curso

Some recent courses
2014

Metaphysics and the anthropology of nature
Fifteen sessions at the University of Brasilia.
An examination of Descola’s book “Par delà nature et culture” in terms of some metaphysical issues to do with the government of the bodies, the materiality of substance and the site of difference. Contrasting modern naturalism (together with its neurophysiological super-naturalist and its cultural relativist variants) with animism, totemism and the varieties of analogism, the course considered the ontology that followed from different forms of identity and distinction to the non-human. Further, while considering the different ways humans engage in economic and ecological relations such as predation (and depredation), trade and gift-giving to the non-human, it examined the effect of the domestication of nature on ontological thinking.

Philosophy of organism as a monadology
Fifteen sessions at the University of Brasilia.
A reading of Whitehead’s “Process and reality” oriented by elements in Leibniz’ thought, specially what characterizes a monadology. The course focused on the metaphysics of prehensions and extensions proposed by the philosophy of organism, and how a genetic description of actual entities ought to precede a morphological one. The idea was to compare actual entities with monads in a paradigm of capture (as opposed to the paradigm of closure, to use Deleuze’s vocabulary in “Le Pli”). Some attention was given to the import of Locke for Whitehead’s conception of perception – as opposed both to Hume and to direct perception. I tried to show how Whitehead’s philosophy of organism brings together elements of both Locke (and Descartes) and the sort of monadological thinking inaugurated by Leibniz

The anthropology of the moderns as a method for ontography
Twelve sessions at the University of Veracruz at Xalapa.
Based on Latour’s “An enquête sur les modes d’existence”, the course was aimed at both philosophers and environment students (and also included social scientists, educators and physicists). We went through each of the 16 modes of existence described by Latour to consider the political and metaphysical consequences of his brand of existential pluralism. The central issue was the conflict between the current unexamined procedures of modernity on the one hand and the objectives of a sound form of political ecology where the non-human is invoked as a fellow in a community and thought as sharing the planet with humans.