Update / Reading Aristotle

Sorry I haven’t been around much. I’m working all summer as an editorial assistant, and the past little while has been swamped with work since our deadline has moved from the end of the year to the end of August. I should have the next little while free though before I start work on the next set of essays.

Besides that, I have a few essays I’d like to finish this summer. One is on the Ur-Event in Badiou (building off of the paper I mentioned before on Badiou and Rousseau), one is on Zizek and vampires (continuing my interest in the relation of Zizek to vitalism as seen in his readings of Lacan’s lamella), and the third is another on Badiou that I’m not ready to talk about yet (which I’m not sure I’ll really have time for until next year, but I want to get it started). Oh, I have this piece on Graham and OOP too, which I need to clean up a bit before I do anything with it. I’m looking to publish it somewhere, but I haven’t really decided where yet. Plus, you know, that thesis I’m writing. As for that, the summer is really just for all the background reading I need to do, while the writing proper won’t really start until this fall, although I do have a couple of essays and a couple of seminars given that are to make their way into the current thesis.

In other news, a friend of mine was just accepted to his first choice in PhD program. He’s worried though because this is a Jesuit school, and his background in Thomism and Scholasticism is a little shaky, I guess. He’s asked me to be part of a reading group this summer to whip him into shape since I have more of a background in Medieval philosophy that most of the people at MUN (before coming here and re-focusing my attention on continental philosophy, my plan had actually been to follow up the other half of my thesis, that is, focusing on Medieval philosophy and mysticism as part of a degree in Theology; I’ll be editing my thesis on Heidegger and Meister Eckhart early this fall for publication, since it will be published in an open, online journal that I will be editing, I plan on sharing it with you all as soon as I can).

We’re starting with Aristotle’s Metaphysics, then likely moving on to the De Anima, and then we’ll see what Aquinas we can cover with the rest of the summer. First meeting of this reading group is tonight. There’s only four of us in the group, three students (one Hegelian and one Cartesian, plus me) and one prof who was literally just hired on after being a session prof this past year, whose specialization is neo-Platonism, I think focusing on Augustine (but I could be wrong on this). Should be good.

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Update / Reading Aristotle

  1. Mark Crosby

    Good luck with all of that, Michael. I wonder about the possibility for undecided undergraduates or ‘amateurs’ to grasp all of this antique stuff directly from the primary sources in the limited capital of TIME they might have available. I’m in the amateur class and just want to mention my primary text, which I’ve yet to fully digest; namely, Eric Alliez’s CAPITAL TIMES:
    1) The Accident of Time: An Aristotelian Study.
    2) The Time of Audacity: Plotinus
    3) The Time of NOVITAS: Saint Augustine
    4) FIDES EFFICAX (The Romance of the World, Approaches to 12th-century Physiology, 1300: The Capture of Being)

    As an amateur, I’m just interested in how much such “conjoined” studies might be relevant to theology and other students of philosophy (i.e., students not on a theological track, presuming there are critical masses of such students outside explicitly continental environments – fairly rare on this side of the pond ?)

    Note: This is not a demand for dialogue (as some other bloggers seem to assume as a given) just a comment out of curiosity from the fringes… Mark

  2. Eric

    I’ve been deeply interested in the history of mysticism for the past few months, especially Sufism. Needless to say, I look forward to reading your piece on Eckhart (whose relationship with the Kyoto School is rather fascinating). It deals with ontotheology, correct? I vaguely remember watching a few of your (unfortunately defunct) videos discussing it. Best of luck with your academic pursuits.

  3. kvond

    A Medievalist, a Hegelian, a Cartesian and a Neoplatonist walk into a bar…

  4. Mark, I’m not really sure I understand your question. Are you wondering whether you should read the book you describe or the primary sources themselves? I’ve always found it best to at least start with the primary source and if I feel lost I usually turn to a good historical study in order to give myself a reference point. That’s why I keep Copleston’s History of Philosophy around, for example.

  5. Kevin, I don’t think I would consider myself a Medievalist, even though I do have something of a background in Medieval thought. Although I am the student of a Thomist, it hasn’t really rubbed off.

    I would like to hear the rest of the joke, if you’ve written it.

  6. Mark Crosby

    Michael, my question was a friendly miasmic mix of a) squinting for a mini-review of what I’ve adopted as “a good historical study” (Alliez’s amazing book, which no one seems to have read ;(( and b) naive amazement that someone could have a serious background in Medieval thought and not be a Medievalist. Just kidding; but, making jokes is not always meant as ridicule; instead, it’s often an attempt to relate to an intriguing and somewhat mysterious subject where one can’t afford to invest in primary sources (and must be satisfied with incomplete ectoplasms of semi-understanding..)

    Seriously, spectral realism makes more sense to me than speculative realism – I just wonder how a dialectic between expansion and contraction is sufficient to manifest all the variety we observe. I mean, if “all objects are [JUST] temporary stabilities on the road to collapse” then where would new objects come from?

    Still, the Hermetic tradition and “as above, so below” is really all the clue I need. Your distinction between this and anthropomorphism is exactly the point I was trying to make some time back between anthropocentrism and anthropomorphism. I heartily endorse your point that “if one object in reality is really understood, this knowledge is applicable to all of reality”. That’s what real realism should imply! Best, Mark

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