Berfrois

The Marx of the Avant-Gardes

The Marx of the Avant-Gardes

So much for an academic #Marx21c. What about the avant-gardes?

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Narratomania

Narratomania

My livelihood depends on fiction. To this end I have published a book arguing for the importance of literature in life. I have posted personal blogs that combine internal reflection with cultural commentary. In short, I see the absolute importance of narrative in life and work. Yet, I also...

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Weird Philosophy

Weird Philosophy

I want to propose, as a trajectory into the philosophically weird, an absurd theoretical claim and pursue it, or perhaps more accurately, construct it as I point to it, collecting the ground work behind me like the Perpetual Train from China Mieville's Iron Council which puts down track as...

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When defining mathematical Platonism, only Independence is controversial…

When defining mathematical Platonism, only Independence is controversial…

Sketch by Leonardo Da Vinci by Massimo Pigliucci Recently I have been intrigued by James Ladyman and Don Ross’s ideas about naturalistic metaphysics and in the course of my discussion of their book, Every Thing Must Go, I pointed out that those ideas (as the authors themselves recognize) are...

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An Animated Bang!

An Animated Bang!

Genesis. Gummi Big Bang, Chandra Bocci, 2006 by Bill Benzon As I understand it the modern conception asserts that the cosmos is fundamentally inanimate. Dead. And then, somehow, life evolved. Miraculously. Except that we moderns don’t believe in miracles. So life isn’t a miracle. It’s merely a puzzle. One...

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Some Jung Guy

Some Jung Guy

by Kris Pint 1. Returning to Jung In Deleuze and Parnet’s Dialogues there is this marvellous quote from D.H. Lawrence about the purpose of literature: “To leave, to leave, to escape… to cross the horizon, enter into another life…” It is a phrase that succinctly summarizes Deleuze’s own philosophical...

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Intentional Spontaneity

Intentional Spontaneity

Photograph by Steve Johnson From Notre Dame Philosophical Review: Like many other Kantian-inspired accounts, the one Arnold offers as an alternative to cognitivism is initially quite compelling, but when carefully and closely examined, bafflingly obscure. One rather basic question unanswered in Arnold’s presentation is: could there be a being...

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Studying Sanskrit

Studying Sanskrit

My month-long ultra-intensive spoken Sanskrit course at the University of Heidelberg has come to an end. I was the oldest student, and probably the weakest (in my defense, I'd had only one semester of formal study prior to beginning the course). This was an extremely humbling experience, but also,...

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We’re Players

We’re Players

From Don Quixote, illustrated by Rob Davis, 2011 by William Egginton In early 1614 a royal censor named Márquez Torres was reading the manuscript of the second part of Don Quixote, to be released the following year, when he got into a conversation with some visiting dignitaries in the...

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Saints of Pessimism

Saints of Pessimism

Pessimism is the night-side of thought, a melodrama of the futility of the brain, a poetry written in the graveyard of philosophy. Pessimism is a lyrical failure of philosophical thinking, each attempt at clear and coherent thought, sullen and submerged in the hidden joy of its own futility. The...

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‘Descartes gave us all that we needed to claim gender equality a long time ago’

‘Descartes gave us all that we needed to claim gender equality a long time ago’

Elisabeth Badinter by Cécile Alduy Forget Simone De Beauvoir, Betty Friedan, and Naomi Wolf. Descartes gave us all that we needed to claim gender equality a long time ago. Historians rarely remember it this way, but women’s rights were dramatically (if hypothetically) advanced when, in 1619, René Descartes, snow-bound...

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What Used to be Called Indology

What Used to be Called Indology

Any specialist on anything will have had that peculiar experience of coming across some casual comment from a total non-specialist about the very thing to which one has devoted one's life, a comment made as if there were no such thing as specialist knowledge, as if what we know...

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A Portrait of the Philosopher as a Middle-Aged Man

A Portrait of the Philosopher as a Middle-Aged Man

Before beginning in earnest, a preliminary point about birthdays: I am convinced that one of the crucial moments in the emergence of the modern world was the transition from the celebration of saint days to the fêting of our own anniversaries. We scoff at cultures that believe in reincarnation,...

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Chasse-Croisé

Chasse-Croisé

La rue Félix Faure, Nancy. Photograph by Dalbera by Jean-Michel Rabaté My title assumes that the reader knows what “the Nancy School” is. In fact, there is more than one. I will mention at least three. There is the school, celebrated at the Museum of the Nancy School, that...

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In something else in something else…

In something else in something else…

Tristan Garcia by Graham Harman The French philosopher and novelist Tristan Garcia was born in Toulouse in 1981. This makes him rather young to have written such an imaginative work of systematic philosophy as Forme et objet,1 the latest entry in the MétaphysiqueS series at Presses universitaires de France....

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Foucault too could be a vampire…

Foucault too could be a vampire…

The way that the undead challenges the living’s boundaries provides the focus for several essays. Richard Greene uses a thought experiment to argue that undeath is considered worse than death because of its presumed relationship with evil. However, the state of being undead is not necessarily bad for the...

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Theory is the Vision

Theory is the Vision

Theory graffiti tags by Kenneth Reinhard [In this talk, I am drawing largely on the work of Alain Badiou, Slavoj Žižek, Ernesto Laclau. In particular, I am guided by Badiou’s essays “Philosophy and Desire,” “Eight Theses on the Universal,” and his books Saint Paul: The Foundation of Universalism and...

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The internet has killed porn; the internet is for porn…

The internet has killed porn; the internet is for porn…

A photographer at the 2007 Las Vegas Adult Entertainment Expo. From Talking Philosophy: …an excellent case can be made that stealing digital content is morally wrong. As such, the arguments I have made elsewhere would seem to apply to stealing porn as well. However, there is an interesting potential...

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Another World: Contemporary Cemeteries and Heterotopia

Another World: Contemporary Cemeteries and Heterotopia

Contemporary cemeteries have adopted various ‘useful’ applications, but they also remain highly complex and ambiguous spatio-temporal enclosures. Worpole, in his study of cemetery landscapes, wonders whether we have the ‘vocabulary for describing what these unsettling landscapes mean culturally’. Are they religious or secular, places of despair or places of...

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All the Time

All the Time

The Simpsons, 20th Century Fox From Philosophy Now: To know that it is 4:30 is to be at 4:30, and also to be looking on 4:30 as if from a temporal outside. So in subjecting time to timing, we seem to have succeeded in stepping to one side of...

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Foucault and the Cemetery

Foucault and the Cemetery

Engraving of Cimetiére des Saints-Innocents in Paris, c.1550 by Peter Johnson In Foucault’s lecture to architects, the cemetery is the most prevalent and thoroughly discussed example of heterotopia and yet it has been virtually ignored in most interpretations of the concept. He mentions the cemetery explicitly in relation to...

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Jerry Moore: Feverish Rivers

I learned that Gerardo Reichel-Dolmatoff had been a Nazi when I was in a Santa Marta supermarket. I had just stepped into the Exito...

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Lauren Berlant
Lauren Berlant flies

Most of the writing we do is actually a performance of stuckness. It is a record of where we got stuck on a question...

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Robyn Ferrell on Balthus

The pitfalls of identification, hero-worship, envy and malice can beset the most patient writer in the throes of five hundred-plus pages of attention to...

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Michael Munro on Spinoza

Immanence is not philosophy, nor philosophy immanence. But there is in the passage from one to the other a modification of sense that is...

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David Beer
David Beer: Broadcastwerk

Writing at sometime around 1930 or 1931, Walter Benjamin suggested that the voice on the radio is a like a visitor in the home,...

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Rose Barnsley: Young, Gifted and Žižekian

At nineteen, it is easy to think that all you're missing is the right movement. But there is something about the young left wing...

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Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei: Rama’s And

While local journalists were once again busy regurgitating worn-down, coma inducing positions about yet another spectral appearance of Enver Hoxha at the celebration of...

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Playing the Percentages: Berfrois Interviews Danny Dorling

The portrait of the 1% in your book is one of sociopathic, power-hungry narcissists with a striking lack of empathy. This may seem antagonistic,...

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Joseph Spece
Joseph Spece: When Gamers Attack

Like many ugly controversies, the beginnings of #gamergate are linked to the end of love — well, the end of a relationship, at least....

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Lauren Berlant performs by clicking

Today I introduced Facebook to someone older than me and had a long conversation about what the point of networking amongst “friends” is. The...

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Tinder Times by Bibi Deitz

I am in bed with a man. He has to go home. He is not staying the night. So he pulls out his iPhone...

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Jenny Diski keeps up

Some things are best met with silence. If I were to proceed with this month’s column in an honest way, it would be a...

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From Fashion by Tracy O’Neill

The man who brought us a disembodied protagonist alluringly voiced by Scarlett Johansson has now issued a drama — starring apparel. Recently, Opening Ceremony...

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Philippe Theophanidis on Jean-Luc Godard

At one point near the end of his unfinished novel Jean Santeuil, Marcel Proust describes a painting by Claude Monet from 1897, titled “Bras...

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