Monthly Archives: August 2010

The Walking Dead (trailer)

I’ve mentioned before how fascinated I am with the pop-culture zombie; I think this show is the next logical step as the undead become more and more mainstream. This is a polished re-presentation of what has now become essentially the standard zombie-mythos, steeped in the emergence of disease, humans becoming nothing but the vessels of some virus or bacteria which thinks of nothing more than it’s own propagation. What’s amazing in all of this is the way that life is portrayed as evil, that it is unable to curb itself to the point of it’s own collapse at the hand of it’s own parasitic drives. Life is evil because it is excessive, because Nature cannot be domesticated, because it is ultimately unpredictable. How far we’ve come from the undead as a figure of demonic possession, beings that were simply Evil. Now, evil needs a reason and that reason is unsustainability.

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Call for Abstracts: Philip K. Dick and Philosophy


Saw this in PhilUpdates this morning and thought those who read the blog might be interested. If I wasn’t already working on so many things over the Fall I’d love to contribute something to this.

Call for Abstracts
Philip K. Dick and Philosophy
Open Court Popular Culture and Philosophy Series

There are few authors as popular as Philip K. Dick who offer anything
even approaching the amount and quality of philosophical content that
his works contain. His novels and short stories not only reference,
but primarily concern central philosophical issues, and his career as
a whole took place at that point where existential dread meets
epistemology and metaphysics. Dick wrote of his work that “I am a
fictionalizing philosopher, not a novelist . . . the core of my
writing is not art but truth.” For this volume we seek proposals that
will present and analyze Dick’s philosophical work in the spirit in
which he approached his writing: serious, careful, entertaining, and

We plan the release of the volume in Fall 2011, as soon as possible
after the release of The Adjustment Bureau. This means the entire
book is planned on a reduced schedule, and we will be seeking some
authors to volunteer to rewrite immediately after the movie debut,
March 4, in order to incorporate The Adjustment Bureau into their
chapters. These will likely be chapters dealing with issues of free
will and choice. For further information, watch the trailer here
(, read the short story here
(, and
feel free to contact me with any additional questions.

Chapters may concern any of Dick’s novels or stories, or movies based
upon them, although ideally we would prefer that there be some upfront
mention and discussion of one of his most famous movies—Blade Runner,
Total Recall, Minority Report, A Scanner Darkly, or The Adjustment
Bureau. In addition to addressing the movies, we would be especially
interested in chapters also dealing with Do Androids Dream of Electric
Sheep?; Ubik; Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said; A Scanner Darkly;
Radio Free Albemuth; VALIS; “King of the Elves,” “Adjustment Team;”
and “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale.”

Chapters should be interesting and engaging to readers who have only
seen the movies, while still providing insightful discussion and
elaboration for readers who have read his texts. To put it another
way, chapters should have the same relationship to Dick’s writing as
Dick found Blade Runner to have to his novel Do Androids Dream of
Electric Sheep?:
“After I finished reading the screenplay, I got the novel out and
looked through it. The two reinforce each other, so that someone who
started with the novel would enjoy the movie and someone who started
with the movie would enjoy the novel.”

We welcome submissions from any philosophical tradition. Any number of
topics would work very well. Here are a few ideas:

• What is a ‘free will’?
• Is there ‘Elbow Room’ in The Adjustment Bureau and Minority Report?
• William James and David Norris’s Pragmatic Solution to the Problem
of Free Will
• Amor Fati, or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Determinism
• Mortality and the “burned so very, very brightly” theodicy in Blade
• Foreknowledge, Divine and Otherwise, in The Adjustment Bureau and
Minority Report
• The Will to Believe . . . a pink beam of light?
• Epistemic responsibility, Gettier problems, and the pink beam
• How can I tell reality from Rekall?
• Does a Replicant have an essence?
• The Replicant’s Sickness Unto Death
• Means-ends rationality in A Scanner Darkly
• Personal identity in A Scanner Darkly
• Moral character, habits, and memory in A Scanner Darkly
• Memory and the self; Hume, Locke and Total Recall
• Is a Replicant a person?
• “All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in the rain:”
Roy Batty’s capacity for qualia
• The Man in the High Castle: On the Uses and Abuses of Alternate
History for Life

Please send a 200-300 word abstract to
prior to September 9th. Keep in mind that you’ll have to commit to
working on a tight schedule. Finished chapters, approx. 4000 words,
will be required by November 18th, with a rewrite due Jan 31st,

Address any questions to:


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Happy Birthday Howard Phillips Lovecraft


In honour of Lovecraft’s 120th birthday today, you should go listen to The Haunter in the Dark as read by Andrew Leman, part of the H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast.


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International Journal of Zizek Studies – Call For Graduate Student Papers


The following CFP should be of interest to many who read this blog. I’ll see if I can’t come up with something on Žižek, Badiou and the metaphysics of psychoanalysis.

Žižek and Badiou

This special graduate student issue of the International Journal of Žižek Studies will explore the relationship between Slavoj Žižek’s and Alain Badiou’s work. It asks, how can we combine Žižek’s and Badiou‘s work? Are there specific areas or issues which enable a productive confrontation between their respective approaches? And, how can we utilise the differences and continuities to stimulate innovative engagements within other discourses?

For Issue 5.1 of the International Journal of Žižek Studies we invite graduate student submissions, within any context, on the above or related themes. Abstracts of 250 words should be submitted by 31st August 2010 and the final deadline for submission of papers will be September 15th 2010. Please contact Guest-Editor Robert Crich to discuss submissions or queries:

Areas of interest include: comparative-engagements which utilise their different approaches to shed new light on a particular topic; comparative studies of their respective approaches to any particular issue; evaluations of their critical positions in relation to a particular theory or thinker; evaluations of the overlap between their respective philosophical and critical positions; their political positions and, for example, their critiques of liberal democracy, multiculturalism or the notion of tolerance; their account of capitalism and the role of political economy in their work; the role of ideology critique in their work.

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Speculations Vol. I


You can read the first volume at the new website here. Click through for both the free online version (as either a single pdf on Lulu or the individual articles on the Speculations homepage) or to buy an affordable physical copy. Available for both your cyberspace and meatspace lives! I want to thank both Paul and Thomas for putting this project together, it looks great and I’m happy to be a part of it. I’m hoping this first volume will encourage further developments in the SR community. Over the next year or so we’re going to be hearing from more and more voices with The Speculative Turn, the Object-Oriented Ontology Anthology, After the Postsecular and the Postmodern and Thinking Nature all being available plus a couple of projects I’m involved with that will be of interest to the SR community. This doesn’t even include the relevant monographs! Speculations is a great first-foray into some of the developments within and around SR as it spreads out from the conferences and workshops largely based around the initial four participants of the “Speculative Realism” event at Goldsmiths. A few years later and this fringe group is getting legs!

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