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The Speculative Turn: Continental Materialism and Realism (Anamnesis) Paperback – 1 Jan 2011

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Product details

  • Paperback: 440 pages
  • Publisher: re.press (1 Jan. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0980668344
  • ISBN-13: 978-0980668346
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 2.3 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 254,263 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By M. Lynch on 19 Jan. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Contrary to the previous, and at the moment, only review of this book, I have to say that this anthology provides a rich amount of material and in particular some really good articles reviewing and arguing for and against Meillassoux's 'after finitude' - the book does kind of take it that readers would already have read Meillassoux's ground-breaking work (something the last reviewer cannot have done).
For this anthology, I would say that Ray Brassier's 'concepts and objects' essay is a master piece of clarity, as is Hagglund's essay, along with Hallward's. There is also a piece by Meillassoux himself.
There are a few essays i find genuinely baffling/way out (Laruelle).

This is largely a book focusing on Meillassoux's after finitude and if you have read and like this work, then you should get this.
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By Mr H. on 22 July 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
All good.
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2 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Ashtar Command on 23 May 2012
Format: Paperback
I haven't read this book, but I couldn't help commenting on it after reading the editorial review. Apparently, continental philosophy has finally discovered that - surprise - there actually is such a thing as a mind-independent outside world.

Guys, thanks for noticing. :D

This project is known as "speculative realism", "guerrilla ontology" or simply as post-post-post-modernism (I self-referentially made up the last term). I'm sure it's mildly interesting, but personally I'm going out to look at the sun, the trees and the blackbirds, yes?

Besides, I was scared off from reading this book by the title of Alberto Toscano's contribution, "Against Speculation, or, A Critique of the Critique of Critique: A Remark on Quentin Meillassoux's After Finitude (After Colletti)".

My sympathies for poor Colletti.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Solid roundup of a current strain of continental thought 5 Jun. 2012
By M. Nelson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This collection successfully does what it advertises, collecting various realist and materialist strains of contemporary Continental thought in an anthology, along with some engagement between the respective strains. Several of the essays here are good introductions to their authors' positions, for example Levi Bryant's article on his "onticology", and Slavoj Zizek's overview of his materialist re-reading of Hegel. There is some association with the recent Speculative Realist (SR) movement in Continental philosophy, but this collection is not any sort of SR manifesto, since the included authors come from a far more diverse set of backgrounds.

As for whether the content of the philosophy is good, with such a disparate collection it's hard to judge. I would think it nearly impossible for anyone honest to agree with or disagree with everything in this volume wholesale. There are better and worse essays, and I'd encourage anyone with an interest in this area to at least look through the table of contents and read those closer to their interests. The book is available open-access from the publisher, so that isn't hard to do.

As of writing this review, there are curiously two other Amazon reviews with diametrically opposite yet very general criticisms, which I might as well mention, since they are both somewhat representative (if presented in a rather cursory and anti-intellectual way). Given their generality, I take these as criticisms of the general trend towards continental realisms or materialisms, rather than the actual philosophical content of the book. One criticism, presumably from a continental-philosophy partisan, argues that this is reactionary nonsense, representing a retreat to pre-critical metaphysics. The other, presumably from an analytic-philosophy partisan, argues that this is all obvious stuff that was already known decades ago.

The former to me seems itself something of a reactionary view: apart from a simple ear-plugging reaction that seeks to defend continental orthodoxy, it's hard to imagine someone honestly rejecting every single thinker in this volume as not even worth reading, given what a wide range of positions they hold. Can someone truly be interested in continental philosophy, yet outright reject, without reading, all of Zizek, Badiou, Laruelle, Latour, Meillassoux, DeLanda, Harman, Hägglund, Stengers, Toscano, and the rest? It seems unlikely to me. Disagreeing with much of what appears in this volume is another matter, of course, and quite legitimate. The second broad-brush criticism has a hint of truth in it, in that the volume is just not likely to make a lot of sense to someone steeped exclusively in the analytic philosophy tradition. To the extent that the volume represents a break from anti-realism in continental thought, someone coming from a philosophical background where anti-realism did not enjoy the same period of dominance in the first place may have trouble seeing what the big deal is. There's not much to say there except that this is just not a volume aimed at analytic philosophers, though there is at times some engagement with analytic thinkers, particularly in Ray Brassier's extensive use of Wilfrid Sellars.

In any case, this is a good collection for those interested in recent continental materialism and realism. For those not interested in that topic, unsurprisingly it may not be the best choice of book. In any case, it's open-access so can easily be read piecemeal if desired. Finally, for a better roadmap to the essays in this volume than I'm able to provide, along with some analysis, see Geoff Pfeifer's review in the journal Human Studies (2012).
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Essential Readings about a Major Trend in Contemporary Philosophy 8 Aug. 2012
By D. Fineman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Since its intial conference in London in 2007, speculative realism has not been a fully integrated approach to ontology but rather a contending collection of perspectives conjoined by shared questions and problems. Its roots are found in Schelling, Deleuze, Badiou, Heidegger, and in many other sources. This diversity is not a weakness but a measure of the strength and broad implications of these concepts. These differences are reflected appropriately in this wide and deep gathering of papers by leading figures in the field: its refusal of uniformity in approach is a fair and responsive metric of the vast riches in this new and vibrant thought. As the papers from the first conference -- gathered in Collapse III -- are hard to come by, this is the best extant representation of the extant contending opinions. For those who are bewildered by these divergent papers, Levi Bryant's excellent overview provides a very helpful, lucid, and insightful map. I highly recommend you acquire this inexpensive volume.
21 of 35 people found the following review helpful
Yay... 14 Feb. 2012
By Eric - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Of course, this collection was inevitable, given that postmodernism is now considered passe (I refer you here to the work of Alan Kirby--anyways...). There's some interesting stuff here, though the wish to turn the clock back to how philosophy was done before Kant, or to pretend that Wittgenstein never even existed, strikes me as a tad reactionary--not to mention that none of the contributors offer a satisfying takedown of some oft-mentioned bogeyman known as "correlationism," other than it's--like--bad, and stuff. Editor Harman's own "object-oriented" approach reminds me a bit of William James' formulation of "Radical Empiricism," though you'd be hard-pressed to find a nod to such nasty relativists as James anywhere in this anthology. Look, I'm nowhere on the Zizek-Badiou-Houellebecq bandwagon, and new attempts to revive metaphysics as the science of being-qua-the-universe-that-exists-independently-of-how-we-think-about-it-even-though-we're-thinking-about-it is about as interesting as my old Dungeons & Dragons manuals: an intellectual thrill, for sure, but having no relevance beyond the context of the game itself. May I suggest "Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity" instead?
2 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Thanks for noticing 22 May 2012
By Ashtar Command - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I haven't read this book, but I couldn't help commenting on it after reading the editorial review. Apparently, continental philosophy has finally discovered that - surprise - there actually is such a thing as a mind-independent outside world.

Guys, thanks for noticing. :D

This project is known as "speculative realism", "guerrilla ontology" or simply as post-post-post-modernism (I self-referentially made up the last term). I'm sure it's mildly interesting, but personally I'm going out to look at the sun, the trees and the blackbirds, yes?

Besides, I was scared off from reading this book by the title of Alberto Toscano's contribution, "Against Speculation, or, A Critique of the Critique of Critique: A Remark on Quentin Meillassoux's After Finitude (After Colletti)".

My sympathies for poor Colletti.

PS. Please read Mike's comment on Eric's customer review! Cheeeeeers...
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