Saturday, March 30, 2013

more on internal and external relations

Charles Hartshorne
Moderation in metaphysics seems key. A great passage from an article which I'll link below: "Hartshorne, Metaphysics, and the Law of Moderation" by Dan Dombrowski.

From this insight, however, defenders of external relations like Russell show no more hesitation than Leibnizians regarding the acceptance of symmetrical relations. If events in nature are mutually independent, then nature is analogous to a chaos of mutually independent propositions (CSPM 83). The defender of asymmetry (who views a present person as internally related to his past but as externally related to his future) finds it comical to see Russell attacking rationalists like Bradley and Hegel because they had little or no use for anything but internal relations. And it is equally comical to see partisans of purely internal relations like Bradley or Blanshard trying to refute Hume, James, or Russell (CSPM 96).

One defect in the theory of purely external relations is that we do in fact usually talk as though events depend on what happens before but not on what happens afterwards; we do talk as though asymmetry is the case. This in itself does not refute a Hume or a Russell, but it should lead defenders of purely external relations to wonder if believing in events as dependent both ways (i.e., present dependent on past and present dependent on future) is necessarily worse than believing in events as independent both ways (CSPM 147, 213). There is also the familiar difficulty of preserving moral responsibility for one's past actions if one is not internally related in some way to those actions.

Consider the following clever and, I think, devastating example from Hartshorne:

One may parody the prejudice of symmetry as follows: Suppose a carpenter were to insist that if hinges on one side of a door are good, hinges on both sides would be better. So he hangs a door by hinging it on both sides, and it then appears that the hinges cannot function, so that the door is not a door but a wall. "We'll fix that," says another carpenter, and removes all the hinges. So now the door is again not a door, but a board lying on the floor. This is how I see the famous controversy about internal and external relations. The first carpenter is Spinoza, Bradley, Royce, or Blanshard; the second carpenter is Hume, Russell, Von Wright, Ayer, or R. B. Perry. (CSPM 216)
More complications set in when it is realized that a symmetrical theory of purely internal relations leads, as Hegel and Bradley realized, to monism, whereas a symmetrical theory of purely external relations leads, as Russell realized, to a radical pluralism. Russell's mistake was in assuming that one had to beeither an absolute monist or an absolute pluralist and that one could not benefit from the strengths of internal and external relations (CSPM 216). Defense of purely internal relations leads to the erroneous conclusion that we can only expect what laws governing the internal relations will allow, and the view which emphasized purely external relations should lead to the conclusion that at each moment anything could conceivably happen next (LP 174). Speaking of Perry, James, and Russell, the following astute observation is made by Hartshorne:

The combination of extreme causal determinism and extreme pluralism (lack of any internal relations connecting the constituents of reality) repeated the most bizarre feature of Hume's philosophy. The combination violently connects and violently disconnects the constituents of reality. (CAP 156)

are all relations internal?

Charles Hartshorne
To claim that either all relations are external or internal is a dispute begging the larger and more far reaching question of whether one is committed to ontological monism or pluralism.  In both cases one may claim that there are no relations at all: logically all is truly ONE (so relations are a matter of appearance only and do not truly exist), or, one may claim that a MANY is absolutely disjointed where each absolute individual has zero degree of relation to the next (so there are only discrete entities that do not relate at all, where again relations must be a matter of appearance).

If relations are admitted, pluralism may state that things relate only externally or only internally, or dropping the necessary condition some combination of both.  Monism might state that there are no discreta at all, but only "modulations" of a ONE whose internal relation is simply the ONE to itself, and thus external relations are not.  On the other hand, I do not think monism could logically opt for external relations only, as if there is only ONE then that self-same identity would have no other to relate to (some "other" to stand in as the exterior of the pair).

For a radical pluralism that denies internal relations the main problem seems to be that self-same "essential" identity suffers (where each thing is so internally related so as to be "it" and not some other).  If a thing relates to itself so as to be that same thing through time then the internal relation must hold at some minimum.  If external relations are denied on the other hand, then the problem is quite different.  Communication between any two distinct entities begs a form of relation that cedes into the internal from an external point (which would mean that there could not be "only" external relations for the radical pluralist).  If the communication is taken up into a new third item, then we must question in what sense the first two items were what they were as self-same identities without begging infinite regress or without begging the supposed absolute nature of partitioned individualities.  With the abolition of external relations, then, we cannot account for any real communication between any two things, let alone for how any two distinct items relate their self-same identity to each other.

Several qualifications are in demand here.  a.) there is a difference between intrinsic relations and intrinsic properties or dispositions, b.) there may be properties or dispositions which are themselves fully relational both internal and external (only being a matter of relation to the self, only relating to others, or to both self and others).  For a detailed break-down of one's options, G.E. Moore's famous paper "External and Internal Relations" (1919) is a good place to start, or this paper: "All Relations are Internal."

Solution: Asymmetrical Relations
Hartshorne defends asymmetrical relations and temporalizes external relations.  He ascribes "the past" to all internal relations.  In my judgment, this solves many of the problems presented above.

All external relations are to "contemporaries and the future."  To be a discrete entity is to possess internal relations for the requirement of self-same identity (as possessing that specific past for that specific individual).  On the other hand, that entity, like all others, relates to its future, as a matter of external relation.  Internally, however, as an intrinsic feature of that thing, it must be able to relate to that specific future.  In this way there is one form of relation that "exhausts" discreta (even in some form of negation): temporality.  Temporality and change "exhaust" the notion of what any discrete item "can be" in the sense that it is necessarily a part of its self-same identity as a condition for that identity.  For those discreta which are "eternal" temporality must be negated so that the description "eternal" meaningfully applies.

Note: In a related personal correspondence, good friend Jason Hills of immanent transcedence blog relates this temporality to a starting point for transcendence (what in my Peirce book I've referred to as "lateral transcedence"), where Jason (rightly, in my opinion) states that he attempts to think this becoming "laterally" or "sideways."  This is deeply Heideggerean and it has dawned on me that Jason and I both included Heidegger in our dissertations alongside American figures taking up at least in part the theme of temporality and transcendence (he dealt with Dewey, I dealt with Peirce).  Jason also made the interesting remark that internal relations - if all relations are internal save for change or temporal becoming ,which would be contemporary and future, make for immanence.  Then the external relation would be the beginning point for transcendence as a future-oriented form of relation, one that is fully natural and "along side" or on the same plane as the internal and immanent.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Brassier "Nominalism, Naturalism, and Materialism" (MP3)

Ray Brassier (AUB) presents "Nominalism, Naturalism, and Materialism" from the Philosophy of Nature and Naturalism SeriesUniversity of West England, Bristol UK - February 2013.  (MP3 HERE)

Some thoughts:

A minor but revealing part of the talk is that Brassier divulges how his interest, through Sellars, is in process and not objects (around 22:00 minute).   This is a direct consequence of rejecting the myth of the given. 

“The category of objects must be dispensed with” (48:00). 

More important though is Brassier’s emphasis on the indispensability of the manifest image as a “cognitive achievement” within Sellarsian metaphysics – it is what gives one leverage so as to enter the physical order. 

Practices anchor one to an extraconceptual order, so this is why the rejection of the myth of the given does not lead one to suppose that reality is just a linguistic construct (traditional nominalism) but rather to suppose that language (as a practice) is embedded in non-linguistic reality.  This is Sellars’ pragmatism and what places Brassier in a unique way next to Hegel.

“Naturalism and materialism are not equivalent.”  Brassier's naturalism is capacious.  Processes, though without meaning, are robust.

 Linguistic function is rooted in inorganic as well as organic function.  Function is distinct from meaning.  “Names are part of the natural order but only insofar as they are meaningless.”  Emphasis is on the sensate and insensate function which establishes propositional form.

Function (activity or practice) is where the conceptual order and real order interlock.

Overall impressions:

Brassier moves ever more close to two traditions with which I am familiar and endorse: pragmatism and philosophical naturalism.

Insofar as he emphasizes function and process he also moves tangentially to Iain Grant. 

I am curious to see if Brassier would take up the theme of natural semiotics.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

existential graphs

Because I am considering to include this in my upcoming fall 2013 Honors Logic course...

Monday, March 18, 2013

cold wave

HT good friend Kevin / Regress magazine for these...

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Nuori Voima special issue on speculative realism, now available

Table of contents HERE, where you'll find articles from the likes of Brassier and Meillassoux - and an introductory essay by yours truly.  Editor's introduction can be read HERE.

Also, I randomly found Nick Land translated in Finnish, HERE.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

the ruthlessness of metaphysics: thoughts on (dark) vitalism

Philosophies of "life," "vitality," "creation," "experience," and so forth have been a hot topic of discussion lately, largely in the context of critique (and I am generally in agreement with these critiques, drawing from Corrington's brand of naturalism which refuses to "sugar coat" creative activity as some form of power conducive to strictly human interests or which is somehow solely life-affirming rather than fitting into a more capacious and indifferent metaphysical perspective).  This is not to say, however, that philosophers such as Whitehead, Deleuze, or Bergson (and their respective emphases upon creativity) are unimportant.  We just should be wary of ascribing a specifically positive moral component to grounds and powers, creative activity, negation, and so forth. 

Partially responsible for these "vitalist" concepts reappearing - in addition to the fact that they are hallmarks of life-affirming immanentisms with corresponding "flat ontologies" - has been Latour's use of the concept of "creation" in his Gifford Lectures.  As well, creation and creativity are central themes in process philosophy, notably in Whitehead, but also others, where contemporary "vital materialists" or "neo-vitalists" have been making use of these themes.

In the same camp of "neo-vitalism" however is a line of thinking opposed to vibrancy (or positive creative addition) where emphasis is placed instead upon negation and death drive, or what I have titled "the vital negative."  Some lines of thought in this camp even bleed over into the philosophy of "accelerationism" and its themes involving death drive and the all out abnegation of life, an ethos of nihilism, and a hyper-Nietzscheanism.

The point of this post is to nod in a direction of productive tension that has been lurking underneath all of these philosophies all along.  It is no secret that Robert S. Corrington's "ecstatic naturalism" supplements most "sugar coated" forms of naturalism (essentially the history of American naturalism).  In a similar manner, Ben Woodard's "dark vitalism" may be a good substitute for weaker forms of vitalism where life has ceased to be a problematic.  Corrington and Woodard both offer an account of nature that reveals indifferent grounds and powers.

I would like to state that a tempered balance ought to be struck between the practice of metaphysics understood as cold indifference and clear eye to the world, to the "horror of life" as it is in its full gory details and metaphysics understood as warm embrace of positive genesis, where there is some outright moral component in that whatever is added to the universe is intrinsically good (and therefore the "horror" is only a problem if one understands it phenomenologically and ethically).  I would actually make a distinction between positive value and moral goodness, between negative value or negation and darkness as a concept of horror.

As I see it, this is not to say that the genesis of intensities, making for aesthetic contrasts of value, is not the expression of value itself.  This is also not to say that the world is inherently "meaningful" (as opposed to saying that the world possesses a power to transmit information, a natural semiotic, where "meaning" means transmitting information).  As Peirce said, ethics follows from aesthetics.  The aesthetic is of no specific moral value.  That comes later.

On the other hand, this is also not to say that we ought to "dance in decay" - that we ought to celebrate dark features of life in the sense that because the horrible is opposed to "warm forces of life" we may as well call ourselves "nihilists" and rally behind claims which state that an intrinsic lack of human centered meaning is good.  (Enlightened perhaps, but not "good.")  This is just as anthropomorphically deluded as it is to embrace "creation" as an in and of itself morally positive activity. 

Detachment and precision, universal abstraction, the cold practice of metaphysics, reflects a nature that is largely indifferent.  There is no capital 'N' "Nature" whose intentions are malignant or benign.

A cold, bleak, indiscriminatory metaphysics, a "ruthless metaphysics," is one that abstracts the general features of the world, speculating into territory which may exhibit no care for the human, for the living.  The fact that we may feel special that we are receiving the honor of getting wiped out - whether humans or the universe we live in - isn't actually so special given the fact that this is a world where value understood ethically, morally, is "after the fact." The objective intensity of the world is not without value in itself. Specific "moral value" is a matter of human feeling toward that intensity as a second order effect.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Duquesne Summer School: Schelling and Naturphilosophie with I. Grant & J. Wirth

​Pittsburgh Summer Symposium in Contemporary Philosophy 

Schelling and Naturphilosophie
Duquesne Department of Philosophy - Pittsburgh, PA
August 5-9, 2013
(optional participant's conference August 3-4)  

- Application Deadline: April 5, 2013 - 

Seminar Leaders:

Prof. Iain Hamilton Grant (University of the West of England, Bristol)​

Prof. Jason Wirth (Seattle University)

Course Description: 
In recent years there has been a surge of research on the work of the German philosopher F.W.J. Schelling, aided in the English-speaking world by a number of recent translations. This movement has included reexaminations of Schelling as a figure in the history of philosophy, as a source of influence on a number of twentieth century thinkers, and as a rich resource for addressing contemporary philosophical debates.

Schelling’s distinctive influence in the history of philosophy has been, in part, a product of his objective approach to transcendental idealism. In opposition to Fichte’s Wissenschaftslehre, which argued that the subject must be the fundamental ground for transcendental idealism, Schelling argued that an objective approach, taking the form of Naturphilosophie, is equally necessary for explaining the subject-object form of knowledge. Additionally, in his later works, Schelling’s concepts of freedom, existence, and the non-ground, would give some of the earliest critiques of Hegel’s absolute idealism, and would later influence thinkers like Kierkegaard, Marx, and Nietzsche. In the twentieth century, the impact of his work would continue. His Freiheitsschrift, for instance, forms an important part of the conceptual context within which Martin Heidegger developed his notions of event, ground, and the plight of the human being, operative in the 1930s and early 40s. Likewise, Schelling’s influence profoundly marked Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s later ontology of the flesh, his understanding of art, the unconscious, and the provocative task of doing a “psychoanalysis of Nature.”

More recently, Iain Hamilton Grant has mobilized Schellingian Naturphilosophie as a basis for recasting epistemological and metaphysical or ontological issues regarding the relation of physics and metaphysics, the nature of time, the nature of ground, and more broadly calling for a radical reevaluation of the post-Kantian philosophical framework dominant over much of the last two centuries. This project has established one of the major arms of the recent movement to rethink the realist/anti-realist debate. Likewise, Jason Wirth has revitalized Schellingian accounts of the Good, intellectual intuition, aesthetics, nature, and life in contemporary debates. He has also worked to put Schelling into conversation with a number of other recent thinkers, both Western and, notably, of the Japanese Kyoto School.

Other contemporary philosophers have also taken up Schelling in related manners. Markus Gabriel, for instance, has integrated Schelling’s notion of non-ground into his “domain ontology” and its treatment of the nature of the world (or more properly the non-existence of the world), mythology, evil, contingency, and necessity. Further, in the Lacanian meta-psychology of Slavoj Žižek and Adrian Johnston, Schelling’s philosophy has been used to give an account for the genesis of the transcendental subject out of natural and material substance conceived with reference to Trieb, or drive.

This summer symposium will bring together interested graduate students, postdoctoral students, and junior faculty  for a week of discussion, lecture, and close textual study concerning this important philosopher. The topic for the seminar is Schelling's Naturphilosophie. We will examine questions about nature, objectivity, matter, life, knowledge, and whether or not transcendental philosophy can be reconciled with the findings of the empirical sciences. All texts and discussion will be in English. 

We invite current graduate students, postdoctoral students, and junior faculty in philosophy or related disciplines to submit an application composed of a C.V. and a short letter of intent (500 words maximum) to The deadline for applications is April 5, 2013. The seminar will be limited to 20-30 participants. For more information as it becomes available, we have created a website for the symposium: 

Financial Information: 
There will be a $125 registration fee for each participant of the seminar. This money will be used for a conference dinner, celebration, and daily expenses such as coffee, etc. Please note that participants will be responsible for arranging their own housing as well as financing most of their own meals for the duration of the symposium. However, with respect to lodging, we expect a number of arrangements with graduate students will be available on a first come, first serve basis.

“What then is that secret bond which couples our mind to Nature, or that hidden organ through which Nature speaks to our mind or our mind to Nature?” (Ideas for a Philosophy of Nature)

“The concept of nature does not entail that there should also be an intelligence that is aware of it. Nature, it seems, would exist, even if there were nothing that was aware of it. Hence the problem can also be formulated thus: how does intelligence come to be added to nature, or how does nature come to be presented?” (System of Transcendental Idealism)

More information and website HERE.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

some possibilities for Whitehead's ethics

Laid out in Jude Jone's paper, "Provocative Expression: Transitions in and from Metaphysics in Whitehead's Later Work." Link HERE.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Babette Babich Hegel & 19th c. philosophy blog

Zizek's Hegel, and Brandom's

Ht AUFS.  InterCcECT is delighted to present a talk by Andrew Cutrofello, “Two Contemporary Hegelianisms,” Tuesday 19 March, 4pm, Newberry Library - link to event HERE 

 Robert Brandom’s and Slavoj Žižek’s appropriations of Hegel seem radically different. Brandom’s Hegelianism takes the form of a semantic holism that is essentially normative and pragmatic. Žižek’s is a version of dialectical materialism that is avowedly perverse and revolutionary in intention. Curiously, however, there are significant parallels in the two philosophers’ conceptions of Hegelian spirit. These are evidenced in their respective readings of T.S. Eliot’s essay, “Tradition and the Individual Talent.” Nevertheless, Brandom’s and Žižek’s Hegels ultimately diverge with respect to the nature of reason and commitment. In my talk I will try to sketch these differences by bringing into play another of Eliot’s essays from The Sacred Wood, namely, “Hamlet and His Problems.” In this essay, Eliot develops his famous conception of the objective correlative, explaining why it goes missing in Shakespeare’s play. Brandom and Žižek, I suggest, have fundamentally different conceptions of Hegel’s “missing” objective correlative.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Latour on nature and creation

Ht to Matt from footnotes to plato blog for alerting me to this beautiful passage. Right on, Latour.

...the belief in Creation as an alternative to Nature is a powerful way to make certain that the converting power of Incarnation is not limited to the inner fold of the psyches, and that it may extend finally to the whole cosmos. But only on the condition that Creation is not another name for Nature, distinguished from it only by the presence of over-animated agencies and packaged by Design. The Holy Spirit may ‘renew the face of the Earth’ but He is powerless when confronted with faceless Nature. It is because Gaia is such a secular figure, that it may allow the dynamic of Incarnation to resume its movement in a space freed from the limits of Nature. If we really‘know that the whole creation groans and travails in the pain of child birth until now,’ it means that it is not yet achieved and thus that it has to be composed, step by step, soul by soul, agency by agency. How strange is it that theologians fighting against paganism don’t realize that they are the ones that have built up, over centuries, a real Cult of Nature, that is, a search for an outside, immutable, universal, indisputable entity in contrast with the mutable, local, entangled, and disputable narrative which the rest of us, Earthbound, inhabit. By accusing ‘pagans’ of being close to Nature they have deprived themselves of millenaries of precautions, rituals, institutions, inventions that had much less to do with Nature than their own definition of transcendence. They have tried the impossible political theology of associating a people —the Church —with a place of no place, a Globe of God that has all the characteristics of Nature, what I have called Deus sive Naturasive Sphaera. To save the treasure of the Faith they have given it over to eternity. By wishing to migrate to this supernatural world, they did not notice that what was ‘left behind’ was not the sinful but everything for which, according to their own narrative, their own God had let his Son die, that is the Earth of His own Creation. They might have forgotten that another rendition of the word ‘ecology’ —to use Jurgen Moltmann’s beautifully invented etymology—could be oikos logos, that is, the ‘House of the Logos,’ this ‘house of the Father’ of which the Gospel of St John writes that it has ‘many mansions.’ I hope you have understood that to occupy the Earth, no, to be occupied and preoccupied by the Earth, we need to inhabit all of those mansions at once.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

.pdf of Latour's Gifford Lectures

Link HERE.  Thanks to Karen O., fellow processualist and ecophilospher!

Terrance Blake on MBK/Garcia published in Theoria magazine + an update on Galloway's book

Congrats Terry!  Appearing in what looks like an excellent online venue, Theoria.  Link HERE.  Terry runs the very good blog Agent Swarm which you should check out as well.

I also happened to find an article on the same site about Galloway's newish book, link HERE.

Monday, March 4, 2013

it's here

New friend Clayton Crockett has sent me his latest Deleuze book through Columbia UP.  It arrived in the mail today.

I paged through it and it looks incredibly clear and like an exciting read.  HERE is the amazon link.

Adrian Johnston interview at Cosmos & History

I would like to post a link to THIS fascinating interview with Adrian Johnston over at Cosmos & History.  I've been reading alot of Johnston's work recently, who I interpret, along with Brassier and Hagglund, as being a productive intellectual conversation partner when I read him, where indeed reading all three philosophers never ceases to provoke only my most carefully argued work.  That I take these philosophers as influential for me surprises nearly everyone that I mention this to, given some of their fundamental conclusions with respect to some of my own.  This makes me think that reading them is a productive affair, especially when one's own work is propelled in better directions because of the engagement.

Now, I am asked fairly regularly as to how my own naturalism or interest in German idealism and materialism is situated with respect to these figures, and reading the Johnston interview I could only find myself in agreement with nearly everything that Johnston was saying.  In that interview he nailed it.  Of course, for as much as a proximate thinker that I find him to be - as well as Brassier - there is one key point where we would disagree.  But again, even on that point they challenge my own thinking to respond with (what I hope is) as equally precise and careful argued response.  That key point of course is the question of theism.

Nevertheless, I have been following Brassier's naturalism and Johnston's own materialism, as well as both of their interests in Hegel and German idealism's relationship to materialism for several years now (since my last years of graduate school, so '07 or '08 or thereabouts).  I have followed their readings and critiques of Bergson and vitalism, and have attempted to take from those critiques points that I can usefully apply to a more honest and rigorous philosophy of nature as I see it (indeed crafting a philosophy of nature that is critical of process philosophies which "sugar coat" the various powers of creativity and neglect radical conceptions of autonomy and its relationship negativity.  However, this is also to say that metaphysics can be inspired by German idealism and process philosophy and can be shaped into new and more fruitful directions in the 21st century).  I have especially followed Johnston on Hegel and Brassier's call to take Hegel seriously with recourse to material and conceptual practices.

In addition to following Bergson through his arguments in effort to confront the problem of life, I am firmly convinced that such a journey is required of contemporary philosophers for dealing with Hegel.  One must follow through with the arguments even if the conclusions turn out to be different than what anyone expected.  On the other hand, I think that there are philosophers who should be brought into the conversation as well, in addition to Plato and Sellars, Hegel and Brandom, or Bergson and Whitehead.  For me, philosophers such as Peirce and Schelling can certainly shed light on the conversation, and in that respect (Schelling especially) I frequently return to someone like Ian Grant's work whose thought takes up the dynamic between materialism and realism, a "physics of the Idea" as it were, is first rate.

What is more, I think that a re-creation of a sort of conceptual materialist pragmatism could offer something substantial to the conversation as much as German idealism can (there are some strong connections between Hegel and pragmatism that can be worked out and drawn upon).

Sunday, March 3, 2013

a "neo-Whiteheadian naturalism"

I just happened to find this article and thought that it speaks directly to some points of issue that seem to continually come up between Deleuzians and Whiteheadians (or between those who say there is no need for Whitehead when one has Deleuze, and usually it's an atheist saying so, and those who have a more tolerant approach to Whitehead yet struggle to deal with the God question).

Tim Clark,“A Whiteheadian Chaosmos: Process Philosophyfrom a Deleuzean Perspective” Process Studies Vol. 28, Number 3-4 (Fall-Winter, 1999): 179-194, link HERE.

Robert Stern interview at 3:AM

Very good interview with Robert Stern over at 3:AM from last year, HERE.  Also check out Stern's Hegelian Metaphysics book, it is top notch and well worth the read.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The New Realists by Alexander Galloway

LES NOUVEAUX RÉALISTES (THE NEW REALISTS) by Alexander Galloway is a book that aims at giving a unified perspective on a group of 5 French thinkers (Catherine Malabou, Bernard Stiegler, Mehdi Belhaj Kacem, Quentin Meillassoux, et François Laruelle) who do not form a movement, but who have enough of a “family resemblance” with each other to allow them to be discussed together in a single book. The book thus contains 5 chapters, each of which deals with one of the 5 philosophers, plus a Preface, an Entracte, and a Postface, that give a more synthetic treatment.

The authors discussed form more of a constellation than a movement or a school, and they are related by their shared desire to inherit from the great preceding generation of French philosophers (Deleuze, Derrida, Foucault, Lyotard) and to engage critically with their common themes and their individual theses. The title is slightly deceptive as these thinkers are neither “new” (certain of them, for example Bernard Stiegler and François Laruelle have a published work spread out over more than two decades) nor necessarily “realists” (some of them, such as once again Stiegler and Laruelle are very critical of the classical philosophical vocabulary and have elaborated bodies of thought that cannot easily be classified in such traditional terms). Further, the book also contains an extended discussion of the philosophy of Alain Badiou, whose shadow looms over the whole book, as he comes in a certain sense “between” the two intellectual generations that Galloway thematises. Engaged in a critical dialogue with his vanished elders, Badiou has elaborated a philosophical system which serves often either as a positive model to be imitated or simply as a source of inspiration or rather as a negative model of what is to be avoided or to be criticised. He functions as a foil for the 5 thinkers discussed in Galloway’s book.
From Agent Swarm blog in another great post, HEREAgent Swarm is on a roll these days: just an awesome, awesome blog.  Definitely check out his lastest series of posts.  I've also posted some time back about Galloway's research into the new realists, HERE