OPEN LETTER TO BRIAN LEITER: from one just a “guy with a blog” to another

Terence Blake gives Leiter’s idiotic ramblings on “identity politics” in philosophy a far better response than they deserve.


Dear Professor Leiter,

I see that you have devoted two paragraphs to me in a blog post, so I feel that I must respond however briefly. I must admit that I have no idea who you are, despite having visited your blog very occasionally, so I have no particular opinion about your work, of which I am totally ignorant.

I must admit I was a little surprised by your introducing me as “Some fellow … who teaches English in France”. It seemed a little disparaging, as if I had no right talking about Continental Philosophy or anything else much (except the present perfect and infinitive clauses?). I am not totally ignorant of philosophy, as I have a First Class Honours Degree in Philosophy from Sydney University, and a Masters in Philosophy from the Sorbonne. While it is true that I “teach English in France”, I do so in the…

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[…] those of us who prize the flux and content of our subjective phenomenological experience need not view the advance of materialistic neuroscience with fear and foreboding. Quite the contrary. The genuine arrival of a materialist kinematics and dynamics for psychological states and cognitive processes will constitute not a gloom in which our inner life is suppressed or eclipsed, but rather a dawning, in which its marvelous intricacies are finally revealed–most notably, if we apply ourselves, in direct self-conscious introspection.”

Paul Churchland, “Reduction, qualia, and the direct introspection of brain states”, in A Neurocomputational Perspective, p. 66

Central Industrial – Tuned To A Dead Channel (AUXCD006)


This album came out a few months ago but I only just got around to listening to it. The sci-fi soundtrack music that Auxiliary has been pushing over the past few years is one of the more interesting trends in electronic music today.

From the liner notes:

Central Industrial is the anonymous alias for a couple of well established producers. The project was born from their love of 90’s IDM and Electronica on such labels as Warp, CCO, Morr Music etc. and a general love for all things science fiction. There is an underlying ‘cyberpunk’ theme to the LP, inspired in part by William Gibson’s Neuromancer and titles such as Ghost In The Shell . The title itself comes from the opening paragraph of Neuromancer! On whole, the LP plays through in a seamlessly dark fashion and ignores all rules and restrictions placed upon music by genres and name tags.

If you are looking for something completely different to sink your teeth into this summer, then this might be that LP to make your jaw drop.


Joe Muggs Interview with Coki

Joe Muggs Interview with Coki

This interview is from a week ago, but I haven’t gotten around to posting about it till now. For those who don’t know, Coki is one of the members of Digital Mystikz and DMZ and one of the founders of dubstep. He’s become known since 2007 or so for crazy “wobbler” tracks built around midrange-heavy basslines that use an LFO (low-frequency oscillator) to produce a “wobble” sound. The result is something I’ve heard described as aliens communicating with each other between galaxies, or as “scrambled eggs”.

A couple of examples:

And probably my favourite Coki wobbler, “Marduk” with its absurd  ADHD bassline and cheesy sci-fi bleeps and bloops:

My favourite Coki track is not a wobbler at all though: his bootleg of Richie Spice’s “Burnin”. This is just a badboy tune.

There are couple of quotes in the interview that relate to something that interests me a lot: the motif of the inhuman in electronic dance music (EDM).

…since “Goblin” I’ve tried to do something that’s a bit more mental, that makes musical sense but doesn’t at the same time. Like, 2008, I thought, I don’t want to make something that’s so catchy that people can hum it! [laughs]


No not escape, the truth is I just didn’t want to make catchy stuff any more! If it’s catchy people are going to pick it up, it’s hooky, it becomes popular because people can say to each other “ah have you heard that one that goes like this,” “ah yeah I know that one,” or if they haven’t heard it, when they do they’ll go “aaaaah it’s that one my mate was talking about.” But the kind of tunes I’m making now, they’re mental, you’re not going to be able to explain that to no-one! Soundwise you can’t do it with your mouth, I mean – you just can’t sing it. You might be able to describe it, of course, but that’s different, the person doesn’t catch on the same as if you can just sing the hook.

I’ve always felt that electronic music has to be in some sense inhuman: if you’re going to use all samples of “real” instruments, you might as well just play in a band. This is why I don’t find Mala (Coki’s partner in Digital Mystikz) as conceptually interesting as Coki and some of the more extreme forms of dubstep, even though he produced some of my favourite dubstep tracks, like “Give Jah Glory” and “Ancient Memories”.

Over the past few years I’ve been listening almost exclusively to EDM. It’s not that I don’t like a lot of traditional playing-instruments-and-singing music, but it feels somehow outdated. Not just that EDM uses technology in a way that more traditional music doesn’t, but a lot of this music feels to me like it’s only conceptually possible today, and somehow captures something about the world that more traditional music misses. What exactly it is that EDM can capture is something I’d like to be able to state more precisely, and something I’m working on at the moment.


University of Ottawa Graduate Student Conference

Thought I’d share this, in case anyone is reading:

In many ways twentieth century philosophy, analytical and continental, exhibited a real desire to abandon metaphysical speculation. Despite this desire, disparate movements in contemporary philosophy are contributing to the return of speculative philosophy. For example, analytical thought has shown signs of (re-)approaching metaphysical speculation (Molnar); similarly, continental thinkers have begun to move away from strictly phenomenological/linguistic investigations (Meillassoux). In light of these developments, the conference organizers and the Graduate Philosophy Student Association at the University of Ottawa invite submissions relating to any aspect of the long historical tradition of speculative philosophy and its concern with posing properly ontological questions. We are particularly interested in projects that connect the rich history of speculative thought to the contemporary resurgence of the speculative spirit. Our overarching goal is to clear a space for creative engagement with the myriad of issues surrounding the history and current status of speculative philosophy from a wide array of critical (and potentially divergent) perspectives.
Possible topics include (but are not limited to):
o Ancient ontologies
o Medieval metaphysics
o Substance in early Modernism
o The Absolute in German Idealism
o Marxian critiques of Hegel
o British Idealism
o Pragmatist, naturalist, and anti-metaphysical responses
o The Frankfurt School critique of ontology
o Post-structuralism
o Philosophies of the event
o Realism vs. Anti-realism
o Speculative realism
o Developments in recent analytical metaphysics
– French and English submissions are welcome.
– Abstracts should be no longer than 350 words, prepared for blind review in .DOC or .PDF format.
– In a separate document, authors must include their name, institutional affiliation, e-mail address and the title of their submission.
-Successful applicants must provide their completed essays (12-15 double-spaced pages for a 25-30 minute presentation) no later than 6 March 2013.
Deadline for Abstracts: 30 January 2013. Please send abstracts/inquiries to: dephilosophia@gmail.