update: John Mullarkey has replied and Virgilio Rivas has made some very interesting comments.
Adrian from Schizosophy has launched an interesting critique of non-philosophy in a discussion on facebook, in response to a quote I translated from Laruelle. I copy his comment and my reply here in the hope of furthering the discussion.
Laruelle: « If one may give advice, it is better to be a floating and inspired reader, as the author must sometimes be, an undulatory reader rather than a corpuscular one. He must begin like one diving into the water or like one who is already in it, like Descartes, who is anxious at getting out of his depth, acts on the flows that carry him and becomes that transcendental swimmer the philosopher, his head both under and out of the water. He will hasten to get out of the water, like the archaic fish, Descartes again, and will support himself on solid ground on his two legs, Being and Thought, discovering that the Sky exists. Unless another destiny is still possible, that the swimmer return to the depths and experience them like that chimera that one could call the*water-fish* », Philosophie non-standard, p. 10-11.
Adrian: This non-philosophy is a fad of false radicality: is getting worse as its anglo-acolytes promote it uncritically: say that non-philosophy is a product of the academic-incapacities and atrophies of academic-philosophers to be enoughly critical so to break with their academic-subjections: for this sake, seems that Laruelle invented an academic-term for academic-philosophers to justify this lack and so to let them wash their hands and avoid taking as an ethical/philosophical **resposability** the overcoming-overthrowing of this fleshed and embodied academic-subjections: non-philosophy seems to take apart from academic-philosophers this responsability (like if they were goners diseased to death, incapable by themselves to do something about it) to justify the non-effectuation of the epistemological ruptures that are indispensable to grasp philosophy as such and by experience: look now what is happening: there is a Mr. John Mullarkey telling us from his very academic-bunker, how to behave like philosophers! This is ridiculous and confirms what i said to him last year: academic-philosophers do not even know how to be critical because no one inside academy has taught them how to do so: how come John is making the very first step teaching us with a non-philosophical patronizing **how to behave like philosophers**, while he does not even know what is to be a self-happened philosopher, while he does not even care about it?
Me: I am ambivalent about non-philosophy and I find that it is only beginning to get interesting now that it has become « non-standard » philosophy. Even here sometimes I wonder « What! all this conceptual creation and analysis to get to the idea that we are Future Christs who can use philosophy as materials without believing in its structural founding principle? I already knew that with Feyerabend and Deleuze and Jung over 30 years ago ». Wittgenstein encouraged his disciples to quit philosophy and to take up some practically useful profession. Those who stayed behind got bogged down in exegesis and in linguistic analysis. Will non-philosophy win out over non-standard philosophy and create a new scholasticism based on a performative contradiction? This is what you seem to fear when you take on John Mullarkey so virulently. I do not know him, but he seems like a nice guy. I think you might be making him into a symbol of those who remain behind in the « academic-bunker » while talking about the Great Outdoors. In Laruellian terms, you are suspending his philosophical sufficiency and treating him as material for your own non-standard philosophical activity. In his defence I would quote Lyotard from the end of LIBIDINAL ECONOMY where he makes this same objection to himself, and refuses the dualism and the implied notion that there is some « good place » to be, superior to all the compromised intensities. There is no right place to be, there is only being open to the intensities that we encounter in us and around us, and refining ourselves to become ever better as conductors of intensities (and I would add to become ever more open to free exchange of intensities). This would correspond to non-standard philosophy winning out over non-philosophy. This is one way of stating my aim in these discussions.
John Mullarkey: @ARF I see that your ability to jump to conclusions remains as great as ever. If you actually read the abstract for the talk you’d see that the term ‘behave’ is not being used normatively but refers to behaviourism and one possible way of interpreting non-standard philosophy. Nobody else I know has read the title as some kind of directive but understood that the whole phrase should be read as if in ‘scare quotes’. In other words, irrespective of what the abstract says, they gave it the benefit of the doubt rather than leaping in with certainties. Meanwhile, anyone who has read my essay/chapters on Laruelle know that I am critical of his work vis-a-vis its purported status as transcendental and what appears to be its reification of philosophy according to one structural invariant (decision). I favour temporalising the philosophy/non-philosophy dyad as a question of processes rather than structures. This may complement TB’s reference, following Lyotard, to there not being any ‘good place’ to be. (And, yes, non-standard philosophy may be moving in that direction too with its use of ‘immanental’ as a way of breaking down that transcendental-transcendence duality – though I would have to read more before saying much about this.) So, please, ARF, read before you leap.
Me: Hello John, I think we have the material here for a good discussion. But first I do not want to lose time over the factual question of whether Adrian misread the title of your talk or was playing with it to make a point. I almost warned him that he seemed to be dangerously close to Harman’s leap of misreading over the abstract to Anthony Paul Smith’s talk on Laruelle and Speculative Reason. I like Adrian’s prose style, that Laruelle would have to call « non-English », and find the expression « self-happened philosopher » marvelous. I think that to use your terms whereas you accuse Adrian of leaping without reading he accuses you of reading without leaping. Your reply is that you yourself temporalise the dyad and that you hope that Laruelle is may be moving in that direction too with his increasing emphasis on « immanental ». I of course am only too happy with these remarks as I have defended « diachronic » ontologies, claiming that they are processual, pluralist, and immanental. Yet I am also sensitive that such an immanent thought must produce a leap inside ourselves (the multiple is not just something to describe, you must do it). So without judging on the empirical question of persons, I think it is useful to examine the questions: (1) when an academic philosopher thinks he is making the leap into immanence(remembering Deleuze’s expression of « making the movement » or staying in reflection) is he deluding himself or is this, as both Deleuze and Guattari suggest, a real possibility. Is being critical and temporalising and democratic enough to make the leap? (2) when a non-academic thinker thinks he has made the leap, is he being over-confident in his intensities, or is he expressing and incarnating an important part of the immanental process?