Raymond Brassier is a member of the philosophy faculty at the American University of Beirut, Alain Badiou, Theoretical Writings, transl. by Ray Brassier & Alberto Toscano (New York: Continuum, ). Jean-Luc Nancy, “Philosophy without. I started to write a review of this but it very quickly reached one and a half pages. But this is really great writing I can totally recommend it. Brassier absolutely. Buy Alien theory: the decline of materialism in the name of matter by Ray Brassier (ISBN:) from Amazon’s Book Store. Everyday low prices and free delivery on.

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The Decline of Materialism in the Name of Matter. If the opening pages are any indication, his forthcoming work with Palgrave, Nihil Unboundwill be a true tour de force.

The work is rigorously developed, wide ranging dealing with both specific epistemological, ontological, and political questionsand argued in a vigorous and spirited fashion. The following passage left me shaking thelry excitement and filled with relief, feeling as brasxier perhaps the malaise of the primacy of anthropocentricism, culturalism, and the linguistic turn are, at long last, coming to an end and it is becoming possible to philosophize once again without being shackled to the phenomenological condition.

I quote at length. But it is not more reductive than the claim that water is nothing but H20; that temperature is nothing but mean molecular kinetic energy; or that the colour red is nothing but electromagnetic radiation with a determinate spiking frequency.

On both of these counts, phenomenology— whether it take intentional consciousness or human being-in-the-world as its starting point —seems to us to remain wanting: To whom and for who is it supposed to occur? Whence does the mysterious faculty of intuition that is supposed to provide us with an immediately pre-theoretical access to the phenomenological essence of these rigorously imperceptible entities originate?

Belief in this aien, pre-theoretical dimension of experiential immediacy is the phenomenological superstition par excellence.

If anyone is guilty of imperialistic reductionism as far as the extraordinary richness and complexity of the universe is concerned, it is the phenomenological idealist rather than the scientific materialist. The existence of Nature cannot be the condition for the existence of consciousness since Nature itself turns out to be a correlate of consciousness: Nature is only as being constituted in regular concatations of consciousness.

The choice with which we are confronted is as clear as it is unavoidable: To continue to persist on the course initiated by the latter is to plunge headlong into intellectual disaster and the ruin of philosophy as a credible theoretical enterprise. The future vouchsafed to philosophy by phenomenology is too dismall to contemplate: The situation is too grave, the stakes too high to allow for equivocation or compromise.

Once again, the issue seems to us to boil down to a simple matter of intellectual honesty, a blunt but irrecusable alternative that no amount of conceptual obfuscation or rhetorical sophistry can obviate.

Either the philosopher insists that man is de jure irreducible to the natural ontological order investigated by science because the essence of human being is transcendence subjectivity, Spirit, Daseinetc. Against tgeory reactionary philosophical protectionism, theoru is the business of a thoroughgoing naturalism to emphasize— rather than minimize —the corrosive power of scientific reductionism vis a vis both the tenets of phenomenological orthodoxy and the established parameters of socio-cultural consensus.

The task can be achieved by exposing the entirely contingent, conventional character of the phenomenological self-image promulgated through the myth of subjective interiority; by denouncing the hallucinatory character of privileged access [the lynchpin of all foundationalist demands]; and by inveighing against the illusory authority of the first-person perspective; myths which, whether taken separately or in combination, serve to shore up the subjectivist ideology through which liberal democratic capitalism convinces a stupified population of consumers that they are sovereign individuals, brassirr endowed with freedom of choice, and that the interests of subjective freedom coincide with the interests of a free market economy.

It is by punturing the persistent myths of first-person autonomy and of the irreducibility of consciousness; it is by excoriating the apparently inviolable ubiquity of the cultural privilege which folk psychological superstition has successfully arrogated itself through the process of its enshrinement in the medium of natural language, that a virulently thsory skepticism of the kind espoused by Quine, or an eliminative materialism such as that endorsed by Paul Churchland, suggesting as they do that a radical reconfiguration both of our own self-image and of our vision of the world around us is always possible, can help undermine those phenomenological Ur-doxas which help perpetuate the cultural consensus manufactured by capitalism.

At any rate, wow, just wow. Open the windows and let in the fresh air. As my friend Melanie likes to argue, art, philosophy, brasaier theory must always think closely with the latest developments in science just as science must think closely with the developments in these other practices.


For too long, however, it seems that philosophy and theory have adopted a reactionary stance, seeking to disavow these developments, by asserting the primacy of a phenomenological being-in-the-world, or the hegemony of language games.

I, for one, would like to be the first to welcome our new insect overlords. Marc Goodman has kindly provided a link to the entire dissertation here warning pdf. Given the passages I quoted, I do not wish to give the impression that Brassier simply mobilizes a variety of sciences to debunk varieties of idealism.

Interview With Ray Brassier – Against an Aesthetics of Noise (nY#2)

That is, his argument unfolds at the level of philosophemes. I find myself increasingly brassier at what strikes me as an implicit Hegelianism in such claims, premised on the thesis that all shapes of thought contain a partial truth. The question, of course, arises with regard to the final sentence of your second to last paragraph:. There is a tremendous question as to whether we could have seen the sorts of consequences you allude to.

It might be that risk is an inherent feature of any theoretical wager. At any rate, whatever else one might like to say, Brassier is exceptionally rigorous in the development of his thought. This is what I find so impressive in the work. The inevitably rejoinder is then that one is engaging in a pre-critical speculative metaphysics. Or one brings Sokal into the mix.

I should emphasize, once again, that the two passages I pulled out are not representative of what Brassier is doing in the text. Throughout the first part, the main target is phenomenology, which is arguably the most rigorous attempt to provide a transcendental grounding that takes into account reflexivity and its own stance that we have today. Non-philosophy is not anti-philosophybut the Decision upon which philosophical orientations are based on which philosophy itself necessarily cannot articulate.

I cited the passages I did because it was just so refreshing gheory read a continental philosopher making these sorts of remarks about contemporary science and the anthropocentric reductivism of phenomenology brassoer, we might add, German idealism. The rationale, of course, is clear: These positions are all based on particular concepts of immanence: When I speak of foreseeing consequences: I tend to laien that we can try to analyse potentials that are already immanent to situations.

Sorry — my post crossed your second post. The issue when dealing with humans is that a fully naturalistic account — an account that treats humans in a non-exceptionalised way — still needs to deal with certain phenomena that emerge in time, or are understood to have emerged in time — including the naturalistic perception of the world.

Amusingly, Habermas also does a great deal with science in the way that you call for — not treating it as a cultural text, etc. I think brassierr forms of argument have the structure of looking for what is originary, and then claiming to criticise other positions as being derivative. That is not to suggest that it is without merit, just that one can certainly engage in brsssier without having to take up these questions just as one can write a thory without having to take a detour through physics.

This is news to me with respect to Deleuze. Deleuze offers brasaier trenchant critique theroy representation and more bfassier the form of the Self and of the Object as the framework of all individuations. Nor does he give an account of how things came to be viewed in this way. I am not interested — you know this brsasier in the issue or origins, but in the issue of understanding the current potentials of a situation. In terms of the passages quoted above: Brassier sets up an opposition between perspectives that he takes to play some role in the reproduction of capitalism, on the one hand, and his own position on the other.

So his argument is that own position enables a critique of capitalism because it sits in some way outside capitalism: Of course, I say this in part because I have a different theory of what capitalism is. Not a different theory of the origins of capitalism, but thfory different theory of its current state.

My point is that it brasdier become very important to understand what those sensibilities we identify aloen critical are — what their ontological status is — and this can be impeded if those sensibilities are things that have emerged in time, and yet the form of analysis does not enable us to problematise and explore the implications of this. He offers an alternative in Nietzsche and Philosophybased on distributions of force and a theory of interpretation, where every phenomenon is a symptom of the forces overtaking it active and reactive forces.


Additionally, for Deleuze, what would be at issue would be the development of life, not the reactionary stance of critique. Very different thsory of thought than that found in critique.

This is much clearer. Having established that, it would be nice to actually talk about the content of the philosophers position rather than approaching it with a priori brasseir and ready-made criticisms.

To put it dramatically, all genuine materialisms are Heraclitan, the posit that all things come to be and pass away in the order of time. You place the theorist in a very difficult position. Fox News likes to show pictures and footage of Iraq where people are happily going to the market, kids are going to the school, etc.

A version of one of bradsier chapters of Nihil Unbound is available as video here: Was wondering how brassir it would take for you to get into this. I just published the Adumbration of The Week by A. A good bricoleur draws on whatever happens to be at hand.

I wonder if this means that in this century we will see science begin to view mind as an empirical organ that is, an organ of experienceas much as sight, taste, hearing or touch. If mind-objects are recognized as much as objects of other sensorial fields, then the transcendental is easily brought down to the level of the material.

At this point, though, it makes more sense to collapose both— transcendental and material— and think in yet a newer way. The autopoietic theorists Maturna and Varela for instance, have already tried to synthesize phenomenology and neurology in this way. Of course, Brassier thinks this is a reactionary move.

The transcendental, for Deleuze, is not a property of a transcendental subject or a cogito, but the material world. I was just struck by this is all. Still, I do appreciate, if only because it gets me going, his work.

In case anybody is interested, my review of Nihil Unbound is now online at the New Humanist website.

Alien Theory: The Decline of Materialism in the Name of Matter by Ray Brassier

Does anyone fancy re-opening this thread? Good luck my friend! OK, I will get back to you with some thoughts over the next week. Please tell interested persons and we can try and unpick this difficult and sometimes worrying, depending on your stance text.

Interview With Ray Brassier – Against an Aesthetics of Noise (nY#2) | Senselogic

Great, I look forward to your response. My own crude critical hunch about the book relates to the way there seems to be no role for art or aesthetic construction in his philosophy. What is the status of art for Ray Brassier?

Because his is a nihilism that would do away with that last comforting thought, that life can be justified aesthetically. Interestingly, the role that art might play in an existence devoid of meaning is precisely the subject of my thesis. Therefore, going on their argument, art can be of little consequence, aside from testifying to the lengths that the human will go to to feign meaning in a meaningless universe.

However, I would argue and will continue to that art in its affirmation of its own meaninglessness can testify to the continued possibility of meaning even as the output of human activity governed as it is by random material occurrences. And to answer your question, the main aims of the book appear to me to be those laid out in the preface.

The main aim of the book is to discredit philosophical accounts that place existence as having a direct correlate to occurrences in the human mind, as it is argued that they are mere inheritors of mythic and Judaeo-Christian tradition. Taking statements about archaic history together with reliable scientific predictions Brassier points out that human consciousness is but a blip on the scientific radar as it registers the history of our Universe.

As such, I follow neither instructions or orders as I am not a caretaker and would kindly ask you not to address me as such. Ailen significance of art lies not in its evocations of an originary nature which must be forever interpreted. Instead, the idea that the human species might be genetically remodelled in order to make it isomorphic with capital is viewed as a potentially positive outcome of technological developments, tehory getting involved with this process, rather than lamenting for the lost original meaning of humanity, is for Brassier a political exigency.