I am not trying to claim that everyone should be interested in the niceties of the debate that has unfolded (although, if they are, the writings of Graham Harman or Isabelle Stengers are a good place to start, as are collections like Bryant, Srnicek, and Harmans’s The Speculative Turn). Rather, I want to use it as an example of a recent development in how academe communicates with itself. For one thing that I have found really interesting about the turn to speculative realism is that is has clearly been fuelled by online communities which have turned above all to blogs as an important means of swapping material, revealing first thoughts, and making revisions. I doubt that the growth of speculative realism would have been so insistent without these communities scattered all over the world, or so rapid.
Archive for the ‘speculative realism’ Category
Christopher Kullenberg’s ANT-ish reading of Harman’s The Quadruple Object.
Graham Harman’s new book, Quentin Meillassoux: Philosophy in the Making, is now available on The Book Depository website. My experience with The Book Depository suggests that this is probably a limited amount of copies, and once they sell out they’ll go back to pre-order. The Book Depository (recently bought by Amazon) ships free worldwide.
Update: Well, I see it had already sold out within a couple of hours. So that was that… Oh, wait. The hardback is still there.
Quentin Meillassoux has been described as the most rapidly prominent French philosopher in the Anglophone world since Jacques Derrida in the 1960′s. With the publication of After Finitude (2006), this daring protege of Alain Badiou became one of the world’s most visible younger thinkers. In this book, his fellow Speculative Realist, Graham Harman, assesses Meillassoux’s publications in English so far. Also included are an insightful interview with Meillassoux and first-time translations of excerpts from L’Inexistence divine (The Divine Inexistence), his famous but still unpublished major book.
Quentin Meillassoux’s entry into the philosophical scene marks the beginning of a new epoch: the end of the transcendental approach and the return to realist ontology. Harman’s beautifully written and argued book provides not just an introduction to Meillassoux, but much more: one authentic philosopher writing about another – a rare true encounter. It is not only for those who want to understand Meillassoux, but also for those who want to witness a radical shift in the entire field of philosophy. It is a book that will shake the very foundations of your world!
- Moves objects (and sometimes even subjects) with ease.
- Has been designed to hold and support a large variety of objects.
- Has an unlimited uplifting capacity.
- Clings to any type of surface thanks to its unique vicarious technology (patent pending).
- This makes it ideal for metaphysical speculation and heavy lifting.
- Available in lightweight aluminium, paperback or Kindle edition.
Update [22:00, 4-Jul-11]: I noticed that The Quadruple Object flickers in an out of existence during the day on The Book Depository website. For a few hours it was on sale today, then it went back to pre-order. So it’s worth checking again, if it’s not available in the first instance.
It seems that Graham Harman‘s The Quadruple Object has been released early by Amazon USA (but I couldn’t find it in the UK yet, despite the fact that it’s been published by a British publisher). There were 14 copies available when I last checked. I wonder why Amazon displays stock levels in some cases, but not in others. Perhaps they don’t display it until the stock level dips below a certain level? In any case, no stocks level displayed for The Prince and the Wolf, which is now also available on Amazon USA.
In this book the metaphysical system of Graham Harman is presented in lucid form, aided by helpful diagrams. In Chapter 1, Harman gives his most forceful critique to date of philosophies that reject objects as a primary reality. All such rejections are tainted by either an undermining or overmining approach to objects. In Chapters 2 and 3, he reviews his concepts of sensual and real objects. In the process, he attacks the prestige normally granted to philosophies of human access, which Harman links for the first time to the already discredited Meno’s Paradox. In Chapters 4 through 7, Harman brings the reader up to speed on his interpretation of Heidegger, which culminates in a fourfold structure of objects linked by indirect causation. In Chapter 8, he speculates on the implications of this theory for the debate over panpsychism, which Harman both embraces and rejects. In Chapters 9 and 10, he introduces the term ontography as the study of the different possible permutations of objects and qualities, which he simplifies with easily remembered terminology drawn from standard playing cards.
In this book we again encounter Harman’s voice and the extraordinary force of his theses. Starting from an initial simplicity, they ultimately attain a degree of complexity and fascinating depth— but always step by step, in such a way that the reader is never distracted.
Quentin Meillassoux, École normale supérieure
Harman’s style often evokes that of a William James merged with the spirit of H.P. Lovecraft.
Olivier Surel, Université Paris I – Panthéon-Sorbonne
The transcript of the 5 February 2008 debate between Bruno Latour and Graham Harman at the LSE has now been released in book form in the UK and some other European countries, under the title: The Prince and the Wolf: Latour and Harman at the LSE. Here is the Amazon UK link, but overseas readers might also be interested in the free worldwide delivery service of The Book Depository. There are also some retailers on eBay that might be willing to ship further afield. The book has been published by Zero Books, an imprint of John Hunt Publishing Ltd.
Update [2-Jul-11]: I see Amazon UK have underestimated the demand for this book (tsk, tsk!) and now they’ve sold out and are back to pre-ordering. So here are a few other UK retailers, besides the aforementioned ones: WH Smith, Blackwell’s, and Tesco. If you’re based overseas, one good way to find a retailer might be to use the “Shopping” comparison feature in the main Google page of your country (if there is one). But chances are that retailers in other countries at this point are still getting their copies shipped from a UK wholesaler, in which case The Book Depository or eBay might still be quicker.
Update [15-Jul-11] There is now also an EPUB-DRM eBook version.
The Prince and the Wolf contains the transcript of a debate which took place on 5th February 2008 at the London School of Economics (LSE) between the prominent French sociologist, anthropologist, and philosopher Bruno Latour and the Cairo-based American philosopher Graham Harman. The occasion for the debate was the impending publication of Harman’s book, Prince of Networks: Bruno Latour and Metaphysics. During the discussion, Latour (the ‘Prince’) compared the professional philosophers who have pursued him over the years to a pack of wolves. The Prince and the Wolf is the story of what happens when the wolf catches up with the prince. Latour and Harman engage in brisk and witty conversation about questions that go to the heart of both metaphysics and research methodology: What are objects? How do they interact? And best how to study them?
Too often debates are sterile. Each participant lines up behind the other, each with their own point of view. All is on show but nothing much happens. This debate is different. Something happened.
Nigel Thrift, University of Warwick
This is an especially welcome book. It is rare that one has the opportunity to be a near eye witness to a constructive and intellectually generous exchange of provocative ideas-in-the-making. Graham Harman, Bruno Latour and the assembled audience put on a great show. The exchange is fresh, laced with good humor, and informative. There is much to be learned here about empirical metaphysics—and collegiality.
Michael Flower, Portland State University
Many crucial things get exposed and made explicit here. A key access point to the Latourian moment.
Fabian Muniesa, École des Mines de Paris
In celebration of the fact that the transcript of The Harman Review event at the LSE, organised by the ANTHEM Group in February 2008, is now available for pre-order in the UK (and shortly in the USA), under the title, The Prince and the Wolf: Latour and Harman at the LSE, let me post the back cover of the book here, especially as that is the one that is usually not visible in online book shops.
Since its first appearance at a London colloquium in 2007, the Speculative Realism movement has taken continental philosophy by storm. Opposing the formerly ubiquitous modern dogma that philosophy can speak only of the human-world relation rather than the world itself, Speculative Realism defends the autonomy of the world from human access, but in a spirit of imaginative audacity.