LEVI BRYANT AND THE PERFORMATIVE CONTRADICTION (4): De-concepted Affective Philosophy

Levi Bryant’s “naturalism” is an empty abstraction that is conceptually dependent on his affective choices. In his eyes Freud and Lacan are naturalists whereas Marx and Foucault are anthropocentric idealists. No analysis is given and confrontation with rival views is steadfastly avoided. Instead he proposes a Farenheit 451 fantasy of demarcation and exclusion.

Bryant claims that naturalism expresses the synthesis of Darwin and Lacan, and considers it to be “non-reductionist”, and calls this incoherent hodgepodge an “open-ended project”, i.e. a pious wish for a future theory. The Theory-that-may-come.

His naturalism requires the transformation of our understanding of nature so as to be able to account for culture, so Lacan is graffed on as a naturalist supplement. The whole thing is embarrasing in its incompleteness and its incoherence, but Bryant happily divides his time between critiquing any position he feels threatened by, calling it idealist, and describing in the conditional mood what a satisfactory theory “would” have to be like. This is concept-blindness in a big way!

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