Thursday, December 6, 2012

December Meeting (Bubbles)

Bubbles: Spheres I
by Peter Sloterdijk

The third meeting of MATCH was held at the beginning of December to accommodate the tight schedules of those presenting and attending the meeting who were busy traveling, writing, and grading papers at the end of term. Peter Sloterdijk's book Bubbles, the first in a three-part series, was chosen on the recommendation of peers and the promotion of actor-network and science studies theorist, Bruno Latour, whose blurb for the book reads:

"It's about time that the English-speaking world begin to appreciate what is, without question, the most important work in philosophy of nature to appear since the irruption of the ecological crisis at the forefront of our consciousness and political order. Many naturalists, activists, political scientists, and ecologists have been nibbling at the notion of nature. But Peter Sloterdijk, in this first volume of his giant trilogy, goes much further and deeper since he renews what it is to be thrown 'in' the world by totally renewing what it means to talk about the natural and social sciences as well as the humanities. It is only if we profit from Sloterdijk's infectious concept of 'envelopes' and 'spheres' that we might at last begin to prepare ourselves for living with and in Gaia instead of against and out of her."

With a work covering so many different veins of the group's interests, it is reasonable that one dominant vein that connected them all for us was his literary style of writing. Sloterdijk freely employs metaphor, mythology and affective anecdotes which he creates as much as deploys towards creating a sense as well as a sensibility through his work. The conceit of much German phenomenology was been though through in this work and perhaps come out the other-side, looking via but also beyond the scope of human sensations to understand a broad and mysterious ecology that folds in, out, and across us.