The triumph of technological rationality and of the sciences as a whole has by no means provided answers to humanity’s great questions. Instead, it has raised new and old questions and problems. To orient ourselves in the twenty-first century, we must take a new look at the central categories of philosophy that, often unbeknownst to us, continue to shape our everyday thinking.
Future Metaphysics is an attempt at restating the importance of the great metaphysical categories for the present: how our contemporary predicament forces us both to reclaim them and to give them a radically new twist. Armen Avanessian re-examines and displaces categories like substance and accident, form and matter, life and death, giving them an unexpected twist. What if the idea of accident, for instance, had to take into account the many new kinds of glitches, crashes and crises – from finance to ecology, from technological catastrophes to social collapses – that permeate our culture and make everyday news? Can we keep on using this concept as it was traditionally meant to be used when risk and chance have become part of the very substance of our world, so rendering the distinction between substance and accident meaningless? The other concepts and distinctions require a similar interrogation, giving birth to a new metaphysical landscape, where the most urgent realities of the twenty-first century impinge on the most fundamental categories of thought.