To all those people who kindly “like” my tweets, facebook comments, and blog posts, or who leave links, comments and personal reflections, I would like to say thank you for your encouragement. Thanks to you, I am slowly synthesizing my thoughts into larger texts, so perhaps eventually I will be able to self-publish them as a series of monographs (on OOO, Laruelle, Latour, Feyerabend).
I do not belong to any particular lobby, so I think no-one would want to publish my stuff. Notwithstanding, it seems to me worthwhile to present the conclusions of a non-affiliated thinker concerning diverse movements of thought in epistemology and ontology that have caught my attention and held my interest long enough for me to explore their ideas both sympathetically and critically. I do not think these two goals are mutually exclusive.
Like many people I have been inspired by Deleuze’s constant theme of “speaking in your own voice”, and this is what I try to do on my blog and with my internet contributions. I do not consider myself a Deleuzian any more. However, I think that Deleuze constitutes one of the best apprenticeships in conceptual invention and in finding your own voice. As he points out does not mean erasing all influence, but having many voices speaking in your own.
I do have many voices speaking in my own, but I do not let any one of them dominate. Many times I have been confronted with people who envision a form of pluralism, but seek to limit it and to ground ground it on the basis of some ultimate insight. Over the years, I have had the same arguments many times with Husserlians and Merleau-Pontians, with Lacanians and Althusserians, with Laruellians as well as Heideggerians. If discussion is in any way possible I take the pluralistic approach, arguing on external reasons both for the possibility of other general hypotheses (for example Deleuze’s or Badiou’s or Laruelle’s) and for their necessity. You can only understand an idea in relation to other ideas, it has content only if it is confronted with fundamental criticism and with alternative worked out accounts).
A second, internal argument, is often possible. Heidegger himself moved on from the grounding in Da-sein when he developped his epochal vision of Being, and traced the historical succession of epochs of understanding of Being. In this phase Dasein is no longer discussed, it is seen as too foundationalist, and a plurality of understandings of Being is discussed directly. Hubert Dreyfus and Sean Kelly give us good examples of this internal argument, and we can see its consequences in his book ALL THINGS SHINING, and in the lecture series accompanying it: From gods to God to gods, i.e. from pluralism (Homeric Greeks) to monism (Platonised Occident) and back to pluralism today.
Other thinkers have made this sort of self-unfounding, self-pluralising move. I have been arguing in my recent posts that this is the case of Laruelle too, in his move from “non-” to “quantum”. Bruno Latour’s modes of existence project is potentially another such case, even if he is hesitant to draw all the consequences. The specific theoretical vocabulary is not as important as the pluralist and democratic thought that it makes possible.
But the old academic reflexes based on election and exclusivity die hard. If there were only schools, teams, and lobbies on the web I would have thrown up my hands in despair and disappointment, stopped posting, and moved on to something more humanly satisfying.
Yet there are many human moments on the web, enough to encourage me to continue. So I will.