“A City of Heretics: François Laruelle’s Non-Philosophy and Its Variants” Published

Angelaki has just published a special issue on François Laurelle’s non-philosophy and variants thereof (click here for the cover, the black cow being a reference to Harman’s review that I use as a trope in my introduction). I edited this collection and was very humbled and honored to try and bring together a number of thinkers whose pick up on Laruelle’s own. The topics covered move from animal ethics to religion to epistemology to art to media to politics and others. I see this as a testament to the plasticity and freedom that non-philosophy allows, something that was on display this last week in Cerisy where a a similar themed colloquium was held. I have listed the table of contents for the journal below with links to free downloads. These are limited to fifty and so I ask if you are interested but have institutional access to Angelaki to please not use the links below. I have invited the other authors in the journal to include their links here, but many will have their own ways of disseminating the link and will want to use their avenues instead. If you are interested in the journal and cannot gain access let me know.

Table of Contents:

1. Laruelle Does Not Exist: Editor’s Introduction

2. Principles for a Generic Ethics by François Laruelle (translated by APS)

3. A Science of Christ? by François Laruelle (translated by Aaron Riches)

4. Sexed Identity by François Laruelle and Anne-Françoise Schmid (translated by Nicola Rubczak)

5. Theorems on the Good News by François Laruelle (translated by Alexander R. Galloway)

6. The Theoretical Pragmatics of Non-Philosophy: Explicating Laruelle’s Suspension of the Principle of Sufficient Philosophy with Brandom’s Meaning-Use Diagrams by Rocco Gangle

7. With One’s Eyes Half-Closed, a Particle of Laruelle by Drew S. Burk

8. The Autism of Reason by Alexander R. Galloway

9. Notes on the Axiomatic of the Desert by Eugene Thacker

10. Proletarian Gnosis by Gilles Grelet (translated by APS)

11. Violence: The Indispensible Condition of the Law (and the Political) by Katerina Kolozova

12. The Animal Line: On the Possibility of a ‘Laruellean’ Non-Human Philosophy by John Mullarkey

13. On Generic Epistemology by Anne-Françoise Schmid and Armand Hatchuel (translated by Robin Mackay)

14. Against Tradition to Liberate Tradition: Weaponized Apophaticism and Gnostic Refusal by Anthony Paul Smith

15. Mediation, Religion, and Non-Consistency in-One by Daniel Colucciello Barber

No, political correctness has not gone too far

Jon Cogburn did not exactly cover himself in glory in his latest post, where he decries the rhetoric of ableism. (And to be fair to other New APPS contributors, one of his co-bloggers quickly denounced the post, though perhaps taking it down would be a better option, just speaking blog administrator to blog administrator.)

It’s a familiar genre: the white man’s cri de coeur about the excesses of political correctness. Such rants always start from a place of entitlement, so that demands to think about the way you talk are always presumptively an imposition (rather than common courtesy). The white man has been a good sport up till now, the story goes, but now, now they’ve gone too far! Is he seriously expected not to speak the bold truth that being able to see is preferable to blindness? We see a similar dynamic in public debates over the transgender community’s preferences for how people should talk about them — the underlying affect in mainstream responses is one of irritation that we’re supposed to regard transgender experience as an intelligible phenomenon rather than a weird abberation.

As a white man, I must admit that I have felt that tug of resistence upon learning of a previously unknown “politically correct” speech pattern. There is something irritating, after all, about being told that a phrase that I meant completely innocently has been taken as an insult. Over the years, though, I’ve developed a unique strategy for dealing with such feelings: instead of writing a 1000-word blog post vindicating myself against the unjust charges, I simply apologize for causing offense and move on with my life. Indeed, I take the further step of trying to be more aware of similar phrases in that vein.

And I can testify that my ability to express myself elegantly and effectively has not been permanently damaged by the restrictions of not being a total dick to people and not making a point of rubbing their disadvantages in their faces. Language is a robust and supple tool, able to bear up even under the weight of basic human decency.

Sunday’s sermon: “Black Bodies Matter”

Here is my draft for my upcoming sermon at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ, Dallastown, PA.  The lection is Matthew 15:21-28 (Jesus and the Canaanite Woman) and I will be using this video of Bill Cosby explaining black epistemology video in the service.

In our scripture reading Jesus encounters the Canaanite woman who approached Jesus  for help with her daughter.  And he remains silent, and ignores her.  And then his disciples ask him to answer, by sending her away, and he does, saying, “I was only sent for the lost sheep of the House of Israel.”  In other words, you’re not the right race.

Then she fell to her knees, begging for help, and Jesus again makes a racist judgment, “It’s not fair to take the food from us and give it to the dogs!”  Clearly, equating the woman as a dog. Read the rest of this entry »

Altizer: “America and the Death of God”

Thomas Altizer asked that I pass this along on here.

“America and the Death of God”

by Thomas J. J. Altizer

Our most revolutionary prophet, William Blake, in his first prophetic poem, America (1793), enacted the American Revolution as the initial realization of the death of God, the deity here named as Urizon, the preincarnate and alien God, whose death initiates apocalypse. This is the God whom Hegel named as Abstract Spirit and the “Bad Infinite,” a God not realized until the advent of the modern world, and who is the consequence of an absolute self-negation or self-emptying of the Godhead. Both Blake and Hegel enact the death of God, indeed Hegel and Blake are the first enactors of the death of God, a death that for each is an absolute self-negation or self-emptying, a self-negation that is the absolute source of all and everything. Hence the death of God is both genesis and apocalypse, or absolute beginning and absolute ending, the absolute beginning of all and everything, and the absolute consummation of everything. That consummation itself proceeds out of an original self-negation or self-emptying, one negating or emptying an original absolutely undifferentiated Godhead, and only this self-negation makes possible either apocalypse or the world itself.  Hegel is our most profoundly apocalyptic thinker, while Blake is our most totally apocalyptic visionary, each recover and renew a long lost apocalyptic ground, a ground that is the original ground of Christianity, one that is wholly transformed in the great body of Christianity, and only recovered in revolutionary movements, which are the most revolutionary movements in our history.

Both Blake and Hegel are profoundly Christian, but they are radical Christians, even atheistic Christians, who absolutely negate the given God, or who deeply and comprehensively realize that this God has absolutely negated itself, a self-negation that inaugurates the modern world. Each could know the French Revolution as the historical realization of the death of God, but Blake, at least in America, could know the American Revolution not only as the initial realization of the death of God, but as the inaugurator of absolute revolution. This is the deepest calling of America, one known to every deeply American seer, and actualized in that America which is the first secular nation, the first not only to separate Church and State, but to create a public realm that is a truly secular realm. This inspired an assault upon America by many European Christians, but Europeans have never been able to understand America, and the question can be genuinely asked if America has ever understood itself. Read the rest of this entry »

Altizer on Leahy: “Apocalypticism and Modern Thinking”

Thomas Altizer asked me to pass along a few things in honor of D. G. Leahy.  The first is an article, “Apocalypticism and Modern Thinking,” originally published in the Journal for Christian Theological Research 2.2 (1992), par. 1-27.

“Apocalypticism and Modern Thinking”

Thomas J. J. Altizer

1. While the power of apocalypticism in our history is now acknowledged, we have little sense of its power or even meaning in thinking itself, and this despite the fact that so many of our primal modern thinkers, such as Hegel, Marx, and Nietzsche, have manifestly been apocalyptic thinkers. Indeed, the very advent of modernity can be understood to be an apocalyptic event, an advent ushering in a wholly new world as the consequence of the ending of an old world. Nowhere was such a new world more fully present than in thinking itself, a truly new thinking not only embodied in a new science and a new philosophy, but in a new reflexivity or introspection in the interiority of self-consciousness. This is the new interiority which is so fully embodied in the uniquely Shakespearean soliloquy, but it is likewise embodied in that uniquely Cartesian internal and radical doubt which inaugurates modern philosophy. Cartesian philosophy could establish itself only by ending scholastic philosophy, and with that ending a new philosophy was truly born, and one implicitly if not explicitly claiming for itself a radically new world. That world can be understood as a new apocalyptic world, one which becomes manifestly apocalyptic in the French Revolution and German Idealism, and then one realizing truly universal expressions in Marxism and in that uniquely modern or postmodern nihilism which was so decisively inaugurated by Nietzsche’s proclamation of the death of God.

2. Yet a truly modern subject or “I” is a doubled or self-alienated center of consciousness, and is so in a uniquely Cartesian internal and radical doubt, one never decisively present in previous cognitive or philosophical thinking, although its ground had been established by Augustine’s philosophical discovery of the subject of consciousness. Even as Augustinian thinking had been deeply reborn in the late Middle Ages, thence becoming a deep ground not only of the Reformation but also of Cartesian thinking, this new modern subject which is now established and real is an interiorly divided subject, and so much so that its internal ground is a truly dichotomous ground. Nothing else is so deeply Augustinian in modern thinking and in the modern consciousness itself, and if Augustine discovered the subject of consciousness by way of his renewal of Paul, it was Paul who discovered the profoundly internal divisions and dichotomies of consciousness and self-consciousness. This is the Paul who is so deeply renewed in the dawning of modernity, but also the Paul who was the creator of Christian theology, a theology which if only in Paul is a purely and consistently apocalyptic theology, and Paul’s realization of the ultimate polarity or dichotomy of consciousness is an apocalyptic realization, one reflecting an apocalyptic dichotomy between old aeon and new aeon, or flesh (sarx) and Spirit (pneuma). Read the rest of this entry »

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RIP, D. G. Leahy (1937-2014)

Word is circulating that radical theologian D. G. Leahy passed away yesterday.  He is probably best known to AUFS readers as someone whose thought has been enormously influential on Thomas Altizer, just as Altizer’s writings deeply influenced Leahy.

His dense books include Novitas Mundi, Foundation, and Faith & Philosophy.  He continued to write after these works, including two recent books Beyond Sovereignty and The Cube Unlike All Others.  His website was updated with new material as recently as March, 2014.  (His website used to have a great essay on gender, which seems to have been taken down, and may be part of one of the new books.)  He founded the New York Philosophy Corporation, where he taught courses. Read the rest of this entry »

On online schools of thought

In my day, I’ve had run-ins with a few self-declared “schools of thought,” and all those interactions have been invariably toxic. One is probably reminded of the old truism that if you have nothing but bad relationships, you have to recognize that the common factor is you — and I’m sure I’ve contributed in my own way. That being said, however, there are some familiar dynamics that seem to repeat themselves.

First, the new name brand is trotted out as though it was a well-defined position. Sometimes, as with Accelerationism, you’ll find a literal manifesto — but in all cases, there have been efforts at exposition and wide-ranging discussions of what an “X school of thought” position on a given issue is. We are informed of all the exciting influence that this school of thought is having in the most wide-ranging settings.

Second, when criticisms — or in some cases, actual innocent questions — arise, the previously well-defined label becomes radically indeterminate. Depending on the precise nature of the criticism, a few strategies are available. The first, and to me most annoying, is to claim that the critique doesn’t adequately account for the rich diversity of thought represented by this movement (which was formed a year and a half ago). This can shade into the claim that the movement as such doesn’t actually exist, that it’s just a contingent grouping of radically heterogeneous forms of thought that found some temporarily overlapping factors. The alternative is to hunker down and claim that the new school of thought is the subject of a widespread smear campaign, a brave persecuted minority. We can’t get a fair hearing in the academy for this thing that we just came up with! Will our suffering never end?

And of course, once the storm has passed, the school is yet again an exciting, influential movement that’s sweeping the globe. Rinse and repeat.


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