Reading DISPARITIES (1): Zizek, China Miéville and the Ontology of the Kraken

AGENT SWARM

At first sight Zizek’s new book DISPARITIES looks like a disjointed disparate set of reading notes on a diverse group of trendy books from within the fields of Continental Philosophy and of Speculative Realism. To that extent its title is apprpopriate, if only as mise en abyme of self-description.

However, we quickly realise that the disparity of the title constitutes a new member of the heterogeneous chain of master terms embodying the provisional unity underlying Zizek’underlying ontological project. Other terms include negativity, parallax, quantum incompleteness, dialectical materialism, or ontological difference.

One could easily add to this chain Bruno Latour’s recent concept of “being-as-other”. In effect, each of these terms is a temporary halting point, provisional quilting points for the work in progress (or at least in process). Zizek cites, and tries to distinguish himself from, Althusser, Deleuze, Derrida, and Adorno. Yet he is of the same ilk as them, and…

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