R. William Valliere | College of Arts

R. William Valliere

Philosophy
Email: 
rvallier@uoguelph.ca
Office: 
MacKinnon 328
Summary: 

 

Specialization:  Anarchism

Competence:  Political Philosophy,  History of Philosophy,  Continental Philosophy 

Interests:  Hierarchy,  Power,  Resistence,  Utopia

 

Education:

M.A., Philosophy, The New School for Social Research (2018)

M.A., Political Science, Lehigh University (2013)

B.A., Global Studies, Lehigh University (2012)

 

Overview:

I have three broad areas of interest: (1)  political philosophy,  (2)  the history of philosophy,  and (3)  Continental philosophy.

With regard to political  philosophy,  I read broadly,  but I focus on radical political thought:  Marxism,  democratic socialism,  syndicalism,  and especially anarchism.  I have other interests as well,  however, including queer theory,  cosmopolitanism,  liberalism,  governmentality,  theories of power,  kyriarchy,  electoralism,  and more.

The history of philosophy,  for me, covers a wide range of topics.  I enjoy reading about the genealogies of ideas generally,  as well as “pockets” of philosophical history,  such as Aristotelianism,  medieval Scholasticism,  20th century French philosophy ( phenomenology,  psychoanalysis,  existentialism,  structuralism,  and post-structuralism ),  American pragmatism,  and Japanese philosophy.  In addition,  I am fascinated by the analytic-continental divide,  and by efforts to bridge that gap.

Continental philosophy is a diverse field,  but generally covers thinkers and movements from the continent of Europe,  from about the year 1800 through to the present day.  Continental philosophy can also encompass thinkers and movements outside of Europe,  yet influenced by the forementioned.  Although Continental philosophers rarely agree,  they typically do share a number of common themes that make their work quite appealing.  These include  an opposition to scientism,  a dedication to historicism,  an emphasis on agency,  and a rumination on the nature and ends of philosophy itself. 

 

Current Research:

Although not frequently the subject of polite conversation —academic or otherwise— both classic and contemporary anarchist texts are rich in political and philosophical themes.  Kropotkin’s writings on the role of mutual aid as a factor in evolution,  He Zhen’s castigation of elite feminism (in 1907),  Goldman’s defense of homosexual love (in 1915),  Bookchin’s elaboration of capitalism’s ties to the ecological crisis,  and Chomsky’s cataloging the role of the mass media in manufacturing docile citizens display but a portion of the variety of topics to which anarchists have applied themselves.  Questions on human nature,  the just society,  the logic of the state,  and the essence of authority,  among others,  can be found on every page.

My primary interest is the intersection of anarchism with philosophy.  While anarchist works easily find a place in political philosophy more broadly,  anarchist themes can also be read in consonance with those of Hegelianism,  phenomenology,  existentialism,  pragmatism,  and post-structuralism.  The investigation of these potential crossroads,  unfortunately,  is given little attention in the academy.

I intend to focus my doctoral work on a philosophical investigation of hierarchy,  both the hierarchy of ideas ( which I feel is necessary ) and the hierarchy of persons ( which I feel is decidedly not ).  To what extent is the separation and ordering of ideas a constitutive quality of human thought?  If it is constitutive,  does the ordering of people follow inevitably from this? If it is not,  how,  and why,  do we go about valuating our values?  How are human beings ordered in contemporary society?  Where do these human strata come from?  What is the best way to analyze systems of domination?  What is the best way to challenge them?  My intention is to approach these questions by drawing from both philosophical and anarchist literature.

 

Presentations & Conferences:

Engaging Foucault  (University of Belgrade, Serbia)  December 2014 -  "The Biopolitics of Blood Donation"