Monthly Archives: August 2009

this is your brain historicized

One of the most important concepts in the neurosciences these days is plasticity. James was speaking of brain plasticity in his discussion of habit at the end of the nineteenth century and in the last several decades plasticity has really … Continue reading

Posted in Bodies, Plasticity | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

bichat’s definition of life

I’ve always been fond of Xavier Bichat’s definition of life from┬áRecherches physiologiques sur la vie et la mort: ‘Life is the collection of functions that resist death’. This simple definition contains echoes of Spinozan conatus, and it can be modified … Continue reading

Posted in Maintenance | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

of maintenance

None of you have heard me say anything about this before, but I’d like to write a short book about maintenance. By putting my thoughts down here and getting feedback from readers, I think I can make some headway in … Continue reading

Posted in Aesthetics, Ethics, Maintenance | Leave a comment

‘take joy in your digressions’

Massumi on the virtue of not knowing where you’re headed: ‘If you know where you will end up when you begin, nothing happens in the meantime. You have to be willing to surprise yourself writing things you didn’t think you … Continue reading

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massumi on academic writing

This passage from Brian Massumi‘s┬áParables for the Virtual says a bit about why we do and do not continue to pursue academics, and what it means to apply an affirmative methodology: ‘If you don’t enjoy concepts and writing and don’t … Continue reading

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profiles of taste

Reading Calvino’s Under the Jaguar Sun, a passage on taste prompted the idea that taste has a peculiar aspect to it that vision does not: taste lacks adumbrations or profiles. Of course, it has depth and complexity. Just think about … Continue reading

Posted in Phenomenology, Sensation | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

skepticism and the revelation of relativism

Reading moral philosophy these days, I remain fascinated and perplexed–perhaps more so than with any other branch of philosophy–by the fact of ethics. That ethics exists. Now, I’m a complete skeptic about the possibility of resolving ethical disputes once and … Continue reading

Posted in Affect, Ethics | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

getting back to arguments

For some time now I’ve been writing a dissertation in phenomenology which deals particularly with Levinas and Merleau-Ponty. Not only is the phenomenologist’s argumentative mode one which adduces its evidence, rather than deducing or inducing, it tends to forgo the … Continue reading

Posted in Phenomenology | Tagged , | 1 Comment