The main difficulty in understanding recent trends in radical philosophy is that we are still living through them. This raises significant concerns, the most important of which is perhaps the following: are these trends merely flights of fancy that will be buried beneath the more relevant materials gleaned by the wisdom of posterity? Second in rank is perhaps the properly Hegelian response which concludes that philosophy only understands itself in retrospect. Wise owls patiently wait for dusk before spreading their wings to fly. We can not ascertain the proper response and so we can not state with certainty that recent trends are important developments in the history of ideas. However, we can state something about them simply by reading them on their own terms. This, at the very least, implies that we slow the trends down and reflect on the parts or stages of their development that have hitherto passed before us.
The recent developments I have in mind have sufficiently demonstrated their worth if only by virtue of the countless debates and discussions resulting from their mainspring. Indeed, no one could doubt the extent and proliferation of conferences, articles, special issues, and book publications heralding their respective creeds and thereby furthering these new lines of thought. This suggests that the new trends have often been met with a large degree of critical acclaim. Conversely, they have, most inevitably, also been met with a very large degree of critique and ridicule. As such, their precise contribution to the development of historical lineages of thought is as of yet still subject to reflection and revision. As the new trends battle for recognition and relevance, it can be quite difficult to see through the fog of war or get a clear sense of the battle-field. What we can say for certain is that these are trends and that they have, for better or for worse, rejuvenated historical dogmas whose credulous assertions have ostensibly become stale.
They have seduced new audiences and attracted new disciples. They have married disciplines, adopted the orphan philosophers into their families. They have pioneered new fields and made ever new allies and ever new enemies. They have challenged the internal consistency of old dogmas and shifted the ground upon which these traditional paradigms have relied. Yet, what is particularly striking about this is that the new dogmas re-read traditions while nonetheless claiming, often against enormous resistance, to be in absolute fidelity to them. In other cases, the new radicalism removes the ground itself.