison, University of Newcastle, Australia.

Session 4:

Ethics of Belief Jason Austria, University of Phillipines Dilliman.

Round-Table Discussion:

Wittgenstein Wren Library Notes Jason Wakefield, University of Cambridge, U.K.

Concluding Debate: Closing Motion:

Arche — Writing: Derrida & Husserl Martin Hägglund, University of Yale, U.S.A.

© Avello Publishing, Cambridge, 2013.

[Mirror 2013-06-09]

17 Apr 2013

‘Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery’, so they say. But can we be so sure?

With not inconsiderable surprise, Sphaleotas has discovered that the Charles S. Peirce Foundation, a hitherto respectable organisation dedicated to supporting education and research related to the work of the founder of American pragmatism, has flagrantly plagiarised the 2013 Avello Publishing Journal Conference’s web page in its Charles S. Peirce International Centennial Congress 2014 publicity material.

One would have to be blind not to notice that, onwards of the section ‘III. SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS: PANELS’, the Foundation brazenly cuts and pastes from Dr Wakefield’s Call for Papers, typographical errors and all.

It may seem harsh to some, but Sphaleotas feels duty bound to painstakingly enumerate these instances of theft on a line-by-line basis. Indeed, one wonders if this is simply the tip of a particularly lugubrious iceberg.

Jason Wakefield [Mirror 2013-04-17]:

SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS: PANELS

Charles S. Peirce Foundation [Mirror 2013-04-17]:

III. SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS: PANELS

Jason Wakefield [Mirror 2013-04-17]:

A. Panels are 90 minute, open format, sessions. Panel organizers are free to propose any format (including the format described above) that is appropriate to the objectives for their panel. There must be at least two contributors, and their contributions must be consistent with the general guidelines on number of submissions and with the length requirement stated below. All contributors must have confirmed their participation to the panel organizer before submission.

Charles S. Peirce Foundation [Mirror 2013-04-17]:

A. Panels are 90 minute, open format, sessions. Panel organizers are free to propose any format (including the format described above in §II.A) that is appropriate to the objectives for their panel. There must be at least two contributors, and their contributions must be consistent with the general guidelines on number of submissions (§I.D), and with the length requirement stated below. All contributors must have confirmed their participation to the panel organizer before submission.

Jason Wakefield [Mirror 2013-04-17]:

B. Length: Length of the papers will depend on the panel format, but may not exceed 3000 words. It is the responsibility of the panel organizer to ensure that all planned activities can be completed within 90 minutes. If your proposed format does not allow at least 30 minutes for discussion, please include a justification for this in your proposal.

Charles S. Peirce Foundation [Mirror 2013-04-17]:

B. Length: Length of the papers will depend on the panel format, but may not exceed 3000 words. It is the responsibility of the panel organizer to ensure that all planned activities can be completed within 90 minutes. If your proposed format does not allow at least 30 minutes for discussion, please include a justification for this in your proposal.

Jason Wakefield [Mirror 2013-04-17]:

C. Deadline: 3 April 2013. This is a firm deadline: no panel submissions will be accepted if they carry a time stamp later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on that date.

Charles S. Peirce Foundation [Mirror 2013-04-17]:

C. Deadline: 1 April 2013. This is a firm deadline: no panel submissions will be accepted if they carry a time stamp later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on that date.

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10 Mar 2013

There can be no sub-genre more intellectually exciting than the book review that sets the terms for future philosophical debate. One thinks immediately of Heidegger’s ‘Anmerkungen zu Karl Jaspers’ Psychologie der Weltanschauungen’ (1919), Chomsky’s ‘A Review of B.F. Skinner’s Verbal Behavior’ (1959), Frege’s ‘Rezension von: Dr. E.G. Husserl, Philosophie der Arithmetik’ (1894), Ryle’s ‘Heidegger’s Sein und Zeit’ (1929), Russell’s ‘Review of A. Meinong, Untersuchungen zur Gegenstandstheorie und Psychologie’ (1905) or indeed Hamann’s 1784 ‘Metakritik über den Purismum der Vernunft’.

But where is the present-day equivalent of a Zur Judenfrage, a Briefe über die Kantische Philosophie, a Differenz des Fichteschen und Schellingschen Systems der Philosophie? Which philosopher has the audacity to reconfigure our very intellectual parameters? Look no further…

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06 Mar 2013


Over the course of the past few weeks, Jason Wakefield (left) has been on the receiving end of all manner of quite undeserved obloquy. Some say that his editorials and book reviews for the Avello Publishing Journal consist of a bewildering succession of non sequiturs. Others that his highfalutin high-theory allusions belie a cargo-cult like obliviousness to what actually constitutes rational argument and persuasion. Yet others, that his writing inexplicably crowbars in gratuitous, fawning references to the University of Cambridge and members of his journal’s editorial board at every turn, as if childishly basking in reflected glory. Some have even suggested Jason’s claim that he holds a Cambridge doctorate is a witting untruth.
Wrong, all wrong!
What, I ask you, do his detractors have in common? A trustafarian’s decadent disdain for entrepreneurial vision and sheer hard work, even where it is in the service of publishing world-class scholarship in continental philosophy from the likes of John Milbank or Catherine Malabou. Cowards to a man, do Jason’s detractors genuinely believe that editorial board members of the calibre of Professor Claire Colebrook, Professor Keith Ansell-Pearson, or indeed the aforementioned Professor Catherine Malabou would allow their names to be associated with the Avello Publishing Journal if Dr Wakefield’s work were anything other than exemplary? For that matter, would Oxford University Press have considered for an instant including Jason’s endorsement of Korsgaard’s The Constitution of Agency: Essays on Practical Reason and Moral Psychology in its marketing material if it did not have complete confidence in this young Cambridge scholar’s judgement?
With a sense of quiet self-confidence proper to his intellect – Dr Wakefield disarmingly describes his interests as ‘diverse, much like the interests of a polymath (πολυμαθής) such as Leonardo Da Vinchi or Gottfried Leibniz’ – Jason is surely an example to us all, but where his Facebook calumniators laugh hyena-like at Jason’s efforts in the guise of DJ Luga Ayd, pointing impertinently to his work for the Playboy Girls of Hawaiian Tropic ‘Beach Party Booby Bus’ Yum Yum Models Party on behalf of Funky Bubblers Entertainment (of which Jason is the proud CEO, and Avello Publishing a wholly-owned subsidiary), Wakefield may nonetheless rest content that his unique project is the future face of peer reviewed open-access philosophy publishing.

05 Jan 2013


In his recent article for Artforum, ‘Tedious Methods’, leading Brooklynite Jeff Nagy speaks to many of our concerns regarding Speculative Realism as but the mere ideological appendage of capitalist technoscience. Indeed, in this review of The Number and the Siren by Quentin Meillassoux, Mr Nagy has not shirked the gruelling labour of philosophical exegesis and, by means of a dense sequence of argument rarely seen in a trade paper (or indeed, outside of the more technically demanding elements of Frege’s œuvre), has irrefutably demonstrated the coterminous nature of ‘speculative realism’ and ‘financial speculation’ – where the new breed of charlatans, trailing an enthralled audience of shills that outnumbers even the throngs habitually met with at ‘fast poetry’ readings, would likely have been satisfied to draw conclusions from the mere fact that they share nine letters in common.
As sagely observed by Nagy, who did not enjoy math class at school, Meillassoux’s counting up of the words in Mallarmé’s poem falls far short of its purportedly innovative approach to the Riemann zeta function and arithmetic L-series: in fact it ‘is not so much mathematical as merely arithmetical, not so much a mathematization as an accounting’, and as such, therefore, given its cynical, abject relationship to the positive sciences and their political masters, a ‘sure bet’ and ‘infinite success’.
It would be wrong, however, to portray Nagy’s review-article as being somehow inaccessible to a philosophical lay readership, for he has been careful to leaven his critique with witheringly funny examples of where Speculative Realism’s objective, disinterested façade falls away, and we are all forced to conclude that it is all so much ‘money for old rope’.

19 Oct 2012

Grotesque miscarriage of justice as politically-motivated sentence is handed down in the service of protecting the arcane rituals of a tiny, self-serving coterie of vain plutocrats:

01 Oct 2012


There was, I think, a conflict—perhaps a productive one—at the heart of this enormous multidisciplinary show, and it can be located exactly in the tension between those two words. On the one hand, many of the artworks and the stories they told circled around collective traumas: those of Nazi Germany and, much more recently, those of Afghanistan or the countries involved in the Arab Spring. Indeed, Christov-Bakargiev’s focus on what she calls “collapse and recovery” is so familiar from recent cultural theory that it is almost a cliché to speak of a traumatic temporality at the very core of all avant-garde artistic developments. But on the other hand, such psychoanalytic language here collides with the idiom of a new, object-oriented philosophy that wants to liberate us once and for all from anthropocentrism and consider instead what the catalogue calls the “inanimate makers of the world.” In fact, Christov-Bakargiev’s project is in many ways perfectly in tune with the approaches today discussed as “speculative realism,” with its ambition to rid our thinking of the obsession with that historically overemphasized relationship between a perceiving subject and a known object. Instead, the argument goes, we should look into other equally exciting and productive relationships in the world, consisting of so many human and nonhuman actors, or “actants,” as Bruno Latour would put it. Philosopher Graham Harman goes so far as to claim: “Atoms and molecules are actants, as are children, raindrops, bullet trains, politicians, and numerals. All entities are on exactly the same ontological footing.” One can go further still: To quote from an interview with Christov-Bakargiev, “The question is not whether we give dogs or strawberries permission to vote, but how a strawberry can assert its political intention.”
http://www.artforum.com/inprint/id=34514

09 Sep 2012

Michael Day asserts that “Cardinal Martini caused controversy in his final days after refusing artificial feeding, contravening church policy on end-of-life issues” (4 September). This oversimplifies Catholic teaching.

According to Pope John Paul II, the administration of food and water should be understood as part of “the normal care due to the sick” and thus as “in principle” obligatory. A later statement by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith took a similar approach.

However, if a person is imminently dying, and if artificial feeding would neither extend life nor bring relief from symptoms, then it is not obligatory, as both these statements in effect recognised. Catholics are not obliged to receive care or treatment that has become genuinely futile, though their aim in refusing it should not be to hasten death.

Prof David Albert Jones
Director, The Anscombe Bioethics Centre, Oxford

—— Letters to the Editor, The Independent, 2012-09-08. p. 40

27 Jun 2012

Latin American correspondent Pootle Escobar has drawn my attention to Professor Harman’s forthcoming appearances at conferences all entitled ‘The Secret Life of Objects’ in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador and Forteleza [sic].

25 Jun 2012


Critical Plant Studies: Philosophy, Literature, Culture
ISSN: 2213-0659
E-ISSN: 2213-0667
Series Editor:
Michael Marder (IKERBASQUE / The University of the Basque Country, Vitoria)
The goal of the Critical Plant Studies, a new book series at Rodopi Press, is to initiate an interdisciplinary dialogue, whereby philosophy and literature would learn from each other to think about, imagine, and describe, vegetal life with critical awareness, conceptual rigor, and ethical sensitivity. Literary works featuring plant imagery may be analyzed with reference to philosophical frameworks, while philosophical discussions of the meanings of vegetal life may be enriched and supported with the tools of literary criticism. Another dialogic dimension of the series entails a sustained engagement between Western and non-Western philosophies and religious traditions, representative of the human attitudes to plants. This “cross-pollination” of different fields of knowledge and experience will become possible thanks to the fundamental role plants play in human life, regardless of their backgrounding or neglect.
Ethically stated, the aim of the book series is to encourage an incremental shift of cultural attitudes from a purely instrumental to a respectful approach to vegetal beings. This is particularly important at the current time of the global environmental crisis, when massive de-forestation, seed patenting, and profit-driven agriculture threaten the very future of life on the planet. Not only will works included in the series shed light on the being of plants, but they will also assist us in critically thinking through the crucial issues and challenges of the contemporary world. Bioethics and genetic engineering, of which plants were the first examples; the role of spirituality and holism in the techno-scientific age; the reliance of our imagination and creativity on elements of the “natural” world; global food shortages and sustainable agricultural practices; the roots of our thinking and writing in other-than-human, vegetal processes, such as growth and decay, germination and branching out, fecundation and fruition—books included in Critical Plant Studies will, in one way or another, touch upon these and related themes central to the philosophy, literature, and culture of the twenty-first century.
Thus, we are looking to publish a mix of specialized manuscripts and introductory texts on the theory, literary criticism, and religious or aesthetic appreciation of plant life. Each title in the series will combine at least two of the disciplines listed above, with preference given to cutting-edge methodologies in comparative literature, comparative philosophy, comparative religious studies, etc., and trans-disciplinary approaches. Analyses of plant-related writings and artworks from any historical period and geographical area will be welcome.
Please, forward all queries and proposals to michael.marder@gmail.com
http://www.rodopi.nl/senj.asp?SerieId=PLANT

26 Jan 2012

25 Dec 2011

Herman Philipse feels your pain.

1. Introduction

In this paper I attempt to substantiate the thesis that the core-beliefs of religions are irrational. These core-beliefs are the monotheist contention that there is one God or the polytheist opinion that there are a number of different gods. Outside mathematics, the word ‘irrational’ may signify two different things. Either it means that a sentient being is not endowed with reason, for instance if one speaks of ‘irrational animals’ such as slugs. Or it means that a belief or an action is contrary to reason, that is, unreasonable, utterly illogical, or absurd. I claim that all religious core-beliefs are irrational in this second sense. And of course, irrationality should be avoided.

It will be objected to my thesis that beliefs cannot be accused of being unreasonable unless they are situated within the province of reason. Could one not argue that religious beliefs are not located within this province because, as Pascal said, ‘the heart has reasons which reason does not grasp’? According to some religious authors, the domain of reason is somehow limited, and faith must be situated entirely, or in part, beyond the limits of human reason. I shall argue that even if faith transcends reason in this manner, the core-beliefs of religions are unreasonable.

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14 Aug 2011

Race and Class

To begin with the first. In the Memoirs of Granville Sharp, lately published, there is an anecdote recorded of the young Prince Naimbanna, well worthy the attention of all unfledged sophists, and embryo politicians.

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15 Jul 2011

James Murdoch paid £100,000 to meet Pope
By Jerome Taylor, Religious Affairs Correspondent
Friday, 15 July 2011

The Catholic Church has been criticised for accepting a six-figure donation from James Murdoch ahead of him being given a personal audience with Pope Benedict during last year’s papal visit. Mr Murdoch was among major donors who were invited to personally greet Pope Benedict after a special mass at Westminster Cathedral during the pontiff’s visit last September. It is believed that the Murdoch family paid a contribution towards the Papal visit of around £100,000.

The continuing scandal over phone hacking has placed religious institutions in a moral quandary. There have already been calls for the Church of England to divest its £3.8m shares in News Corp, a request which church leaders have so far resisted.

There is growing disquiet within the Catholic community over the Murdoch family’s close ties to the church in Britain, America and in Rome.

Although not a Catholic, James’s father Rupert was made a Knight Commander of St Gregory by the previous pontiff Pope John Paul II, one of the highest civilian honours the Vatican bestows on people. His wife at the time, Anna Torv, was a practising Catholic and the following year Mr Murdoch gave $10m to help build a cathedral in Los Angeles.

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04 Apr 2011


Having sat in on many a Steve Goodman position paper, Sphaleotas wonders whether the VF 2.0’ll steering committee’s portrait of the CCRU as ‘psychedelic transhumanists’ might not be a case of one Aricept banana-smoothie too far.
[Update 2011-04-28]

Renowned creationist Steve Fuller has just been confirmed as a speaker – truly a ‘must-see’ for Texans and fans of Richard Seymour’s ‘Lenin’s Tomb’ blog!

27 Jan 2011

26 May 2010

Stop Management Idiocy: Middlesex Philosophy Must Be Saved
Sign the petition for an academic boycott of Middlesex University until such times as it restores its philosophy programme, here.

08 May 2010

Stop Management Idiocy: Middlesex Philosophy Must Be Saved
Patrons are reminded that, with the closure of each Philosophy department at the hands of garagistes, Malcolm Gladwell prospers and the preponderance of journalistic references to John Gray and Alain de Botton as ‘philosophers’ increases by twelve-and-three-quarters per cent.
In which connection, it is vital that you sign the petition ‘Save Middlesex Philosophy’. Remember: all that is necessary for the Power of Thinking without Thinking to triumph is for good men to do nothing.

11 Mar 2010

This goal [“to put the reader to work: to the work of hearing all the different meanings in what people say and write and to the work of deciphering meanings that are not at all evident on the face of things”] does not necessarily excuse all the obscurantism that Lacan indulges in and that Sokal and Bricmont justly point out. They seem to neglect, however, that what works in France—talking over the heads of one’s audience and seducing them into doing background reading on the authors and technical terms mentioned—does not work quite as well in the English-speaking world. Lacan could easily assume that his faithful seminar public—his audiences numbered up to 700 in the 1970s—would go to the library or the bookstore and “bone up” on at least some of his passing allusions. To spell out every glancing reference and elaborate at length on every analogy (scientific, mathematical, philosophical, linguistic, or whatever) would have put part of his audience off, leaving them with the feeling that they were being talked down to, infantilized—after all, a number of them were accomplished scientists, mathematicians, philosophers, and writers. The English-speaking lecture-going public does not, for the most part, operate in the same way, preferring to be spoon-fed rather than to be left to fill in the demonstration.

— Bruce Fink, Lacan to the Letter: Reading‘Écrits’ Closely (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2004), p. 130.

14 Feb 2010

Jan Palmowski is a Disgrace: He Must Go
Concerned that this British Petroleum-sponsored coprophage stands set to inflict his chromosomally-enhanced agenda of ‘Gender and Sexuality’, ‘Global Politics, Identities, Cultures’, ‘Cities, Communities, Cultures’ and ‘Digital Cultures’ on King’s College, London, Sphaleotas urges readers to sign the petition before it’s too late.

12 Jan 2010

Graham Harman writes

I was going to say “somehow I missed this,” but it looks as though LEVI JUST POSTED IT.

You can read it for yourself, but I’m in general agreement with the notion that a successful philosophical paradigm is one that creates plenty of work opportunities for other people. And I say this not only on the basis of practical observation, but for philosophical reasons. I’m fond of quoting Aristotle as saying that a substance is what supports different qualities at different times; it follows that something is more substantial the more it allows for non-dogmatic variation and distinct personal approaches, as long as the underlying style is the same.

Levi mentions phenomenology as a successful example. Phenomenology is out of fashion in today’s continental environment, I realize, but it had and continues to have a good run. It appealed to atheists as well as Catholics, Paris hipsters no less than German scholars, and was useful both for precise academic technicians and for freewheeling novelists.

Another example Levi didn’t mention, but with which he would surely agree, is Bruno Latour. The breadth of his impact is stunning. Almost any field can take something from Latour, at least in the humanities, and I’m generally in awe of the people who are found at Latour lectures and events: young, brilliant, working in just about any field, and also extremely gender-balanced. Actor-network-theory has snowballed well beyond Latour’s own use of it, and he has built a good-natured empire of thousands of followers. This was really brought home to me during the period when people were requesting my Prince of Networks manuscript via email. Among the many requests was one from a Department of Fishery Science.

My favorite sentence in Levi’s post is the last sentence of the following:

“The emerging phenomenologist could always contribute something new, if only in a small way, but it’s difficult to see how Badiou has created a democratic philosophy that opens new paths of research. What we instead get is dogmatic discipleship. This situation is aggravated by his celebration of axiomatics that forecloses novel paths of investigation. It’s impossible to imagine a Badiousian Lingis.”

And I also agree with this:

“The trajectory of the scientistic materialist strains of SR are pretty predictable. Here what we’re going to get are increasingly reactionary, epistemological (and superfluous) apologia to various branches of the sciences (in particular, neurology and quantum physics) that contribute little to these sciences (because they’re just doing epistemological grounding work) and that contribute even less to the various branches of the humanities. Not only is this variant of SR mostly a militant-boys-no-girls-allowed-in-our-club-house style of thought (you can thank Mel for this characterization)– the tone is pretty macho and insufferable –but the inevitable consequence of this trend is a scientistic celebration of the hard branches of the sciences that provides little in the way of the cultural sciences.”

The word “superfluous” is on target here– the sciences don’t need this. And I agree about the insufferable machismo of the tone much of the time. The culture that is growing up around that side of SR often has a nauseating sort of “tough guy” tone to it, as also mentioned yesterday in my reference to Mel Gibson’s “Passion.” But to some extent that problem is simply adopted from the culture of analytic philosophy more generally… A female friend of mine, a very talented philosopher initially in the analytic style, bailed out on one of the top analytic Ph.D. programs after a year despite doing just fine. Why? Because she was simply sickened by the let’s-tear-each-other-to-shreds-on-the-basketball-court-and-then-smoke-cigars intellectual lifestyle of that Department. There’s none of that around Latour, for instance (despite his love of cigars).

My sense is that those strains of SR will simply drift further and further from philosophy altogether toward outright (and superfluous) commentary on the sciences. Initially the interest in that quarter, for me at least, was the interesting balance struck between the hard sciences and recent French thought. But the balance has been rapidly disappearing, and it’s turning into plain old Science Wars thuggery, which is the main reason I won’t be reading Collapse as avidly as before.

Further examples of Professor Harman’s hard-hitting prose can be found in his forthcoming volume, Circus Philosophicus.

Collapse may be purchased online.

10 Jan 2010


About this Volume
Following Collapse V‘s inquiry into the legacy of Copernicus’ deposing of Earth from its central position in the cosmos, Collapse VI: Geo/philosophy poses the question: Is there nevertheless an enduring bond between philosophical thought and its terrestrial support, or conversely, is philosophy’s task to escape the planetary horizon?
Following early-modern geophilosophical experiments in utopia, geographies and cartographies real and imaginary have played a double role in philosophy, serving both as governing metaphor and as an ultimate grounding for philosophical thought.
Collapse VI: Geo/philosophy begins with the provisional premise that the Earth does not square elements of thought but rather rounds them up into a continuous spatial and geographical horizon. Geophilosophy is thus not necessarily the philosophy of the earth as a round object of thought but rather the philosophy of all that can be rounded as an (or the) earth. But in that case, what is the connection between the empirical earth, the contingent material support of human thinking, and the abstract ‘world’ that is the condition for a ‘whole’ of thought?
Urgent contemporary concerns introduce new dimensions to this problem: The complicity of Capitalism and Science concomitant with the nomadic remobilization of global Capital has caused mutations in the field of the territorial, shifting and scrambling the determinations that subtended modern conceptions of the nation-state and territorial formations. And scientific predictions presents us with the possibility of a planet contemplating itself without humans, or of an abyssal cosmos that abides without Earth – these are the vectors of relative and absolute deterritorialization which nourish the twenty-first century apocalyptic imagination. Obviously, no geophilosophy can remain oblivious to the unilateral nature of such un-earthing processes. Furthermore, the rise of so-called rogue states which sabotage their own territorial formation in order to militantly withstand the proliferation of global capitalism calls for an extensive renegotiation of geophilosophical concepts in regard to territorializing forces and the State. Can traditions of geophilosophical thought provide an analysis that escapes the often flawed, sentimental or cryptoreligious fashions in which popular discourse casts these catastrophic developments?
Collapse VI brings together philosophers, theorists, eco-critics, leading scientific experts in climate change, and artists whose work interrogates the link between philosophical thought, geography and cartography, in order to create a portrait of the present state of ‘planetary thought’.
Contents
ROBIN MACKAY
Editorial Introduction
NICOLA MASCIANDARO
Becoming Spice: Commentary as Geophilosophy
IAIN HAMILTON GRANT
Introduction to Schelling’s On the World Soul
F. W. J. SCHELLING
On the World Soul (Extract)
GREG MCINERNY, DREW PURVES, RICH WILLIAMS, STEPHEN EMMOTT
New Ecologies (Interview)
TIMOTHY MORTON
Thinking Ecology: The Mesh, the Strange Stranger and the Beautiful Soul
F I E L D C L U B
How Many Slugs Maketh the Man?
OWEN HATHERLEY
Fossils of Time Future: Bunkers and Buildings from the Atlantic Wall to the South Bank
EYAL WEIZMAN
Political Plastic (Interview)
ANGELA DETANICO AND RAFAEL LAIN
A Given Time / A Given Place
MANABRATA GUHA
Introduction to SIMADology: Polemos in the 21st Century
REZA NEGARESTANI
Undercover Softness: An Introduction to the Architecture and Politics of Decay
ROBIN MACKAY
Philosophers’ Islands
CHARLES AVERY
The Islanders: Epilogue
GILLES GRELET
Theory is Waiting
RENEÉ GREEN
Endless Dreams and Waters Between
buy online

20 Feb 2009

Sphaleotas was shocked to read hurtful and wholly groundless insinuations of anti-Semitism levelled against a respected philosopher by a prominent television celebrity.
And yet, guided by the insight of thinkers as diverse as Pythagoras and Nietzsche, Chrysippus of Soli and Heraclitus of Ephesus, Gautama Buddha and Jules Henri Poincaré, is there not consolation to be had in the fact that, in a sense, we’ve all been here before?

25 May 2007


Màlik Yimayama (not his real name) this month shocked and appalled the Greenwich scholarly community by not referring once to the “cybernetic paradigm” during the course of a three-hour position paper.
For this reason alone, Sphaleotas cannot sufficiently recommend the sureness and subtlety of this young scholar’s oeuvre, and therefore implores all readers to address the challenge it presents to their various research projects.