Zero Squared #137: On the Radical Empiricism of Rhetoric

Daniel Coffeen is the author of the Zero Books title “Reading the Way of Things” and a frequent guest on this podcast and many others including the Partially Examined Life.

In this episode we discuss his essay: “On the Radical Empiricism of Rhetoric.”

Here’s an excerpt:

A rhetorical reckoning riles many people up as it doesn’t try to ground itself or its going in anything outside itself — in a truth or axiom or universal claim. It is indifferent to such things except in as much as such things are arguments, things to reckon. And so rather than ever being tethered or even seeking a tether, the rhetorician begins to enjoy all the different ways different things can go. It reads multiple ways to reckon a puppy or ballet or chair. Rather than stake a single claim, she — our rhetorician — takes delight in the going of things, in the possible ways of things. Which can be infuriating to someone who’s adamant in a single belief. This is what ballet is!

Zero Squared #82: Reading the Way of Things

Daniel Coffeen is a rhetor and a philosopher — if by philosopher you mean somebody who plays with concepts and ideas. He formally taught at UC Berkeley and the SF Art Institute but now spends his time writing and consulting. Coffeen is a frequent guest to the Zero Squared podcast and his book Reading the Way of Things is out now from Zero Books.

A review of his book on Amazon sums his book up nicely:

Coffeen throws the act of reading into such a dizzying light that I can’t rightly say when I even began reading the book. Was it when it slid from the envelope, announcing itself in its bold, lime-green cover? In one sense yes, as that marked the beginning of the physical reading-event. But in another sense, a different reading started when I first heard Coffeen on the Partially Examined Life podcast, six months prior. And a different sense of reading began when I picked up Anti-Oedipus on a lark in Morningside Heights, New York, 17 months ago. Reading is an event, an interplay between text and reader, where both are always already in motion, hooking up to one another and creating new relations.

Starting next week we’ll be launching the Zero Books membership site which will include a member’s only weekly podcast tentatively titled Inside Zero Books, monthly workshops on critical theory and politics often set up around Zero Books titles, quarterly audiobooks, and, for a slightly higher monthly rate, an invitation only writing workshop.

In this episode you’ll hear the voice of Rick Roderick, the theme from the 70s television show Taxi, a clip from John Berger’s Ways of Seeing, and an excerpt from a speech from Maneul DeLanda.

Zero Squared #43: Talking to Coffeen

Daniel Coffeen is a rhetor and a philosopher — if by philosopher you mean somebody who plays with concepts and ideas. He formally taught at UC Berkeley and the SF Art Institute but now spends his time writing and consulting. Coffeen is a frequent guest to the Zero Squared podcast.

In a recent blog post entitled The Technology of Making Sense Coffeen wrote:

Sense making is not a natural thing per se. It is constructed in the same way that Deleuze and Guattari suggest that desire is constructed. There are what they call fluxes — emergent flows — that are cut and distributed by machines. The act of making sense by categorizing or knowing something is just such a machine. It’s a kind of technology that is taught in schools as just how we do things. Now, Bobby, can you put all the red blocks in the red bucket?

In this episode we discussed, among other things nominalism, Platonism, and philosophy in the academy. You’ll also hear the voice of the youtube star Numberphile as well as well as Michael Levy performing A Hurrian Cult Song from Ancient Ugarit on the lyre.

Zero Squared #33: A Weird Line of Flight?

Daniel Coffeen looks around for freedom in a world of networked conformity. He holds a PhD in Rhetoric from UC Berkeley where he taught adjunct for many years, but now Coffeen works independently, writing about contemporary art, film, language, Deleuze, perception, Uni, capitalism, emergent shapes, pleasure, new media, and tequila. He founded the once-exquisite ArtandCulture.com and makes money by naming products, writing copy, and branding companies.

In Coffeen’s recent blog post entitled In Praise of the Weird he writes:

Weird is surprising in that it neither goes with nor against the grain. It doesn’t try to break the mold; it casts new molds. Or, perhaps, doesn’t care about molds at all but rather enjoys meandering — the schizo stroll. Weird slices through discourse, categories, and common sense. It scrambles — not for the sake of scrambling but because it operates and lives in a world you cannot yet imagine.

In this episode you’ll hear clips from Looney Tunes cartoons, Adventure Time, Brian Eno’s Music for Film, the US version of The Office, Timothy Leary describing his mind mirror, a Facebook television advertisement, an instructional video for the internet circa 1992,and Rod Stewart’s 1969 hit Handbags and the Gladrags which is also the theme for the theme for the UK version of The Office.