Adrian Johnston, "Prolegomena to Any Future Materialism Volume II: A Weak Nature Alone" (Northwestern UP, 2019)


Engaging with almost any Western philosopher of the last couple centuries means you are usually, whether you realize it or not, working in the shadow of Hegel, his work proving stubbornly resistant to attempts to remove from contemporary thought. This has itself proven to be a source of much debate and conflict, as Hegel is notoriously difficult to decipher, leaving room for a huge variety of opinions on a variety of topics. Diving right into this is my guest today, Adrian Johnston, who is back to discuss the second volume of his trilogy, Prolegomena to Any Future Materialism Volume II: A Weak Nature Alone (Northwestern University Press, 2019). Where the first volume (which we discussed in a previous episode) was concerned with some major turns in French continental philosophy, this volume takes Hegel as its key point of reference. However, rather than simply functioning as a commentary on Hegel, the book acts as a sort of historical survey of various Hegelianisms that have been developed over the last couple centuries, touching on everything from Marxism to contemporary Anglo-American analytic philosophy, and everything else in between. The result is a book that simultaneously manages to cover a huge swath of intellectual territory while also maintaining a very tight focus throughout, all in search of a thoroughly materialist theory of subjectivity. Adrian Johnston is a Distinguished Professor in and Chair of the Department of Philosophy at the University of New Mexico and is a faculty member at the Emory Psychoanalytic Institute in Atlanta. His many books include Irrepressible Truth: On Lacan’s ‘The Freudian Thing’ and the forthcoming Infinite Greed: Money, Marxism, Psychoanalysis. He is also one of the coeditors of the Northwestern University Press book series Diaresis, of which this book is a contribution.
Stephen Dozeman is a freelance writer.

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