ZIZEK AND RECENT FRENCH THOUGHT

Zizek, in a recent interview, talks about the life of philosophy in the world: “France and Germany, for instance, are currently in a very low state intellectually — especially Germany. Nothing interesting is happening there”.

I beg to differ. As to France, there is Badiou, Laruelle, and Stiegler, and a contemporary reworking of Deleuze and Guattari.  And of course Bruno Latour (who is more a synthesis of the past than an original thinker, but I like his stuff as far as it goes).  Michel Onfray is unjustly ignored, and I think his book on Freud gave a popular summary of Deleuze and Guattari ANTI-OEDIPUS type arguments that have been conveniently “forgotten”. So I don’t feel any regrets about staying on here in France. I find that the conceptual production here is still intellectually interesting and existentially stimulating.

Onfray’s FREUD got many unfriendly reviews in France, despite its being a modern ANTI-OEDIPUS for Dummies. Unfortunately, ANTI-OEDIPUS has often been recuperated as some sort of merely rhetorically exaggerated dissent from Lacanian psychoanalysis, that nonetheless preserves its basic paradigm. See http://terenceblake.wordpress.com/2012/04/05/badious-reductions-5-the-suture-of-the-psyche-to-the-lacanian-subject/ and also http://terenceblake.wordpress.com/2011/11/19/onfrays-freud-twilight-of-an-idol/

When Stiegler accuses Latour of not having made the detour via phenomenology and psychoanalysis, I think he is designating that “de-conceptual” aspect of Latour that pleases OOOxians like Graham Harman and Levi Bryant, who have wagered on the forgettting of the concepts that nourished a generation of thought and that led to Latour’s derivative, watered down, and fundamentally conservative synthesis indebted to Deleuze, Guattari, Foucault, and also to Kuhn, Feyerabend, and Bloor.

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5 Responses to ZIZEK AND RECENT FRENCH THOUGHT

  1. John C says:

    ‘I beg to differ. As to France, there is Badiou, Laruelle, and Stiegler, and a contemporary reworking of Deleuze and Guattari.’

    He means precisely these are boring, no?

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  2. terenceblake says:

    I don’t think so. Zizek quite likes Badiou, but is not at all equipped conceptually to reply to Laruelle’s ANTI-BADIOU, and certainly not to the whole of Laruelle’s project. I think that Laruelle’s long oeuvre passed under the radar of Zizek’s retro-conceptual paradigm, as did Bernard Stiegler’s long series of post-Derridean reflection. Zizek is simply not a reliable narrator of what is interesting in recent French thought.

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  3. Philip says:

    I don’t understand these ‘abandonment issues’! What’s so wrong with abandoning parts of a tradition in order to examine others? (e.g., in Latour’s case, American Pragmatism, Whitehead, etc.) I certainly reserve the right to abandon any intellectual father figures I so please. The dead are far beyond taking personal offence.

    Also:
    “the forgettting of the concepts that nourished a generation of thought and that led to Latour’s derivative, watered down, and fundamentally conservative synthesis”
    So Latour synthesises elements of a tradition. And this synthesis is conservative. How then is this an exercise in forgetting? A conservative synthesis that is an exercise in forgetting. I’m puzzled as to how this works. Certainly he doesn’t always pay his dues — he only ever does so strategically. But then which philosophers ever do?

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  4. Pingback: BADIOU, LATOUR, STIEGLER: Figures of Submission or Conceptual Personae? | AGENT SWARM

  5. maria cameron says:

    The reason from what I see is that Onfray is very smart, he’s a good student, but he is Not original. he’s a good contemporary historian, but a self described hedonist anarchist is not going to be up to Zizek’s standard’s as of being a great thinker, and certainly not a great thinker of the left.Alain Badiou is a great philosopher, he is original.Zizek does not even claim to be agreat thinker, and besides which his comment cannot be taken as conclusive for god’s sake! Quite totalizing everything you read Mister Blake.

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