Is “Non” Baseless? (A Non-Philosophical Theory of Nature Book Event)

Given a book such as this, which does so much so well, to approach a response by way of summation or comprehension is to risk binding oneself to cliché or dilution. Better, perhaps, to just pick up one of the singular insights with which the book is littered. One of these insights is embedded in Smith’s analysis of Quentin Meillassoux’s critical reading of François Laruelle. Following Smith’s own incisive account, the point of this analysis is not to start another intra-philosophical war, now between Meillassoux and Laruelle. It is rather to give attention to, or to study, what it is about Laruelle’s thought that remains unthinkable by philosophy, or by the sort of work named and called for by philosophy. This is to say that Meillassoux’s misreading of Laruelle, and the critique that depends upon this misreading, can be taken as an indication of the incommensurability between standard philosophical practice and the practice of thought that is at issue under the name “Laruelle.” Read the rest of this entry »

ICYMI: Series on “Refusing Reconciliation”

Just wanted to call the attention of AUFS readers to the fact that the second post of Amaryah Shaye’s excellent series is now up over at Women in Theology. But if you haven’t already, then first check out the initial post.

“Reconciliation is antiblack and thus antichrist. It is anti-black because it requires the supersession of the black in order for its unity to be found in its white Christ. By black here, I don’t mean a particular skin color or identity, a certain vocal affectation, musical aesthetic, or capacity for rhythm (though I do mean all those things, too). Instead, I mean blackness as a radical refusal of the movement of reconciliation, and thus, of whiteness. To be black and to be made black is to take seriously the work of refusal, which is an antagonism, a thorn in the side of the sovereignty of whiteness. To be made black is not to be made other than one already is, in the sense that one must supersede the black in order to become a better whiter self or world or being. Instead, to be made black is to be undone through an encounter with an other that interrupts the logic of self-making, the logic of world-making, as supersession. To become black is to remain in instability, is to remain in solidarity together in instability. To become black is to be against the movement beyond sociality for the sake of becoming logical and reasonable. To become black is to refuse being made a something–to be and become nothing. Not because nothing is an absence or a lack of life, but precisely because nothing is the abundance and multiplicity out of which life is formed.”


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Deleuze and the Naming of God Now Available

This is just a quick announcement that my book, Deleuze and the Naming of God: Postsecularism and the Future of Immanence, is now out. Which is to say that physical copies have appeared, that it’s available on Amazon (at least in the US and the UK), and so on.

The introduction is available online. The cost of the book is rather prohibitive, as it’s being published now only in hardback. If you’re able, though, it’d be great if you could ask your library to order a copy. This might aid the eventual publishing of a paperback version. Also, EUP would no doubt distribute review copies.

Thoughts Surrounding Accelerationism

I can’t claim to have followed all of the debates surrounding the Accelerationist Manifesto (excerpts in italics in what follows). But I have remained intrigued by it—certainly intrigued enough to make my way to the accelerationist event this past weekend, given its proximity to my current location.  The duration of doing this got me thinking, in a relatively more concentrated way, about what accelerationism’s saying, but moreso about what’s being done by this saying and the attention attracted by this saying. I figured it would be worth setting down some of these thoughts. And let me say in advance, these thoughts are scattered, and no doubt they can be found to have missed some kind of nuance in accelerationism, etc.—so, these thoughts are not “just ideas,” they are just ideas. Read the rest of this entry »

Announcement: Modern European Philosophy and the Problem of Religious Language

Modern European Philosophy and the Problem of Religious Language

In Association with the Forum for European Philosophy and Royal Institute of Philosophy

Tuesday 5th November, 4.30 – 7.00

SOTA Library, 19 Abercromby Square, University of Liverpool

This workshop will explore the rich resources for analysing, theorising and interrogating religious language within the continental tradition. It marks the publication of two new books in the field, Daniel Colucciello Barber’s Deleuze and the Naming of God: Post-Secularism and the Future of Immanence (Edinburgh University Press) and Daniel Whistler’s Schelling’s Theory of Symbolic Language: Forming the System of Identity (Oxford University Press), as well as the reissue of Steven Shakespeare’s classicKierkegaard, Language and the Reality of God (Ashgate, 2001; Biblio, 2013).

The event is free and open to all. No registration is necessary, although, if possible, do let Daniel Whistler ( know of your intention to attend. Read the rest of this entry »

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Living Thought Book Event: Absence of Origin / Absence of Another Option

Esposito’s Living Thought is an excellent book. My own experience of reading it was shaped by its themes of life, antagonism, and genealogy (of the origin). Esposito’s discussion of these themes also pushed me to think further along certain lines, which I try to set out below.

Absence of Origin

The predominant relation in what Esposito calls “Italian thought” is the one between history and origin. Even as history advances beyond an origin and bears a determinacy inconceivable from the point of the origin, this origin does not disappear into the past but instead becomes something inseparable from the “actuality” of history. Hence Esposito, when speaking of Vico, is able to speak of how “the origin is not dissolved in history, just as history is not reduced to time” (26). And such a logic has to do not just with Vico but also with “an element that runs through all Italian philosophy,” namely this: “At the bottom of history there lies an opaque, seminatural, historically intractable element that human beings must come to terms with the moment their gaze turns toward the future, imagining that they can liberate themselves, along with the entire past, even from the uncertain point of its provenance” (27). In other words, one of the essential skills of Italian philosophy, “distinguishing it from other traditions of thought” (27), is precisely this attentiveness to the entanglement of history and origin, doubling each other and thus undermining any pretension that would reduce one to the other.

At times, however, this relation between history and origin recedes in favor of another one, between history and life. This raises, for me, a question about the nature of the relation between these relations, or between the three terms at stake: history, origin, and life. The issue seems particularly pressing in one articulation of the second relation, where Esposito speaks of “the ontological difference between history and life” (170). How should we think of this difference? And what does it mean that this difference—however we think of it—is already cast in terms of being? Read the rest of this entry »

Forthcoming Book

Just a quick announcement that a book of mine — on Deleuze, in connection with many things, including Adorno, religion/secularism, and metaphilosophy/nonphilosophy — is coming out with Edinburgh UP in December. I’m happy to be able to post the cover at this point. Read the rest of this entry »

Dark Nights of the Universe Book

Last year, I and several others were involved in an event surrounding Laruelle, mysticism, and contemporary theory. I wanted to let any interested parties know that the book that emerged from that event is now available. Also, for those in the New York area, there will be a launch later in the week.

Nothing to Do With Philosophy

Below is the text from a recent conference (The Fracture of Nothing – On the Return of Nihilism) in which I recently participated. Though I eventually get to Deleuze & Guattari, and a brief reference to Laruelle, the bulk of the paper ended up circling around the work of J Dilla:

“You better stop, and think about what you’re doing.” This is the refrain from a Dionne Warwick song, in 1973, addressed to the lover she is losing, the lover with whom she is in a fractured relationship. What is the lover doing? What is it that the lover ought to stop and think about? Leaving the singer. And if the lover were to stop and think about it, what would the lover realize? The lover would realize what the singer already knows, and what the singer knows is what the song is titled: “You’re Gonna Need Me.” Read the rest of this entry »

A Note on Cone on Malcolm X

I’m posting a footnote from the book I’m doing on conversion, as I think it (the note) might be of interest for discussion:

One of the more interesting instances of such a progressive narrative is presented by James H. Cone, in Martin & Malcolm & America: A Dream or a Nightmare (Orbis, 1992): “As one seeks to understand Malcolm, it is important to keep in mind that his perspective was undergoing a radical process of change and development during the last year of his life. He gradually discarded his Black Muslim beliefs about race and religion and moved toward a universal perspective on humanity that was centered on his commitment to the black liberation struggle in America” (211). I find Cone’s account particularly interesting because, even as he gives way to a narrative of secularization (moving from religion, i.e. “Black Muslim beliefs,” toward a broadenened political orientation), he elsewhere insists on the importance of religion in any attempt to understand Malcolm X. For instance, he calls attention to that fact that even “sympathetic interpreters often miss the central role of religion Malcolm’s thinking,” and that this is because “religion is commonly separated from struggles for justice” (164). Cone here indicates that such separation is unfortunate, that against such separation we should attend to the link between religion and the political. But if this is the case, then why is he apparently so content to present Malcolm X’s life in terms of an overcoming of religion’s narrowness in favor of the “universal perspective on humanity” that a secular, or at least developmentally secularizing, tendency offers?

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