New Issue of Polygraph

Polygraph 22 (“Ecology & Ideology”) has been released. The editors’ introduction is available for free on the Polygraph website. It includes a number of essays that promise to interest those looking at the relationship of humanities research to the science of ecology. It also includes an essay by me, “Philosophy and Ecosystem: Towards a Transcendental Ecology”, which is the earliest concentrated statement about the concerns that drive my dissertation. It’s being sold cheap on Amazon. Pick up a copy and support this great journal.

12 thoughts on “New Issue of Polygraph

  1. This looks fantastic Anthony.

    Have you (or anyone else) read Jane Bennett’s Vibrant Matter? It sounds really fascinating, and I want to read it.

  2. There was an online reading group about the book that I participated in. I thought it was interesting, but it wasn’t very well developed on a number of fronts. If you use the search bar you can find my post, where I flag up a number of issues.

  3. That underplayed my enthusiasm for the book too much. I liked it on a number of levels, but was hoping, as someone who broadly agreed with what she said and had some form of the ideas myself before hand, for more development.

  4. Thanks, I’ll check out the discussion. Right, this issue of ecology has to be brought to the next level, but it’s so hard to combine serious philosophical understanding with a deep grasp of the scientific and physical realities.

  5. Not sure how I missed this, I think I was traveling at the time. Ok, if you and Adrian represent Bennett fairly it seems like she’s opening up some interesting terrain but then doesn’t follow through.

    I’m increasingly convinced that the only viable non-anthropomorphic ontology is Deleuzian at least in a broad sense. [In addition to being incoherent, another problem with this OOO stuff is that objects are not really the most interesting or important entities in the world, even if you escape or eliminate subjectivism and linguisticism.] I think you have to think of being as energy transformation, and I really like Eric Schneider and Dorian Sagan’s book Into the Cool as a way to summarize and appreciate nonequilibrium thermodynamics and overcome the split between entropy and evolution.

    An ecology based on an understanding and appreciation of energy flows would be very interesting, especially combined with a radical politics influenced by Zizek, Badiou, Ranciere, etc.

  6. Bennett’s book suffers the same problem as Morton’s book: a couple interesting of ideas, but the superficial level of development lends itself to an article rather than a short book. Although, on the whole, Bennett’s book was better developed, in theoretical and analytical terms, than Morton’s, but that isn’t saying much.

  7. I was more impressed by Morton’s book than Craig. I didn’t really understand what Bennett’s book had to do with ecology, but I thought that Morton’s text (a kind of manifesto that should be read alongside of his Collapse article) does something important in the engagement between philosophy/theory and ecology. It takes the scientific practice of ecology seriously for doing philosophy, rather than just providing a kind of ethics.

    Mark, I emailed you. Let me know if it comes through.

  8. After reading his book twice, I’m not sure what his main concepts are. I know their names–he surely uses them enough–but I’m not sure what “the ecological thought,” “the mesh” and “the strange stranger” are. All of his discussions of the concepts are incredibly vague and often inconsistent with one another. Bennett’s book was not especially ecologically, beyond saying that politics cannot be reduced to decisions–things are important too.

  9. Craig, I didn’t see their inconsistency. Have you written about this at your place? I didn’t find the discussion of these things that vague. The ecological thought is that all things are connected in a series of material relations as understood by ecology. The mesh is his name for that series of connections (I’d have just gone with ecosystem). The strange stranger is the ability of a thing to enter into local instances of the mesh, both as a disruption of thought and of material relations. I agree that the book was too short, but I don’t know that I found it so offensively incomplete as you.

  10. I haven’t written about it. At least not yet. I found the book very frustrating–as you might imagine! In his defense, he does say at the outset that it is not intended as a theoretical treatise, but in my view, he takes great liberalities once that disclaimer is made: as though it justifies no theoretical content whatsoever. (There is a lot of assertion, though.)

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