Spring Semester Seminar Style Reading Group

• 242
Hi all.

I want to expand my knowledge by tackling some new and/or particularly thick book. You guys have great reading groups on canonical figures, but they usually frustrate me because everyone is coming in with pre-concieved views and opinions. I want to discover an author or book which is mostly new for everyone involved.

My plan is just to do this systematically by laying out a seminar's worth of weekly reading (i.e. 12 weeks) and putting together lecture notes on the material every week as the basis for a discussion. My plan is to do this even if I'm the only person posting in this thread!

If possible, though, I think we might attach it to the audio of a graduate seminar freely available online. Just to take an example -- Who wouldn't (time permitting) want to go through the full audio of Brandom's 12 week course on Sellars, with weekly discussion on here, 'lecture notes' available each week, and maybe sprinkling in some O'Shea or other secondary literature? I think that would make a lot of us, well, a lot smarter.

Or we could just take on a massive work like Making it Explicit, or A Secular Age. We could get really freaky and cover Deleuze on Foucault or Spinoza with his accompanying lectures (for anyone who speaks French). Or we could take a theme -- "Political Aesthetics", "Virtue Ethics" -- and I'll find an accompanying essay/conference video of value each week.

The idea is that for me and any other members interested in coursework (like Wallows!) we can come away with a vague sense of having accomplished the learning equivalent to a philosophy seminar.

Anyway, if anyone is interested let me know. Please feel free to voice a particular philosopher/book/topic of interest. Like I said, my plan is to do this regardless of interest so don't be too embarrassed for me if you see me playing alone in the corner each week.

Whatever topic is chosen, readings should begin with the Spring semester - viz. Early January.
• 8k
Awesomesauce @John Doe, I hope to participate in anything you set out on reading. I know you are on the graduate level tier so nothing but high quality from you. Depending on how you want to address who would be interested in what, I was hoping we could cover something less complex for the general population of this forum to understand (myself included).

What kind of works are you interested in? Phenomenology, linguistics, metaphysics, philosophy of logic?
• 242
I'm open to any and all suggestions. My goal is just to do something interesting. For example, if someone wanted to take on "Time" or "Infinity", I would love that -- it would be an excuse to dig into a profoundly interesting topic.

I'm not sure that what I have suggested (e.g. Brandom on Sellars) is too complex! My feeling is that any topic in philosophy is approachable at any level; if we are doing weekly notes to set the tone (rather than anarchic free-for-all) then I think we can discuss even very complex topics in an approachable way. At least I hope.

Out of the four topics you mentioned I'm most interested in phenomenology.
• 8k
I think Merleau Ponty is interesting. I haven't seen his name mentioned on these forums for a long time. Let me know what you think about his works?
• 9.2k
I'll try to participate (although I haven't even started reading + commenting in either the Kripke or Schopenhauer threads yet . . . but I'll get there soon). However, as always, most likely I'll be critiquing whatever we're covering, a la mostly saying the many things I think the philosopher in question is getting wrong and explaining why I think it's wrong, probably with my own views presented in contradistinction. Even philosophers I like the most I disagree with more than 50% of the time. Re philosophers I'm not a fan of, some of them can't utter a phrase without me having serious issues with it.

That will only be moreso the case, accompanied by lots of complaints about the philosopher's writing from a formalist perspectivel, if we choose someone like Deleuze. I'm not very fond of continental writing on a formal level, to say the least. But I'll play along with whoever we choose . . . well, unless it would require having to buy books I don't have and it would mean paying $40-50 or whatever for some Derrida or something. In that case I'd just try to read freely available secondary literature on it or something instead. • 2.2k I've wanted to read "On the Hypotheses which lie at the Bases of Geometry (1873)" by Riemann for some time now, it's somewhere between mathematics and philosophy; there are no theorems, just a navigation of a-priori concepts of space ('magnitudinal extensions') which motivate definitions of different geometries. It's only 15 pages though! • 242 I think that's a really great suggestion. If there's enough interest, we might consider covering a variety of essays which different people have been wanting to get around to and we can just organize the thread by reading a couple of essays in related thematic areas like Philosophy of Mathematics, Aesthetics, etc. I think Merleau Ponty is interesting. I haven't seen his name mentioned on these forums for a long time. Let me know what you think about his works? What would interest you? For example, covering Phenomenology of Perception or an essay (e.g. Cezanne's Doubt)? I really appreciate your interest, though it sounds like the purpose and objectives I have in mind -- serious reading aimed at improving our understanding of difficult material -- may be at odds with both your highly critical approach to texts and your uncertainty about committing to a text. • 8k I think starting with an essay would be a good idea to just get a feel for how these things work out in practice. I'm open to whatever you propose. • 8k What would interest you? For example, covering Phenomenology of Perception or an essay (e.g. Cezanne's Doubt)? You decide. I'm unsure yet. • 242 I guess I'll wait and see where people's interests lie. But if we want to do a selection of shorter works like "On the Hypotheses which lie at the Bases of Geometry" and "Cezanne's Doubt" I think that's already the basis for a really interesting reading group, assuming we get enough participants. Though PhP happens to be my favorite philosophy text so I'm always happy to read what people say about it. • 8k Though PhP happens to be my favorite philosophy text so I'm always happy to read what people say about it. Ooo, I thought you might like it. Didn't know it was your favorite. Phenomenology of Perception would be a worthwhile text to go over IMO. But, since you're already aquainted with it so well, then I'm not sure it's worth your time to go over. • 9.2k I really appreciate your interest, though it sounds like the purpose and objectives I have in mind -- serious reading aimed at improving our understanding of difficult material -- may be at odds with both your highly critical approach to texts and your uncertainty about committing to a text. Maybe, but I still plan on participating. Sometimes here it seems like people want to approach texts almost like a disciple approaching their religious tome of choice--there's that sort of remove in the relationship, with some reverence to it, etc. I approach texts like it's my buddy talking to me while we're hanging out at a bar. There's no remove--the person is engaging in a conversation with me where I'm an equal, and I can be pretty irreverent, challenging, etc. • 3.6k Riemann would be cool! If Merleau-Ponty, I'd love to read The Structure of Behaviour (which I haven't yet), or else de Vries or O'Shea on Sellars (maybe both?). Or, for something more (too?) challenging, Joanna Seibt's Properties as Processes - also on Sellars. Or, to be purely selfish, it would be lovely if people were willing to read either Reza Negarestani's Intelligence and Spirit (on rationalism), Gilles Chetalet's Figuring Space (on math), or Giovanni Maddalena's The Philosophy of Gesture (on pragmatism and Pierce) with me - my planned reading, essentially - but that's probably a long shot. Edit: A work that might have a nice cross-audience appeal is John Haugeland's Dasein Disclosed - an analytic philosopher's take on Heidegger, reading him in a Sellarsian bent. Might be cool. • 8k Riemann would be cool! Personally interested in that short paper. 15 pages are doable for my feeble mind and would be a good trial run on how to approach abstracta into intelligibility for us. • 3.6k If we go with Riemann, I wonder if it might also be interesting to read it alongside Kant's essay on negative magnitudes ('Attempt to Introduce the Concept of Negative Magnitudes into Philosophy'), which I've always wanted to read as well. • 5.6k I'm open to any and all suggestions. My goal is just to do something interesting. For example, if someone wanted to take on "Time" or "Infinity", I would love that -- it would be an excuse to dig into a profoundly interesting topic. What would be your approach to a topic like time or infinity? These subjects are so broad. with such varied perspectives. • 242 Alright, looks like we should definitely do Riemann! I would definitely also be interested in reading The Structure of Behaviour because it's been an embarrassingly long time since I've read it carefully. One thing we might want to do is simply take a vote or a little straw poll everytime we finish a work. We could just do the Riemann essay then see how people feel afterwards and what they want to move onto next (if not SB or the Kant essay). For example, Street, you read a lot of interesting stuff that would be great to do in a group - judging from your reading lists - but those particular books aren't necessarily my thing. Maybe we'll see where you're at after those books? Joanna Seibt intrigues me but I can't find access to a legal PDF of that work which seems like a priority for this sort of reading group. I guess I would also be interested in comparisons, either reading side-by-side or successively. E.g. (from the other thread) Wittgenstein and Sellars on the game of giving and asking for reasons and the question of how central it is to our linguistic practices. What would be your approach to a topic like time or infinity? These subjects are so broad. with such varied perspectives. Same way any philosophy seminar functions. We look at the variety of important essays which contribute to the topic's history, or a single book with an expansive scope though highly particular pov, or we narrow down on some small aspect of the topic in question and look at the current debates. • 8k @fdrake, could you please post the PDF of the paper? Quite interested in getting this started. • 9.2k I'm open to anything, really, and I'll try to read anything with an open mind (I always do that, though I can quickly get frustrated/annoyed, haha), BUT the only thing I'd ask is that we try to make a significant percentage of the works we're reading stuff that's either available for free online or that's available relatively cheaply used. I realize that plenty of worthwhile, interesting things are only available via purchasing books for$30-40 or more, but probably a lot of people who might participate wouldn't bother if they need to keep buying books--including me, partially because I've been in the process of trying to streamline at home, and out of "principle" I refuse to pay over, say \$20 for a kindle book that's just a "normal" 200-300 whatever page book. I do still buy some "physical" books, but I'm extremely selective about what I buy..
• 242
I can promise you that we won't read anything that you don't have full free and legal access to in PDF format.
• 2.2k

Here is a link to the paper. When would reading start? I plan to finish the last section of Chapter 1's value theory in my Marx thread before going into something else with the same detail, only one section left (commodity fetishism) now, and I'll have done what I planned to do in the thread.
• 242
My plan is to get this going some time around the start of the new semester, so early January. Hopefully that will give you enough time?

Between now and then I am thinking that I might try to squeeze in my own notes / read a Sellars essay -- “Some Reflections on Language Games” -- for anyone who is interested (mostly as an extension of the Wittgenstein thread), so I'm sure I can stretch that out if you need more time to work on your Marx thread.
• 2.2k

I might be able to finish what I set out to do in thread this weekend, at least that's my goal. I'll have a good crack at it on Saturday. It shouldn't interfere.
• 242
Okay, well we're happy to exploit your labour power any time just let us know.
• 2.2k

It's not exploitation if it's TPF. :)
• 242
Haha, I disagree! Maybe we should read The Ignorant Schoolmaster. :wink:
• 2.2k

Only if you join my hermetic circle of overly mathematical Marxism.
• 8k
I'm reading the paper provided by @fdrake; but, am perplexed by it.

Shall we start preemptively?
• 3.6k
Also, I just noticed you mentioned it in the OP but Deleuze's lectures (on Kant, Spinoza, and Leibniz in particular) I think would make for a fantastic series for reading. The lectures are very lucid, and Deleuze is easily one of the best readers of the history of philosophy that one can come across. Best of all, they're free and readily accessible:

https://www.webdeleuze.com/sommaire

Will read the Riemann essay over the weekend.
• 2.2k

You can start, I have other things to do.
• 3.6k
The lectures are alot less tightly constructed than his monographs, in that you can really see that they're geared towards students in his class studying them as if for the first time. He really tries to get across the excitement and innovation that each philosopher brings to the table, and although they broach similar themes to the books, they're alot more forgiving in their approach. It'd say it's similar ground covered in a very different way.
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