Architectonics and Philosophy

Architectonics is defined by Immanuel Kant as 'the art of constructing systems'.  It must provide a preparatory account of knowledge (propaedeutic) and an organisation of all the disciplines of knowledge (organon of principles).  Building on my PhD research on Kant’s architectonic method I explore the role of architectonics in the history of philosophy: ancient thought (esp. Heraclitus, Parmenides, Plato, Aristotle); medieval thought (esp. Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas); rationalism (esp. Leibniz, Wolff); German Idealism (esp. Hegel, Schelling); twentieth century French thought (esp. Deleuze, Badiou).  I am also interested in making contributions to current debates in interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary thought (in the context of the information age, the increasing specialisation of knowledge and the bureaucratic organisation and management of the disciplines).

Recent work has included a consideration of the relation of architectonics to Deleuze and Guattari's work on a rhizomatic method in A Thousand Plateaus and their understanding of the relation of disciplines to chaos in What is Philosophy? This has been combined with close readings of Alain Badiou's key works in order to pursue the theme of architectonics in his notion of 'conditions' and his understanding of the role of philosophy in relation to these conditions and to mathematics in particular.  His architectonic opposes the fullness of being favoured by Deleuze, Aristotle and others in favour of a conception of the void or empty set as the unpresentable basis of being.

I am currently exploring the theory and practice of interdisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity. A key problem is the practical nature of these concepts and the potential for a theoretical account as developed by writers such as J. T. Klein and W. H. Newell. The development of notions of complexity and integration within the literature of interdisciplinary studies involves a critique of western epistemology that raises a number of questions. Is the charge of reductionism unavoidable for transcendental accounts of knowledge? Does systematic thought oppose the aims and values of integration and complexity? Is it possible for transdisciplinary approaches to avoid grounding their accounts in the methods and objects of particular disciplines?  


Transcendental Philosophy and Naturalism 

This project will explore naturalist critiques of transcendental philosophy from the Metacritique (Herder, Hamann) that responded to the publication of his Critique of Pure Reason to the recent challenge of Speculative Materialism/Realism (Meillassoux, Harman, Brassier) to transcendental philosophy.  This work builds upon my PhD thesis where I sought to engage with the debate over transcendental arguments in the analytic tradition (Strawson, Stroud, Stern, Cassam).  It also develops the collaborative work presented in the editorial introduction to Thinking Between Deleuze and Kant where Quentin Meillassoux's critical broadside against transcendental philosophy was examined.  In order to counter moves away from Kant in both philosophical naturalism and in debates over transcendental arguments I will explore the possibility of an externalised transcendental.  This will involve exploring the notion of a 'historical a priori' in the works of Deleuze and Foucault, and interrogating Deleuze and Guattari's work on animal life.  A further focus will be Nietzsche and the debate over his relation to transcendental philosophy.  Does the concern with sensation and force in Nietzsche's thought exclude the transcendental or externalise it?

Recent work has considered Deleuze's statement 'All the animals are Kantian' in his 1978 seminars on Kant's philosophy in order to show that it 'externalises' the transcendental and provides a fuller account of experience.  The many examples that Deleuze uses in these seminars culminate in a vision of animal life where the differences that individuate animals play a part in accounting for experience.  This work engages with Quentin Meillassoux's charge that transcendental philosophy has neglected 'the great outdoors' of pre-critical thought.

Philosophies of Social Space

My interest in this area arose from my work on Deleuze and Guattari's Anti-Oedipus and the account of social space this provides in the context of a 'system of flows and breaks'.  I aim to develop this work in relation to the works of Foucault, Ranciere and Badiou, and the psycho-geography movement in literature (particularly in the works of Iain Sinclair).  I will also engage further with the object of Deleuze and Guattari's critique in Anti-Oedipus: psychoanalysis and the Oedipus Complex.  The different accounts of Freud, Jung and Lacan, along with the recent vigorous defence of psychoanalysis by Slavoj Zizek, will come in for scrutiny. Also at stake are the relations between space and time in transcendental philosophy, especially in the wake of Peter Hallward's critique of the 'neglect' of space in favour of time in continental philosophy. The demands of a revolutionary praxis and the nature of the 'revolutionary situation' will be considered in the light of these conflicting philosophies of social space.

Recent work has explored the emphasis on the concrete in Deleuze's readings of Foucault and Kafka and considering how this provides a new understanding of the concrete and the possibilities it provides for 'burrowing' and 'escape'.  My current focus on Badiou's work will raise the issue of his concern with the void, considering its value in accounting for practice in comparison with the emphasis upon fullness and the 'becoming concrete' of philosophy in Deleuze's thought.

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