Lucretius I: An Ontology of Motion

Thomas Nail’s Lucretius I: An Ontology of Motion will be published in February of 2018 by Edinburgh University Press. Description below.

The most original and shocking interpretation of Lucretius in the last 40 years

Thomas Nail argues convincingly and systematically that Lucretius was not an atomist, but a thinker of kinetic flux. In doing so, he completely overthrows the interpretive foundations of modern scientific materialism, whose philosophical origins lie in the atomic reading of Lucretius’ immensely influential book De Rerum Natura.

This means that Lucretius was not the revolutionary harbinger of modern science as Greenblatt and others have argued; he was its greatest victim. Nail re-reads De Rerum Natura to offer us a new Lucretius–a Lucretius for today.



The Deleuze-Lucretius Encounter

Explores how Deleuze’s thought was shaped by Lucretian atomism – a formative but often-ignored influence from ancient philosophy More than any other 20th-century philosopher, Deleuze considers himself an apprentice to the history of philosophy. But scholarship has ignored one of the more formative influences on Deleuze: Lucretian atomism.

Source: The Deleuze-Lucretius Encounter

“The Oaks and I” – Walt Whitman

Sept. 5, ’77.—I WRITE this, 11 A. M., shelter’d under a dense oak by the bank, where I have taken refuge from a sudden rain. I came down here, (we had sulky drizzles all the morning, but an hour ago a lull,) for the before-mention’d daily and simple exercise I am fond of—to pull on that young hickory sapling out there—to sway and yield to its tough-limber upright stem—haply to get into my old sinews some of its elastic fibre and clear sap. I stand on the turf and take these health-pulls moderately and at intervals for nearly an hour, inhaling great draughts of fresh air. Wandering by the creek, I have three or four naturally favorable spots where I rest—besides a chair I lug with me and use for more deliberate occasions. At other spots convenient I have selected, besides the hickory just named, strong and limber boughs of beech or holly, in easy-reaching distance, for my natural gymnasia, for arms, chest, trunk-muscles. I can soon feel the sap and sinew rising through me, like mercury to heat. I hold on boughs or slender trees caressingly there in the sun and shade, wrestle with their innocent stalwartness—and know the virtue thereof passes from them into me. (Or may-be we interchange—may-be the trees are more aware of it all than I ever thought.) But now pleasantly imprison’d here under the big oak—the rain dripping, and the sky cover’d with leaden clouds—nothing but the pond on one side, and the other a spread of grass, spotted with the milky blossoms of the wild carrot—the sound of an axe wielded at some distant wood-pile—yet in this dull scene, (as most folks would call it,) why am I so (almost) happy here and alone? Why would any intrusion, even from people I like, spoil the charm? But am I alone? Doubtless there comes a time—perhaps it has come to me—when one feels through his whole being, and pronouncedly the emotional part, that identity between himself subjectively and Nature objectively which Schelling and Fichte are so fond of pressing. How it is I know not, but I often realize a presence here—in clear moods I am certain of it, and neither chemistry nor reasoning nor esthetics will give the least explanation. All the past two summers it has been strengthening and nourishing my sick body and soul, as never before. Thanks, invisible physician, for thy silent delicious medicine, thy day and night, thy waters and thy airs, the banks, the grass, the trees, and e’en the weeds!

From Walt Whitman’s Specimen Days, 1882.

The university as an infinite game: Revitalising activism in the academy

Using the ‘infinite game’ metaphor to think about radical inclusion in the University:

Te Ipu Pakore: The Broken Vessel

An article by Niki Harré, Barbara M Grant, Kirsten Locke and myself on academic activism in the Australian Universities’ Review (September 2017):

We offer here a metaphor of the university as an ‘infinite game’ in which we bring to life insight, imagination, and radical inclusion; and resist the ‘finite games’ that can lead us astray. We suggest that keeping the infinite game alive within universities is a much-needed form of academic activism. We offer four vignettes that explore this further: our responsibility to be ‘critic and conscience of society’ and how that responsibility must also turn inwards onto our own institution, the dilemmas of being a woman with leadership responsibilities in an institution that proudly shows off its ‘top girls’, the opportunities we have as teachers to ‘teach the university’ and be taught by our students, and the contradictions we face as activist scholars in our relentlessly audited research personas. We…

View original post 20 more words

Full Access: “Imagining Foucault. On the digital subject and ‘visual citizenship'”

One of the most exciting features in Foucault’s work is his analytics of power in terms of forms of visibility. It allows for a reflection on the conditions of seeing and thinking, thus triggering a seemingly paradoxical move: locating the limits of our perspectives entails simultaneously transgressing these limits. In a way, we decipher our own blind spot. Approaching Discipline and Punish through this perspective brings us to identify the digital subject as a characteristic figure of our time. In contrast to its disciplinarian counterpart, it appears to be an active, though not necessarily political subject. The notion of visual citizenship will help us to go a step further and figure out what it could mean to challenge today’s surveilling gaze.

Link: Imagining Foucault. On the digital subject and “visual citizenship”

New book: The Quantified Self in Precarity: Work, Technology and What Counts

Forthcoming book from Phoebe Moore:


My next book is about to come out. Published by Routledge, this is the summation of about four years of work I have been doing on the quantified self at work. The Quantified Self in Precarity: Work, Technology and What Counts is the state of the art text on how technology and the use of technology for management and self-management changes the ‘quantified’, precarious workplace today.

Humans are accustomed to being tool bearers, but what happens when machines become tool bearers, where the tool is seemingly ever more precise in its calculation about human labour via the use of big data and people analytics by managements? Data, as quantified output, is treated as a neutral arbiter and judge, and is being prioritised over qualitative judgements in ‘agile’ key performance indicator management systems and digitalised client based relationships. From insecure ‘gig’ work to workplace health and wellness initiatives in office work…

View original post 1,335 more words

Sloterdijk on autonomous fantasies



“As soon as one concedes the self-immunizing, individual-space-creating purpose of ‘originality,’ or rather of micromanic competency (extending to kitsch and delirium), the constitutive avoidance of reality evident in most human utterances, even a certain degree of hallucination, can be taken as indicating the successful installation of individuals and small groups in their own self-will. Those who are original wear self-woven garments.” (emphasis mine)

– Sloterdijk, Foams. Spheres III. p. 240

Knausgaard signed books ebay auction, mask included


I was searching for an English translation of a Karl Ove Knausgaard novel last week when I stumbled across this auction for a set of his My Struggle autobiographical series, Books 1-5, signed no less.

My Struggle Books 1-5 by Karl Ove Knausgaard (Signed)

It also includes a “life-sized” image of his head. It’s basically a picture of him cut out and glued on a popsicle stick:


The seller states:”The winner will receive a life-size ‘Karl Ove Knausgaard’ mask provided at the pre-publication [of Book 5] event in London – a great collector’s item!”

Then: “I am happy to provide pictures of the signing to the winning bidder.”

The whole thing sounds kind of bizarre to me, especially because Knausgaard is a famous introvert.

I’m tempted to bid.