In the introduction, DeLanda describes this book as a presentation of Gilles Deleuze’s metaphysics – a kind of extreme nominalism – in an analytic manner, which apparently means with loads of maths and stuff. DeLanda here draws on the realist philosophy of Gilles Deleuze to the domain of philosophy of science. As well as contemporary philosophical insights, the book also tackles new developments in geometry, complexity theory and chaos theory to bring new insights to our understanding of a scientific knowledge liberated from traditional ideas of the essence. The idea is to construct an ontology devoid of the essentialist thinking typified by Platonic Idealism, the remnants of which still persist, according to DeLanda, in typological thinking (e.g. kangaroos belong to the general class marsupial, which is defined by certain essential features). This should apply to quite literally everything, including socks, minds, the internet, and numbers (although we won’t mention these), and on a metaphysical level would characterise a shift from a vertical ontology (with a hierarchy of classes, classes of classes, etc., Russell-style) to a horizontal or flat ontology (we shouldn’t consider ‘marsupial’ to be more abstract or general than ‘kangaroo’, any more than we would consider a liver to be more abstract or general than the cells which compose it).
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