Friday, 4 September 2009
This blog is an effort to articulate some of my developing metaphysical musings. Biographically, my academic background straddles both the study of religions (primarily new religious movements, nature religions) and philosophy (primarily metaphysics, and ecological and existentialist philosophies), albeit frequently incorporating a range of gender theoretical perspectives and feminist commitments too. Most of my teaching career has focused on delivering courses in religious studies, but I have in the last four years been able to return to my first love, namely philosophy. This blog has largely been prompted by a recent period of philosophical research and renewal when I discovered Speculative Realism (SR), Object Oriented Ontology (OOO) and such figures a Graham Harman, Bruno Latour and Levi Bryant. I have always identified myself as a fervent realist, and an advocate of immanence, but attaching precise labels or indeed a brand name to these has always been a complex endeavour. Naive realism, critical realism and naturalism have never seemed quite right to me; besides, who would want to describe themselves as naive? However, metaphysical naturalism, process philosophy and in my case process thealogy have never been wholly appropriate either. Currently I am feeling highly motivated by Speculative Realism, although the task of locating myself within this new terrain is likely to take some time.
I have titled the blog Pagan Metaphysics not out of some commitment to (re-)constructing a metaphysic that would be acceptable to contemporary Pagans (of whatever tradition or association), although there may be something of interest here to a few of them; neither do I aim to form links with any specific philosophical school of the past that might be termed pagan, as this would be an umbrella capable of covering much of western and non-western philosophy. Rather, I use the term loosely to mark out a general opposition to (1) onto-theology, (2) the bulk of Anglo-American philosophy of religion (which tends to be Christian in its core concepts and pre-occupations) and (3) civil/urban metaphysics. In solidarity with OOO (and parts of Speculative Realism), I am interested in dissolving the human-world divide and in Meillasoux’s words getting back to the ‘great outdoors’. The pagan simply seems to be a useful prefix to oppose the dominant analytic and continental attitude to realist metaphysics, which tends to reduce it to a correlate of the human and urban. Undoubtedly this is a point that I will return to later.