Stathis Psillos: from the bankruptcy of science to the death of evidence

Interesting talk from the Canada Research Chair in the Philosophy of Science at Western University.

Is water H2O? My review now available at Water History

I mentioned earlier this summer the book Is water H2O? My review of the book is now available at Water History.

The book is excellent and I recommend it. The main drawback is the price – so request that your library purchase it and then get it that way. The strengths of the book are numerous as it offers a close reading of the works of Priestly and Lavoisier, to name just two of the late 17th and early 18th century scientists it considers. In addition, the book does quite a bit of philosophical work. My review tries to give a better overview of both the history and philosophy that the book covers – I’m not sure if it is open access or not.

Tim Morton on Hyperobjects: new book from U Minn Press

Tim Morton has a new book coming out with the University of Minnesota Press. The cover really caught my eye; here it is with a draft blurb, for the back cover, I believe, that I scooped from Tim’s blog.



The world as we know it has already come to an end.

Having set global warming in irreversible motion, we are facing the possibility of ecological catastrophe. But the environmental emergency is also a crisis for our philosophical habits of thought, confronting us as it does with a problem that seems to defy not only our control but also our understanding. Global warming is perhaps the most dramatic example of what Timothy Morton calls “hyperobjects”—entities of such vast temporal and spatial dimensions that they defeat traditional ideas about what a thing is in the first place. In this book, Morton explains what hyperobjects are and what they mean for how we think, how we coexist with one another and with nonhumans, and how approach and understand our politics, ethics, and art.

Moving fluidly between philosophy, science, literature, visual and conceptual art, and popular culture, the book argues that hyperobjects mean that the end of the world has already occurred in the sense that concepts such as world, nature, and even environment are no longer a meaningful horizon against which human events take place. Instead of inhabiting a world, we find ourselves inside a number of hyperobjects, whether climate, nuclear weapons, evolution, or relativity. Such objects put unbearable strains on our normal ways of thinking.

Insisting that we have to reinvent how we think to even begin to understand the world we now live in, Hyperobjects takes the first steps, outlining a genuinely postmodern ecological approach to thought and action.

Timothy Morton is Rita Shea Guffey Chair in English at Rice University. He is the author of many books, including The Ecological Thought and Ecology without Nature. He blogs frequently at Ecology without Nature.


New book on Wittgenstein and Heidegger

I might be a little late to the party on this one, but this book by Lee Braver does look interesting. And there is an interview about it here (which is also where the information below comes from).

Groundless Grounds: A Study of Wittgenstein and Heidegger


Ludwig Wittgenstein and Martin Heidegger are both considered among the most influential philosophers of the twentieth century. Both were born in 1889 in German-speaking countries; both studied under leading philosophers of their day – Bertrand Russell and Edmund Husserl, respectively – and were considered their philosophical heirs; and both ended up critiquing their mentors and thereby influencing the direction of thought in both the Analytic and Continental traditions. In Groundless Grounds: A Study of Wittgenstein and Heidegger (MIT Press, 2012), Lee Braver, associate professor of philosophy at Hiram College attempts to build what he calls a “load-bearing bridge” between these often polarized traditions. He argues that both thinkers have similar arguments for similar conclusions on similar fundamental issues. Both blame the disengaged contemplation of traditional philosophy for confusion about the nature of language, thought and ontology, and that attention to normal, ongoing human activity in context presents alternative fundamental insights into their nature. The groundless grounds of the title is the idea that finite human nature gives us everything we need to understand meaning, mind and being, and that to insist that this ground requires justification itself betrays confusion.