Rough Theory

Theory In The Rough

Monthly Archives: July 2009

Are We Human? Or Are We Dancer?

So I was driving somewhere with my five-year-old son on Saturday night. The car paused at a stoplight long enough for him to look out the window at a large crowd of people, dressed for dancing and waiting for a tram to the city. Most were female, which caused my son to remark: “There are lots of women there.” And then, after a short pause: “And only one human.”

“Only one human?” I asked, guessing what he meant but wanting to make sure.

“Only one human – that guy,” he pointed.

“Only one man, you mean.”

“Only one human,” he insisted.

“No – the women are human too,” I found myself wondering how, exactly, I ended up needing to defend this point.

“No they aren’t!” he said in the tone he usually uses when I’m saying something deliberately absurd.

“Yes they are. ‘Human’ includes both men and women – it’s a bigger term than either.”

“Noooo…” he said, sceptical.

“Yes!” I said, with attempted enthusiasm.

He gave me a “taking it under advisement” look, but seems, on the whole, to remain unconvinced…

Social Metaphysics and Artificial Ontologies

It’s the first week of the term here, my department was moved just last week into a new building, and so I’m working out of boxes there and elsewhere. All of this adds up to very little time online – with most of the time I do have, caught up in administrative issues relating to the courses I’m teaching…

So once again I’d like to point to discussions elsewhere – Benjamin Noys writes on the metaphysics of labour, the problem of agency, and how to conceptualise critique without a “positive” standpoint. Reid Kane from Planomenology responds with a different take on how to conceptualise agency without a “positive” standpoint. I’ve made some brief contributions to both discussions – unfortunately far less substantive than I would like. But the original posts are far more substantive than my drive-by interventions, and so I wanted to point readers to the ongoing conversation.

Immanence and Materialism Conference Update

So as usual in the term break, I’ve been ill, and I’ve also been buried in the usual process of pulling courses together for the upcoming term. As a result, I’ve been remiss in posting the promised update on the papers from the Immanence and Materialism conference, some of which have now made their way online at the conference website. Good discussions of the conference themes are also underway at Daily Humiliation here and here, and at Duncan’s blog. Benjamin has written a particularly generous analysis of my paper at No Useless Leniency – one which takes the time to explore some of the implications of the paper for speculative realism, which I didn’t have time to discuss at the conference itself.

At some point, I will have time to blog again properly… But for the moment, plenty of interesting stuff to read elsewhere…