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Reading Room catalogue

Collapse, Vol. 1: Numerical Materialism

The first volume of Collapse investigates the nature and philosophical uses of number. The volume includes an interview with Alain Badiou on the relation between philosophy, mathematics, and science, an in-depth interview with mathematician Matthew Watkins on the strange connections between physics and the distribution of prime numbers, and contributions that demonstrate the many ways in which number intersects with philosophical thought—from the mathematics of intensity to terrorism, from occultism to information theory, and graphical works of multiplicity.

Collapse, Vol. 2: Speculative Realism

The first published work to explore the new philosophical field of speculative realism, the second volume of Collapse features a selection of speculative essays by some of the foremost young philosophers at work today, together with new work from artists and filmmakers, and searching interviews with leading scientists. Comprising subjects from probability theory to theology, from quantum theory to neuroscience, from astrophysics to necrology, it involves them in unforeseen and productive syntheses.

Against the tide of institutional balkanisation and specialisation, this volume testifies to a defiant reanimation of the most radical philosophical problematics—the status of the scientific object, metaphysics and its “end,” the prospects for a revival of speculative realism, the possibility of phenomenology, transcendence and the divine, the nature of causation, the necessity of contingency—both through a fresh reappropriation of the philosophical tradition and through an openness to its outside. The breadth of philosophical thought in this volume is matched by the surprising and revealing thematic connections that emerge between the philosophers and scientists who have contributed.

Collapse, Vol. 3: Gilles Deleuze

A collection of explorations of the work of Gilles Deleuze by pioneering thinkers in the fields of philosophy, aesthetics, music, and architecture. The volume also includes a previously untranslated early text by Deleuze and a short interview, along with a fascinating piece of vintage science fiction from one of his more obscure influences.

The contributors to this volume aim to clarify, from a variety of perspectives, Deleuze’s contribution to philosophy: in what does his philosophical originality lie; what does he appropriate from other philosophers and how does he transform it? And how can the apparently disparate threads of his work to be “integrated”—What is the precise nature of the constellation of the aesthetic, the conceptual and the political proposed by Gilles Deleuze, and what are the overarching problems in which the numerous philosophical concepts “signed Deleuze” converge?

As an annex to the second volume of Collapse, this volume also include a full transcript of the workshop on “Speculative Realism” held in London in 2007.

Collapse, Vol. 4: Concept Horror

The fourth volume of Collapse features a series of investigations by philosophers, writers and artists into Concept Horror. Contributors address the existential, aesthetic, theological and political dimensions of horror, interrogate its peculiar affinity with philosophical thought, and uncover the horrors that may lie in wait for those who pursue rational thought beyond the bounds of the reasonable.

This unique volume continues Collapse‘s pursuit of indisciplinary miscegenation, the wide-ranging contributions interacting to produce common themes and suggestive connections. In the process a rich and compelling case emerges for the intimate bond between horror and philosophical thought.

Collapse, Vol. 6: Earth

Is there an enduring bond between philosophical thought and the earth, or is philosophy’s task to escape the planetary horizon? And what is the connection between the empirical earth, the contingent material support of human thinking, and the abstract “world” that is the condition for a “whole” of thought?

Real and imaginary geographies and cartographies have played a dual role in philosophy, serving both as governing metaphor and as ultimate grounding for philosophical thought; but urgent contemporary concerns introduce new problems for geophilosophy: planetary political, technological, military, and financial mutations have scrambled territorial formations, and scientific predictions now present us with the apocalyptic scenario of a planet without human thought.

The sixth volume of Collapse brings together philosophers, theorists, eco-critics, leading scientific experts in climate change, and artists whose work interrogates the link between philosophical thought, geography and cartography, in order to create a portrait of the present state of “planetary thought.”

Collapse, Vol. 8: Casino Real

A transdisciplinary survey of practices that produce, analyse, and exploit risk and uncertainty, the eighth volume of Collapse uncovers the conceptual underpinnings of methods designed to extract value from contingency—at the gaming table, in the markets, and in life. The indictment of “casino capitalism” and the centrality of risk to contemporary society are traced back to a ubiquitous image of thought that originated in games of chance, but which is no longer adequate to address a world whose realities are now shaped by risk models and trading in speculative futures.

To challenge the “casino” model, this volume brings together philosophers who extend the thinking of contingency beyond statistical modelling, professional traders and gamblers whose lifelong experience has shaped their understanding of chance, researchers analysing the perception and treatment of risk and uncertainty in diverse arenas including derivatives trading, quantum physics, insurance, sonic experimentation, literature, futurology, mathematics, and machine gambling, and artists whose work addresses both the desire to confront chance and the need to tame it by bringing it to order.

Collapse, Vol. 7: Cookery

Cookery has never been so high on the agenda of Western popular culture. And yet the endlessly-multiplying TV shows, the obsessive interest in the provenance of ingredients, and the celebration of “radical” experiments in gastronomy tell us little about the nature of the culinary. Is it possible to maintain that cookery has a philosophical pertinence without merely appending philosophy to our burgeoning gastroculture? How might the everyday sense of the culinary be expanded into a philosophy of “culinary materialism” wherein synthesis, experimentation, and operations of mixing and blending take precedence over analysis, subtraction, and axiomatisation?

Drawing on resources ranging from anthropology to chemistry, from hermetic alchemy to contemporary mathematics, the seventh volume of Collapse undertakes a trans-modal experiment in culinary thinking. A wide range of contributors including philosophers, chefs, artists, historians, and synaesthetes examine the cultural, industrial, physiological, alchemical, and even cosmic dimensions of cookery, and propose new models of culinary thought for the future.

Collapse, Vol. 5: Copernicanism

Ever since Nicolaus Copernicus unmoored the Earth from its anchorage at the centre of the Universe and set it hurtling around the Sun, science has progressively uncovered the lineaments of an objective reality to which human experience stands as only the most superficial and attenuated of abstractions.

The fifth volume of Collapse brings together some of the most intellectually-challenging contemporary work devoted to exploring the philosophical implications of this ever-widening gulf between the real and the intuitable from a variety of overlapping and complementary standpoints.

With articles by groundbreaking philosophers and scientists, in-depth interviews with prominent thinkers, and new work from contemporary artists, this volume addresses the issues of the “deanthropomorphization” of reality initiated by the Copernican Revolution and the enduring chasm between the spontaneous image of reality bequeathed to us by evolution and that revealed by the sciences in the wake of Copernicus.