ONTO-NOSTALGIA: POST-MONIST THOUGHT vs “HARD AND CONVINCING ” REALISM

My research on this blog has centered on recent contributions to post-monist ontological thought (Latour, Laruelle, Stiegler, Dreyfus and Kelly, Pickering) conjoined to a non-scientistic epistemological paradigm. During the post-structuralist period (Deleuze, Lyotard, Serres, but also Feyerabend and Rorty) it was widely thought that monism had been thoroughly refuted and discredited. However, recent developments in the last decade have shown that the refutations were insufficient, as the discredit of monism began to fade and a new form of monist ontology, in both scientistic and nonscientistic variants, came to light and began to spread.

Post-structuralism was seen as insufficient to prevent the rise of these new forms of monism, loosely grouped together under the rubric of “speculative realism”. The post-structuralists’ positive valuation of “speculation” as conceptual investigation and experimentation was considered by some to be in danger of founding a new idealism, called by some “constructivism” and by others “correlationism”, enshrining the omnipotence of language, society, or individual and/or collective thought to the detriment of empirical reality.

Certain thinkers saw themselves as invested with the mission of reinstating “realism” and subordinating the free play of metaphysical speculation to the hard and convincing real state of affairs. “Hard and convincing” realism represents a return to a grasp on reality by turning post-structuralist critique against itself. A key figure in this monist regression was Alain Badiou, who tried to synthesize both pluralism and monism under the aegis of an ontological realism allied to an adulterated scientism.

The conceptual situation became pathological under Badiousian regenting, and it was only a matter of time before a strange new malady appeared, or an old malady in mutated form. Given the regressive nature of its gaze, and its reinvention of an ontological turn already accomplished by its post-structuralist predecessors, one baptise this malady with the name “onto-nostalgia”. On this blog, and in separate published and soon to be published articles, I have examined close up two forms of this malady: Graham Harman’s non-scientistic OOO and Levi Bryant’s scientistic renaturalisation of OOO: MOON (machine oriented onto-nostalgia).

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