• 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.
    • Temporal Foundations in the Construction of History: Two Essays

      Frederic Will; University of Phoenix (Cosmos Publishing Cooperative, 2009-11-25)
      The two essays included here are parts of a longer study of temporality, and the genesis of the “religious.” The first part, “Multiple Nows,” depicts a universe in which a present to past relation is establishable from any and every point in consciousness.  The resulting perspective differs from that offered by the linear timeline of chronological history. Remembering where I put my glasses is an historicizing act, as fully as is remembering when the Battle of Zama was fought or who won there. On this alternate view of temporality the genesis of the historical perspective is the historicizing subject. The second essay, “The History of a House,” places the observer before an historical structure, then asks where the historicity in the structure is. We discover that the historicity is put there by the observer/subject. This discovery resembles our earlier discovery that historicity is generated by an infinite sequence of nows. The two essays converge on a description of historical cognition as subject-generated.
    • The Age of Plastic; or, Catherine Malabou on the Hegelian Futures Market

      Justin Clemens; University of Melbourne (Cosmos Publishing Cooperative, 2010-08-04)
      Review Article:  Catherine Malabou, The Future of Hegel: Plasticity, Temporality and Dialectic, preface J. Derrida, trans. L. During, London & New York, Routledge, 2005.
    • 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. 
    • The Arrow of Time

      Ted Dace (Cosmos Publishing Cooperative, 2018-12-12)
      The foundation of irreversible, probabilistic time -- the classical time of conscious observation -- is the reversible and deterministic quantum time of the wave function. The tendency in physics is to regard time in the abstract, a mere parameter devoid of inherent direction, implying that a concept of real time must begin with irreversibility. In reality time has no need for irreversibility, and every invocation of time implies becoming or flow. Neither symmetry under time reversal, of which Newton was well aware, nor the absence of an absolute parameter, as in relativity, negates temporal passage. Far from encapsulating time, irreversibility is a secondary property dependent on the emergence of distinct moments from the ceaseless presence charted by the wave function.
    • The Beginning Before the Beginning: Hegel and the Activation of Philosophy

      Paul Ashton; Victoria and LaTrobe University (Cosmos Publishing Cooperative, 2007-12-28)
      This paper suggests that it is not enough to simply account for the lsquo;beginningrsquo; in Hegelrsquo;s philosophy. To capture the speculative depth of Hegelrsquo;s thinking one must also account for the beginning of philosophy as such. That is, how or why the philosopher begins or lsquo;the beginning before the beginningrsquo;. The question of the activation of the philosophical project itself is explored through Hegelrsquo;s notion of the lsquo;need of philosophyrsquo; and the fundamental relation between the historical event of the French Revolution and philosophical thinking. This question is explored through a critical discussion of those thinkers who are also concerned with the philosophy/revolution relation but are critical of Hegelrsquo;s approach. It is suggested that these critical readings employ a thematic approach to both Hegel and philosophy more generally. This approach renders them unable to appreciate Hegelrsquo;s philosophy speculatively and as a consequence the relation between philosophy and freedom, via the revolution, is misconstrued. In contradistinction to these readings the question of how one encounters Hegelrsquo;s thought non-thematically is explored through an analysis of the willingness of the would-be philosopher to activate themselves into the philosophical project and dwell with Hegel in the lsquo;wersquo;. Rather than providing answers to the questions raised, this paper seeks to act as a provocation for a renewed encounter with Hegelrsquo;s philosophy. br /
    • The Biofield: Bridge Between Mind and Body

      Beverly Rubik; Institute for Frontier Science (Cosmos Publishing Cooperative, 2015-11-29)
      Centuries ago, science discarded all notions of a vital force, although it retained concepts of invisible physical forces despite frequent objection by strict empiricists. Yet the concept of a vital force or élan vital is central to virtually all indigenous knowledge and perennial wisdom worldwide. It is often regarded as the quintessence of life. In recent decades a concept similar to the "vital force" has emerged at the frontiers of science, known as the "biofield." The biophysical paradigm embraces a "field" view of life that may be considered complementary to the dominant "particle" view, the biomedical paradigm. While the latter maintains that life is composed of a hierarchy of organized biological substructures down to the level of biomolecules and genes, the biophysical paradigm maintains that the essence of life is like a flame, burning matter into energy, and dancing like a flame--coherent yet somewhat chaotic. The biofield is a field of energy intimately connected with each organism that holds information central to its higher order of being. It has been proposed as having mind-like properties as super-regulator of the biochemistry and physiology of the organism, coordinating all life functions, and key to understanding life's integral wholeness. Although Western science has essentially neglected the field concept of life in recent decades, today more scientists embrace it for its integrative and explanatory powers.
    • The Bourgeois and the Islamist, or, The Other Subjects of Politics

      Alberto Toscano; Goldsmiths College, University of London (Cosmos Publishing Cooperative, 2006-10-27)
      There is much theoretical work already underway on the many facets of Badiou's theory of political subjectivation. However, little attention has been directed hitherto to those figures of the subject which cannot be easily identifiable with a universalist or generic orientation. Beginning with Badiou#39;s struggles with the subjectivity of the bourgeois in the seminars that make up his Theorie du sujet (1982), this article tries to track his thinking of the 'other', non- or anti-universalist subjects of politics, and to think what effects their inclusion within a theory of the subject, and indeed a theory of political praxis, may have. Taking issue with some recent remarks of Badiou on the isomorphies between Islamism and fascism in Logiques des mondes (2006), the article also seeks to develop Badiou's notion of reactive; and obscure; subjects through a brief engagement with recent interpretations of political Islam.
    • The Bull in the China Shop: A Discussion of an Ambiguity Within Pettit’s Theory of Freedom as Discursive Control (Philip Pettit, A Theory of Freedom: From the Psychology to the Politics of Agency)

      Steven J Youngblood; Massey University (Cosmos Publishing Cooperative, 2005-10-20)
      In Philip Pettit’s “A Theory of Freedom”, Pettit claims that being free to do something is being held responsible for what we do; so whatever theory of freedom we develop must allow the agent to be held responsible for the free actions that they do. In this paper I am going to examine Pettit’s claim about what a satisfactory theory of freedom would require, and discuss several ambiguities within the theory. However, within this reading two major interpretations may be taken: the first of which suggests that freedom can only be freedom when there is a moral ‘ought’ involved; the second is a more generous reading in which freedom includes all realms of responsibility.
    • The Bull in the China Shop: A Discussion of an Ambiguity Within Pettit’s Theory of Freedom as Discursive Control (Philip Pettit, A Theory of Freedom: From the Psychology to the Politics of Agency)

      Steven J Youngblood; Massey University (Cosmos Publishing Cooperative, 2005-10-20)
      In Philip Pettit’s “A Theory of Freedom”, Pettit claims that being free to do something is being held responsible for what we do; so whatever theory of freedom we develop must allow the agent to be held responsible for the free actions that they do. In this paper I am going to examine Pettit’s claim about what a satisfactory theory of freedom would require, and discuss several ambiguities within the theory. However, within this reading two major interpretations may be taken: the first of which suggests that freedom can only be freedom when there is a moral ‘ought’ involved; the second is a more generous reading in which freedom includes all realms of responsibility.
    • The Category of Life, Mechanistic Reduction, and the Uniqueness of Biology

      Wendell Kisner; Athabasca University (Cosmos Publishing Cooperative, 2009-03-14)
      The conceptual and ontological determinacies belonging to the category of mechanism, determinacies that began to occupy centre stage within the scientific and philosophical understanding of nature in seventeenth century Europe, continue to tacitly serve as theoretical underpinnings in contemporary conceptualizations of biological life for many scientists as well as philosophers. The conceptual hegemony enjoyed by the category of mechanism since the seventeenth century is even evident in the tacit reliance upon it by some contemporary theorists who otherwise wish to regard themselves as having gone beyond mechanism in their conceptualizations of life. I will argue that such inadvertent reliance is the result of a failure to make these conceptual and ontological determinacies belonging to the category of mechanism explicit through a critical examination of the category of mechanism. In the Science of Logic Hegel carries out precisely such a critical examination and explicit development of the determinacy implicit in mechanism, along with the conceptual and ontological determinacies appropriate to chemistry, teleology and, finally, biological life. Whereas reductive mechanism is commonly criticized by opposing it with an alternate account said to be more ontologically, definitionally, or empirically adequate, Hegel's Science of Logic shows that the category of mechanism considered in itself on its own terms is self-undermining or unsustainable due to its own inherent contradictions. Furthermore, the emLogic/em shows that rendering the implicit determinacy of mechanism explicit necessarily leads to the development of conceptual determinacies that are appropriate to living processes. Because the conceptual development of these latter determinacies results from the inherent unsustainability of mechanism, mechanistic determinacy cannot provide a basis for the conceptualization of life. For this reason, the category of life is rigorously irreducible to that of mechanism. The exegesis provided in this paper of Hegel's account of the category of mechanism and his derivation of the idea of life from that category will provide the justification required for the above claims.
    • The Celtic Becoming: Prelude to a New Believing

      Jack DuVall; International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (Cosmos Publishing Cooperative, 2018-01-13)
      Today's ongoing colloquy of ideas about the nature of being, in which a broadening array of scientists, philosophers, and historians of religion are participating, echoes some of the keynotes of spiritual practice in a much earlier period, in the 6th and 7th centuries. That was an era when Celtic monasticism, operating on the northwest edge of Europe, developed a simple but prescient ontology that was echoed in many later periods. Aldous Huxley maintained that a unified "perennial philosophy" could be found within the base-line metaphysics of all the great axial religions. It may not be ironic that science is the draught horse now pulling truth from a new intersection of these ideas.
    • The Circle of Explanation in the Sciences

      Seán Ó Nualláin; stanford (Cosmos Publishing Cooperative, 2015-11-29)
      Ontological discontinuities have logical and computational consequences. Physics with constraints begets chemistry; naïve nanotechnology chose to ignore the effects of numerical constraints in orbitals on the type of molecules that can be created. On entering the biological realm, these numerical constraints begin to transform into syntax and semantics. Such projects as the HGP and GWAS have plateaued after ignoring these constraints, best handled in new subjects like biosemiotics. In this paper, a new way of parsing nature, one that starts from the fact of ontological distinctions, is proposed. Two foci are later identified; the bridge subject of biosemiotics, which this author dealt with in a previous C+H paper, and the quantum mind hypothesis. The latter is seen as another bridge, this time from the academy to the real world in which we are objects as much as subjects.
    • The Concept of Resistance in Contemporary Galician Culture: Towards a Poetic Ecology

      Maria do Cebreiro Rabade Villar (Cosmos Publishing Cooperative, 2010-12-20)
      The concept of ‘resistance’ has turned into a critical tool in different areas of political, philosophical and sociological thought. At the same time, the notion seems to be as productive as it is diffuse. ‘Resistance’ is used in very specific contexts in scientific or technical disciplines, and with extreme flexibility in social and cultural studies. In the latter two areas, the concept is often used without prior reflection on its characteristics and limitations. In What is Philosophy?, Deleuze provides a possible framework for conceiving cultural and political practices of resistance as positions of force, when he defines contraction as ‘a contemplation that preserves the preceding in the following’. The purpose of this article is to understand political ecologism in its activist and poetical dimensions, in light of a Deleuzian interpretation of resistance.
    • The Cosmic Bellows: The Big Bang and the Second Law

      Stanley Salthe; Binghamton University (USA); Gary Fuhrman (Cosmos Publishing Cooperative, 2005-12-19)
      We present here a cosmological myth, alternative (but complementary) to "the Universe Story" and "the Epic of Evolution", highlighting the roles of entropy and dissipative structures in the universe inaugurated by the Big Bang. Our myth offers answers these questions: Where are we? What are we? Why are we here? What are we to do? It also offers answers to a set of "why" questions: Why is there anything at all? and Why are there so many kinds of systems? - the answers coming from cosmology and physics (thermodynamics); Why do systems not last once they exist? - the answer coming from a materialist interpretation of information theory; and, Why are systems just the way they are and not otherwise? - the answer coming from evolutionary biology. We take into account the four kinds of causation designated by Aristotle as efficient, final, and material formal, with the Second Law of thermodynamics in the role of final cause. Conceptual problems concerning reductionism, "teleology", and the choice/chance distinction are dealt with in the framework of specification hierarchy, and the moral implications of our story explored in the conclusion.
    • The Cosmic Bellows: The Big Bang and the Second Law

      Stanley Salthe; Binghamton University (USA); Gary Fuhrman (Cosmos Publishing Cooperative, 2005-12-19)
      We present here a cosmological myth, alternative (but complementary) to "the Universe Story" and "the Epic of Evolution", highlighting the roles of entropy and dissipative structures in the universe inaugurated by the Big Bang. Our myth offers answers these questions: Where are we? What are we? Why are we here? What are we to do? It also offers answers to a set of "why" questions: Why is there anything at all? and Why are there so many kinds of systems? - the answers coming from cosmology and physics (thermodynamics); Why do systems not last once they exist? - the answer coming from a materialist interpretation of information theory; and, Why are systems just the way they are and not otherwise? - the answer coming from evolutionary biology. We take into account the four kinds of causation designated by Aristotle as efficient, final, and material formal, with the Second Law of thermodynamics in the role of final cause. Conceptual problems concerning reductionism, "teleology", and the choice/chance distinction are dealt with in the framework of specification hierarchy, and the moral implications of our story explored in the conclusion.
    • The Cosmological Aesthetic Worldview in Van Gogh’s Late Landscape Paintings

      Erman Kaplama; University of the South Pacific (Cosmos Publishing Cooperative, 2016-05-23)
      Some artworks are called sublime because of their capacity to move human imagination in a different way than the experience of beauty. The following discussion explores how Van Gogh’s The Starry Night along with some of his other late landscape paintings accomplish this peculiar movement of imagination thus qualifying as sublime artworks. These artworks constitute examples of the higher aesthetic principles and must be judged according to the cosmological-aesthetic criteria for they manage to generate a transition between ethos and phusis and present them in unity. Here, referring to Heraclitean, Kantian, Nietzschean and Heideggerian metaphysics and aesthetics, I propose that the principles of motion and transition be the new cosmologic-aesthetic categories for the judgment of sublime artworks as well as for the understanding of the world (Weltanschauung) they represent.
    • The Cradle of Humanity: A Psychological and Phenomenological Perspective

      Carlos Montemayor; Department of Philosophy, San Francisco State University (Cosmos Publishing Cooperative, 2017-11-11)
      We present an account of the evolutionary development of the experiences of empathy that marked the beginning of morality and art. We argue that aesthetic and moral capacities provided an important foundation for later epistemic developments. The distinction between phenomenal consciousness and attention is discussed, and a role for phenomenology in cognitive archeology is justified-critical sources of evidence used in our analysis are based on the archeological record. We claim that what made our species unique was a form of meditative and empathic thinking that made large-scale human cooperation possible through pre-linguistic, empathic communication. A critical aspect of this proposal is that the transformation that led to the dawn of our species was not initially driven by semantic or epistemic factors, although clearly, these factors increased the gap between us and other species dramatically later on. Our proposal suggests that recent philosophy of mind and psychology might have "epistemicized" phenomenal consciousness too much by construing it in terms of semantic content rather than by describing it in terms of empathic and meditative thinking. Instead of the prevailing approach, we favor the type of subjectivity that is fundamentally "other-involving" as essential, because on our account, a necessary condition for subjectivity is the empathic understanding of other individuals' psychology, not through inference or judgment, but through immediate conscious engagement.  
    • The Deathbed Conversion of a Scientific Saint: Review of "Foundations and Methods from Mathematics to Neuroscience: Essays Inspired by Patrick Suppes"

      Sean O Nuallain; stanford (Cosmos Publishing Cooperative, 2015-08-23)
      Review Artcile of an anthology of writings inspired by Patrick Suppes, "Foundations and Methods from Mathematics to Neuroscience" examined in the context of Suppes' life and philosophical development.
    • The Decline of Politics in the Name of Science? Constellations and Collisions Between Nick Land and Ray Brassier

      vincent le (Cosmos Publishing Cooperative, 2018-12-12)
      In Nihil Unbound and other shorter works, Ray Brassier develops his contemporary transcendental realism by adopting the nihilistic aspects of thinkers such as Laruelle, Sellars and Badiou, while leaving behind their anthropic residuals. What is surprising is that Brassier has yet to publish any critical analysis of Nick Land despite their striking similarities and interactions at Warwick University (notwithstanding Brassier’s introduction to Land’s collected writings and a 2010 talk on Land). This paper aims to fill in this gap by showing how Brassier adheres to Land’s initial philosophy of the negative while rejecting its humanist political corollaries in favor of an epistemological turn to science. I will first show how Brassier adopts Land’s idea that we must come to terms with our future extinction as the transcendental condition for thinking a non-conceptual reality beyond our anthropic delusions of grandeur. Unlike Brassier, however, Land goes on to identify capitalism’s destructive processes as the organon for death’s transcendental critique. Consequently, Land’s recent work develops a pro-capitalist, neoreactionary politics with deeply narcissistic tendencies insofar as it rests on gratifying individuals’ basest passions and greed. Conversely, Brassier maintains Land’s initial notion of death as the transcendental critique of anthropocentrism, but instead links it to cosmology’s insight into the solar system’s eventual demise beyond anthropic political processes within our control. Although Brassier thereby believes that he is able to appropriate Land’s useful conceptual resources for de-anthropomorthizing philosophy while stripping him of his humanist political remnants, this paper will conclude by drawing on the suggestions of Mark Fisher and Reza Negarestani to proffer a Landian rejoinder to Brassier: even if capitalism is anthropomorphic, it is necessary to politically fight against it rather than abandon politics altogether in favor of science, if only to rid science of its ideological servitude under the reign of capital.