Sequence Press, New York

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Object-Oriented Philosophy: The Noumenon’s New Clothes
by Peter Wolfendale

 

Object-Oriented Philosophy: The Noumenon’s New Clothes
Peter Wolfendale

Published by Urbanomic
October 2014
Postscript by Ray Brassier
Paperback 115x175mm, 430pp.
ISBN 978-0-9575295-9-5

How does the patience and rigour of philosophical explanation fare when confronted with an irrepressible desire to commune with the object and to escape the subjective perplexities of reference, meaning and sense?Moving beyond the hype and the inflated claims made for ‘Object-Oriented’ thought, Peter Wolfendale considers its emergence in the light of the intertwined legacies of twentieth-century analytic and Continental traditions.
Both a remarkably clear explication of the tenets of OOP and an acute critique of the movement’s ramifications for philosophy today, Object-Oriented Philosophy is a major engagement with one of the most prevalent trends in recent philosophy.

Object Oriented Ontology is the last chapter in the interminable saga of the struggle between realism and transcendentalism. It attempts to undo the transcendental turn and resuscitate the precritical notion of reality in which humans are not subjects but one among many actants. What Peter Wolfendale does in his detailed and forceful analysis is what Kant did to Swedenborg: to dispel the mist of vibrant (spiritualized) materiality. What Voltaire said about god should be repeated about this book: if it didn’t exist, we would have to invent it.
Slavoj Žižek

Contents
Preface
Introduction

1. The Lava That Dare Not Speak Its Name
1.1. Withdrawal
1.2. The Fourfold
1.3. Vicarious Causation

2. The Withdrawal Of Arguments
2.1. Tools, Knowledge, And Distinctness
2.2. Heidegger, Husserl, And Kripke
2.3. Occasionalism, Independence, And Supplementation

3. Objection-Oriented Philosophy
3.1. Sense And Sensuality
3.2. Qualities And Qualia
3.3. What Are Relations Anyway?
3.4. What Are Objects Anyway?: On Ontological Liberalism
3.5. What is Metaphysics Anyway?
3.6. What Does It All Mean?

4. Speculative Dystopia
4.1. The Spectre Of The Past
4.2. The Sins Of The Present
4.3. The Horrors Of The Future

5. Specious Realism

Ray Brassier
Postscript: Speculative Autopsy

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To Live and Think Like Pigs: The Incitement of Envy and Boredom in Market Democracies
by Gilles Châtelet

 
To Live and Think Like Pigs:
The Incitement of Envy and Boredom in Market Democracies
Gilles Châtelet

English Translation by Robin Mackay
Foreword by Alain Badiou

Gilles Châtelet’s scathing polemical tract opens at the end of the 70s, when the liberatory dreams of ‘68 are beginning to putrefy, giving rise to conditions more favourable to a new breed of self-deluding ‘nomads’ and voguish ‘gardeners of the creative’. Gulled by a ‘realism’ that reassures them that political struggle is for anachronistic losers, their allegiances began to slide inexorably toward the ‘revolutionary’ forces of the market’s invisible hand, and they join the celebrants of a new order governed by boredom, impotence and envy….

As might be expected of Châtelet—mathematician, philosopher, militant gay activist, political polemicist, praised by contemporaries such as Deleuze and Badiou for his singularly penetrating philosophical mind—this is no mere lament for a bygone age. To Live and Think Like Pigs is the story of how the perverted legacy of liberalism, allied with statistical control and media communication, sought to knead Marx’s ‘free peasant’ into a statistical ‘average man’—pliant raw material for the cybernetic sausage-machine of postmodernity.

Combining the incandescent wrath of the betrayed comrade with the acute discrimination of the mathematician-physicist, Châtelet proceeds to scrutinize the pseudoscientific alibis employed to naturalize ‘market democracy’. As he acerbically recounts, ‘chaos’, ‘emergence’, and the discourses of cybernetics and networks merely impart a futuristic sheen to Hobbesian ‘political arithmetic’ and nineteenth-century ‘social physics’—a tradition that places the individual at the center of its apolitical fairy-tales while stringently ignoring the inherently political process of individuation.

When first published in 1998, Châtelet’s book was a fierce revolt against the ‘winter years’ and a mordant theory-science-fiction of the future portended by the reign of Reagan-Thatcher-Mitterand. Today its diagnoses seem extraordinarily prescient: the ‘triple alliance’ between politics, economics and cybernetics; the contrast between the self-satisfied ‘nomadism’ of a global overclass and the cultivated herds of ‘neurolivestock’ whose brains labour dumbly in cybernetic pastures; the arrogance of the ‘knights of finance’; and the limitless complacency and petty envy of middle-class dupes haplessly in thrall to household gods and openly hostile to the pursuit of a freedom that might require patience or labour.

Mercantile empiricists and acrobat-intellectuals, fluid nomads and viscous losers, Robinsons on wheels, Turbo-Bécassines and Cyber-Gideons…Châtelet deploys a cast of grotesque ‘philosophical personae’ across a series of expertly-staged set-pieces: from Hobbes’s Leviathan to Wiener’s cybernetics; from the ecstasies of Parisian nightlife to the equilibrial dystopia of Singapore’s ‘yoghurt-maker’; from the mercantile empiricist for whom the state is a glorified watermelon-seller to the coy urbanite with a broken hairdryer; from the ‘petronomadic’ stasis of the traffic jam to the financier chasing the horizon of absolute volatility; from the demonization of cannabis to the fatuous celebration of ‘difference’.

To Live and Think Like Pigs is both an uproarious portrait of the evils of the new world order, and a technical manual for its innermost ideological workings. Châtelet’s diagnosis of the ‘neoliberal counter-reformation’ is a significant moment in French political philosophy worthy to stand alongside Deleuze’s ‘Control Society’ and Foucault’s ‘liberal governmentality’. His book is crucial reading for any future politics that wants to replace individualism with an understanding of individuation, libertarianism with liberation, liquidity with plasticity, and the statistical average with the singular exception. Its appearance in translation is an important new contribution to contemporary debate on neoliberalism, economics and capitalist subjectivation.

Gilles Châtelet (1944-1999) began his studies at the École Normale Supérieure de Fontenay-Saint-Cloud. During the late 1960s he was a member of an anti-Stalinist student faction of the French Communist Party. After 1968, a stay at UC Berkeley brought him into contact with key protagonists of the Beat Generation. He returned to France and joined the Front Homosexuel d’Action Révolutionnaire (FHAR), and befriended Roland Barthes, Daniel Guérin and Guy Hocquenghem. Meeting Michel Foucault was an important marker in the development of his political thinking; as was his friendship with Félix Guattari and Gilles Deleuze, who played a decisive role in renewing his passion for philosophy. He obtained his PhD in Pure Mathematics from the University of Paris XI in 1975, writing his thesis on differential topology. In 1979 he became Professor of Mathematics at the University of Paris VIII. Around this time he established a dialogue with René Thom that continued until his death. He was programme director at the Collège International de Philosophie from 1989 to 1995, during which period he published the important work Les Enjeux du Mobile: Mathématique, Physique, Philosophie. In 1994 he joined the Laboratoire Disciplinaire Pensée des Sciences, founded by Charles Alunni at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris. There, he had an active and influential role in the seminar, ‘Actuality, Potentiality and Virtuality’.

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From Decision to Heresy
by François Laruelle


From Decision to Heresy
François Laruelle

Edited by Robin Mackay
Translated by Taylor Adkins, Ray Brassier, Christopher Eby and Anthony Paul Smith

The question ‘what is non-philosophy?’ must be replaced by the question about what it can and cannot do. To ask what it can do is already to acknowledge that its capacities are not unlimited. This question is partly Spinozist: no-one knows what a body can do. It is partly Kantian: circumscribe philosophy’s illusory power, the power of reason or the faculties, and do not extend its sufficiency by way of another philosophy. It is also partly Marxist: how much of philosophy can be transformed through practice, how much of it can be withdrawn from its ‘ideological’ use? And finally, it is also partly Wittgensteinian: how can one limit philosophical language through its proper use?

But these apparent philosophical proximities and family resemblances are only valid up to a point. That point is called the real – determination-in-the-last-instance, unilateral duality, etc. – which is to say, all of non-philosophy in-person. In other words, these kinds of comparisons are devoid of meaning, or at best profoundly misleading, because non-philosophy is ‘performative’, its capacities being entirely those of an immanent practice rather than a programme.

This volume provides a collection of English translations of the writings of François Laruelle, one of the most creative and subversive, yet least well-known French philosophers working today.

For the past thirty years Laruelle has been setting out a rigorous theory for philosophy that offers a universal and abstract transcendental organon capable of conceiving the various philosophical accounts indifferent to their doctrines.

Laruelle has invented a totally new conceptual framework that transforms not only philosophical practice but even thought itself: In universalizing the theoretical conditions of philosophical theorising through his unique formal inventions, Laruelle develops a new form of thinking: one that initiates a transcendental and non-decisional theory for philosophical decision in a militant and heretical way.

From Decision to Heresy opens with an introduction based upon an in-depth interview with the author that traces the abiding concerns of his prolific output, from the origins of ‘non-philosophy’ to its evolution into what he now calls ‘non-standard philosophy.’ The volume closes with two Appendices: the first contains several of the author’s experimental texts, which have not previously appeared in English translation; the second is a transcript of an early intervention and discussion on Laruelle’s ‘transvaluation’ of Kant’s transcendental method.

François Laruelle, Professor Emeritus at the University of Paris X: Nanterre, is the author of more than twenty books, including Biography of the Ordinary Man, Theory of Strangers, Principles of Non-Philosophy, Future Christ, Struggle and Utopia at the End Times of Philosophy, Anti-Badiou, and Non-Standard Philosophy.

CONTENTS

Introduction: Laruelle Undivided
A Rigorous Science of Man
Towards a Science of Philosophical Decision
Revolution within the Limits of Science Alone
The Transcendental Method
The ‘Non-Philosophical’ Paradigm
What is Non-Philosophy?
Philosophy and Non-Philosophy
Non-Philosophy as Heresy
A Summary of Non-Philosophy
From The First to the Second Non-Philosophy
The Degrowth of Philosophy: Towards a Generic Ecology

Appendix I
Experimental Texts, Fictions, Hyperspeculation
Variations on a Theme by Heidegger
Leibniz Variations
Letter to Deleuze
Universe Black in the Human Foundations of Colour
What the One Sees in the One

Appendix II
Transvaluation of the Transcendental Method

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Synthetic Philosophy of Contemporary Mathematics
by Fernando Zalamea


Synthetic Philosophy of Contemporary Mathematics
Fernando Zalamea

Translated by Zachary Luke Fraser

Synthetic Philosophy of Contemporary Mathematics is a unique and unprecedented book, and a much needed one. Fernando Zalamea (Professor of Mathematics at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia) offers a synthetic perspective on the vast spectrum of contemporary mathematics, together with an analysis of the new philosophical problems originating therein. The book makes available to the inquisitive non-specialist the conceptual transformations and intellectual orientations of modern and contemporary mathematics, and their significance for speculative philosophical thought.

The first part of the text discusses the specificity of modern (1830-1950) and contemporary (1950 to the present) mathematics, and offers an extensive review of how philosophy of mathematics addressed it (or failed to). In the second part, thirteen detailed case studies examine the greatest creators in the field, compiling a map of the central advances accomplished in mathematics over the last half-century. Drawing on these concrete examples, the third part proposes some generic outlines for synthesis.

Zalamea’s book serves as a conceptual introduction to mathematical themes rarely discussed outside specialist circles, and as a critical lens by means of which today’s mathematics may aid us in the configuration of new cultural perspectives.

If analytic philosophy was forged in the fires of set theory and classical logic at the beginning of the twentieth century, then today, at the dawn of the twenty-first, and around the scaffolding of category theory and the logic of sheaves, it is time for a complementary, synthetic philosophy to be built.

This is a weighty and daring book. It proposes a new philosophy of mathematics, based on a detailed knowledge of the most recent work in advanced mathematics, and constructed in explicit contrast with the traditional analytical approach…this new synthetic and open-minded approach is no doubt worthy of attention, and philosophers who dare to make an effort will surely reap the reward.
Paloma Pérez-Ilzarbe
American Mathematical Society’s MathSciNet

Zalamea is clearly on the cutting edge of theorizing potential intersections between networks, math, and philosophy. Few thinkers are able to bring together insights from as diverse fields in such as exciting manner as Zalamea.
Christopher Vitale
Assistant Professor, Media Studies, Pratt Institute, NY

With high professional competence in mathematics and philosophy and written in masterful prose, Zalamea opens up a breathtaking insight into advanced contemporary mathematics by enlightening its magical power with the powerful paradigm of gestural dynamics as developed by Valéry, Merleau-Ponty and Châtelet.
Guerino Mazzola
Professor of Mathematical Music Theory and Creativity, School of Music, University of Minnesota

Contents
Introduction: Traditional Options for the Philosophy of Mathematics and Prospectus for this Essay

Part One: The General Environment of Contemporary Mathematics
Specificity of Modern and Contemporary Mathematics
Advanced Mathematics in Treatises on Mathematical Philosophy: A Bibliographical Report
Towards a Synthetic Philosophy of Contemporary Mathematics

Part Two: Case Studies
Grothendieck: Forms of High Mathematical Creativity
Eidal Mathematics: Serres, Langlands, Lawvere, Shelah
Quiddital Mathematics: Atiyah, Lax, Connes, Kontsevich
Archeal Mathematics: Freyd, Simpson, Zilber, Gromov

Part Three: Sketches of Synthesis
Fragments of a Transitory Ontology
Comparative Epistemology and Sheaving
Phenomenology of Mathematical Creativity
Mathematics and Cultural Circulation

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