Thursday, July 23, 2009 Interview with Levi R. Bryant
Today we interview Levi R. Bryant, author of Difference and Givenness: Deleuze’s Transcendental Empiricism and the Ontology of Immanence and co-editor (along with Graham Harman and Nick Srnicek) of the forthcoming The Speculative Turn: Continental Materialism and Realism. Many of you will also know Levi from his excellent blog Larval Subjects.
However, it could be said that the more recent shifts in my thought have very much been a product of my experience with blogging. Blogging is genuinely a new form of writing, thinking, and intellectual engagement when done properly. This point and blogging’s difference can be illustrated in terms of evolutionary theory.
One of the primary ways in which speciation takes place is through geographical isolation. Two populations of a single species come to be reproductively isolated for some reason or other and as time passes their phenotypes diverge and the respective populations become homogenous. It is really no different in traditional academia. You talk to people who share the same interests as you, you attend conferences devoted to your particular issue or thinker, you publish in journals devoted to your privileged thinker, and you read texts on your privileged thinker or problem. These are all forms of geographical isolation that lead to “academic speciations”.
This sort of isolation isn’t operative in the world of blogging. While you certainly encounter specialists in your particular area, you also encounter thinkers from entirely different disciplines, practices, and orientations and you have to find a way to engage with them that doesn’t assume the daunting scholarly apparatus of your particular thought-framework. You encounter all sorts of characters like satirists and trolls, but also housewives, people in business, activists, artists, politicians and all the rest... Posted by Paul Ennis. Labels: Interview, levi r. bryant, phenomenology, philosophy, speculative realism
My philosophical thought has changed fundamentally since I began blogging, as can be observed from the nature of my style when I wrote primarily on online discussion lists and in the early years of this blog. Part of this has been the evolution of my thought. Another part of this has been the nature of the medium itself. Discussion lists, for example, are organized around “master-thinkers”, so they tend towards scholarly discussion of the intricacies of that thinker or questions about where something might be found in the thinkers body of work.
Writing articles for journals tends to be a largely solitary exercise that involves careful engagement with scholarship and composition. Blogging, by contrast, involves a cacophony of voices, each with their own interests and backgrounds, hyperlinked cross-blog discussions, multiple forms of media, and so on. The medium in all these cases plays a formative role in the formation of content. [1:31 PM]
for Heidegger, inauthentic life is characterised by chatter – for example, the ever-ambiguous hubbub of the blogosphere. Conscience calls Dasein back from this chatter silently. It has the character of what Heidegger calls "reticence" (Verschwiegenheit), which is the privileged mode of language in Heidegger. So, the call of conscience is a silent call that silences the chatter of the world and brings me back to myself. [6:04 PM]