Journal Articles

December 2018 - Vol.49/No.1
Ocean or Oubliette?
Author : Ian Buchanan
Keywords : assemblage, ocean, matter, plastic, waste, pollution
There is now enough plastic in the world to wrap the entire planet. Plastic is now so pervasive scientists are saying that it is a new geological marker. And no part of the planet has been more affected by the spread of plastic waste than the ocean. Eventually the things we dispose of will dispose of us. We are suffocating the planet in our toxic waste. The ocean, as vast as it is, has somehow slipped from view—it is used as a dumping ground for all kinds of waste, and it is steadily dying, but no-one seems able to raise a hand to help it. In part this is a problem of sovereignty. All nations claim their piece of the ocean, but none own it outright. And now that it is in trouble we must ask who is responsible for fixing it? Global warming is a problem of rubbish—it is caused by the by-products of what we do in our daily lives. We generally expect others to change so we can stay the same, but what would get us to change everything, including ourselves? In critical theory there are essentially only two answers to this question: we either do what we know we must (Kant’s categorical imperative is the sine qua non of this position); or we do what we feel we must (Bennett’s vital materialism is in many ways the sine qua non of this position). Adherents to the latter view of things describe it as either embodied or material and they castigate adherents of the categorical view for being either disembodied or immaterial. The limits of the former are that it is idealist and, in being so, implicitly tyrannical because the set of things we must do are not defined or decided upon by ourselves. They are instead imposed from the outside and often without any awareness of or interest in history or indeed culture.
Animal Poverty: Agamben, Heidegger, and Whitehead
Author : Gregg Lambert
Keywords : Agamben, Heidegger, Whitehead, animal (animal studies), animal (as “poor in world”)
This article examines the concepts of “the animal” and “animality” in the philosophy of Martin Heidegger, particularly in response to the recent debates in the fields of Animal Studies and Posthumanism, as well as in response to the revelation of the Black Notebooks where earlier statements regarding the animal being “poor in world” also find a resonance with Heidegger’s meditations on the relationship between the German people (Volk) and the European Jews. The article concludes by introducing the perspective of “life itself ” from the philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead, and especially concerning the famous proposition “Life is robbery.”
Deleuze, Technology, and Thought
Author : Daniel W. Smith
Keywords : Gilles Deleuze, technology, prosthesis, maker’s knowledge, originary technicity
Although Gilles Deleuze never explicitly develops what might be considered a philosophy of technology, this article nonetheless attempts to outline the rudiments of a Deleuzian approach to technology by proposing a series of interrelated concepts: (1) prosthesis (technological artifacts are externalized organs); (2) proto-technicity, or originary technicity (but this technicity already exists in Nature, all the way down, and precedes any theory); (3) exodarwinism (the fact that evolutionary time has bifurcated, and technology evolves in a faster and accelerating time scale); (4) de-specialization or de-differentiation (what conditions the externalization of organs is their deterritorialization); (5) motricity (the link between the brain and the hand/mouth is primarily one of movement); (6) inscription, or graphism (the link between mouth and hand takes place through phonetic writing, when the hand reproduces speech in graphic inscriptions); (7) maker’s knowledge (we know the organizations of matter found in nature through the organizations of matter that we ourselves have created); and finally, (8) totipotence (like a stem cell, the body is capable of being externalized in an almost unlimited number of forms and functions; it is itself an abstraction and the source of abstractions).
For a World beyond Pigs and Dogs: Transversal Utopias— Guattari, Le Guin, Bookchin
Author : Joff P. N. Bradley
Keywords : Le Guin, Guattari, Deleuze, Bookchin, utopia, science fiction, anarchism
Writing in-between the distinct social ecologies of Murray Bookchin (1921-2006) and Félix Guattari (1930-1992), my endeavour is to consider how utopian and dystopian varieties of science fiction inform what I have designated the “geotrauma” of the Anthropocene (Cole et al.). Through a comparison of the oeuvre of Ursula K. Le Guin (1929-2018) and Guattari’s sole collaborative work with Gilles Deleuze (1925-1995), we shall look at how the combination of ecosophy and literature may help us to make sense of our time and lot. Following Deleuze and Guattari, I distinguish between authoritarian utopias (utopias of transcendence), and immanent, revolutionary, libertarian utopias and, following this, I reinterpret the meaning of philosophy’s third reterritorialization in Deleuze and Guattari’s What is Philosophy?, which is to say, the movement of thought from the Greeks in the past, to the crisis of the democratic State in the present and the possibility of a futural people and earth to come. I will think this meaning in connection and in comparison with the possibility of a third revolution as envisioned in Bookchin’s social ecology and social anarchism and how this finds expression in Le Guin’s The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia. My conclusion shall point to the idea that the social ecologies of Bookchin and Guattari share a common, middle ground and it is this fecund, inclusive third space which demands further research and exploration.
Coercion and Docility in Samuel Beckett’s Rough for Radio II and What Where
Author : Tzu-Ching Yeh
Keywords : Rough for Radio II, What Where, Beckett, Foucault, coercion, docility
This article considers Foucault’s disciplinary power to unravel complex dynamics of power through the exercise of explicit violence in Samuel Beckett’s obscure plays Rough for Radio II and What Where. The discussion is twofold: first, I shall explore how coercion is employed in both Rough for Radio II and What Where, and how coercive devices, such as correct training, torture, or interrogation, demand obedience from the subjugated body for manipulation and control. The enforcement of coercion yields docility and aids in its production; therefore, I shall discuss Foucauldian productivity subsequently. If disciplinary power aims to acquire knowledge, then relieving Fox of his animality to restore his memory in Rough for Radio II or producing a confession for the subjugated characters in What Where would be the targeted production of power. Thus, I examine how both plays obtain (or fail to obtain) intelligibility from the subjugated in the employment of power. It is hoped that the attempt to interlace Foucault’s theory with Beckett’s work to explore complex relations in the tension of power may contribute to reading these plays in a different light.