[[ Pdf ]] ☠ Alien Phenomenology, or What It’s Like to Be a Thing ↸ PDF eBook or Kindle ePUB free
Look, everyone doing theory a VERY fine book can be done in fewer than 200 pages Use this as a model in future, especially if you want to be read.Some favorite bits speculative realism is an event rather than a philosophical position it names a moment when the epistemological tide ebbed, revealing the iridescent shells of realism they had so long occluded all things equally exist, yet they do not exist equally The funeral pyre is not the same as the aardvark the porceletta shell is not Look, everyone doing theory a VERY fine book can be done in fewer than 200 pages Use this as a model in future, especially if you want to be read.Some favorite bits speculative realism is an event rather than a philosophical position it names a moment when the epistemological tide ebbed, revealing the iridescent shells of realism they had so long occluded all things equally exist, yet they do not exist equally The funeral pyre is not the same as the aardvark the porceletta shell is not equivalent to the rugby ball Not only is neither pair reducible to human encounter, but also neither is reducible to the other The power of flat ontology comes from its indiscretion It refuses distinction and welcomes all into the temple of being Unit is an ambivalent term, indifferent to the nature of what it names It is also isolated, unitary, and specific, not simply the part of a whole or ontologically basic and indivisible like an atom units operate That is, thing constantly machinate within themselves and mesh with one another, acting and reacting to properties and states while still keeping something secret Since units remain fundamentally in the dark about one another s infinite centers, the unit operations that become relevant to them differ Everything whatsoever is like people on a subway, crunched together into uncomfortably intimate contact with strangers Lists remind us that no matter how fluidly a system may operate, its members remain utterly isolated, mutual aliens except see what context does, via Harper s Index Ontographical cataloging hones a virtue the abandonment of anthropocentric narrative coherence in favor of worldly detail The tire and chassis, the ice milk and cup, the buckshot and soil things like these exist not just for us but also for themselves and for one another, in ways that might surprise and dismay us For the ontographer, Aristotle was wrong nature does not operate in the shortest way possible but in a multitude of locally streamlined yet globally inefficient ways anthropocentrism is unavoidable, at least for us humans The same is true of any unit for the bats, chiropteracentrism is the problem Objects try to make sense of each other through the qualities and logics they possess When one object caricatures another, the first grasps the second in abstract, enough for the one to make some sense of the other given its own internal properties No matter how we may feel about eating or abstaining from meat, appeals to feeling and suffering exemplify the correlationist conceit the assumption that the rights any thing should have are the same ones we believe we should have that living thingslike us areimportant that those less like us and that life itself is an existence of greater worth than inanimacy Metaphorism is necessarily anthropomorphic, and thus it challenges the metaphysician both to embrace and to yield to the limits of humanity It s possible to generalize, of course For example, one could argue that no matter what sort of thing a unit is, it ought to have the right to be preserved and not destroyed This is an impractical sentiment, however, because beings often need to eat or molt or burn or dissolve Aristotelian final causation tends to be human oriented Take another, weirder case theories, concepts, and memes Is there an ethics of ideas Not an ethics for their application, as by human hands advancing a political cause, but an ethics for the interactions of ideas as such When I utter a phrase, does it owethan its utteranceWhen I encounter a catchy chorus on the radio or a clever edition of a web comic, does its desire to propagate create duty When we ask after the ethics of objects, we are really asking if moral qualities exist as sensual qualities I ll float a categorical response no When the vegan eat the tofu, she bathes in its moisture, its blandness, its suppleness, its vegetality Yet the soy does not bathe in her veganism An object enters an ethical relation when it attempts to reconcile the sensual qualities of another object vis vis the former s withdrawn reality Despite the fact that Levinas claims ethics as first philosophy, what he gives us is not really ethics but a metaphysics of intersubjectivity that he gives the name ethics Object ethicscan only ever be theorized once removed, phenomenally, the parallel universes of private objects cradled silently in their cocoons, even while their surfaces seem to explode, devour, caress, or murder one another Ethical judgment itself proves a metaphorism, an attempt to reconcile the being of one unit in terms of another We mistake it for the object s withdrawn essence If anticorrelationsim amounts to a rejection of only one correlation and an embrace of multiple correlations, then centrism is inevitable whether it be anthropocentrism, petrocentrism, photocentrism, skylocentrism, or any other things render one another in infinite chain of weaker and weaker correlation, each altering and distorting the last such that it sense is rendered nonsense It s not turtles all the way down, but metaphors AVOID ACADEMIC MUMBLESPEAK a sentiment of precision while, at best, delaying the moment when the writer actually has to be precise Like a space probe sent out to record, process, and report information, the alien phenomenologist s carpentry seeks to capture and characterize an experience it can never fully understand, offering a rendering satisfactory enough to allow the artifact s operator to gain some insight into an alien thing s experience We apply rigor , the scholarly version of Tinker Bell s fairy dust, in adequate quantities to stave off interest while cheating death To wonder is to suspend all trust in one s own logics, be they religion, science, philosophy, custom, or opinion, and to become subsumed entirely in the uniqueness of an object s native logics flour granule, firearm, civil justice system, longship, fondant Let s leave rigor to the dead
[[ Pdf ]] ☋ Alien Phenomenology, or What It’s Like to Be a Thing ↶ Humanity has sat at the center of philosophical thinking for too long The recent advent of environmental philosophy and posthuman studies has widened our scope of inquiry to include ecosystems, animals, and artificial intelligence Yet the vast majority of the stuff in our universe, and even in our lives, remains beyond serious philosophical concernIn Alien Phenomenology, or What It s Like to Be a Thing, Ian Bogost develops an object oriented ontology that puts things at the center of being a philosophy in which nothing exists any or less than anything else, in which humans are elements but not the sole or even primary elements of philosophical interest And unlike experimental phenomenology or the philosophy of technology, Bogost s alien phenomenology takes for granted that all beings interact with and perceive one another This experience, however, withdraws from human comprehension and becomes accessible only through a speculative philosophy based on metaphorProviding a new approach for understanding the experience of things as things, Bogost also calls on philosophers to rethink their craft Drawing on his own background as a videogame designer, Bogost encourages professional thinkers to become makers as well, engineers who construct things as much as they think and write about them What else is there, here, anywhere right now Anything will do, so long as it reminds us of the awesome plentitude of the alien everyday 134 I have been interested in things for a long time I remember on a visit to an art museum as an undergraduate being fascinated by a scuffed section of worn wooden floor in a corner that I thought deserved as much attention as the exhibits It seemed to carry such a weight of narrative Likewise at a conference in Wisconsin I found an old, painted heat regi What else is there, here, anywhere right now Anything will do, so long as it reminds us of the awesome plentitude of the alien everyday 134 I have been interested in things for a long time I remember on a visit to an art museum as an undergraduate being fascinated by a scuffed section of worn wooden floor in a corner that I thought deserved as much attention as the exhibits It seemed to carry such a weight of narrative Likewise at a conference in Wisconsin I found an old, painted heat register in a corner of a museum next to a forgotten chair, and I was struck by its quiet gravity For me, objects became a way of connecting to the stories that had washed over them like waves Who else had seen, touched, forgotten this I am attracted to environments in a similar same way who has been here before Wandering through the empty halls of the Union League Club in Chicago or the streets of Oxford or Venice, the details of pavement or chipping plaster or window or stone seem so heavy, so linked to human stories and remembering but so resolutely independent of me and my own My photography often seeks to highlight these details.In the natural world that human touch isdistant, but especially in my Midwestern home it is never absent who else has walked this way or will again Who else is weaving prairie, trail, ash tree, railroad embankment, rutted farm road, wind turbined horizon, and cumulus into the human story All of these considerations though are intensely anthropocentric I find significance and beauty in these things because I m constantly linking them to the human narrative, even when they strike me primarily due to their distance to my own personal narrative I ll never know all the details of this particular grove of poplars or this weathered barn, but they would have no significance at all if I wasn t here to wonder about them Would they For Ian Bogost, this is just another example of our tendency to view everything through a correlationist lens to see the ontological significance of things from an anthropocentric view Bogost sees this reflected in both the scientific endeavor which seeks to harness and utilize the universe for human use and the humanities which evaluate everything according to the human narrativeB oth perspectives embody the correlationist conceit The scientists believes in reality apart from human life, but it is a reality excavated for human exploitation The scientific process cares less for reality itself than it does for the discoverability of reality through human ingenuity Likewise, the humanist doesn t believe in the world except as a structure erected in the interest of human culture Like a mirror image of the scientist, the humanist mostly seeks to mine particular forms of culture, often suggesting aspects of it that must be overcome through abstract notions of resistance or revolution Look at me shout both the scientist and the humanist Look what I have uncovered14 I don t know that I buy Bogost s critique of the scientist, as I think it s often the scientific endeavor that yields insights that do the most to challenge our anthropocentric views For instance, during a show about exoplanets in the planetarium years ago, thick with scientific descriptions of stone and surface temperature and wind speeds, a friend of mine asked not the how do we know question of science but the what does it mean question of philosophy What does it mean that there are these physical places where rocks are being weathered and clouds are drifting through skies that we will never experience We want to maintain that they are physically significant I might even say holy, in the eyes of an orthodox materialism But they are outside the mediation of mankind This is part of my fascination with Bogost s philosophical view, known as object oriented ontology OOO it seems a compelling way to grapple with some of these questions What do I do with the reality of objects that have no bearing whatsoever on the human narrative Bogost s work is short, compelling, andengagingly written than any piece of philosophy I have read in a long time I won t be able to do justice to his treatment, which also provides a helpful introduction to the handful of other philosophers that are pursuing this line of thought In short, Bogost argues for a flat ontology, a way of perceiving the world in which objects and their relationships are given as much ontological significance as possible, regardless of their relationship with the human perspective In a flat ontology, the bubbling skin of the capsaicin pepper holds just as much interest as the culinary history of the enchilada it is destined to top 17 And quoting Harman object oriented philosophy holds that the relation of humans to pollen, oxygen, eagles, or windmills is no different in kind from the interaction of these objects with each otherFor we ourselves, just like Neanderthals, sparrows, mushrooms, and dirt, have never done anything else than act amidst the bustle of other actants 39 There are some obvious issues with such a view, for one thing the apparent paradox that Bogost never really qualifies what he means by thing, so that at times he s talking about discrete physical objects but at other times he discusses ideas or even systems or institutions criminal justice system that are human constructs It s difficult to see how one can argue for the independent significance of objects that clearly only arise through the human narrative itself Likewise, it s hard to take seriously a philosophy that discusses how objects might perceive each other or that tries to deconstruct objects into their smaller units when those units at times only have conceptual existence in the human mind.To be fair, Bogost recognizes both the alienness and the difficulty in his task, and he qualifies much of what he is doing as speculative analogy or even poetry, with an intentionof challenging the way we think about the world than arriving at actual insights on the nature of things Speculation isn t just poetic, but it s partly so, a creative act that beings conduct as they gaze earnestly but bemusedly at one another Everything whatsoever is like people on a subway, crunched together into uncomfortable intimate contact with strangers 31 This is why Bogost s work is interspersed with poetry, which ironically returns us to the anthropological centricism of humans interpreting their universe Yet that s okay for Bogost, as long as we recognize the creative endeavor of attempting to interpret the universe but without stubbornly maintaining ourselves at the center It s a sort of philosophical, ontological Copernican revolution, and its results of course will inform our poetry and our expression, as Bogost provides multiple examples of.Bogostthan anything wants us to be aware, to appreciate the things for themselves, as he appreciates antiquated computer systems not simply for what they represent about human ingenuity or design but because as offered in some of his most compelling examples they have intrinsic value and they are worth the effort expended in analyzing their function for its own sake Bogost is an engineer mystic, and he writes what a philosophical treatise should be at the core, a discussion of things that are, of ways to see the world Object oriented ontology is compelling to me because it emphasizes the reality of the world, of distant galaxies and the axial spin of the quaking neutron stars in those galaxies, the condensation of methane and the whorls of cloud and the fragmented feldspar on the moons of gas giants in those galaxies the reality of those things outside the reach of my own knowledge A flat ontology says they are all equally significant, utterly regardless of human cognition They must remain alien, as alien and unknowable in their essence as the plastic molded Lego lid or the woven textile couch cushion or the jadite cup and saucer beside me They have their own existence, yes, but also their own unknowable stories, tensions, relations beyond me And why not I am after all one who rides largely unaware of the processes in my own body and mind, a sliver of consciousness in a rambling, unknown house Everywhere there is wonder and ignorance.Bogost again, quoting lines by Zhdanov Either the letters cannot be understood, or their grand scale is unbearable to the eye what remains is the red wind in the field, with the name of rose on its lips. 130912 first review this is kind of the opposite to husserl easy to read but not too convincing, so i give it somewhere between two and three some interesting ways of philosophy, some ideas, even some from husserl and made me think i should read meillassoux again the idea that philosophers or metaphysicians should do rather than talk in writing papers only, should be like doctors of thought, seems mistaken to me there may be too much critical detail disputes to establish this or that prof 130912 first review this is kind of the opposite to husserl easy to read but not too convincing, so i give it somewhere between two and three some interesting ways of philosophy, some ideas, even some from husserl and made me think i should read meillassoux again the idea that philosophers or metaphysicians should do rather than talk in writing papers only, should be like doctors of thought, seems mistaken to me there may be too much critical detail disputes to establish this or that prof or idea he works in the field so knows but perhaps exaggerates there is only our human tradition of primarily written ideas that can be examined rather as ideas than as objects in the world as biology, chemistry, physics and words themselves contain by contrast and composition, human ethical values pleasant as it might seem, the world does not mean to itself but only to humans or something like thatafterword after 6 years, something i findconvincing if you wish to de center humans This was a very deep dense academic sort of read Very mind expanding I liked his ideas on how humans tend to relate things only in their conparison to human experiences, and his challenging of those ideas. This is a strange book written by a video game designer trying his hand at philosophy.The author manages to re invent Alfred Korzybski s idea of General Semantics and gives it the new name of Object Oriented Ontology , using terminology borrowed from software developers At the same time, the author falls into the very trap Korzybski warns about when he said the map is not the territory I m guessing the author never read Korzybski or heard of General Semantics, so it s probably not a hard mi This is a strange book written by a video game designer trying his hand at philosophy.The author manages to re invent Alfred Korzybski s idea of General Semantics and gives it the new name of Object Oriented Ontology , using terminology borrowed from software developers At the same time, the author falls into the very trap Korzybski warns about when he said the map is not the territory I m guessing the author never read Korzybski or heard of General Semantics, so it s probably not a hard mistake to make Korzybski s work on the relationship between words and things was never mainstream and these days, the only people who remember General Semantics are likely hard core fans of science fiction authors like Robert Heinlein, H Beam Piper, and A E Vogt, who based a number of their stories on the idea Both Bogost and Kozybski also probably owe a bit of a debt to Gottfried Leibniz s idea of characteristica universalis, a universal language or calculus for thought that could be used for describing ideas, objects, and relations in a way free of biases and inaccuracies.Korzybski gives an example early in his book of a pencil and the word pencil He compares how two different people who both use the word pencil, describe the actual object both are correct in a limited way but the features they each use are completely different and a third party who had never seen a pencil, would not even understand that both are describing the same object and would have no way of guessing the properties of the real object He proposes aprecise and universal way of describing objects, entities, ideas, and the relationships between them To do it right would require aprecise language but he proposes a method that works in existing languages with the aid of various structural diagramming tools.Bogost goes through the beginnings of a similar exercise using something from his own experience, a video game based on the movie E.T He spends several pages giving examples of how we might describe the game and how those descriptions are incomplete and or inaccurate Unlike Korzybski, Bogost does not go on to propose a solution, probably due to the limited size of his book Alien Phenomenology is a modest 136 page vs Korzybski s Science and Sanity An Introduction to Non Aristotelian Systems and General Semantics which clocks in at 806 pages.The book s subtitle What it s Like to be a Thing leaves the reader with a bit of a mystery It s obviously a reference to Thomas Nagel s book, What is it like to be a Bat which is a query into the nature of consciousness But Alien Phenomenology never addresses the question of consciousness at all and most of the book is about objects or non conscious things and how they relate to each other My conclusion is that Bogost has fallen into the trap of thinking that if we could fully and accurately understand the relationship between things like say a bat and its environment that we would then know what it s like to be a bat This is the classic danger Korzybski warns about with that well known phrase the map is not the territory No matter how accurate you can make your representation of the territory, the map remains a different thing it can tell you about the relationship of features in the territory but it is not the territory Likewise knowing fully about the relationship of a bat or anything to its environment and being able to describe it perfectly and unbiasedly, while useful, will not tell us what the conscious experience of being a bat is like.So the book was a bit of a disappointment for me But I did have a certain fascination in seeing the book unknowingly redevelop forgotten ideas from the 1930s that are now found mostly in classic science fiction novels My recommendation is to go back and read Korzybski or Leibniz if you re interested in the subject matter Short moments of Oh, yup I know exactly what he s talking about lead to But why is this important These moments are surrounded by a murky mix of whatever. What to say about this book Nothing good, definitely It starts with a fairly serious if whimsical question, What is it like to be a thing shades of Thomas Nagel , but loses itself in a cavalcade of irrelevant philosophical flatulence.As an STS scholar, I take the equivalence of human beings and things seriously Bruno Latour s Parliament of Things actually sounds like an interesting idea But even if we erase the divide between human and non human, there still seem to be some bifurcations What to say about this book Nothing good, definitely It starts with a fairly serious if whimsical question, What is it like to be a thing shades of Thomas Nagel , but loses itself in a cavalcade of irrelevant philosophical flatulence.As an STS scholar, I take the equivalence of human beings and things seriously Bruno Latour s Parliament of Things actually sounds like an interesting idea But even if we erase the divide between human and non human, there still seem to be some bifurcations in the world things and signs, atoms and bits, entities with intentional stances and those capable solely of reaction A philosopher should examine these common sensical distinctions, and the ways in which they are wrong A true unitary theory would be a wonder That is not in this book.I d hoped to see an approach by which we might approach the existence and quality of things objects, technologies, artifacts, and so called nature Instead, Bogost throws out a few sparkling bon mots in a sea of disconnected anecdotes and generally sloppy thinking A subject that should be approached with immense care is treated with disrespect.The only reason I finished this book was to honestly describe how bad it was If you ever wanted to know why video game designers should not pretend to know about philosophy, you could read a few pages of this book Otherwise, if you ever wanted to know what it would look like if that book were written by your computer geek pal from college who used to get into endless and pointless conversations about concepts like reality, only to come up with stuff like it s like real ity, you know you could read a few pages of this book Otherwise, if you ever wanted to know w If you ever wanted to know why video game designers should not pretend to know about philosophy, you could read a few pages of this book Otherwise, if you ever wanted to know what it would look like if that book were written by your computer geek pal from college who used to get into endless and pointless conversations about concepts like reality, only to come up with stuff like it s like real ity, you know you could read a few pages of this book Otherwise, if you ever wanted to know what it would be like to read a book that stuffed words like weird and strange and bizarre into every available space defined here as spaces not already occupied by name dropping and sound bites then you could read a few pages of this book Clearly written but nevertheless bewildering introduction to a topic that made me want to read the books on his bibliography There s a lot of showing and assertion, but not a lot of argumentation Had trouble determining if what I was reading was simple truth or gibbering insanity Tend toward the former, but I m going to read Latour and Harman to make sure.