Flat Ontology II: a worry about emergence

Summary: if you want to distinguish assemblages from aggregates in a flat ontology you need a metaphysics of emergence. But real emergence may not work unless we deny that parts of assemblages are separate from the whole. This seems to undermine the point of assemblages where, it is said, the parts are logically exterior from […]

Naturalism and the Posthuman Subject

Posthumans – the very idea! Let us assume that posthumans would not merit the name were they not some kind of sophisticated ‘thinker’. It is, after all, the prospect of recursive growth in mentation – exemplified in a Vinge-style singularity event – that motivates our speculations on the posthuman in the first place. However, Posthumans would not […]

Information, Access and Reality: A Response to Harman

Graham Harman at Object Oriented Philosophy has responded negatively to my claim a) that his interpretation of the tool-analysis makes makes idealist assumptions and b) that intentional states such as perceptions and beliefs have real things as their intentional objects: What is idealism is enemyindustry’s own next sentence: “In contrast, I hold that intentionality brings us into […]

Art on the Beach: A Response to AC/DC

Over at Algorithm and Contingency (AC) there’s a substantive response to Dark Chemistry’s (DC) beguiling post Art and the Real, entitled Some Notes on the Art of the Real. AC is concerned with the problem of the ontological role of art within a realist metaphysics, an issue I fielded in my earlier review of the Art and […]

Donald Davidson Among the Aliens

The speculative posthumanist holds that a) radically alien forms of life that could not be interpreted or evaluated in ‘our’ (human) terms are possible and b) humans or their ‘wide’ descendants could evolve into such beings.  So speculative posthumanism (SP) is  committed to the possibility of radical aliens. But how are we to understand the claim […]

Manifesto of Speculative Posthumanism

Over the last decade the possibility of innovations in areas such as artificial intelligence or biotechnology contributing to the emergence of a ‘posthuman’ life form has become a focal point of public debate and mainstream artistic concern. This multi-disciplinary discourse is premised on developments in the so-called ‘NBIC’ technologies – Nanotechnology, Biotechnology, Information Technology and […]

The Real Thing: Art and Speculative Realism

The point of departure shared by all four of the original Speculative Realists – Quentin Meillasoux, Iain Hamilton Grant, Graham Harman and Ray Brassier – is that the real must be thought independently of its connection to mind or human action. Claims for the autonomy of reality are not new and – within the Anglo-American philosophical […]

Sound: A Case Study in Slack Metaphysics ?

Some metaphysical truth claims seem undetermined by all the  naturalistic considerations we can adduce in their favour. Does this imply that the ultimate metaphysical facts are fixed pragmatically by our choice of conceptual scheme or ideology? Or are cases of underdetermination symptomatic of a deeper problem with the  idioms and methodologies used in naturalistic metaphysics. Here’s an […]