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#Accelerate: The Accelerationist Reader
Robin Mackay & Armen Avanessian (eds.)


#Accelerate: The Accelerationist Reader
Robin Mackay & Armen Avanessian (eds.)

Accelerationism is the name of a contemporary political heresy: the insistence that the only radical political response to capitalism is not to protest, disrupt, critique, or détourne it, but to accelerate and exacerbate its uprooting, alienating, decoding, abstractive tendencies.

The term was coined to designate a certain nihilistic alignment of theory with the excess and abandon of capitalist culture, and the associated performative aesthetic of texts that seek to become immanent to the very process of alienation. Developing at the dawn of contemporary neoliberal consensus, the uneasy status of this impulse, between subversion and acquiescence, between theoretical purchase and aesthetic enjoyment, constitutes the core problematic of accelerationism.

Since the 2013 publication of Williams’s and Srnicek’s #Accelerate: Manifesto for an Accelerationist Politics, the term has been adopted to name a set of new theoretical enterprises that aim to conceptualise non-capitalist futures outside of traditional marxist critiques and regressive, decelerative or restorative solutions.

#Accelerate presents a genealogy of accelerationism, tracking the impulse through 90s UK darkside cyberculture and the theory-fictions of Nick Land, Sadie Plant, Iain Grant, and anonymous units like CCRU and SWITCH, across the cultural underground of the 80s (rave, acid house, Terminator and Bladerunner) and back to its sources in delirious post-68 ferment, in texts whose searing nihilistic jouissance would later be disavowed by their authors and the marxist and academic establishment alike.

On either side of this largely unexplored central sequence, the book includes texts by Marx that call attention to his own ‘Prometheanism’ and key works from recent years document the recent extraordinary emergence of new accelerationisms steeled against the onslaughts of neoliberal capitalist realism, and retooled for the twenty-first century.

At the forefront of the energetic contemporary debate around this disputed, problematic term, #ACCELERATE activates a historical conversation about futurality, technology, politics, enjoyment and Kapital. This is a legacy shot through with contradictions, yet urgently galvanized today by the poverty of ‘reasonable’ contemporary political alternatives.

Contents

ANTICIPATIONS
Karl Marx – Fragment on Machines
Samuel Butler – The Book of The Machines
Nikolai Fyodorov – The Common Task
Thorstein Veblen – The Machine Process and the Natural Decay of the Business Enterprise

FERMENT
Shulamith Firestone – On the Two Modes of Cultural History
Jacques Camatte – Decline of the Capitalist Mode of Production or Decline of Humanity?
Gilles Deleuze + Félix Guattari – The Civilized Capitalist Machine
Jean-François Lyotard – Energumen Capitalism
Gilles Lipovetsky – Power of Repetition
JG Ballard – Fictions of All Kinds

CYBERCULTURE
Nick Land – Circuitries
Nick Land + Sadie Plant – Cyberpositive
Iain Hamilton Grant – LA 2019: Demopathy and Xenogenesis
CCRU – Cybernetic Culture
CCRU – Swarmachines

ACCELERATION
Mark Fisher – Terminator vs Avatar
Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams – #Accelerate: Manifesto for an Accelerationist Politics
Antonio Negri – Reflections on the Manifesto
Tiziana Terranova – Red Stack Attack!
Luciana Parisi – Automated Architecture
Patricia Reed – Seven Prescriptions for Accelerationism
Reza Negarestani – The Labour of the Inhuman (Extended Mix)
Benedict Singleton – Maximum Jailbreak (Extended Mix)
Ray Brassier – Prometheanism and its Critics
Nick Land – Teloplexy: Notes on Acceleration
Diann Bauer – 4xAccelerationisms

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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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