The last few days have been fairly busy. I’ve completed the initial draft of my article for the Speculative Turn anthology, and am fairly pleased with the results. Hopefully a number of my positions will be clearer as a result of this article. I do, however, realize how much more I have to do. At the moment I’m sketching the arc for my next book. I suspect that it will consist of three parts entitled “Essence”, “Genesis”, and either “Societies” or “Networks”. In this respect, I am attempting to address four inter-related issues. First, with respect to questions of essence or that without which an individual object would not be the object that it is, I am examining the object in its internal constitution, independent of its relations to other objects. In my article I have argued that we must necessarily presuppose substances of this kind to render relations intelligible or to understand ontologically how they are possible. However, while objects have their internal constitution or essence that persists throughout time, they also have their outward face pointing towards other objects. The issue of objectal relations to other objects– what I call “inter-ontic relations” or “exo-relations” –falls under the heading of networks or societies. Here the issue is that of how selective relations emerge between objects and also how relations to objects evoke properties in objects. Not all objects can relate to one another. The issue of whether or not an object can relate to another object is an issue that points back to issues of essence or the affects or internal constitution of an object in its singular being. However, in relating to other objects, new properties are evoked in the object. My skin turns brown as I toil in my garden pulling out the weeds. Finally the question of genesis is the question of how objects emerge from other objects and attain closure or totality, or a status as independent objects in their own right. There is a difference, for example, between an aggregate of people on a subway and a group of revolutionary activists. How is this difference between aggregates and individuals, collections and objects, to be thought?
The first part will be something like a “transcendental analytic” of objects treated in their independence from or isolation from other objects. Here I will lean heavily on Zubiri’s account of essence as a system of notes constituting that which is in the object that makes it what it is, as well as Deleuze’s account of multiplicities and individuation as articulated in Difference and Repetition, and accounts of systems drawn from autopoietic theory and developmental and dynamic systems theory. The chapter on networks or societies– “communities of objects” –will draw heavily on Latour, Deleuze’s account of intensities, and Whitehead’s account of nexes. This part will be something like a “transcendental dialectic” insofar as it deals with relations among objects, rather than objects taken “analytically”. This will set the groundwork for the third part on genesis, which I am still very much working through. At any rate, it’s nice to have something of a sense as to where I’m going.