Semantic Activism in the Service of Ideology

A review of Kate Manne’s Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny (Oxford University Press: New York, 2018). “So maybe the thing to say,” to the apathetic, indifferent masses perniciously ignorant about the misogyny prevailing in our culture, Manne writes near the end of her book (page 290, to be precise), “somewhat reluctantly is—fuck ‘em, in …

Scholastic Retrieve [1] – Philosophical Science: Congruence

In the first part of a new on-going series—a project of retrieval which brings Scholasticism to a living import for today—I am going to ask about the relationship between distinction and understanding.   This falls into a broader consideration of philosophical method.  Because philosophy is a science of “common reason”—i.e., it needs no other instrument than …

Thoughts on Being Human [4] – Cognitive Faculties

When Wilhelm Wundt distinguished the study of psychology from philosophy and biology in the late 19th century, he was filling a void: both philosophical and biological treatments had failed in their treatment of the human psyche and a new approach seemed not only warranted, but necessary.  Philosophy had, for the most part, remained in an …

Thoughts on Being Human [3] – Signs of Our Times

What are the signs of our times?  That is: what signifies our here-and-now moment?  Screaming politicians?  Angry mobs?  Memes?  The ubiquity of networked technologies?  It is always hard to tell, from within a moment, what signifies the intelligibility of that moment; understanding precisely where we are requires spending time to find points of reference.  Every …

Participation & Asphyxiation

In his highly-quotable, rarely understood and seminal work, Understanding Media, Marshall McLuhan distinguishes early on between what he calls "hot" and "cold" media, which are, respectively "high" and "low" definition.  A hot, high-definition medium is low in participation, while the colder and the lower-definition a medium is, the deeper our participation in it must be: that …