My discussion of Zizek’s talk “Am I a Philosopher?” is an unfinished attempt at giving a close reading of Zizek’s text. The text’s argumentative structure is not obvious, and the relevance of the later sections to the question in the title is not apparent. However, Zizek’s polemic with Miller, at the end, on the nature of the Real provides very useful indications concerning his “quasi-ontology”, that he mentions at the beginning, in the third,paragraph, and then seems to drop:
Another move in this direction is my elaboration of the quasi-ontology of “less than nothing” in my reading of the ontological implications of quantum physics.
This talk begins by citing various accusations of “arrogance and stupidity” that people have directed at Zizek. His response is a philosophical one. He refuses the accusation of arrogance, claiming that his discourse is that of the hysteric rather than of the “arrogant” Master. He further claims not to fall into the stupidity of a positive pre-critical ontology, and situates himself at the analytic pole of an ontology of the incomplete, inconsistent real.
On the question of “stupidity” and ontology, I explore the link between the two in my essay IS ONTOLOGY MAKING US STUPID? I wrote this before Zizek’s LESS THAN NOTHING came out, but I think that his discussion of stupidity at the beginning of this book ties in well with my own analysis. On the question of “arrogance” and philosophy, I explore the link between the two in my various discussions of Laruelle. Laruelle was quite virulent in his condemnation of philosophy’s “suffisance” (the French word means both sufficiency and arrogance). He later came to see that his own “non-philosophy” was itself guilty of the arrogance that it condemned in standard philosophy, and tried to break with this more decisively in elaborating a “non-standard” philosophy implementing quantum thinking. Thus we can see him as moving from an arrogant position such as Zizek analyses in the middle Althusser and a position closer to Zizek’s quantum “quasi”-ontology.
To conclude on this point, in my opinion the prefix “quasi-” functions as a vanishing mediator, it drops out once the transition to post-Kantian philosophy has been made, and we can go back to talking simply about philosophy or ontology. One must not forget that Zizek maintains that philosophy beginning with Kant no longer does ontology in the same old standard way.