Books of 2010
13 Aug 2010

Before I resume my normal activities, I would like to introduce two brilliant books released in 2010:
First, Re-Imagining War in the 21st Century: From Clausewitz to Network-centric Warfare written by my co-author Manabrata Guha. I will post a review of the book soon on this blog. Second, The Blank Swan: The End of Probability by my friend Elie Ayache who has made a groundbreaking connection between metaphysics of contingency and the financial market. Both books develop their analyses against the dominantly ideological and perhaps even superstitious backdrops of their respective fields, military/security studies and finance. Whilst Guha remorselessly interrogates and batters the legacy of political reason and strategic thought in warfare, Ayache launches an elaborate assault on market-oriented ideologies and probabilistic philosophies.
Re-Imagining War in the 21st Century: From Clausewitz to Network-centric Warfare by Manabrata Guha
This book interrogates the philosophical backdrop of Clausewitzian notions of war, and asks whether modern, network-centric militaries can still be said to serve the ‘political’. In light of the emerging theories and doctrines of Network-Centric War (NCW), this book traces the philosophical backdrop against which the more common theorizations of war and its conduct take place. Tracing the historical and philosophical roots of modern war from the 17th Century through to the present day, this book reveals that far from paralyzing the project of re-problematisating war, the emergence of NCW affords us an opportunity to rethink war in new and philosophically challenging ways.
Table of Contents:
Approaching the problematic of War; A Failure of Imagination: Network-centric Warfare���s Limit-Condition; An Outline of the Book
Chapter One: Prelude to Clausewitz
A Historico-Philosophical Background; Classical Military Theory ��� An Evolutionary Overview; A Kehr to the Non-Human ; Mind(ing) the Gap: Between Guibert and Jomini; Jomini���s Science of the Art of War; A Preliminary Assessment
Chapter Two: Clausewitz and the Architectonic of War
The Romance of Clausewitz; Clausewitz, Methodologizing�Ķ; Clausewitz, Theorizing�Ķ; Clausewitz, Strategizing�Ķ; (de)Constructing War, Absolute and Real�Ķ; The Mesh and the Net, architectonically speaking�Ķ; In Fortuna���s Camp; The Face of Chance; Strategizing Chance ; Clausewitz Q.E.D.
Chapter Three: Machining (Network-centric ) War
Behind the Network Paradise; Network-Centric Warfare: A Preliminary Overview; Semantic Implications of Network-centric Warfare; The Technologization of Discourse in the context of Network-centric Warfare; At the Edge of Chaos�Ķ; On Networks�Ķ; On Netwars�Ķ; Machinic War
Chapter Four: Theorizing War in the Age of Networks
A New Strategic Commons: A Wide-Angle View of NCW ; Two Orders of Strategy; First Order�Ķ; Second Order…; NCW:�Ķand here is the ���beef����Ķ; Inside/Outside the Clausewitzian Legacy
Chapter Five: Concept: War
In an Other theatre of War; Rhizomes: A Concept of Operations; Planes of Immanence: Becoming-Battlespace; Assemblages and Apparatuses of War; On War and War-Machines: Interrogating the Deleuze-Guattarian Thesis; Five Propositions of Concept-War: A Speculative Exercise; A Minoritarian Tactic: Thinking War Differently; Conclusion
Manabrata Guha is Assistant Professor at the National Institute of Advanced Studies (International Strategic and Security Studies Programme), Bangalore, India.
The Blank Swan: The End of Probability by Elie Ayache
October 19th 1987 was a day of huge change for the global finance industry. On this day the stock market crashed, the Nobel Prize winning Black-Scholes formula failed and volatility smiles were born, and on this day Elie Ayache began his career, on the trading floor of the French Futures and Options Exchange.
Experts everywhere sought to find a model for this event, and ways to simulate it in order to avoid a recurrence in the future, but the one thing that struck Elie that day was the belief that what actually happened on 19th October 1987 is simply non reproducible outside 19th October 1987 ��� you cannot reduce it to a chain of causes and effects, or even to a random generator, that can then be reproduced or represented in a theoretical framework.
The Blank Swan is Elie���s highly original treatise on the financial markets ��� presenting a totally revolutionary rethinking of derivative pricing and technology. It is not a diatribe against Nassim Taleb���s The Black Swan, but criticises the whole background or framework of predictable and unpredictable events ��� white and black swans alike – , i.e. the very category of prediction.
In this revolutionary book, Elie redefines the components of the technology needed to price and trade derivatives. Most importantly, and drawing on a long tradition of philosophy of the event from Henri Bergson to Gilles Deleuze, to Alain Badiou, and on a recent brand of philosophy of contingency, embodied by the speculative materialism of Quentin Meillassoux, Elie redefines the market itself against the common perceptions of orthodox financial theory, general equilibrium theory and the sociology of finance.
(Table of contents here)