Introduction to New Realism
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Introduction to New Realism provides an overview of the movement of contemporary thought named New Realism, by its creator and most celebrated practitioner, Maurizio Ferraris. Sharing significant concerns and features with Speculative Realism and Object Oriented Ontology, New Realism can be said to be one of the most prescient philosophical positions today. Its desire to overcome the postmodern antirealism of Kantian origin, and to reassert the importance of truth and objectivity in the name of a new Enlightenment, has had an enormous resonance both in Europe and in the US. Introduction to New Realism is the first volume dedicated to exposing this continental movement to an anglophone audience.
Featuring a foreword by the eminent contemporary philosopher and leading exponent of Speculative Realism, Iain Hamilton Grant, the book begins by tracing the genesis of New Realism, and outlining its central theoretical tenets, before opening onto three distinct sections. The first, 'Negativity', is a critique of the postmodern idea that the world is constructed by our conceptual schemas, all the more so as we have entered the age of digitality and virtuality. The second thesis, 'positivity', proposes the fundamental ontological assertion of New Realism, namely that not only are there parts of reality that are independent of thought, but these parts are also able to act causally over thought and the human world. The third thesis, 'normativity,' applies New Realism to the sphere of the social world. Finally, an afterword written by two young scholars explains in more detail the relationship between New Realism and other forms of contemporary realism.
included), so as to reduce the gap between our theories and our experience of the world. This is not meant to be a futile worship of objectivity (which is a property of knowledge, not of being), but a due recognition of the positivity on which we all rely, but upon which we rarely reflect. And this does not only apply to physical experiences: the way in which beauty, or moral value or non-value come forward clearly shows that there is something outside us, surprising and striking us. And this
circumstances there are moral acts taking place? In my opinion, we cannot: these are, in the best-case scenario, representations with moral content. To put it a little peremptorily, without the positivity of objects no morality is possible. Objects At this point – and this is the fifth move made by new realism – it becomes possible to articulate the characteristics of the affordance that comes to us from the objects. We need to begin by introducing the categories of natural objects
involves being aware that ontology and epistemology are not sharply distinguished, but that our relationship with the world is rather the outcome of a confusing balance between ontology and epistemology. This, however, does not mean that the positivity of objects is precluded to us. Indeed, it is this very positivity that allows us to dwell in the world despite the fact that our notions are rarely clear and distinct. Affordances have an epistemologically important consequence. Eugene Wigner,
‘real-idealism’ that in the first case involved a philosophy of nature, and in the second was premised on one. Fichte, as the self-proclaimed heir of Kant, is another matter, although some work has been done on his own philosophy of nature. See F. Scott Scribner’s Matters of Spirit. J.G. Fichte and the Technological Imagination (Pennsylvania, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2010) for a fascinating negotiation of the dichotomy of nature and artifice in Fichte’s long engagements with the
accidentally part of what philosophy should do. Hegel There is one last preliminary observation to be made about this book, which constitutes a synthesis of my whole philosophy. Realism, just as idealism, empiricism or scepticism, is a constant theme in philosophy. New realism, instead, is a reoccurring function: the reaction to a previous antirealist hegemony. It was so in the case of American New Realism last century,25 with Brazilian Novo Realismo thirty-five years ago26 and it is so