NON-STANDARD PHILOSOPHY: gatekeepers and gatecrashers

The considerations brought up in the discussion at the DAILY NOUS of changing standards of philosophy to incorporate more, and deeper, diversity (here) involve both internal and external aspects (although this distinction itself is called into question by “diverse” philosophies).

1) Internal: we are talking at a great level of generality, although no doubt people have specific examples in mind. There is a sort of phenomenological epoche that we must effectuate, so that the examples are viewed solely in relation to the question of whether they can be regarded as philosophy or not. The question here is not whether we agree with the examples or find them to be good examples of philosophy, but only whether they are philosophy even though they stretch the entrenched standards of demarcation.

The relevant examples are ones which embody a sufficient amount of theoretical work, a sufficient conceptual level, sufficient argumentation (implicit or explicit), sufficient relation to acknowledged problems or problematics or texts or figures. I have proposed three criteria, not in the abstract, but to be mobilised when the question of “philosophy or not?” comes up in a specific instance. In each case I have qualified the criterion with the intentionally vague “sufficient”, which sufficiency can be rationally discussed and argued about, but not determined by some fixed and sharply-demarcated judgement.

2) External: there are “gatekeepers”, and they are not just “we philosophers” (of which I am a member) nor “we university philosophy teachers” (of which I am not currently a member, although I was once). The academics need to be persuaded or obliged to modify their standards, or may just drift into a modification that they perceive only afterwards.

There is a sociology of philosophy, whether we are aware of it or not, whether we like it or not. University philosophy teachers are paid a salary, and can be induced to modify their curriculum by financial or administrative means. Student interest, or pressure, can lead to changes. There are also other social forces. Four decades ago, the first course in feminist philosophy in my old university only got accepted, after much resistance, after a student strike backed up by the builders’ union going on strike too. The student strike alone was not enough. Nowadays such courses are a banality.

A third consideration is that the discussion is mostly on the “receiving” side, asking whether “we” should accept innovations that in some important way change the rules of the game. But there is also the productive side. What innovations or transformations do we desire, or do we feel necessary in order to say what we have to say?

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4 Responses to NON-STANDARD PHILOSOPHY: gatekeepers and gatecrashers

  1. Ari says:

    As a non-academic I am fully on the productive outside. “We” desire a separation from the gravity of prestigious references and the standard authority of its terminology that to some extent we have become stuck in as insiders or as desiring to be in. In this sense this process of growing independence of a non-standard approach takes “us” out of an intellectual identity formed by a particular organization of mental pictures to the in-person that is not amphibological. Although in practice the long-circuits of an organology still will come to constitute our inner life binding us to the old generations. An individuating descent into the underworld (Hillmann) and the refrain of transitional objects (Winnicott) help as I have noticed in my experimentation.

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  2. terenceblake says:

    A non-standard approach is independent, but not “indifferent” on all fronts. Being non-standard is not a goal in itself, but the situation that arises when one speaks and acts, productively, in one’s own name, in-person. This situation need not be a predicament or an imposition. Ontological solitude is not the last word, and the descent into the underworld lets us discover community, even if only in the form of community spirit.

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  3. Ari says:

    Yes, I think I understand, in my own way of course, about non-standard practice being independent yet empathetic and non-standard practice as always already embedded in a situation where one speaks and acts, and ontological solitude as a discovery of community if even in spirit. This is why I mentioned Stiegler and depth psychology because the movement through a completely foreign territory or into the dark unconscious although it is a singular personal struggle all alone with the non-status of the … in-person… where thinking in-Real means “thinking” in “a non-place that is devoid of transcendence or understanding” (Laruelle, “Struggle and Utopia” pg. 140) and so is a dwelling in the Outside that has nothing to do with any kind of organization of mental pictures going on in our minds;– there is still a desire to return, a desire to share and exchange the “goods” of the practice with humans through that which Stiegler calls “epistolary transindividuation” where an associative medium produces both psychic and collective individuation due to a transductive relationship. Stiegler discusses this, gives as an example, a commentary on Foucault’s commentary on Seneca’s letters to Lucilius (see “Taking Care” pg. 156) where the practice, as I am reading it at this moment, involves a sort apophatic emptying out of interiority into the exterior, and objectification of subjectivity in letters or works in progress. For Stiegler as for depth psycychology praxis involves the sharing of the goods that are made by a public intelligence whose deep attention has the effect of opening up integral or “associated psychotechnical space” (Taking Care, pg. 25). They cannot be done of course without imagination and symbolic analogical skills put into practice through some sort of marking nootechnic like writing that, as in the net and epistolary practice, is always a work in progress through much trial and error. With regards to the net it is interesting how in some corners of the blogosphere orientation through truth is besides the point as philosophy begins a hybridizing mixture with literature. On the internet whether a transductive relation is a fictional or non-fictional exchange does not seem to matter all that much for some. I digress, thanks for the exchange of thoughts. I am not an expert as I mentioned. I just started reading Laruelle and Stiegler in the last couple of years due to your blog where I have been lurking on and off. Thanks again.

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  4. I am very interested in what is referred to as non-philosophy. I have little to no formal knowledge of prior exponents of this particular approach to understanding the human situation, is there a non-philosophy for beginners?

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