The audio files have been re-uploaded as of February 2nd 2013 – APS.
Last week François Laruelle spoke at the University of Warwick, to their philosophy department, and at the University of Nottingham, ostensibly to the theology and religious studies department though I’d say the crowd was made up of maybe 7% theologians. For me it was an extremely exciting time and perhaps the most stressful five days thus far in my life. I was tasked with translating the two talks and, due to a number of other obligations, couldn’t turn to them any earlier than two weeks before the conferences. Though I finished the Warwick translation with plenty of time I came down with the flu which slowed progress on the Nottingham one, though it was finished just in time. All of this was coupled with the fact that I had to prepare introductory talks for both events and help Prof. Laruelle travel from Warwick to Nottingham via the famed British public transportation system (which chose this time to fail me).
Of course, the most important aspects of the days had to do with the ideas and I was very excited to see Laruelle take a number of new directions in his thought. He has always aimed to challenge philosophy with science but this has confrontation has become both more scientifically grounded and more philosophically interesting. He has engaged with quantum physics in a way that elucidates the philosophical conception of immanence, changing out the use of this “fuzzy” word with that of superposition from quantum physics. But he has also cast a new “generic” role for science in order to undercut the philosophy at work in the concepts used by physicists. In his presentation at Nottingham he expanded this to the ethical problem of the separation of mean/ends. This ended with a very interesting discussion of a messianity (as opposed to messianism) completely denuded of any appeal to a transcendent God. I found the discussion fascinating, though I’m still trying to deal with what it all means, especially in an ecological context.
The roundtable discussion went well, thanks to Marjorie Gracieuse of the University of Warwick and Dr. John Marks of Nottingham. It would have been nice if there had been more time to answer questions from the audience and if some of the questions had been phrased more succinctly by members of the panel, but nothing was out of the ordinary. All in all we had about 60 people attend, which is really very impressive for such difficult and unfamiliar material, and there is the possibility of some kind of publication arising out of the events. Prof. Laruelle was incredibly patient and kind to all of us and for me, as someone who has found a certain inspiration in the way he practices this thing called thinking, it was an honor to meet and work so closely with him.
It is little secret that my time at Nottingham has been in many ways disappointing, and some of that was on display here with members of staff talking about me to other students and the usual mafioso secret talks in the hall, but this event felt like something of a turning point for me intellectually. It felt, for a brief moment, like this was all worth it. Thanks to François Laruelle for that reminder of my inalienable humanity.
Audio Files [Coming soon]
- “A Simple Introduction to Non-Philosophy” – Anthony Paul Smith (Nottingham)
- “Principles of a Generic Ethics” – Prof. François Laruelle (Paris X)
- “Roundtable Discussion” – Prof. Philip Goodchild (Nottingham), Prof. John Milbank (Nottingham), Dr. John Mullarkey (Dundee), Prof. François Laruelle (Paris X)