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    • AMMDI is an open-notebook hypertext writing experiment, authored by Mike Travers aka @mtraven. It's a work in progress and some parts are more polished than others. Comments welcome! More.
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from Materialism, Terry Eagleton
  • Cites (critically) that that New Materialist volume/effort. "neovitalism (Bennett) and “New Materialism”" Honestly I can't make sense of this stuff, and I suspect as a field it's a waste of time, despite being thematically close to my own obsessions.
    • Nor do they appeal to the strictly “flat ontology” of the speculative realists, according to whom “everything exists equally—plumbers, cotton, bonobos, DVD players, and sandstone, for example.” Like the new materialists, the speculative realists (especially those on the “object-oriented” branch) seek to unsettle philosophy’s traditional privilege of the human but reject what they call “process relationalism” insofar as it privileges “alliances” over entities, “couplings” over objects, and motion over rest. Demanding a theory of “sharp, specific units,” these thinkers proclaim the ontological equality of every discrete thing.
    • Matter, in short. must be rescued from the humiliation of being matter...it is onvious enough that the brand of materialism it advoctes is really a species of post-structuralism in wolf's clothing...Matter may be self-activating, but this is not the same as achieving one's ends. Matter has no ends to achieve.
    • If reductive materialism finds it hard to make room for the human subject, not least for the subject as agent, so too does this 'new' version of the doctrine. (p13)
    • Some of the chief vices of vitalism can be found in the work of Gilles Deleuze, a full-blooded metaphysician for whom Being consists in an immanent creativity..a Romanic-libertarian philosophy of unbridled affirmation and inccessant innovation, as though the creative and innovatinve were unambiguosly on the side of the angels. ..Being is univocal, which means all things are faces of God or facets of the life force. (p16)
      • I don't know enough about Deleuze to judge whether this is a fair reading or not.
from agency
from Infrastructure of intention
Twin Pages

neovitalism

21 Feb 2021 10:24 - 01 Jan 2022 07:48

    • Ref: New Materialisms: Ontology, Agency, and Politics, Diana Coole, Samantha Frost (editors)
    • Ref: Entangled Worlds: Religion, Science, and New Materialisms, Catherine Keller and Mary-Jane Rubenstein, eds 2017
      • Some distinguishing from speculative realism and OOO.
      • Nor do they appeal to the strictly “flat ontology” of the speculative realists, according to whom “everything exists equally—plumbers, cotton, bonobos, DVD players, and sandstone, for example.” Like the new materialists, the speculative realists (especially those on the “object-oriented” branch) seek to unsettle philosophy’s traditional privilege of the human but reject what they call “process relationalism” insofar as it privileges “alliances” over entities, “couplings” over objects, and motion over rest. Demanding a theory of “sharp, specific units,” these thinkers proclaim the ontological equality of every discrete thing.
      • For the new materialists, by contrast, ontology is “monolithic but multiply tiered”; in other words, things are not simply “equal” because things are not “things” in the first place. Rather, things—actual entities—are multiplicities, assemblages, hybrids, resonance machines, sonority clusters, intra-actions, complexities, and viscous porosities—all terms that variously express the insight that each cell, organism, vegetable, and photon is irreducibly composed of what Karen Barad would call an “intra-active” host of others.
      • I guess this would be easy to mock but honestly I see a bit of conceptual poetry in there, I want to applaud.
      • The “new materialisms” currently coursing through cultural, feminist, political, and queer theories seek to displace human privilege by attending to the agency of matter itself.
      • Far from being passive or inert, they argue, matter acts, creates, destroys, and transforms—and, thus, is more of a process than a thing.
      • Calling as they do on the insights of quantum mechanics, general relativity, complexity theory, and non- linear biology to theorize matter as mattering, these thinkers work against much of what is often denigrated as “mere” materialism
      • Taking cues from Whitehead, Deleuze and Guattari, Stengers and Prigogine, and Margulis and Sagan, the new materialists mobilize a revivified materiality against such toxic materialisms. They accomplish this in part by rejecting traditional ontological hierarchies—especially those that seek clear distinctions between spirit and matter, life and nonlife, or sentience and non-sentience.
        • I like this. This is the humanities equivalent of a refactoring. But there's a political edge to this that "refactoring" doesn't capture – these aren't just categorical boundaries, but they mark a distinction between high and low. Shattering them is a political act.
      • It is not just that we are entangled in matter—we subjects who read, write, and ruminate on what “we” are. We are materializations entangled in other materializations; we happen in our mattering.
      • A Materialism very different from the scientific/atheist/rationalist variety.