Friday, 23 October 2009

Speculative Realism in the Curriculum

Well it has been some time since I last blogged, mainly due to the pressures of adapting to and delivering the new academic year. My initial enthusiasm for exploring speculative realism and object oriented ontology, in relation to my other academic interests, hasn't dissipated, it has simply proved difficult to fit into the rest of my life, particularly with a new baby on the scene (an object whose hidden depths have an unpleasant habit of revealing themselves with some regularity).

However, that said, SR and OOO have started to permeate my teaching in various ways; and, while I wouldn't feel comfortable proposing a module on this subject, yet, many of the concepts are starting to cascade into the modules that I do teach. My year one introductory lecture to philosophy now has a nice slide with Graham Harman's definition of philosophy (following on from Plato, Nietzsche, Russell, Wittgenstein and Toulmin):

[P]hilosophy means to find ideas that bore us and invent ways to make them obsolete. But this is difficult, and requires as much scrupulous respect for reality as the construction of bridges and powerplants whose failure would result in the deaths of thousands.

In addition, my approach to occasionalism will undoubtedly be very different when I come to Descartes and mind-body interactionism this year, avoiding the old knowing nod to the audience that, yes, this is as odd as it sounds, before quickly moving on to consider various analytic responses. Nihil Unbound in turn is percolating beneath the surface of my Life and Meaning module. After Finitude and the language of correlationism is impacting on most of my side comments about epistemology and Kant. OOO is exerting a strong influence on my ecological philosophy and metaphysics too, although sadly I am not delivering my environmental philosophy module this year; plus Larourianisms and DeLanda'isms seem to be peppering my casual discussions and seminars with students (e.g. alliances, translations, assemblages).

So, while I don't seem to have the time to direct my Summer of 2009 adventures with speculative realism towards any focused research or publications, my teaching is being effected, and often in rather surprising ways. Who knows how the current cohort of students will be effected by the gravitational pull of SR on their poor lecturer.

1 comment:

Paul John Ennis said...

Hey Paul,

I can't seem to find your e-mail anywhere and the form on your Uni webpage is broken. I want to ask you something about the new OOP journal Speculations.

ennis dot paul at gmail dot com

Paul Ennis