Papers » Form and Object: A Treatise on Things - Translators' Q&A with Mark Allan Ohm & Jon Cogburn

Form and Object: A Treatise on Things - Translators' Q&A with Mark Allan Ohm & Jon Cogburn

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Form and Object
 A Treatise on Things
 by Tristan Garcia
 Part of the Speculative Realism series

Mark – In the spring semester of 2012, Jon taught a course on speculative realism in which we read your work, Meillassoux’s After Finitude, and the essays from the early issues of Collapse. We discovered Garcia’s work via your blog and ATMOC. I began corresponding with Raphae?l Millie?re, a brilliant young philosopher at the ENS, who helps run the workshop. We translated some shorter essays to see if we would be capable of a lengthier project. Garcia gave a lecture at ATMOC on Meinong, the English translation of which I’d like to publish at some point. The importance of Meinong’s work cannot be underestimated. What surprised me most about the work being done at ATMOC was that they were (and still are) working across several philosophical traditions.

The latter half of the 20th century bequeathed the Anglophone world a very one- sided picture of “French Theory.” The soixante-huitards were like our noble savages. Many important voices were silenced, due perhaps to institutional and sociological pressures, as well as individual and collective decisions about what works to translate. In many ways this Romantic image of French philosophy continues today.

In any case, we decided to propose the book translation to Edinburgh, and that summer all of my waking hours were devoted to drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes, listening to copious amounts of walls of noise, and translating the book. While we were able to have a very rough draft within a few months, we

Translators' Q&A with Mark Allan Ohm & Jon Cogburn

Asked by Graham Harman, Speculative Realism series editor

Graham – This was a monumental translation project, done surprisingly quickly. What led you to take on such a weighty piece of work?

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went through about six or seven drafts throughout the year-and-a-half-long process.

Jon – A couple of things. Mark and I found out about Garcia from your blog and from Millie?re and the people at ATMOC, and it was clear that he was a fascinating thinker. My French is not very good, but from puzzling through Forme et objet with Mark I came to love Garcia as a French stylist. I’d only read the translation (Hate: A Romance) of his fantastic Prix de Flore winning novel, La meilleure part des homes. In the Introduction to Forme et objet Garcia manages to convey a palpable sense of being overwhelmed by the sheer metaphysical accumulation of things. Present company excepted, systematic philosophers don’t tend to come across this humanly. As we waded a little bit further into it, we simply wanted to understand it the best we could. Mark was helping me and another student so much with the French that it morphed into a translation project.

Mark did the entire first draft of the extant translation. He worked himself ragged, and I don’t know how he did it in the time we had. During that summer we would meet every day at a coffee shop for a few hours to go over what he’d done the previous day. I was mostly helpful at this point with respect to translating technical terms so that Garcia’s vision grafts correctly onto the relevant debates in English language philosophy, but we also started the arduous task of going from French to English syntax. You have to do violence to the text in order to do justice to it. I helped with the second draft simultaneously while Mark was doing the first draft. Then we went through four or five other ones, with help from the group of test readers we thank in our Translator’s Introduction. I thought I’d learn more French than I did, but so much of the work was English to English translation. And every time you make a change you have to make sure it’s consistent with everything else. This is pretty much all I did for a year.

Graham – Which of Garcia’s French terms were the most difficult to render into English?

Mark – Several terms were quite difficult to translate into English, likely because the English language has a much larger vocabulary than the French. For example, as we discuss in the introduction, n’importe quoi has several different

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equally justifiable renderings. But we ultimately decided on “no-matter-what” to emphasize its indetermination, bare particularity, and lack of importance. Of course, the paradox and irony of Garcia’s concept of no-matter-what matters very much to his ontology of thinghood and to his anti-reductionism. Several other passages presented problems in English, but my extended correspondence with Tristan on these matters was, I think, sufficient enough to produce a readable and terminologically consistent translation. We also added a few passages with Garcia’s approval to clarify things that may be unclear in the original. We could have justified our choices with more substantial footnotes, but we didn’t want to turn the reader’s attention away from the text by adding superfluous notes to demonstrate our (impossible) mastery of a living language, in order to score some gratuitous academic street cred, or follow in the footsteps of Derrida’s translators, the masters of the master footnoteist. We also tried to steer clear of using definite articles, like the human or the event or the living, etc. Although these may be perfectly legitimate translations, one might genuinely ask which single event the event, for example, refers to. The use of the definite article in French often refers to a universal, general, or natural kind or category, and not necessarily to particulars. A lot of translations of French philosophy miss this, and it makes reading them occasionally nerve-racking. The difficulty is deciding when and when not to properly use the definite article in English. Fortunately, these kinds of minor translation problems can be easily remedied. In any case, I am convinced that there is no perfect one-to-one correspondence in translation, and, that if anyone wants to dive headfirst into his system, then comparison with the original is recommended.

Jon – I’ll just briefly add to Mark’s note. Comprehension was difficult. During most of the first draft we used encompassing because we didn’t want English language readers to impute too much epistemic weight to it. But that fell apart because Garcia does use it in the epistemic sense sometimes, so we ended up sticking to comprehension and explaining it in the Translator’s Introduction. Garcia will sometimes say that a relation is intransitif in the linguistic sense of an intransitive verb when an English reader would assume he is talking about intransitivity in a mathematical sense. With Garcia’s blessing we replaced some of these with anti-symmetric. There were lots of little decisions like this and you really do find yourself running around the hermeneutic circle a bit like a hamster in one of those sadistic toys that were popular in the early 1970s.

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Graham – Here is a question for Jon Cogburn: you work in the tradition of analytic philosophy, which might not seem like the most promising group of readers for a big book of contemporary French philosophy. How would you persuade your analytic colleagues that this book might be of interest to them as well?

Jon – Mark and I are now working on a reader’s guide (tentative title: Neither/Nor: Tristan Garcia and the Dialectics of Persistence) that attempts to do just that. Garcia does fit into the dialectical space in which contemporary analytic metaphysicians work, even if his systematicity puts him against the grain of what the overwhelming majority of philosophy professors are able to accomplish.

We’ll see how it goes. Philosophers can be astonishingly uncharitable when boundary policing. Even though he fits into the dialectical space, Garcia’s views are extraordinarily novel. Sometimes things like this can be a long slog. But I’m enough of a Hegelian to feel that one can be on the right (in both a normative and descriptive sense) side of history.

And there are reasons for optimism. The best of the new generation of analytic metaphysicians like Jonathan Schaffer, Jessica Wilson, Johanna Seibt, and Robert Stern (who is also a Hegel exegete) are much more interested in some of the historical background traditionally suppressed in analytic philosophy. Like Stern, Schaffer thinks the British Hegelians got a raw deal from Moore and Russell. Wilson has written on the nature of force in the 19th century as part of developing her own metaphysics of capacities. Seibt is doing process philosophy in an analytic framework. Someone desperately needs to write a book clearly connecting work such as Seibt’s and Wilson’s to the continental tradition of process and capacity metaphysics (which usually overlap, such as in Deleuze).

Unfortunately though, until very recently most of the analytic philosophers that take continental philosophers seriously have themselves been anti- metaphysical (especially Rorty, Brandom, and McDowell, but to a lesser extent Heideggerian philosophers of mind such as Dreyfus and his students). My next book after the reader’s guide is an attempt to use contemporary continental metaphysicians to appropriate the analytic anti-metaphysicians in something of the way you have appropriated Heidegger.

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Twentieth century philosophy, both analytic and continental, was this tremendous period of forgetting the early critiques of Kant and how those led to the flowering of metaphysics in the German Idealist tradition. The original positivists and phenomenologists knew all this stuff, but their students only understood it in caricatured form, if that. This forgetting might have been necessary, and it accomplished a great deal, but it is time to remember. There are signs of progress here as well. At a recent APA the author-meets-critics session on Sally Sedgewick’s Hegel’s Critique of Kant: From Dichotomy to Identity was dominated by people who take Hegel seriously as a metaphysician, which is an absolute sea change. They even all used a term for the tendency to read Hegel as too Kantian, “Pippinism.” It was a packed room and nobody was a Pippinist.

I hope that if I write on figures like Meillassoux, Garcia, and you in an analytic register (and there are several papers I’m working on that do this, one on Meillassoux and Russell’s paradox that I’m presenting with Joshua Heller at University of Nevada-Las Vegas in a few weeks) that they will be taken as part of a strengthening movement in analytic philosophy to engage charitably with continental metaphysics as metaphysics. If I could make one professional contribution as an academic, that would be it.

Graham – In the Translators’ Introduction, you say (and I completely agree) that Form and Object “secures [Garcia’s] place as one of the most significant systematic philosophers in contemporary France.” The two other such figures with whom Garcia has worked most closely are Alain Badiou and Quentin Meillassoux. What is your sense of what we can get from Garcia that isn’t already available in these neighboring thinkers?

Mark – First, I agree with your method of “hyperbolic reading,” which we find comparable to Davidson’s principle of charity. I am of the opinion that we need to take philosophers seriously as rational interlocutors, as always having something significant to contribute to the dialectic, in whatever idiom they are writing, however implausible their arguments might first appear to us as readers. Sometimes that means suspending our skeptical or critical attitudes. I think that the world would be a much better place if we stopped being scolds. When a scold reads a work of systematic philosophy that doesn’t neatly fit into

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her existing beliefs, she tries to maintain that philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways, and that the point is clearly to write books about changing it. Obviously, we can’t simply accept everything at face value; but I think that we need to learn to do things collaboratively and collectively, and encourage one another with such hyperbolic readings, even when we disagree or when they conflict with our previously held beliefs, in order to make some sort of philosophical progress. We are often tempted to write off philosophers by reducing their positions to what came prior to them, failing to see anything novel in their work.

In many ways, Mehdi Belhaj Kacem’s published letter to Garcia does just this with respect to Badiou. The irony is that Kacem has this very pessimistic attitude towards Badiou, for some seemingly personal reasons that are not clear to me, but without the latter’s work, can’t even get his feet off the ground. As you say elsewhere, it’s one thing to say that such-and-such a philosophical position shares many similarities with another, but the really hard work comes in articulating the distinctions. That doesn’t answer your question, but I’ll let Jon have a go at it.

Jon – There is a very superficial similarity in that all three thinkers are moved by set-theoretic paradoxes. Garcia is much more interesting on this score though. Meillassoux actually comes out quite badly here. He rejects paraconsistency because it contradicts his metaphysics of contingency. But then his argument for contingency assumes a standard rejection of the set of all possible worlds because it yields a contradiction! In his argument against paraconsistency he assumes contingency, in his argument for contingency he assumes that paraconsistency is mistaken. Garcia is absolutely novel here. As far as I know, he is the only dialetheist (someone who, like Graham Priest, accepts true contradictions) who nonetheless would not accept that the set of all sets is a set. For Garcia it is because the set would be a member of itself, and this is prohibited by his metaphysics. For Garcia, metaphysics is prior to logic. As someone with some proficiency in both, this seems exactly right to me.

For both Meillassoux and Garcia, I think the Sartrean strains in their work are more important than the Badiouian strains. With respect to Meillassoux’s metaphysics of contingency, this is absolutely clear. I just read the bit of Nausea where Antoine Roquentin imagines a day where his reader will stick his tongue out in the mirror and find it’s turned into a centipede. For Garcia, it’s the way the

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Sartrean subject is in a constant struggle against her own facticity. Just as you see aspects of Heideggerian and Husserlian subjectivity inscribed in objects, Garcia to some extent sees the struggle against facticity, against certain kinds of consistency, as inscribed in objects themselves. Looking at Garcia this way provides a powerful heuristic key to connecting the pure ontology of the first part of the book (where objects are the difference between what they help compose and what composes them) with the most interesting regional ontologies of the second part (where this difference is maintained and intensified over time).

To be fair, I have no idea if Garcia would see himself as applying Schelling’s “I am nature” moment to aspects of Sartre the way you explicitly do with respect to Heidegger and Husserl. He does explicitly make the Schellingian move at times though. Meillassoux would certainly not want to be seen this way, because he uses the pejorative term “subjectalist” to philosophers who do. But given that (as Joshua Heller and I argue in our paper) the Kantian strains in his argument to contingency are inconsistent with a key Schellingian move in his critique of correlationism (when he argues that the transcendental subject must be placed in an absolute time line), I think he should keep the critique of correlationism and fully join the Schellingian bandwagon.

Of course all subjectalist philosophies need to be motivated independent of the Schellingian moment. You and Garcia are both, in different ways, thinking through the paradoxical idea of the metaphysical consequences of the impossibility of (a certain kind of reductionist) metaphysics. Maybe Badiou is attempting the same thing? It’s hard for me to say because I find the idealist strands in his philosophy so distracting. I hope to understand him much better within the next year.

Metaphysics asks what reality must be like given some knowledge we have. To pretend that we can avoid the responsibility of constantly asking this question is to live in some combination of ignorance, bad faith, and sophistry. But on the other hand to not take seriously that much of our knowledge concerns in principle and paradoxical failures of knowledge (any interesting limitation result in logic establishes such failures rigorously from the inside) is also to live in the toxic combination.

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The very best contemporary continental metaphysics is distinctive in that it avoids the problem of reducing all of philosophy to transcendental epistemology (as positivism and phenomenology explicitly did) without instantiating a certain kind of dogmatism that metaphysics usually carries with it. To say that metaphysics is impossible is to make a metaphysical claim. But this is not to dismiss the claim. Wisdom starts by taking both clauses seriously.

Graham – Another interesting point in the Translators’ Introduction is your claim that the Scylla and Charybdis endangering Garcia’s position are Alfred North Whitehead and F. H. Bradley, two major English metaphysicians. Is this a coincidence, or is there something about Garcia’s philosophical approach that makes him more “Anglo-American” than other recent French thinkers?

Mark – I am fully convinced that one’s nationality does not make one philosopher’s approach, expression, or style any better than any other, and I do hope that people of any philosophical stripe will be open to reading Garcia’s work. We must make do with what matters to us, to take up Garcia’s phrasing. Each of us has limited knowledge and limited time to make sense of this strange and incomprehensible universe that we find ourselves in. We are a fallible and finite species. We simply do not have time to read everything. But I agree with you that our task as philosophers is to fill in the gaps of the cosmos. Metaphysics has had a bad rap at least since Kant. However, I don’t think that Kant was simply claiming that we ought to stop doing metaphysics altogether, as some neo- Kantians have it, but to do metaphysics otherwise. Nonetheless, I still believe that metaphysical speculation has a positive (and not simply negative) utility, and that progress is possible.

Garcia, Badiou, and Meillassoux each have their own influences from the Anglophone world, but I don’t think that that makes their respective philosophical approaches any more or less Anglophonic. Many significant philosophers in France in the late 20th century and today, who haven’t been translated into English, have been working solely in the analytic tradition. My hope is that more translators will undertake this work and make it available to the non-French-speaking, Anglophone world.

Jon – What Mark said (though maybe we disagree about Kant).

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If Garcia fits better it’s because he takes seriously what analytical philosophers have said about various issues. This isn’t as explicit in the first part of the book, because the style is so aphoristic, but it’s clear to us that he’s intervening in extant debates. Then in the second part he uses what he’s developed in the first part to intervene explicitly in extant debates. The chapters on time and gender are particularly noteworthy in these regards.

Graham – You make another strong claim for Garcia’s book, calling it “arguably the most resolutely anti-reductionist metaphysical system in the history of thought.” Again I would agree. But this reminds me of certain critics of Bruno Latour, another resolutely anti-reductionist thinker, who say that Latour ends up performing many covert reductions under the table anyway. To what extent is Garcia exposed to the same criticism?

Mark – In Garcia’s terms, his anti-reductionist, non-deterministic stance may have a “chance,” but it likely will also have a “price to pay.” He wants to walk the line between substance- and process-oriented accounts of objects. I’m still not sure if he is successful at this attempt. If we cannot reduce anything to anything else, if we cannot explain anything in terms of something else, other than in terms of that which is not, then I’m just not entirely sure how we can genuinely talk about anything at all, other than in terms of indeterminate bare particulars. In this respect, Garcia’s concept of form (or world or something-other-than-a- thing or negativity) is probably the most difficult to grasp. While the first part of Garcia’s book is in many ways the most philosophically controversial, since he seems ontologically committed to anything at all, except perhaps the world, the second book complicates things a bit more.

Jon – I think Garcia and you are both paradoxical in this way, but that this is a feature, not a bug. You both begin with a critique of what you call overmining (explaining objects in terms of their roles in relational structures) and undermining (explaining objects in terms of their constituents). But then you both go on to develop a theory of objects in terms of their constituents and the relational structures that help to individuate them! The theories themselves give an account of objects that explain the very failure of all theories, including themselves.

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This kind of self-referential paradox is nothing new in the history of philosophy. Graham Priest’s Beyond the Limits of Thought is in fact a guerilla retelling of our history in terms of it. But explicitly developing a metaphysics that embraces it with respect to explanation is I think something you and Garcia have independently invented. Adrian Johnston might end up in this same space as well. It might also be the only way to make sense of some of the virtues that Deleuzians claim for Deleuze. It will be fascinating to find all this out.

It’s a weird idea, and it can make people defensive. You can only get anywhere by bracketing all sorts of issues and people who work on paradoxes of expressibility and the like tend to just be doing logic. Everybody else just sort of hands that over to them, with a few epistemologists still taking them into account when writing about skepticism. The epistemic aspect of your theory of allure as well as your writing on Lovecraft should blow all of this up, and will hopefully too help people see what is distinctive and valuable in Garcia’s encyclopedic differential ontology.

Neal Hebert and I have a paper that we presented at the American Society for Theatre Research on the way aesthetic distance works in professional wrestling where we show that different types of wrestling fans correspond to different epistemic approaches (e.g. the Southern fan and the nai?ve realist, the interminable critic and the skeptic, the aesthetically distanced fan and the dogmatist who knows about paradoxes and skeptical problems but sets them aside while working, and what we call the postmodern fan and you and Garcia’s paradoxical anti-metaphysical metaphysics). It went over pretty well with the theatre folks, though Deleuze seems to be the hottest thing in theory these days. There is excitement about speculative realism and object-oriented ontology though. Garcia will certainly become part of these conversations.

Graham – Part II of Form and Object enters into numerous concrete philosophical topics: sixteen in all. I would like to hear from each of you as to which of these sixteen chapters you found most interesting. If it helps, I’ll go first: I thought the meditations on the privileged position adolescence in “Chapter XV: Ages of Life,” shed a great deal of light on contemporary culture. Now, it’s your turn!

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Mark – Like reading Hegel, in each of the diverse domains that Garcia covers, it is sometimes difficult to pick out just which of the two sides of the dialectic, if any, that Garcia is defending. Does his philosophy simply rehash Kantian-like antimonies, considering everything under the universe, in order to reach a negative conclusion about our fallibility and hopelessness as humans with respect to any particular domain of objects and events in the world? Is there any light at the end of the tunnel? There seems to be, but it seems to be a very dark light. Nonetheless, I find his chapter on time the most philosophically interesting, since he engages with several significant debates in the analytic philosophy of time, such as presentism, eternalism, the growing universe theory, and 3D and 4D positions, while presenting a novel theory of time.

Jon – I love the chapter on adolescence both because it is the clearest expression of his pure ontology set free in time, and because it is one of the most insightful things about society I’ve read. His basic thought about death is profound and troubling. He argues that one cannot be adequately prepared for your own death and adequately prepared for the death of others at the same time. I was helping Mark translate this chapter when my dear friend and colleague Ian Crystal died. The “stages of grief” thing has no objective validity, but in my grief I did go through a period where I was furious with myself and my colleagues. I was so mad at all of us for not having saved his life. It was a ridiculous sentiment. There was nothing we could have done, but in retrospect the madness was in some sense proper. Part of really loving someone is to owe them this madness. But with respect to our own death, every wisdom tradition says that it’s essential important to reconcile ourselves to it. Once again with Garcia, we are left with the dialectic not resolving. We’re just in this inconsistent space. Again, compare Sartre on the tragic choice (though Garcia is much more sensible, and it is clear from his chapter on values that he would reject the simple voluntarism of Sartre at his worst on things like this).

Graham – Having translated several books myself, I remember the strange experience of having been so focused on getting the job done on a micro- level that I was never really sure if I understood the books the way a reader might understand them. Have either of you had the chance yet to sit down and simply enjoy Form and Object as a reader?

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Mark – I totally relate to your translation experiences. It is difficult to work at the micro-level without reference to the whole. Translation is this impossible, repetitive, continuous, often dread-inducing juggling act, where one tries to keep the terminology consistent, improve its legibility, source-check, and maintain fidelity to, and make mincemeat of, the original. Jon and I are now teaching a course on the book this semester at Louisiana State University, and I honestly feel like this is the first time that I’m reading it for the simple pleasure of reading, though we both read it several times during the translation process.

Jon – I was scared of what I’d find when Mark and I taught the class! And this is probably the eighth or ninth time I’ve read the book. It’s actually a relief to find I love it just as much as when I was incompetently picking through the French. I really didn’t know what to expect. The last time I’d read it was to check the typesetting, and you have to ignore content to do a good job of that. It’s very dissociative. I’m so lucky to be able to teach it with Mark this semester.

Graham – Here is a question that may be of interest to those who have not personally been involved in translation work. To what extent did you consult Garcia himself on some of your word choices? And did he agree to any changes to the original for the sake of greater clarity in English?

Mark – As I mentioned earlier, Garcia and I exchanged several rounds of correspondence. We cannot thank him enough for this. In response to your second question, yes, Form and Object is not exactly Forme et objet. We added a few passages for greater clarity, and we made a few corrections to the original, all with Garcia’s consent.

Jon – As Mark noted earlier, England was overrun so many times by people who spoke such radically different languages that English now has this gigantic vocabulary compared to French. Ironically, I think partially as a result of this (and the syntaxes too) English translations tend to be shorter than the French originals. Most of my work on the translation was helping Mark rearrange sentences so they were as readable in English as Garcia’s are in French, without sacrificing the tone. It’s a long book, and it was over a year’s work. I think Mark and my different ears for music ended up being very helpful here.

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We were incredibly nervous when we had things to where we were comfortable sharing big chunks of the translation with Garcia. I mean, this guy’s not just a great philosopher but a great novelist as well. As a thus-far failed novelist, I can’t help but to have more reverence for novelists than philosophers. I kind of get how philosophers who are much better than I could have come up with what they come up with, but not really good novelists strike me as having magical abilities.

During the year of arranging and rearranging clauses, Mark and I felt this massive responsibility (not just to Garcia personally but to beauty and truth themselves) not to ruin the manifest aesthetic virtues of the text. I think it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and Mark did the hard part.

In virtue of all of this, you can imagine how incredible it was to be able to work with Garcia in the latter stages of the translation. You and he and my wife Emily all read entire drafts and gave really helpful advice. Garcia went beyond just giving advice, but actually hashed some of these things out with us. There are often several competing reasons to make different translational choices and you have to consider them really carefully as a way to figure out what to do.

Graham – My final question is for Jon, again because of his professional position as an analytically trained philosopher with an unusually refined taste for continental work. What do you think of the current status of the analytic-continental divide in philosophy? And insofar as the divide is still with us, what is Garcia’s most important contribution to patching it up?

Jon – I’m of several minds about the divide.

On the one hand, I advise students to get Ph.D. mastery in either continental or analytic sufficient to satisfy the most rebarbative analytic/continental culture warriors (and they exist on both sides, though the analytic ones are most harmful to philosophy because they are more powerful). This is for two reasons. (1) Good pluralism means mastering one tradition thoroughly and then getting yourself conversant enough in another so as to be able to learn from people in that tradition. Bad pluralism is the kind of balkanization that ate up so many departments in the 1980s. Ugly

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pluralism is a monistic hegemony pretending to be pluralistic. Lots of continental philosophers see analytics appropriating their figures in this light. And they are rational to do so. Some analytics think that since we do Heidegger now, we don’t need to worry about people who are masters of the phenomenological tradition. So I try to tell students to be good pluralists. (2) This is more prudential. When you have such divisions you get ghetto mentalities, where the people at the top of their subarea get a lot of psychic pleasure at being at the top of some area, no matter how small (this holds in analytic and continental philosophy). And they are very, very threatened by anyone who might shake these little ghettos up. This creates a lot of selective pressure for the kind of balkanized pluralism that we often see. Younger stage academics almost always have to do work pleasing to the masters of some academic ghetto in order to get permanent work.

because their work traverses too many traditional ghettos. It’s very disheartening.

We started the blog NewApps in order to try to change this dynamic, and we’ve had some influence at getting analytics and continentals to treat each other seriously as members of the same guild and even to learn from one another. But we’re nowhere near there. I know a few brilliant philosophers that are almost criminally underemployed

As I noted above, the resurgence of Hegel as a metaphysician in analytic philosophy is opening up a space for cross boundary work, as is the emergence of Speculative Realism and Deleuziana on the continental side. I think these trends are exactly where Geist is moving right now.

People working in the revival of metaphysics in continental philosophy have for the most part been eager to learn from analytic philosophy. Badiou’s inveighing about “analytic philosophy” in his unfortunate contribution to a faux- nationalistic (if we believe the journalist who wrote the rag presenting French philosophy as essentially those soixante-huitards who became famous in the United States!) and frankly sexist campaign against French analytic philosopher Claudine Tiercelin makes him an unfortunate exception to this rule. But it is a rule, and a good one. It’s particularly important because logical positivism and phenomenology are identical in so many respects. Part of what we need to do now is to apply the lessons of positivism’s successes and failures to a context

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that takes seriously figures like Schelling, Hegel, Heidegger, Sartre, and Deleuze. Far, far too much philosophy is done in the framework of uncritical neo- Kantianism. Anti-Kantian analytics and continentals must band together and learn from one another.

Weirdly, Mark and I are having to learn a lot of Hegel and Sartre to put ourselves in a position to best explain Garcia to analytic philosophers. This continues to be a great adventure. The students in our class are happy to be embarked on it. We hope with the book we are working on now that we will be able to convince others that it’s a cool place to be.

Analytic philosophers reading Garcia will start to take paradoxes of totality and expressibility much more seriously. They will rethink the connections between reductionist explanations in science and metaphysics. They will again take seriously the distinction between substance and process metaphysics, as well as competing views. The issue between relationalism and non-relationism will be visited in a new way as will that between bare particulars and bundles. People interested in time and modality will have new views to consider. Perhaps most importantly they will be more willing to consider the encyclopedic directive to have one’s pure ontology be incorporated in non-trivial ways into regional ontologies. They will vastly expand the scope of regional ontology as a subject matter. Again, I think with figures like Jonathan Schaffer, Jessica Wilson, Johanna Seibt, and Robert Stern a good space has been created where continental metaphysicians such as Garcia can be studied. People reading their work will gain much from working through his.

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