Grégoire Chamayou -- A Theory of the Drone.
Grégoire Chamayou, who we have talked about before, has a book coming out January, 2015.
Drone warfare has raised profound ethical and constitutional questions both in the halls of Congress and among the U.S. public. Not since debates over nuclear warfare has American military strategy been the subject of discussion in living rooms, classrooms, and houses of worship. Yet as this groundbreaking new work shows, the full implications of drones have barely been addressed in the recent media storm.
In a unique take on a subject that has grabbed headlines and is consuming billions of taxpayer dollars each year, philosopher Grégoire Chamayou applies the lens of philosophy to our understanding of how drones are changing our world. For the first time in history, a state has claimed the right to wage war across a mobile battlefield that potentially spans the globe. Remote-control flying weapons, he argues, take us well beyond even George W. Bush’s justification for the war on terror.
What we are seeing is a fundamental transformation of the laws of war that have defined military conflict as between combatants. As more and more drones are launched into battle, war now has the potential to transform into a realm of secretive, targeted assassinations of individuals—beyond the view and control not only of potential enemies but also of citizens of democracies themselves. Far more than a simple technology, Chamayou shows, drones are profoundly influencing what it means for a democracy to wage war. A Theory of the Drone will be essential reading for all who care about this important question.
Now the Italians:
Maurizio Lazzarato -- Governing by Debt, due out February, 2015.
Experts, pundits, and politicians agree: public debt is hindering growth and increasing unemployment. Governments must reduce debt at all cost if they want to restore confidence and get back on a path to prosperity. Maurizio Lazzarato's diagnosis, however, is completely different: under capitalism, debt is not primarily a question of budget and economic concerns but a political relation of subjection and enslavement. Debt has become infinite and unpayable. It disciplines populations, calls for structural reforms, justifies authoritarian crackdowns, and even legitimizes the suspension of democracy in favor of "technocratic governments" beholden to the interests of capital. The 2008 economic crisis only accelerated the establishment of a "new State capitalism," which has carried out a massive confiscation of societies' wealth through taxes. And who benefits? Finance capital. In a calamitous return to the situation before the two world wars, the entire process of accumulation is now governed by finance, which has absorbed sectors it once ignored, like higher education, and today is often identified with life itself. Faced with the current catastrophe and the disaster to come, Lazzarato contends, we must overcome capitalist valorization and reappropriate our existence, knowledge, and technology.
In Governing by Debt, Lazzarato confronts a wide range of thinkers -- from Félix Guattari and Michel Foucault to David Graeber and Carl Schmitt -- and draws on examples from the United States and Europe to argue that it is time that we unite in a collective refusal of this most dire status quo.
Maurizio Ferraris -- Manifesto of New Realism, due out December, 2014.
Retraces the history of postmodern philosophy and proposes solutions to overcome its impasses.
Philosophical realism has taken a number of different forms, each applied to different topics and set against different forms of idealism and subjectivism. Maurizio Ferraris’s Manifesto of New Realism takes aim at postmodernism and hermeneutics, arguing against their emphasis on reality as constructed and interpreted. While acknowledging the value of these criticisms of traditional, dogmatic realism, Ferraris insists that the insights of postmodernism have reached a dead end. Calling for the discipline to turn its focus back to truth and the external world, Ferraris’s manifesto—which sparked lively debate in Italy and beyond—offers a wiser realism with social and political relevance.
Paolo Virno -- Deja Vu and the End of History, due out February, 2015.
This book places two key notions up against each other to imagine a new way of conceptualizing historical time. How do the experience of déjà vu and the idea of the “End of History” relate to one another? Through thinkers like Bergson, Kojève and Nietzsche, Virno explores these constructs of memory and the passage of time. In showing how the experience of time becomes historical, Virno considers two fundamental concepts from Western philosophy: Power and The Act. Through these, he elegantly constructs a radical new theory of historical temporality.
Paolo Virno -- When the Word Becomes Flesh: Language and Human Nature, due out May, 2015.
Originally published in Italian in 2002, When the Word Becomes Flesh provides a compelling contribution to the understanding of language and its relation to human nature and social relationships. Adopting Aristotle's definition of the human being as a linguistic and political animal, Paolo Virno frames the act of speech as a foundational philosophical issue -- an act that in its purely performative essence ultimately determines our ability to pass from the state of possibility to one of actuality: that is, from the power to act to action itself. As the ultimate public act, speech reveals itself to be an intrinsically political practice mediating between biological invariants and changing historical determinations. In his most complete reflection on the topic to date, Virno shows how language directly expresses the conditions of possibility for our experience, from both a transcendental and a biological point of view.
Drawing on the work of such twentieth-century giants as Ferdinand de Saussure, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Edmund Husserl, and Gottlob Frege, Virno constructs a powerful linguistic meditation on the political challenges faced by the human species in the twenty-first century. It is in language that human nature and our historical potentialities are fully revealed, and it is language that can guide us toward a more aware and purposeful realization of them.