Growing (and) Factions
Perhaps it’s the Lacanian in me that wishes to analyse the other-than-philosophical issues around Speculative Realism particularly in response to Mikhail’s discussion here. There is quite a bit said in the comments which I agree with being someone raised on Butler, Derrida and Foucault. But then, as someone who has come face to face with hard nosed Kantians there is also quite a few comments that fill me with disgust. Nick’s post here is also very informative.
As several recent discussions have shown factions seem to be forming within Speculative Realism which questions the very nature of the term. As Graham and Ray have pointed out repeatedly – SR is an umbrella term and not a school and the common theme centers on shared enemies more then shared interests. The question becomes one of SR’s bounds – are the rising factions within it bound together by anti-Kantian threads or do they escape SR altogether?
Maybe it is too earlier to tell but it seems that there are at least three groups coming to the surface:
Positive Non-Empirical Realists: This is a shoddy term but I think it describes what Nick is working on. The key term is relationality and one’s adherence to scientific realism which, it seems, has a somewhat problematic relationshi with object oriented philosophy particularly in terms of physical bodies and the non-empirical bounds of the object. PNER is Brassierian but not nihilistic – conforming to a particularly typology of nihilism.
Negative Non-Empirical Realists: This one is more imaginary but I believe speaks to the work at Splintering Bone Ashes. This is no doubt premature but SR’s relation to nihilism and what that nihilism is is what is at question. Alex’s take on politics seems to clearly articulate this difference.
The ramifications of the Laruellian Real – as the fractured One – is the most tenuous point between these last two posistions. The degree to which this Real can be said to a what intead of merely a that – rests most awkwardly on the issue of emergence. It is here that Iain Hamilton Grant’s work seems curiously neglected. The trouble here is that of ideality and whether Grant’s major touchstone Schelling escapes the bounds of the concept.
The most exciting aspect of SR is that it is widely opposed to current philosophy without limiting itself to being strictly contrarian as often seems to happen with deconstruction. To borrow from Latour – it seems SR manages to avoid being a meal of salt.
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