Adrian Johnston’s trilogy Prolegomena to Any Future Materialism aims to forge a thoroughly materialist yet antireductive theory of subjectivity. In this second volume, A Weak Nature Alone, Johnston focuses on the philosophy of nature required for such a theory. This volume is guided by a fundamental question: How must nature be rethought so that human minds and freedom do not appear to be either impossible or inexplicable within it? Asked differently: How must the natural world itself be structured such that sapient subjects in all their distinctive peculiarities emerged from and continue to exist within this world?
In A Weak Nature Alone, Johnston develops his transcendental materialist account of nature through engaging with and weaving together five main sources of inspiration: Hegelian philosophy, Marxist materialism, Freudian-Lacanian metapsychology, Anglo-American analytic neo-Hegelianism, and evolutionary theory and neurobiology. Johnston argues that these seemingly (but not really) strange bedfellows should be brought together so as to construct a contemporary ontology of nature. Through this ontology, nonnatural human subjects can be seen to arise in an immanent, bottom-up fashion from nature itself.