Critical Inquiry Critical Inquiry

Episode 2: Defining the Digital

In this week's WB202 podcast, Executive Editor Patrick Jagoda interviews Alexander Galloway about his work.

In the pages of CI . . . .

Alexander R. Galloway's "The Poverty of Philosophy: Realism and Post-Fordism" (Winter 2013)

This essay begins from another. In a recent examination of the ideological conceits of current conceptions of the brain, Catherine Malabou asks: “What should we do so that consciousness of the brain does not purely and simply coincide with the spirit of capitalism?

Such is the conundrum, in its essence, that I want to explore. While Malabou's query is chiefly about the brain, it resonates far and wide because it goes straight to what is wrong with some philosophical thinking appearing these days. Why, within the current renaissance of research in continental philosophy, is there a coincidence between the structure of ontological systems and the structure of the most highly evolved technologies of post-Fordist capitalism? I am speaking, on the one hand, of computer networks in general and object-oriented computer languages (such as Java or C++) in particular and, on the other hand, of certain realist philosophers such as Bruno Latour, but also more pointedly Quentin Meillassoux, Graham Harman, and their associated school known as speculative realism. Why do these philosophers, when holding up a mirror to nature, see the mode of production reflected back at them? Why, in short, is there a coincidence between today's ontologies and the software of big business?

Read the full essay here