4/9: Carpentry

Please post a question as a comment below. Make it a critique of Ian Bogost’s book or make it a comment on his ideas, but it’s important to think through your response in preparation for class time.



  1. In Bogost’s chapter on Carpentry: ‘Creating artifacts that do philosophy’, he quotes and agrees with Jared Diamond’s account on material history. “The major events and innovations of human progress are likely the outcome of material conditions, not the product of acute, individual genius”(87). However, is that really so? I beg to differ. Though, material conditions play a some percentage of major events and innovations, the majority of the credit lies with the innovator and his genius; his mind. The mind is the only credible source of creativity which would lead to new ideas and new creations; not material conditions.

  2. On pg. 124 it says, “If allure is ‘the separation between objects,’ then wonder is the separation between objects and allure itself. Wonder is a way objects orient.” What is the significance of this?

  3. Bogost uses the character Comic Book Guy from “The Simpsons” who criticizes and is nitpicky about nerd culture to compare people and the internet. Is everyone on the internet seeking faults first, only later to be enlightened? Is it true that if you want to find the right answer to a question online, that someone must first post the wrong answer, in order to get the right answer?

  4. On page 126 Bogost states, “In this sense, science and philosophy are alike in their dealings with wonder. For them, wonder is a void, the opening for a tunnel that leads somewhere more viable. It is a means.” What is an example that you can think of to portray what Bogost is saying?

  5. Bogort brings up an interesting point that “when we spend all of our time reading and writing words- or plotting to do so- we miss opportunities to visit the great outdoors” (90). It can be assumed that he meant other facets of life as well. Do you think that technology alleviates this problem or contributes to it?

  6. The comic book character stood out to me as well. Adding to Araceli’s question, has conversation for the sake of seeking truth evolved into a hierarchy of opinions and the “who gets the last laugh”? If so, do microblogs have the capacity for anything else?

  7. I find Kelsey’s question interesting. We have learned throughout the semester that technology, in a sense, rules our lives. We find this concept in many of the presentations that our class has discussed. Although I would have a difficult time without technology, I personally believe that technology keeps us from experiencing real life. In what ways does technology keep us from experiencing life?

  8. Everyone’s question reminded me of the following that Bogost writes, “For humanists, including philosophers and critics of all stripes, writing is literally the only way to scholarly productivity” (p. 88). Do you believe that this is applicable to our education? Do we only just focus on writings from different scholars? How is this relevant to our world of technology?

  9. Considering Jared Diamond’s comment, “the major events and innovations of human progress are the likely outcomes of material conditions, not the product of acute, individual genius.” (Page 87) What significance does this carry when thinking about one’s own talents and skills? or when considering the advances in technology as such, how does material conditions shape and influence media/technology?

  10. Most of this reading has gotten me thinking, how is technology deterring us from living too our fullest? One example from the reading is, “when we spend all of our time reading and writing words- or plotting to do so- we miss opportunities to visit the great outdoors” (90). If reading and writing effect the number of opportunities a person gets, technology must as well.

  11. On page 123, Bogost says, “Knowledge may intersect or surround ideas and objects, but it never permeates them”. How have his arguments supported this idea? Do you think that humans search for complete understanding limits us from seeing the bigger picture?

  12. What is the difference between worthless and worthwhile philosophy, and who decides it? (As alluded to on 110, “For too long, philosophers have spun waste like a goldfish’s sphincter, rather than spinning yarn like a charka.”)

  13. how are we to progress further in the categories of STEM? wat are some ideas that Bogost did not suggest that you think could work?

  14. Towards the end of ch. 5 Bogost states,”the return to realism in metaphysics is also a return to wonder, wonder unburdened by pretense or deception. Let’s leave rigor to the dead. Let’s trade furrows for gasps. Let’s rub our temples at one another no longer. Let’s go outside and dig in the dirt”. What are some specific examples Bogosts gives in treating objects as real?

  15. An interesting thing Bogost brings up is his talk about how scholarly written journals are usually just to validate someone’s intelligence or research on something. “The dodgy marketing of university presses and the massive costs of journals make written scholarships increasingly inaccessible even to scholars, and publications therefore serves as professional endorsement rather than as a process by which works are made public.” It seems that scholarly journals could be so important and accessible for everyone just because it’s been written by people who we presume to know what they are talking about. If this information was more accessible people wouldn’t have to rely on people’s opinions and ideas that have not been proven or challenged with testing and research. What’s the point of having these scholarly journals and databases when people who are interested in this information but with little money to expand more on scholarly written ideas?

  16. On page 87, Bogost says that “Jared Diamond gets it right in his account of material history: the major events and innovations of human progress are likely outcomes of material conditions, not the product of acute, individual genius.” Bogost talks about his interest in videogames being a result of circumstance in which he happens to live rather than some natural ability. Do you believe that your interests and passions are a result of the way, place, and style in which you were raised or did it just happen without explanation?

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