Transcendental materialism and its disciplinary concern. On the systematization, history and practice of a philosophy after the Žižekian synthesis

Start - End 
2021 - 2025 (ongoing)
Department of Philosophy and moral sciences
Research Focus 
Additional tags 
German Idealism



This project aims to systematize the contemporary, increasingly influential movement named ‘Transcendental Materialism’ (‘TM’) by philosopher Adrian Johnston. Associated with, among others, Slavoj Žižek and Alain Badiou, this philosophy eclectically draws from German idealist, psychoanalytical, and Marxist traditions. Recent scholarship shows that TM, despite earlier attempts at systematization, is currently still unable to reflect on its key practices, in particular its ‘borrowing’ of objects for theoretical analysis from extra-philosophical disciplines such as film theory, the life sciences, etc. This ‘Disciplinary Concern’, we contend, is not due to theoretical discrepancies among individual TM- thinkers, but to TM’s current inability to orient itself properly in relation to other disciplines. Methodologically, we follow the hypothesis that this problem could be addressed by investigating how TM orients itself on another axis, namely history. TM itself currently has no coherent theory of philosophical history, and as a result lacks understanding of its own history (as a philosophical movement or tradition). This project aims to develop precisely such a theory, in line with TM’s core beliefs, notably its antipathy to ‘Historicism’. This will then be used to provide concrete solutions to the Disciplinary Concern. As such, two axes are fundamentally connected: (1) the horizontal axis of interdisciplinary, which must be addressed from within (2) the vertical axis of history.



Phd Student(s)