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?

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14 commentaires pour NON-STANDARD PHILOSOPHY vs NON-PHILOSOPHY: The Leap into Immanence

  1. Hi Terence. I’m back. I have read the threads. But I don’t wish to dignify Adrian’s comments against non-philosophy. Yet some observations will do just to air my take on how non-philosophy is being received in the anglophone. First, Adrian seems overburdened by philosophy itself, having imbibed its irresolvability. That tells much of the general direction of Laruelle’s project to most philosophers so far, not to mention that non-philosophy still has an internal struggle to wage in relation to speculative materialism and object-oriented philosophy, both are critical of philosophy’s tradition of decisionality as non-philosophy is. Dead or alive, no philosopher is willing to resolve philosophy’s paradoxes except to perpetuate them, in and beyond this world (dead philosophers have their books to perpetuate their positions on their behalf). Second, to combat this overburdening, Laruelle has opted a position extrinsic to philosophy. The dualysis is exactly the articulation of this position. But will it be effective in terms of re-learning philosophy? Before I answer that, let me clarify ‘why re-learn philosophy’? I think we need to re-learn philosophy because we have not understood philosophy that much outside of its decisional structures which in a nutshell do not really teach us how to philosophize. So far philosophy has been teaching us to patronize its problems by way of expanding the circuity that preserves its tenacious hold on concepts. How to get out of philosophy, to stand apart from it in order to see how it works is not a new endeavor. Plato grappled with this problem in his time. We can hazard a statement here that philosophy began by being already non-philosophical–an attempt to situate its difference from other forms of thinking and acting. Overall this means that philosophy has not understood itself that much by simply asserting its difference because it continues to be philosophical at the same time enforcing this continuity from the outside of its decisional structure which alone makes possible any decision it makes. (That is why all philosophies are non-philosophical yet they either do not know it or they know it but still wish to preserve the discipline in which they have invested so much affects). It is in this sense that the philosophical decision is ideological through and through. It fails to locate itself in the very decisional process that makes its blindness possible, which it rather asserts as ‘seeing’, after which comes the occupation of a place seen by the light of the self-same seeing. All philosophies therefore must be blind to their non-existent difference in order for them to be philosophies. The kind of philosophy that Adrian sees in Laruelle’s nonphilosophical project is precisely the-philosophy that confuses its blindness with seeing. Dualysis in fact helps philosophy sees its own ‘seeing’ but it remains an open question whether philosophy would give up its blindness by embracing dualysis. It has been the challenge for philosophy ever since Socrates. When Socrates admonished us to examine our lives, he is also saying that we examine our decisions, stand apart from our positionalities in order to see where our positions are located. This is not impossible. Interestingly, a possible embrace of nonphilosophy is quite hesitatingly offered by Negarestani when he changed the Aristotelian question of what is the concept into where is the concept (see The question of seeing is raised. It is also in this sense that Socrates was the first non-philosopher.

    Thirdly, indeed, if all philosophies are in fact non-philosophical it leaves an open question whether what we do in philosophy is philosophical or not. But also the question where philosophy is done, within or outside philosophy. Unfortunately, much of philosophy is done within the confines of the academia. In this format the outside is in a position to assume a non-philosophical critique of the-philosophy of academia. Unfortunately, the outside is already contaminated by philosophy, more specifically, by modes of deflationary seeing, by popularization of philosophical concepts, unfortunately by some non-philosophical disciplines like sociology, or some sociologies despite their avowed hostility towards philosophy. There lies the extreme danger of not seeing philosophy as non-philosophical. In contrast, the academia performs philosophy in the inflationary mode, increasing its decisional gestures to the extent that it becomes impossible for the outside to keep pace. Fourthly, that is why I agree with the gesture to unpack metaphysics in terms of some form of ecological thinking–from what is to where is, from structures to temporalities (as Mullarkey would have it). We need to stop doing philosophy in the manner of metaphysics because that is precisely the kind of inflationary decisional structure of philosophy that does not wish to be understood except within the limited confines of the academia. Can philosophy do ecology? Ecology belongs to the outside, it belongs to the nonphilosophical. Philosophy can however perform an ecological shift if it is willing to accommodate the outside. Laruelle is spreading the good news along this line. Not everything is philosophizable, a news that can only come from the outside, from the radical immanent experiences of the non-philosophical.

    But first, we need to undo the Deleuzean century. Deleuze has a concept of the non-philosophical that on close examination only extends the rule of philosophy in various non-philosophical disguises.


  2. terenceblake dit :

    I agree with the idea that philosophy from the beginning is also and inseparably non-philosophy, and that philosophy’s sufficinency principle is an ideological pretence. Also for Socrates as a non-philosopher (but why the « first »? The pre-socratics were more scientific, and the sophists were more democratic). Bernard Stiegler in his on-line class has been arguing that Socrates is still very much in the tragic mode of understanding, non-philosophical in my eyes, where the spirits come from under the ground, Hades, and so is representative of bottom-up thinking. As was Plato in his Socratic phase, but he suddenly becomes top-down in PHAEDRUS and in the REPUBLIC, concerned with control.
    The ecological shift is a good way out of philosophy, but this was already Guattari’s way out. I cannot fully agree with you about Deleuze, except for his pre-Guattari period. He is very explicit that with Guattari everything changed. Laruelle’s evolution seems to have been much more intra-philosophical, there is no Guattari in his development. So ANTI-OEDIPUS (1972) seems to me to be a much more radical book than Laruelle’s THÉORIE DES ÉTRANGERS (1995), at least on the critique of psychoanalysis.


  3. Regarding Socrates as the first non-philosopher, I take it to mean the Socrates as part of the Nietzschean ‘republic of genuises from Thales to Socrates’. I fully agree with you about the Presocratics, that is, before Socrates came into the picture. The Presocs’ nonphilosophy however suffered from a lack of a rival to measure its nonphilosophical work against. Ironically, Nietzsche envied this precondition for Presocratic flourishing. Everything was simply there for such activities of thinking to flourish. Of course, this changed when Socrates came who had more than half of his life devoted to waging battle against the sophists, interrupted by his participation in intra-state wars in Greece. It was ironically the opportunity for nonphilosophy to measure itself against the mythical limitations of the Presocs, their proneness to sophistic incursions, which would be proven correct later. But it was also an opportunity to practice dualysis of the sort that engaged nonphilosophy with the traditional modes of thinking that were already contributing to the collapse of Athenian culture before even the Macedonians swept it and turned her into a foster child of Alexandrian vision of globalization.

    I have a different view on Phaedrus and the Republic, though very minimal vis-a-vis your contentions. The Phaedrus is an exercise in a kind of mapping the limits of the practice of reason (the setting was outside the walls) which takes its fullest expression in the Republic where the opposite of reason is held not as irrational but where reason should begin to embrace the demand of the Good which is beyond reason. Though the subject-matter is ‘the beyond’ the discussions of the Republic unlike the Phaedrus took place inside those walls.

    Lastly, regarding Deleuze. Yes, I agree with you. The Guattari effect is quite disastrous. But Deleuze’s pre-Guattari period also betrays an embrace of chaos to unleash creativity that to my mind dangerously accelerates a mode of expression resistant to molar aggregations, a disposition that he would later expand in his collaboration with Guattari. The acceleration is aimed at, again to my mind, replicating the logic of pure immanence, the logic of becoming-other, becoming-chaos itself. Unfortunately, there has never been a historical project that is most accommodating to this Deleuzean project except capitalism. Along this critique, I am sympathetic to Plato’s noble lie if only to put the breaks on the drive for rhizomatic autonomy. (But discussing this aspect of Plato is another matter).

    The Guattari effect certainly radicalized Deleuze’s relation to psychoanalysis especially on the notion of desire. For Deleuze desire is not lack but production. But he certainly knew that for desire to become pure production lack should not serve as a break on autonomy. That’s where the danger lies. Without lack production becomes replication, production on the pure scale of forms. If desire is production itself I don’t think the emergence of the human is possible. But humans are here, so it would simply require of humans to hasten their return to the original state–the replication of the forms in the molecular. Replication will continue without humans. But the emergence of humans necessarily puts a break on this totalitarian ambition of replication on this side of the cosmos, as I put it elsewhere.

    Let’s just say, emergence is the anathema of chaos (again, on this side of the cosmos), the ‘lack’ as the ‘black hole’ of the cosmos which slows it down. But why this turbulence cum emergence? Heisenberg’s last words before he died were ‘why turbulence?’ He was referring to the nonlinear dynamics, chaotic fluctuations that bar the unification of relativity and quantum physics. The physicist was hoping to account for chaos. But aren’t we already at a loss over accounting for emergence?


  4. noir-realism dit :

    What’s interesting is that Deleuze himself, even as early as his introduction to Malfatti, was already moving toward a non-philosophical project, in the sense that it was neither philosophy nor science that truly interested him: it was the knowledge of life and the life of knowledge, that per se was the unique underpinnings of his whole complex of notions, ideas, trajectories. Even in such passages as this from A Thousand Plateaus: « The plane of consistency is the intersection of all concrete forms. Therefore all becomings are written like sorcerer’s drawings on this plane of consistency, which is the ultimate Door providing a way out for them … The only question is: Does a given becoming reach that point? » (ATP, 251). It was on this plane of composition, where the empirical aligned itself with the spatium that Deleuze hoped to formulate his transcendental empiricism. His sense of how things emerge out of the spatium.

    I sometimes think that people lean too heavy on The Logic of Sense and Difference and Repetition when they should traverse the full oeuvre of Deleuze’s work. Some think that Deleuze took a wrong turn with Guattari, without realizing that this venture was a part of a complex movement and that Deleuze took it all in as part of an overall strategy in his progress. And, I do see his work as a struggle or agon in the old sense, not one against other philosophers, but one like the old parable of Jacob wrestling with God for the life of his son: but in this instance the what is being wrestled with is the hidden underbelly of philosophical tradition itself, and the prize a way out of the deadlock we are now in… Did he succeed? Obviously he did not have time to complete the task…. with his death many things remained unsaid, ill-composed or half-measured; yet, in the end he was building a legacy that we still have as yet ill-understood, are only now beginning to truly understand.


    • inthesaltmine dit :

      Re: « Does a given becoming reach that point? » I should like to say no, of course not. What about an individual with their series of becomings, taken in their entirety? Perhaps not, even still. What about many individuals, a collective with their various series of becomings? I think this is much, much closer to truth.

      I think that it is precisely this wandering (feel free to translate to becomings at will) that is the point, and that the lesson of Laruelle’s plurality of thought and indeed D&Gs nomad thought is that we should avoid closures. Perhaps contrary to a Wittgensteinian fly-bottle approach, it is not a question of passing through the ultimate Door, inasmuch as it is to transform the room in which one feels trapped such that the space becomes entirely anew.

      What happens at the tipping point, when we have this primordial Struggle or perpetual Wandering occuring on a micro-spherical level, a macro-spherical level, etc. (Sloterdijk’s terms: spheres, globes, foam). It is not that you somehow pop the sphere and somehow escape it; no, it is that the sphere becomes like a brand new home.

      I’ve tried to paint a better picture of this vis-a-vis what I’m calling Wilderness (non-)theology, here: | It’s a draft, a mere beginning, but I think you can see the idea better.

      Thank you all for your efforts.


      • Misha dit :

        I think you both misunderstand Deleuze and Guattari. A becoming is not a series. Do not take a differential repetition in time, that is the serial contraction of AB in space and across time (intensive magnitude) as the same thing as a becoming. A becoming is two things and we find this in LoS and AtP, in the first it is the simultaneously possibility of truth and falsity in the sensibility of a concept (disjunctive judgment of the concept in Kant) as well as being the simultaneous movement of the copula ‘becomes’ as predicating the object in two ways (to become larger is to have been smaller, separated only by a conceptual point); but it is also a matter of potential within a threshold, for instance the mosquito bite is a potential only within a world with skin and mosquitos. Thus the sorcerer draws a diagram of interactions, a topology of geographical and conceptual relations, as a projective formal model of the future. The actualization of this model, is a matter of the drawing itself.


  5. terenceblake dit :

    Yes, Laruelle refuses philosophical critiques of his work, maintaining that they radically misunderstood it, bringing it back under the hegemony of the principle of sufficient philosophy. Yet I think that Laruelle does the same thing in his reading of Deleuze, reading as philosophy what is already non-standard philosophy. Laruelle’s critique is one that Deleuze already made of himself with the notion of the Image of Thought. And once again I must insist: there is no Guattari in the life of Laruelle, as far as we know. This is no disaster but a leap into immanence. If one can claim as APS does that non-philosophy has analysed objects in their immanence citing philosophy and photography, then Deleuze did this already with philosophy and the cinema. Freud and Lacan were true disasters to thought, extending the monist deadlock. Thinking that one has made a great advance because one has timidly criticised Lacan is placing oneself in the same magisterial (and insular!) tradition as Badiou. That is non-philosophy rather than non-standard philosophy. Deleuze was in struggle against himself, as was Lyotard who declared he was at war with the institutions of his own spirit.


    • inthesaltmine dit :


      I recently finished Peter Sloterdijk’s _Bubbles_ and he takes Lacan to be one of his major targets, and employs Kristeva’s thought (whose work I think should be way more important than it is) a bit on the way to tackling Lacanian psychoanalysis. I think Sloterdijk himself would fit in this « war with the institutions of his own spirit » insofar as he sets out the task of « praising transference » and « refuting loneliness ». I think his work is a step in the right direction, and I often wonder and perhaps will take up the task of how to read him in conjunction with Laruelle.


  6. When I speak of the Deleuzean century, I speak of a certain ambivalence that runs through Deleuze’s works. And this ambivalence has left an opening into which the semblance to capitalist machine of organizing chaos has fit in. I do agree that Deleuze remains a potent source of critiquing hegemony, such as capitalism, but capitalism is not entirely Oedipal to warrant a full embrace of Anti-Oedipal war machine. Laruelle has seen this. The Real is only accidentally oedipal, one of the various frames into which the world is made to fit. Heidegger had previously seen this kind of framing as Gestell. The task for philosophy is to unmask the contingency of framing the world within these hegemonic pictures, pictures that represent the world. For his part, Laruelle has made a brilliant exploration of the Photo–how any form of framing the world is only a last-instance objectification of chaos, but not the last say.

    The full force of capitalism is replication, a logic that Deleuze uncovered before Anti-Oedipus and his later collaboration with Guattari. This is already revolutionary. I made mention in my post that Deleuze’s critique of capitalism is at par with Marx’s theory of labor value, if not an improvement of anti-capitalist critique. His dream of writing his last book, a book on Marx, The Grandeur of Marx, perhaps is a telltale sign that he had acknowledged the porosity of his works vis-a-vis the power of capitalism to transform any war machine–a machine for deterritorializing what else but the ambivalent power of chaos to reduce existence to replication; no matter how we territorialize it in the sense of taming the shrew chaos is still chaos–into the stream of replication, which is what capitalism is all about. With Deleuze’s critique of capital, labor is no longer the machine that replicates, which for Marx at least guarantees the ontological barrier against the machination of capital. Labor for Marx is the war machine against the war machine of capital. With Deleuze we are left with nothing to bar replication except a noological exploration of the unthinkable. This without the active aid of science, for Deleuze had reduced science one way or another to non-philosophy whose humble task is to make itself available, discounting its initiative, for the philosophical exploration of the unthinkable. But he does not actually explore it; he accommodates it, a telltale sign that for Deleuze philosophy has saturated its purpose in concept-creation. Laruelle thus rightly observes: « [If] for Deleuze, like all philosophers, has only ever had one problem. It is indeed this one. It is no longer a question of thinking the infinite (« How can ‘I’ as finite being think the infinite? »), but of ‘infinite thinking.' » (« I the Philosopher, Am Lying?: A Reply to Deleuze, in The Nonphilosophy Project, 45). Further on, Laruelle criticizes Deleuze’s concept-creation as auto-positionality, what to me is Deleuze’s unwitting embrace of capitalism by owning the machine of capital’s auto-generating function (if we cannot defeat the machine we might as well snatch it), this time the thinker that indulges in ‘infinite thinking’, the generation of concepts without ends. Laruelle sees in Deleuzean concepts « the concepts that participate in the same general auto-position » (Ibid., 63).

    I am a reader of Deleuze; but I am also wary of the century that continues to sing the anti-oedipal chorus.


  7. Reblogged this on Kafka's Ruminations and commented:
    Some non-discussions on non-philosophy and a segue into Deleuze.


  8. Ping : The Leap to Immanence: a post-Deleuzian Epistemological Distinction between Philosophy and Schizosophy | ~ S c h i z o s o p h y ~

  9. Ping : The Leap into Immanence: a post-Deleuzian Epistemological Distinction between Philosophy and Schizosophy | ~ S c h i z o s o p h y ~

  10. Ping : The Leap into Immanence: “How to Behave like a Schizosopher” | ~ S c h i z o s o p h y ~

  11. Ping : [non-philosophical] fragment on critique and theoreticism | DIFFEREND Komplex

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