Affect Theory: One or Two Types?

Affect Theory [AT] is a fairly recent, interdisciplinary field which combines resources from queer theory, neuroscience, political theory, philosophy, and psychoanalysis. Its most basic proposal is that things, especially systems of oppression, ought to be analysed in terms of affects. What ‘affect’ means is a contentious topic of discussion which I will return to in…More

‘Debate Culture’ in Philosophy

There are many features of philosophical practice which lead to undue antagonism in the field. In the first instance, one needn’t be at all a good person to be a philosopher. Not only this, but the current state of the field encourages aggressive and dismissive people to enter into it. I have been in advanced…More

Miyazaki: Love as Hate

The visionary Japanese filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki has had an esteemed artistic career, punctuated by several major artistic successes, from 2001’s Spirited Away to his 2013 The Wind Rises. His films are highly praised among fans for their use of colours and the refusal of stereotypes treacherous to the real world. Body types and personalities of…More

Is ‘History of Philosophy’ still Philosophy?

A couple of months ago, I sat in a café with a friend discussing an often-reiterated complaint against the broadly hegemonic ‘analytic’ tradition of contemporary philosophy. So this objection goes, the value of analytic philosophy is severely hampered by its inability to engage satisfactorily with its historical existence. The analytic tradition’s failure in this respect…More

On Left-Wing Black Metal

It is not altogether uncommon for us on the left to be attracted beyond the cultural mainstream, seeing clearly the culture industry at work in the endless repetition of the same chord progressions in pop music, or yet more saccharine-sweet love songs. Many of us are drawn towards genres whose historical affiliations are attuned to…More

Spinoza and the Hard Problem of Consciousness

The Hard Problem of Consciousness [HPC] is largely regarded as the insuperable but fundamental problematic of modern philosophy of mind. HPC is simply the question of how mind and matter are related – most often, this is approached generatively. The broadly hegemonic paradigm of physicalism in analytic philosophy demands that we explain minds in terms…More

‘We Happy Few’s Feminist Phenomenology

CW: spoilers and discussions of trauma and abuse We Happy Few was released in 2016 by Compulsion Games, a small video-game studio whose work was, at the time, predominantly financed by Kickstarter funding. In the game, the player takes the role of three different characters: Arthur Hastings, Sally Boyle, and Ollie Starkey. Each character has…More

Althusser and Poulantzas: The Politics of a Friendship

The philosophical and political importance of Althusser’s autobiography The Future Lasts a Long Time has yet to be fully appreciated. Scattered throughout its pages are comments which, I believe, can lead to the formulation of a very interesting philosophy of love. However, right now I am more interested in the friendships he announces over the…More

Ultraleftism and Hegel’s ‘Beautiful Soul’

In the Phenomenology of Spirit, Hegel first introduces the concept of the ‘beautiful soul’. This concept, posed as the obverse of the equally faulty Kantian moral conception of the world, describes a certain movement of self-consciousness, specifically at the point at which it, unable to affirm the rightness or wrongness of the external world, retreats…More

The Function of Reason

I am nearly done reading Eagleton’s The Function of Critique, which provides an account of the history and development of literary criticism as a social institution. Despite the obvious dissimilarities between literary criticism and philosophy, many insights he provides are themselves applicable to philosophy (and especially to philosophical conceptions of reason), and his work makes…More