February 18th, 2011

S.C. Hickman

Philosorapters: A New Blog devoted to helping prepare philosophers for the job market!

Philosopher on the Job Hunt

Keeping Undergraduate, Graduate, and Post-Doc Philosophy Students Prepared for the job market.

A young man William Parkhurst created a blog with tips, tricks, and some good advice regarding graduate applications, publishing, and resources: such as The Splintered Mind, Ask Philosophers, Philosophy, et. cetera, and Lleiter Reports.

Still a new blog but has potential, I hope William continues adding some depth to a fine idea. Check it out:



Check out A Philosopy Job Market Blog as well by several prospective philosophers, one being a woman, P.G.O.A.T. who said:

"I'm a grad student in philosophy, and I went on the job market this year. I struck out big time. But I did learn a few things. One is that the process is so foreign to people outside of academia that it's actually very hard to explain to them. Another is that the philosophy job market is absurd. It'd be funny if it were happening to someone else. So in the coming year, as I do it all over again, I want to help non-academics understand what the hell this is about, and to document some of the more tragicomic aspects of it."

She and her cohorts have also a new blog "In which issues concerning the profession of philosophy are bitched about" - The Philosophy Smoker, which looks like an interesting inside take on being a professional philosopher.

Too bad I took up mathematics and software engineering as my professional path during my formidable university years... being a philosopher sounds not only fun but full of hard work of another kind! Well, to all you young philosophers good luck on finding the right job out there for your profession, seems to be a very difficult trade but rewarding as well.

S.C. Hickman

Ben Woodard: Transcendental Paranoia; or, the Mad Speculations of an Absolute Inhumanist

"Philosophy, if it can truly return to the great outdoors, if it can leave behind the dead loop of the human skull, must recognize not only the non-priority of human thought, but that thought never belongs to the brain that thinks it, thought comes from somewhere else."
     - Ben Woodard

Just read Ben Woodard's excellent new essay published on
continent, Mad Speculation and Absolute Inhumanism: Lovecraft, Ligotti, and the Weirding of Philosophy (click here to read), in which he expostulates a theory of horror and madness as the very foundations of post-Kantian correlationist philosophy within the continental tradition.  

In this essay we discover that Kant set up not only a self-perpetuating machinic system that is both "auto-vampiric" self-consuming and bloodless to support the new economics of Capital as situated within the Academy, but is also a machine that excises the real world in favor of a feeding frenzy that is always and only consuming its own bloodless discourse ad naseum. What Kant gave to us was a legacy of horror, an amalgam of "pre-critical metaphysics and the ravings of the mad in the same critical acid (continent. 1.1 (2011): 3-13)." Out of this witch's brew of philosophy we are left with a black hole in the center of philosophical speculation, which has spawned a yawning gap between thought and reality that leads to the schizoid-paranoia of an unfounded speculative philosophy "susceptible to internal and external breakdown" as well as a vision of the outside that is both destabilized and in eternal flux - exiled and excised from all human interaction. In this essay Ben Woodard will pursue the twin poles of those modern and postmodern masters of horror itself, H.P. Lovecraft and Thomas Ligotti. H.P. Lovecraft will form the nucleus of an absolute inhumanism, a Shoggothic Materialism; while Ligotti's works will help "articulate the mad speculation of a Ventriloquil Idealism." Ligotti's writings offer us a participation in the "screaming tumult of the world," while Lovecraft's work produces its "spectral double".  

In assaying the relations between philosophy and madness Woodard concludes that the world is mad, and philosophy in its pre-critical phase was already a form of that madness, and that the only difference in our post-Kantian phase is that we admit as much; and, that it is only the "sobriety of the principle of sufficient reason (following Meillassoux) we have a world of neon madness: “we would have to conceive what our life would be if all the movements of the earth, all the noises of the earth, all the smells, the tastes, all the light – of the earth and elsewhere, came to us in a moment, in an instant – like an atrocious screaming tumult of things”.  Kant tried in his philosophy to forestall the horror of speculation and pre-critical thought by building an anti-machine that was more monstrous than the horrors of the external world of the real from which he tried to escape. He used the critique as an apotropaic device to ward off the onslaughts of the real, but instead he condemed himself and philosophy after him to wander in a maze of mirrors locked off from the world and its weirdness. Instead of the heretical gaze and "cognitive extension of the horrorific sublime" and the empowerment of a melancholy and indifferent detachment of mind that a viable speculative philosophy could have given us, Kant left us with a critical "engine of thought" that delimits the field of inquiry to "dogmatic gestures or non-systematizable empirical wondrousness."  

In the next section Weird Fiction and Philosophy Woodard contrasts Lovecraft and Ligotti. In the former we see a supernormal realism, one that "instead of nullifying realism Lovecraft in fact opens up the real to an unbearable degree". As Woodard explicates "Lovecraft seeks to explore the possibilities of such a universe by piling horror upon horror until the fragile brain which attempts to grasp it fractures." Lovecraft's ambivalence toward philosophy is shown in his "habit of mercilessly destroying the philosopher and the figure of the academic... a destruction which is both an epistemological destruction (or sanity breakdown) and an ontological destruction (or unleashing of the corrosive forces of the cosmos)." In contrasting Lovecraft and Ligotti Woodard tells us that "Lovecraft's weirdness draws predominantly from the abyssal depths of the uncharted universe, Ligotti's existential horror focuses on the awful proliferation of meaningless surfaces that is, the banal and every day function of representation." Ligotti's "take on reality is a form of malevolent idealism, an idealism which is grounded in a real, albeit dark and obscure materiality." Lovecraft and Ligotti attack the continental tradition of correlationism from two angles: the former from the outside, the latter from the inside; or as Woodard explains it: "Lovecraft's acidic materialism clearly assaults any romantic concept of being from the outside, Ligotti attacks consciousness from the inside..." Each in his own way provide a total assault on our anthropocentric world-view that has centered itself on the human since Kant.  
The reader can follow Woodard's arguments at leisure on the continent site, I will only leave one last gleaning from section 5 of his essay -  Hyperstitional Transcendental Paranoia or Self-Expelled Thought:

"The text is the knowing of madness, since madness, in its moment of becoming-more-mad, cannot be frozen in place but by the solidifications of externalizing production. This is why Foucault ends his famous study with works of art. Furthermore extilligence, the ability to export the products of our maligned brains, is the companion of the attempts to export, or discover the possibility of intelligences outside of our heads, in order for philosophy to survive the solar catastrophe... The mistake is to believe that madness is reabsorbed by extilligence, by great works, or that it could be exorcised by the expelling of thought into the inorganic or differently organic. Going out of our heads does not guarantee we will no longer mean we cannot still go out of our minds. This is simply because of the outside, of matter, or force, or energy, or thing-in-itself, or Schopenhauerian Will."

Again, read his excellent essay: