Since the Goldsmith's Conference of 2007 (which saw the formal embrace of the name), the movement known as Speculative Realism
has, by some accounts, "revivified" philosophy. Led by the young philosophers Ray Brassier
and Quentin Meillasoux
, the movement is becoming known for its two-pronged critique of both the continental
philosophical traditions. Speaking crudely, the goal is to fashion a "transcendental materialism" that puts the continental tradition in a better position to engage with the evolving insights of experimental science (particularly cognitive science, biology, and physics), while revising the analytical tradition's tendency to a "scientistic" and "naive" materialism. On the whole the philosophy tries to be less human-centric, acknowledging a world indifferent to human knowing and human being, while still acknowledging the problem of epistemic contingency. Brassier is also a leading proponent or investigator of nihilism
, which will please Big Lebowski fans.
A good place to start for those serious about understanding SR is Brassier's 2001 dissertation
(PDF). Unfortunately, the two major books known to develop the ideas of SR, Meillasoux's After Finitude
and Brassier's Nihil Unbound
, are available only in hardback, the latter a 60 dollar behemoth. But the paperback of After Finitude
will be released in December. A lecture by Brassier on Heidegger, Deleuze, and the "philosophy of access" is also available on Youtube (1 2 3 4 5 6
). Graham Harman and Iain Hamilton Grant were also important figures at the Goldsmiths conference. Harman's Tool Being
and Guerilla Metaphysics
, as well as Grant's Philosophies of Nature After Schelling
are another way into understanding what the Speculative Realists are after. Or, if you prefer a less conventional point of entry, try Reza Negarestani's Cyclonopedia
, which is described by the publisher as "at once a horror fiction, a work of speculative theology, an atlas of demonology, a political samizdat and a philosophic grimoire..."
The movement is also known for its embrace of blogs, including Speculative Heresy
, Accursed Share
, Naught Thought
, and still other philosophy and science studies blogs are abuzz with posts about the movement (Larval Subjects
). The journal COLLAPSE
(whose back issues are available online in PDF form) is something of an official organ of the movement, and it is remarkable for its openness to non-traditional and non-academic authors. People as varied as the mathematician Greg Chaitin
and the "new weird" novelist China Mieville
have had essays published there.