A peer-reviewed, open-access journal of natural and social philosophy. It serves those who see philosophy's vocation in questioning and challenging prevailing assumptions about ourselves and our place in the world, developing new ways of thinking about physical existence, life, humanity and society, so helping to create the future insofar as thought affects the issue. Philosophy so conceived is not exclusively identified with the work of professional philosophers, and the journal welcomes contributions from philosophically oriented thinkers from all disciplines.

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The Globethics.net library contains articles of Cosmos and History as of vol. 1, (2005) to current.

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  • Geist and Ge-Stell: Beyond the Cyber-Nihilist Convergence of Intelligence

    Hilan Nissior Bensusan; University of Brasilia (Cosmos Publishing Cooperative, 2020-10-14)
    This article argues that nihilism engages thought in a project of converging norms that assumes a contemporary form in Negarestani's inhumanism. Nihilism is described as a cyber-cosmopolitical project that engages with the (metaphysical) effort to extract the ultimate intelligibility of what exists. Heidegger's remarks on Ge-Stell are explored to question whether thought could possibly engage in anything other than the endeavor to turn the world into an artifice. The inhumanist reading of Geist is shown to be committed to the convergence of norms which is at odds with the very practice of reasoning. A post-nihilist Marxist picture of thought is then sketched according to which thought is taken to be a diverging force of production. In this alternative picture, the development of thinking leads to social, cybernetic and cosmopolitical relations that gradually diverge while distancing themselves from the current engagement in the extraction of the intelligibility of things.   
  • The Developing Process of Technological Rationality and Its Humanistic Relation

    Jianjun Zhao; Department of Philosophy, Party School of the Central Committee of CPC (Chinese Academy of (Cosmos Publishing Cooperative, 2020-10-14)
    Technological rationality is a core concept in the philosophy of technology. Scholars in different fields conduct multi-dimension and multi-level researches of technological rationality concerning this concept, covering aspects of western humanism, technological pessimism, postmodernism, as well as empiricism and epistemology, and Marxist thought of technology. In this article, the author demarcates the development of technological rationality into three stages: implement rationality, operation rationality and value rationality, discusses the representative viewpoint in technological rationality—technological pessimism, comes up with the opinion that technological rationality should be examined from humanistic perspective, and points out that future technological rationality will be the unity of implement rationality and value rationality.
  • Theodicy by Other Means? Rethinking “God after Auschwitz” through the Dialectics of Antitheodicism

    Sami Pihlstrom; University of Helsinki, Finland (Cosmos Publishing Cooperative, 2020-10-14)
    This paper poses a self-reflective critical question to antitheodicism that rejects all theodicies as morally unacceptable failures to acknowledge other human beings' suffering in its meaninglessness. While theodicies may be argued to pursue a misconceived "cosmic" harmony in their attempts to find a higher meaning in suffering, a similar charge may apply to antitheodicies at the meta-level: precisely by rejecting the moral failure of theodicies, we may, in developing antitheodicies, seek a meta-level harmonious reconciliation with the reality of suffering. Therefore, antitheodicism, the paper argues, needs to be understood as an endless process of self-critical examination of our ethical response to otherness and suffering. This conclusion is relevant to, e.g., what we may claim to "learn from" historical moral catastrophes such as the Holocaust.
  • Enlivening Society: Life as Elasticity in Henri Bergson's Le Rire

    Adam Lovasz; ELTE (Cosmos Publishing Cooperative, 2020-10-14)
    We seek to present a reading of Henri Bergson’s 1900 work, Le Rire (Laughter). The primary theme of this book is the comic phenomenon, as expressed through the bodily element of laughter. What interests Bergson is the evolutionary role of laughter in social regulation. As the vitalist philosopher sees things, society is perpetually threatened by the danger of rigidity. Society is always in danger of regressing into a machinic, static, rigid state. We laugh at living human beings who behave automatically and machinically. Hence, laughter is a form of punishment, designed to compel individuals to behave more organically. Subsequent authors on humor have extensively critiqued Bergson’s rather narrow equation of humor with punishment, drawing attention to the wide variety of comic types. What especially interests us is how Le Rire can be read as part of a broader vitalist concern with the maintenance of an organicity always under threat from its own tendencies. Finally, we also interpret Bergson’s works written during World War One in light of the author’s own commitment to social spontaneity. A close reading reveals an inner tension between the philosopher’s conformist patriotic commitment to the French war effort and the general vitalism and universalism of the Bergsonian philosophy.
  • Schelling's Dark Nature and the Prospects for 'Ecological Civilisation'

    Gord Barentsen; independent (Cosmos Publishing Cooperative, 2019-09-16)
    ‘Ecological civilisation’ establishes ecology as an ur-science which informs a radical rethinking of humanity’s relationship with Nature, fuelled by the acknowledgement that neoliberalist assumptions about Nature and science ultimately pose dire threats to the survival of the human species.  Friedrich Schelling’s thought, and specifically his Naturphilosophie, has rightly been seen as a precursor of the process philosophy underwriting contemporary notions of ecological civilisation and the critique of the Cartesian gap between humanity and Nature perpetuated by neoliberalism.  Yet the psyche-Nature isomorphism cemented early in Schelling’s Naturphilosophie by his description of Nature in protopsychoanalytic terms such as drive [Trieb] and compulsion [Zwang] gesture to a dark, indeterminate Nature which, in its profound ambivalence toward its own products, resists idealist projections of unity or harmony.  The question thus arises: can the transformative political action demanded by an ecological civilisation be underwritten by a Nature infected by an indeterminacy which also implicates the human psyche?  This essay explores this question by examining first the Nature articulated by Schelling in his First Outline of a System of the Philosophy of Nature (1799), then turning to this Nature’s recrudescence as theodicy and a theory of personality in his Philosophical Investigations into the Essence of Human Freedom (1809).  I conclude without concluding, with more questions than answers in the form of brief observations on the implications of Schelling’s dark Nature for ethical metanarrative and its relevance to the future.
  • Repairing Historicity

    none; Bennett B. Gilbert; Male (Cosmos Publishing Cooperative, 2020-10-14)
    This paper advances a fresh theorization of historicity.  The word and concept of historicity has become so widespread and popular that they have ceased to have definite meaning and are used to stand for unsupported notions of the values inherent in human experience.  This paper attempts to repair the concept by re-defining it as the temporal aspect of the interdependence of life; having history is to have a life intertwined with the lives of all others and with the universe.  After separating out the looser uses, surveying some of the literature, and defining what needs to be done, the paper examines shortcomings in the very different and widely influential conceptions of historicity of Koselleck and Heidegger.  It then advances a new conception and fits it into the theoretical and moral capabilities of the philosophy of history as a core of philosophical anthropology.
  • Technological Enhancement and Happiness: A Review of Morphological Freedom

    Jonathan Piedra; Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica (Cosmos Publishing Cooperative, 2019-09-16)
    Transhumanism is a movement that has become increasing visible. Whether in the media, through conferences (specialized or informative), articles or interviews, its proposals about human improvement through technological advances, as well as its reliance on science, are attractive promises of happiness to be found in the improvement of our condition and the overcoming of our deficiencies. Morphological freedom is a fundamental concept in Transhumanism, and this article presents a critical approach to two predominant interpretations of this concept that appear in the transhumanist literature.
  • Hermeneutics and the Conservatism of Listening

    David Liakos; Houston Community College (Cosmos Publishing Cooperative, 2020-10-14)
    It is well known that philosophical hermeneutics has long been associated in political discussions with a conservative orientation. Many Gadamerians have sought to rebut this suggestion, convincingly emphasizing progressive political dimensions of hermeneutics in general and of Gadamer’s thought in particular. One version of the association of hermeneutics with conservatism has been overlooked, however, namely, Hans Blumenberg’s provocative claim that the predilection in the hermeneutic tradition for metaphors of hearing and listening indicates that hermeneutics passively heeds and takes in tradition as we would unwillingly receive a loud sound, and is thereby politically conservative. This paper critically responds to Blumenberg’s critique of what I call the conservatism of listening, and aims to interrogate the extent to which Gadamer’s hermeneutics can be characterized by this form of conservatism. Through a consideration of ocular metaphors in Gadamer’s thinking, we will discover in Gadamerian hermeneutics a conception of dynamic, constructive, and embodied engagement with historical traditions that makes room for critique. In this way, Gadamer avoids the charge of adhering to the conservatism of listening.
  • Is Space Discrete? An Inquiry into the Reality of Planck Length and its Philosophical Implications

    Philosophy Department, DePaul University; Zhen Liang; DePaul University (Cosmos Publishing Cooperative, 2020-10-14)
    In this paper, I examine the philosophical assumptions subtending the newly emerging concept of the smallest possible chunk of discrete space — Planck length, employing the method of historical analysis, hermeneutics, and phenomenological investigation.With the metaphysical presuppositions undergirding Planck length revealed, I attempt a discussion of the philosophical implications of the discrete space. 
  • Physics Avoidance & Cooperative Semantics: Inferentialism and Mark Wilson’s Engagement with Naturalism Qua Applied Mathematics

    Ekin Erkan (Cosmos Publishing Cooperative, 2020-05-06)
    Mathematics' abilities to capture nature's unfolding processes within its own conceptual terms rests upon its capacities for supplying algorithms that can graphically engage in deduction numerically, bolstered by the hope of paralleling natural processes. Inter alia, Mark Wilson's project in Physics Avoidance shows that nature presents us with a multiplicity of manifolds that simply can not be smoothly mapped. Thus, even our most basic/fundamental modes of effective mathematical reasoning falls short of the ‘real extent' of natural processes. Mathematicians have developed sophisticated strategies that string together patchworks of numerical approximation, despite the algorithmic limitations upon our concrete reasoning capacities. There is, in turn, a trans-historical element to Wilson's pursuit in Physics Avoidance, one which is driven by a self-correcting (Sellarsian) scientificity-directed at knowledge, while constantly refining itself both methodologically and substantively. Kindling the critiques of twentieth-century thinkers such as Clifford Truesdell and Walter Noll on the essential idealization thesis of physics (i.e., that ‘physics always idealizes') while simultaneously parsing a distinction that was conceived of with the nineteenth-century distinctions between rari-constant and multi-constant approaches to elasticity (associated with the derivational methods pursued by Navier and Cauchy, respectively), Wilson approaches limits and infinitesimals qua multi-scalar localization. Meticulously engaging with Wilson's rendering of the problem of the physical infinitesimal, we not only set out to complicate the historical discussion of matter-which has bedeviled the entire epoch of classical mechanics' reign-but also to hold a candle to a novel methodological means of approaching the philosophy of language. Henceforth, we shall seek to illuminate the developmental exigencies that have not only lacerated and left scars upon modern philosophy of science but also the conceptual consideration of scientific laws via counterfactual grounding. Just as Sellars is pellucid in demonstrating how correspondence rules ought not be treated as definitions of theoretical expressions in terms of their observation language expressions-underscoring the semantic autonomy of theoretical expressions that cannot be captured in observation language-so too will we examine semantics and applied mathematics-cum-physics correspondence rules as proposals for reconsidering our observational vocabulary. In doing so, we will closely engage with Wilson's (and Robert Batterman's) research, reviewing his work while prodding it into a unique trajectory so as to carve an analytic and rationalist theory of media vis-à-vis set theory, while accepting an inherent contrast between norms of correctness and effective thinking routines.
  • Physics has Evolved Beyond the Physical

    Shiva Meucci (Cosmos Publishing Cooperative, 2020-05-06)
    Contemporary physics is, indeed, at a crucial crossroads that impacts our ideas about the nature of mind. Through the development of computers, as the crucial application of mathematical methods has grown, the limits of our specific methods and applications have become far more clear, more quickly, than they ever could have without massive computing power. The limits hinted at by Gödel are becoming more specific and applicable rather than vague idealizations. The very nature of our computation methods have become fundamentally unsuited to meet our requirements. We have recognized the necessity for "massively parallel" systems even if our current incarnations of them are less than truly concurrent. Simultaneously, physics has begun to probe the strange borderline between information and energy that were first encountered with questions of the EPR paradox. With the physics community recognizing its own need for revolution, some writers have suggested that the solution be an abandonment of physicality as a basis for understanding the world. This fully oppositional and reactionary response is the most common response to seemingly intractable problems, but perhaps there is a middle ground which abandons nothing of physicality while embracing some additional understanding of phenomena that adds to our understanding, via a perspective shift. Schrödinger believed we could simply transform our perspective instead of abandoning it and that wisdom is what may serve us today. Perhaps we have already begun down the correct path without fully, yet, embracing it.
  • On the Ontological Status of Observations

    Alexander Lunkov; Institute of Philosophy and Law of the Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Cosmos Publishing Cooperative, 2020-05-06)
    The problem of observations is one of the cornerstones of science. It connects with several ontological, epistemological and methodological questions. The nature of science depends on how we answer these questions. Modern science is at the stage of a new revision of its fundamental basis. In addition to science, the problems of the essence of observations and the status of an observer are actively discussed in modern philosophy. Such philosophical trends as speculative realism, etc., tend to resume the old discussion about the role of the observer in the study of natural phenomena. This is done based on modern scientific discoveries and theories. The solution to the problem of observation is important for the further development of quantum physics and other branches of natural science. However, there are several difficulties in achieving this goal. One of them is the inadequacy of the concepts of scientific language to describe the ontological specifics of observations. The concepts of a scientific language tend to reduce or to simplify a complex phenomenon to a monosemantic description. At the same time, there is an aspiration to connect the ontological nature of observations with the functioning of human senses. We study this situation with the example of one of the new articles devoted to the problem of the essence of observations and their role in the construction of a scientific model of the world.
  • The Anthropogenic Takeover of Dual External World

    Virgilio Aquino Rivas; Polytechnic University of the Philippines and University of Santo Tomas Graduate School (Cosmos Publishing Cooperative, 2020-05-06)
    In this paper, we will briefly audit how the phenomenon of the Anthropocene has taken over what F.W.J. Schelling at the end of the Eighteenth century (1775-1854) described as the state of original duplicity that defines the relation between nature and the organism, an indifferent relation that must not be canceled, otherwise the former will have attained permanent rest. In his second major Naturphilosophie, First Outline of A System of the Philosophy of Nature, Schelling presciently established the ‘problem’ that we face today in the anthropogenic age which, as he put it, is ‘not to explain the active in Nature ... but the resting, permanent.’ The Anthropocene not only cancels the indifferent relation between nature and the organism, but also reverses the problem of Naturephilosophy into explaining the ‘active’, that is, by the potency of willing. But willing mistakes ‘activity’ for ‘permanence’ which cancels the reciprocal indifference to produce an absolute coincidence that is equal to 0. Schelling directs the problem of Naturephilosophy to a maximal or tautegorical reading of nature whose relation to the organism, through its denial of all permanence, creates a dual external world that sustains life as we know it. In general, this reveals Schelling’s critique of subjective idealism that seeks an absolute coincidence between Nature and Man from the pure subjective side of the equation, leaving the objective side of Nature dead and motionless. Needless to say, this ‘absolute coincidence’ is now the epitome of the anthropogenic era of carbon-based climate change. 
  • Why the World is One

    Andrew Haas (Cosmos Publishing Cooperative, 2020-05-06)
    The understanding of the unity of the world-in the human and natural sciences, and the arts-has remained steadfast from ancient metaphysics to contemporary phenomenology: the world is one accidentally and necessarily, as true and false, potentially and actually, and categorically. But these four ways of being one can be traced back to how unity is or comes to be present and/or absent in anything whatsoever. If presence and absence, however, have their common root in implication, then this is how the world is (and why it must be) one-for unity is implied in everything that is.
  • The Indigenization of Academia and Ontological Respect

    Wendell Kisner; Athabasca University (Cosmos Publishing Cooperative, 2020-05-06)
      My intent in this essay is not to discuss the actual content of Indigenous experiences and knowledges, as I have neither the requisite expertise nor experience to do so with any competence. Rather, what I wish to discuss are some implicit pitfalls in the idea of "Indigenization" when advocated in the context of Western metaphysical assumptions that have not been made explicit. Like it or not, this context is one in which we all now stand, but it is also disrupted by very different contexts, as revealed by the Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission for instance. More specifically, I wish to raise the possibility that an implicit ontological framework derived from Western European history may surreptitiously guide the negotiation of the interface between Western and Indigenous scholarship, and do so in a way that, rather than bringing about decolonization, actually may perpetuate colonization at more subtle and insidious levels. Drawing upon Heidegger's work, I argue that making such ontological frameworks explicit increases the chance of success for any such interface by opening the door to what I will call "ontological respect" (to be distinguished from the respect of persons as commonly understood in terms of Western liberal democracy and human rights). To put it simply, if we are going to understand the other, we must also understand ourselves (where the "we" in this case refers to the settler heirs of Western history). Such ontological respect, I will argue, is itself made possible by a Heideggerian variant of the phenomenological "epochē" or suspension of presuppositions, which suggests an explicit methodology for intercultural exchange, a methodology I call the "intercultural epochē."  
  • On Plasticity’s Own Conceptual Epigenesis: Malabou on the Origin and History of Plasticity

    Thomas Wormald; Western University (Cosmos Publishing Cooperative, 2020-05-06)
    This paper proposes an immanent critique of Catherine Malabou’s account of the origin of plasticity, arguing that Malabou’s account of plasticity—as a philosophical concept or form—does not meet the standard of her own conception of the epigenetic development of form. Using Malabou’s Before Tomorrow: Epigenesis and Rationality, this paper argues that Malabou’s own account of plasticity hews closer to theories of formation Malabou explicitly abjures: spontaneous generation and preformationism. Accordingly, Malabou’s articulation of plasticity lacks an account of its conceptual epigenesis that would fulfill the epigenetic standards of her own thinking.
  • The Radical Freedom of the Imaginary in Castoriadis

    Vangelis Papadimitropoulos (Cosmos Publishing Cooperative, 2020-05-06)
    Castoriadis’s logic-ontology of Magmas provides the philosophical presupposition for a real democracy anchored on the radical freedom of the imaginary, the latter unfolding into an ontological novelty, manifested in nature, the psyche and the social-historical. As such, Castoriadis’s radical freedom of the imaginary bears some groundbreaking philosophical, epistemological and political consequences. Firstly, it breaks with the “determinacy principle” that penetrates most part of traditional philosophy and modern science. Secondly, it introduces an alternative epistemological approach by rendering nature a for itself developing on the ontological conditions of permanent creation and destruction. Thirdly, and most importantly, it creates per se a new political paradigm, demonstrated in the project of individual and collective autonomy, which opposes equally, yet differently, both Marxism and liberalism, for it consists in the radicalization of democracy by means of a social freedom, aiming at the equal opportunity of the participation of people in politics.
  • Against the Virtual: Kleinherenbrink’s Externality Thesis and Deleuze’s Machine Ontology

    Ekin Erkan (Cosmos Publishing Cooperative, 2020-05-06)
    Following Arjen Kleinherenbrink’s Against Continuity: Gilles Deleuze’s Speculative Realism (2019)—arguably one of the closest and most rigorous secondary readings of Deleuze’s oeuvre—this paper seeks to demonstrate how any relation between machines immediately engenders a new machine, accounting for machinic circuits of activity where becoming, or processes of generation, are always necessarily irreducible to the generators. Thus, navigating Kleinherenbrink’s work and Deleuze’s literature, this paper treats reality as a byproduct of discontinuity, where direct contact between the interior (virtual) and real (actual) being of machines is necessarily foreclosed. Rather than privileging Deleuze as a theorist of the virtual, this paper situates Deleuze’s virtual as non-relational excess over and above all other relations while treating continuity as dependent upon the Idea, powers (puissance), or singularities of any machine in question. By relating and distinguishing aspects of Deleuze’s externality thesis, where no machine is reducible to another, this position opposes a recently popularized interpretation of Deleuze by theorists who proffer the “aisthetic perspective” of relation or produce approaches to “affect” that hierarchize the virtual, thereby prioritizing continuity.  I argue that this interpretation fundamentally misreads Deleuze and mischaracterizes continuity as a product of direct contact between intensities and the processes comprising such intensities; it is, in fact, due to the “sense-event,” which corresponds to actuality, that the virtual aspect of any two machines is precluded from coming into direct contact. In addition to reviewing Kleinherenbrink’s book (which argues that the machine ontology is a guiding current that emerges in Deleuze’s work after Difference and Repetition) alongside Deleuze’s primary texts, we will also relate Deleuze’s machine ontology to positions held by a host of speculative realists and object-oriented ontologists such as Quentin Meillassoux, Levi Bryant, Maurizio Ferraris, Markus Gabriel, Manuel Delanda, Graham Harman, Tristan Garcia, and Bruno Latour. Arguing that the machine ontology has its own account of interaction, change, and novelty, I ultimately set to prove that Deleuze is by no means a reductionist, positing that the any “cut” on behalf of virtual realm is never warranted because, unlike the realm of actualities, it is necessarily inconsistent—that is, because it cannot be homogenous, any theory of change vis-à-vis the virtual realm makes it impossible to explain how and why qualitatively different actualities are produced. Preferring a machine ontology to an ontology derived from the virtual realm, this paper also engages with a new and emerging interpretation of Deleuze termed “differential heterogenesis,” where externality is treated as it exists between processes.
  • Challenging Sustainability. From Deconstruction to Reconstruction

    Proyecto VRI UC Interdisciplina Nº II160035; Luca Valera; Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile; Gonzalo Salazar Preece; Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (Cosmos Publishing Cooperative, 2020-05-06)
    In recent decades the concept of sustainability has gained great prominence in the public debate and academic research as well. Today, it is a fundamental concept to address the complex crisis we are facing at planetary scales. However, after several decades, its definition is still associated with vague and ambiguous notions that are ultimately decimating its role as a guiding framework for a more sustainable living. There is still an important gap between its theory and its praxis. The article generates a philosophical deconstruction of the sustainability concept as a necessary action to address this difficulty. This examination allows to philosophically reconstruct fundamental characteristics of its content. The article suggests and argues that a relevant component of sustainability is its regulatory function in the sphere of human relations. It suggests and analyses that sustainability is a regulative idea that serves as a guide – a working concept – in the case of dilemmas that stem from the problem of maintaining responsibility towards future generations and the environment. From this standpoint, the article explores key aspects of sustainability as an ethically grounded concept and finally reflects about some applicative and educational implications.
  • Introduction to the Neoclassical Interpretation: Quantum Steampunk

    Shiva Meucci (Cosmos Publishing Cooperative, 2020-05-06)
    In a previous paper we outlined a series of historical touchpoints between classical aether theories and modern theoretical physics which showed a shared conceptual lineage for the modern tools and methods of the most common interpretations and fluid based "Hydrodynamic" treatments of an electromagnetic medium. It was proposed that, though the weight of modern experimentation leaves an extremely narrow and convoluted window for even a reconceptualization of a medium, all of modern physics recognizes a plethora of behaviors and attributes for free space and these physics are interchangeable with modern methods for treating superfluid-like continuums. Thus the mathematical equivalence of the methods do not comprise alternative physics but an alternative interpretation of the same physics. Though many individual components describing a "neo-aether" or "quintessence" are available, an overarching structural outline of how these tools can work together to provide an alternative working overview of modern physics has remained undefined. This paper will propose a set of introductory concepts in the first outline of a toy model which will later connect the alternative tools and conceptualizations with their modern counterparts. This introductory paper provides the simpler "100-miles out" overview of the whole of physics from this perspective, in an easily comprehensible, familiar and intuitive, informal dialog fashion. While this paper grants the largest and loosest introductory overview, subsequent papers in this series will address the finite connections between modern physics and this hydrodynamic view.

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