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Friday, 24 July 2015

Being Up For Grabs: the second birth

I'm glad to read the favorable referee reports on my book Being Up For Grabs. It is now on its way to be out.

This is how I described the book the other day:

More than stating that chaos reigns, the book spells out the details of its governance in a metaphysics of accident.

This is a book on the metaphysics of contingency. It looks at what could be otherwise, at what lacks the weight of necessity, at what is up for grabs. In doing so it engages with the Aristotelian idea of metaphysics and makes use of some of his ideas on priority. The book discusses with recent ideas about contingency coming from process philosophy, speculative realism, Deleuze and other philosophers who attempt to think the accident. The book proposes three images of the contingent: the first based on fragments and how they connect together and is akin to both monadology and process philosophy, the second based on the structure of doubts and facticiy and the third based on rhythms and contagion in a way that dialogues with Deleuze's emergence of difference within repetition. The book also discusses the notion of an-arché, the absence of a foundation and therefore of a founding necessity.

My main contention is that contingency is what we should primarily look at in order ultimately to come to terms with the sensible – with concrete beings. In other words, contingency has the primacy of what is central; neither is everything contingent nor can all be explained in terms of the accidental. In that sense, this project is the mirror image Aristotle’s; for him, there was more to being than substances, but substances were central. He rejects the Heraclitean image that, in the sensible, “everything flows” and there is no room for necessities of any kind. The Aristotelian diagnosis was that either there are substances in the sensible, among concrete things, or rather that everything is in flux. In this book, I accept the wager but reject its thrust: I claim that there is metaphysics to this flux. I hold that there is enough access to the non-necessary to enable something other than substance metaphysics. I refuse to choose between placing necessities center stage and abandoning metaphysics.

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