When evoking chemical reactions, biolochemistry, and biology we don’t need to evoke occult agencies like vital forces, but are instead talking about certain physical processes that obey time’s irreversible arrow and which are iterative (especially in biochemistry and biology) in nature. Under this thesis, rather than setting up an alternative between mechanism and vitalism, the claim would instead be that we have a lot to learn about how matter works.
There’s a profound link between signs, life, and vitalism: the power of nonorganic life that can be found in a line that’s drawn, a line of writing, a line of music. It’s organisms that die, not life. Any work of art points a way through for life, finds a way through the cracks. Everything I’ve written is vitalistic, and least I hope it is. (Negotiations, Columbia UP, 1995, p. 143).
I think the key is the distinction between “machinic” and “mechanistic.” Mechanism is the old Newtonian physics that we all grew up with, which the romantics (like Schelling) and later vitalists (like Bergson) rebelled against. I think it’s safe to say that Deleuze and Grant are both steering clear of any sort of mechanistic causality as well as any Cartesian dualism with a causal “outside” and a non-causal “inside.”
“There would be the eliminativist wing with a heavy cog.-sci. bent. There would be a Meillassouxian wing generating fascinating philosophical proofs out of a radicalized correlate (and with Zizekians, Lacanians, and Badiouians in the vicnity). There would be a Grantian wing with a more vitalist/materialist approach and more of a Deleuzian flavor than the others. And then there would be an object-oriented wing, with Latour as a key patron saint and a flat ontology as the price of admission.”
It's very much a... kind of vitalist (but a vitalism of the soul, let's say) existentialist book arguing for an embrace of absurd, groundless, self-contradicting hope in the face of despair and the depredations of rationalism on human life.
I'm not really a vitalist, but the spirit within me is.— Sport of Brahma (@SportOfBrahma) April 28, 2018