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Prolegomena to Any Future Materialism

The Outcome of Contemporary French Philosophy

Dr. Adrian Johnston

Publication Year: 2013

Adrian Johnston’s Prolegomena to Any Future Materialism, planned for three volumes, will lay the foundations for a new materialist theoretical apparatus, his “transcendental materialism.” In this first volume, Johnston clears an opening within contemporary philosophy and theory for his unique position. He engages closely with Lacan, Badiou, and Meillassoux, demonstrating how each of these philosophers can be seen as failing to forge an authentically atheistic materialism. Johnston builds a new materialism both profoundly influenced by these brilliant comrades of a shared cause as well as making up for the shortcomings of their own creative attempts to bring to realization the Lacanian vision of an Other-less, One-less ontology. The Outcome of Contemporary French Philosophy yields intellectual weapons suitable for deployment on multiple fronts simultaneously, effective against the mutually entangled spiritualist and scientistic foes of our post-Enlightenment, biopolitical era of nothing more than commodities and currencies. 


Published by: Northwestern University Press


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. 2-9


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pp. ix-x

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Preface: Clearing the Ground: The First Volume of Prolegomena to Any Future Materialism

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pp. xi-xvi

The present book is the first volume of a trilogy entitled Prolegomena to Any Future Materialism, to be followed by A Weak Nature Alone and Substance Also as Subject. As the title of the trilogy indicates, this project aims to establish the foundations for a new materialist theoretical apparatus. ...

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pp. xvii-xviii

I would like to begin by thanking all the friends and interlocutors with whom I have had the privilege and the pleasure of discussing the ideas that went into this book. Without them, this text would not exist. I am especially grateful to Alain Badiou, Richard Boothby, Bruno Bosteels, Nora Brank, Ray Brassier, ...

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Introduction: “One Surely Will Be Found One Day to Make an Ontology with What I Am Telling You”: The Road to a Post-Lacanian Materialism

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pp. 3-10

In 1972, during a session of his nineteenth seminar (. . . ou pire), Lacan confi dently predicts the eventual arrival of a novel brand of philosophy, a prediction that indeed now looks to have been amply vindicated. In the context of a discussion involving references to Plato’s Parmenides and the theme of “the One” ...

Part 1. Jacques Lacan: Between the Sacred and the Secular

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1. Conflicted Matter: The Challenge of Secularizing Materialism

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pp. 13-38

Materialism, the brute insistence that there is nothing alien to matter, appears to offer no place whatsoever to anything even vaguely intangible or spiritual. It denies that there are ineffable entities or forms set apart from the immanence of incarnate beings. ...

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2. Turning the Sciences Inside Out: Revisiting “Science and Truth”

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pp. 39-58

Nobody could accuse Lacan of modesty. The title of his contribution to the inaugural January 1966 issue of the now- legendary journal Cahiers pour l’Analyse promises to address not one, but two mammoth matters in the space of a single article-length intervention. “Science and Truth,” ...

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3. On Deep History and Psychoanalysis: Phylogenetic Time in Lacanian Theory

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pp. 59-78

Starting with Freud, the topic of phylogeny has remained a vexed, troubling matter for psychoanalysis. Freud’s ambivalence with respect to this issue is rather evident. On the one hand, especially in his later works, he repeatedly appeals to a phylogenetic “archaic heritage” both as a subject of metapsychological speculation ...

Part 2. Alain Badiou: Between Form and Matter

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4. What Matter(s) in Ontology: The Hebb-Event and Materialism Split from Within

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pp. 81-107

One of the most provocative and timely recent efforts at revitalizing materialism in the European philosophical tradition is that carried out by Badiou in a number of texts serving as linchpins of his intricate, sprawling theoretical apparatus. He unabashedly declares, “I would submit that my system is the most rigorously materialist in ambition ...

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5. Phantom of Consistency: Kant Troubles

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pp. 108-128

The most important aspect of the work of Badiou, as situated at the intersection of the history of post-Kantian European philosophy and contemporary theory, is his sustained project to bridge the seemingly unbridgeable gap between two distinct orientations represented by two twentieth-century figures avowedly influential for him in his youth: ...

Part 3. Quentin Meillassoux: Between Faith and Knowledge

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6. The World Before Worlds: The Ancestral and Badiou’s Anti-Kantian Transcendentalism

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pp. 131-147

Badiou describes Logics of Worlds as a phenomenological framework erected specifically on the basis of the ontological foundations laid in Being and Event . He refers to Hegel’s oeuvre in clarifying the position and status of this recent substantial addition to his philosophical apparatus: ...

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7. Hume’s Revenge: À Dieu, Meillassoux?

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pp. 148-174

Materialism certainly is enjoying a renaissance today. One of the defining features of contemporary theoretical work situated in the shadows of the traditions constituting continental philosophy undeniably is a concern with once again overcoming idealism, however varyingly construed. ...

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Postface: From Critique to Construction: Toward a Transcendental Materialism

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pp. 175-210

In a newly published pair of exchanges, Élisabeth Roudinesco and Alain Badiou both provide a series of illuminating clarifications regarding Lacan’s significance for psychoanalysis, philosophy, and a range of sociopolitical topics. Two of their observations in this context, one by Badiou and the other by Roudinesco, ...


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pp. 211-234

Works Cited

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pp. 235-252


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pp. 253-257

E-ISBN-13: 9780810166622
E-ISBN-10: 0810166623
Print-ISBN-13: 9780810129122
Print-ISBN-10: 0810129124

Page Count: 276
Publication Year: 2013

Edition: 1
Volume Title: 1