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DepositReview Philosophy and Non Philosophy by Francois Laruelle Prabuddha Bharata August 2017

François Laruelle’s non-standard philosophy is necessary for the survival or popularity of philosophy according to Laruelle: ‘Philosophy can only really become “for all” or “popular” by becoming non-philosophy’ (cover). Non-philosophy is not no philosophy but a different approach to philosophising where philosophy is not the main thing but the ‘real’ is.

DepositPhilosophy for Militants

¶ My thinking is related to theology as blotting pad is related to ink. It is saturated with it. Were one to go by the blotter, however, nothing of what is written would remain.—Walter Benjamin ¶ “No longer imminent, the End is immanent.” “Ends are ends,” Frank Kermode goes on to clarify, “only when they are not negative but frankly transfigure the events in which they were immanent.” From its imminence to its immanence, not “negative,” “no longer,” but transformative, how is “the End” in turn “transfigured”? In what may ending be said then to consist? ¶To “the end times” of apocalypse and eschatology Giorgio Agamben, following Gianni Carchia, opposes messianism and “messianic time”—to the end of time, in a formula, the time of the end. To the writings of those for whom to philosophize is to learn how to die—from Plato to Montaigne and beyond—one may oppose, in like manner, the writings of Spinoza, who “thinks of death least of all things”—“for nature is Messianic by reason of its eternal and total passing away,” as Benjamin writes—and so in whose pages “wisdom,” transfigured, “is a meditation on life.”

DepositWhat is Philosophy?

What is philosophy? That’s a good question—not because there’s no answer, but because what’s involved in posing it points up something essential to philosophy. In the Treatise on the Emendation of the Intellect, Spinoza sets out what’s required by a definition. A circle, a typical definition might run, is a figure in which all lines drawn from the center to the circumference are equal. The problem with this definition, what makes it merely verbal, is that it defines a circle by way of one of its properties, not by way of its essence. Definition, for Spinoza, gets at the essence (from which all properties follow): A complete definition demonstrates how what it defines comes about. The definition of a circle as a figure that is described by any line of which one end is fixed and the other movable, as one commentator has pointed out, “literally generates the circle by providing a procedure whereby we ‘make’ the thing to be defined.” Philosophy is defined by what takes place in the question of philosophy itself. What Auden said of poetry could also be said of philosophy: it makes nothing happen. *Nothing* happens, or nothing *happens*—and in the space of the same few words both can. Philosophy operates that displacement and is defined by it: “what is *philosophy*?” become “*what is* philosophy?”—the question persists, but everything has changed.

DepositWhat is Philosophy?

What is philosophy? That’s a good question—not because there’s no answer, but because what’s involved in posing it points up something essential to philosophy. In the Treatise on the Emendation of the Intellect, Spinoza sets out what’s required by a definition. A circle, a typical definition might run, is a figure in which all lines drawn from the center to the circumference are equal. The problem with this definition, what makes it merely verbal, is that it defines a circle by way of one of its properties, not by way of its essence. Definition, for Spinoza, gets at the essence (from which all properties follow): A complete definition demonstrates how what it defines comes about. The definition of a circle as a figure that is described by any line of which one end is fixed and the other movable, as one commentator has pointed out, “literally generates the circle by providing a procedure whereby we ‘make’ the thing to be defined.” Philosophy is defined by what takes place in the question of philosophy itself. What Auden said of poetry could also be said of philosophy: it makes nothing happen. Nothing happens, or nothing happens—and in the space of the same few words both can. Philosophy operates that displacement and is defined by it: “what is philosophy?” become “what is philosophy?”—the question persists, but everything has changed.