Theory is not an academic discipline. Philosophers reading Hyperobjects might groan and protest (see Nathan Brown’s review of Morton’s recent Realist Magic), but Morton is not doing philosophy, he is sampling it. Likewise with the most recent advances in theoretical physics, appearing in this book in spades, along with some writing about avant-garde arts and music. It’s a strange mash-up, this theory stuff. You don’t read theory to advance the discipline you might belong to — you read it for stimulation, which is why Hyperobjects will find a broad educated readership across the world. And it is good that it should. The destiny of the planet is his topic, after all.
Well as someone in a philosopher department who does “theory,” let me groan a bit. This is what gives “theory” a bad name–that it’s just “sampling” and not “advancing” ideas–“a strange mash-up.” Also, Nathan Brown is not in a philosophy department–but in English. The review provides a nice summary of many of Morton’s arguments, which seems to suggest it’s not just a “mash-up,” but makes sustained points. (My copy is on a shelf back home so I’ll have something more sustained on it when I get back to it, but my point is more about how theory is [positively] described here.)