Michael O’Rourke is capitalizing on the presence of three Laruelle translators being in Europe around the same time and has organized a series of seminars. The information for that is below, but we do need your help to make this happen. Our budget, which only includes the cost of travel for the speakers to Dublin as we will be sleeping on Michael’s couches with his cats, comes to about $700 for the three of us. We will be recording these seminars and broadcasting them via my podcast and can make excerpts of the drafts available as well. As a side note, for those who have enjoyed the three episodes of the podcast, this will also support the podcast as it will facilitate interviews with some other folks in Dublin and Berlin (where I will be coming from). So, if you can, please consider supporting this seminar series and the podcast by donating via PayPal.
Laruelle: In Translation
Organizer: Michael O’Rourke (Independent Colleges, Dublin)
Dublin, July 2014 (venue tbc)
In July 2014 a series of events will be on held on the work of François Laruelle in the company of three of the foremost experts on his work: Alex Dubilet, Joshua Ramey and Anthony Paul Smith. The events will showcase three forthcoming translations of Laruelle’s work and the translators of these texts will guide us carefully through them. As well as providing an advance preview of these books the sessions will also be a unique opportunity to study Laruelle in detail with his translators and explicators. Advance copies of excerpts of the texts will be made available to participants and all three events will be recorded and audio made available on-line afterwards through the My Name Is My Name podcast. Other confirmed participants include the Laruelle scholar and artist Alice Rekab.
Saturday July 5: Joshua Ramey (Grinnell College, USA) will guide a seminar on his forthcoming translation of Mystique Non-Philosophique à L’usage des Contemporains/ Non-Philosophical Mysticism for Today
Sunday July 6: Anthony Paul Smith (La Salle University, USA) will lead a seminar on his forthcoming translation of Introduction au Non-Marxisme/ Introduction to Non-Marxism
Saturday 26 July: Alex Dubilet (University of California, Berkeley, USA) will provide a session on his co-translation (with Jessie Hock) of Théorie Générale des Victimes/ General Theory of Victims
As I continue to think through my responses to the excellent latest posts on A Non-Philosophical Theory of Nature, I thought that I should point readers to two new journal ventures. The first is a reviews journal that comes out of the Society for Contemporary Thought and the Islamicate World.
The other is a student-run journal coming out of UWO’s Centre for the Study of Theory and Criticism. The journal, named Chiasma, features a number of strong articles touching on themes that AUFS readers will be interested in (the range present between Eileen Joy’s article on hope and Roland Boer’s discussion of Kautsky speaks to the openness of the journal’s focus). Of special interest, however, may be the two articles on Laruelle (one that connects his work up with Audre Lorde) and a short piece by Laruelle himself on deconstruction.
Also, as a side note, NDPR just posted a very strong review of Principles of Non-Philosophy(translated by Nicola Rubczak and myself).
A unified theory — though not a theory of everything. Not philosophy of, with all its implications of dominance and omnicompetence (a philosophy of religion, of law, of fashion are all equally plausible), nor even simply philosophy and — but a unified theory of philosophy and some science. What is the status of this “theory,” this strangely undefined entity that is not a philosophy (or is it a non-philosophy?) and that seems strangely comfortable asserting the dread philosophical omnicompetence, indeed in an exaggerated form that claims not simply to account for the facts adduced by some other discipline but to provide the means precisely of unifying them?
Anthony’s book gives us a unified theory of philosophical theology (a pre-packaged combination that I won’t quibble with, given that I live it every day) and ecology. It adopts the “stance” of ecology, which is a thinking from the Real guided by the ecosystem concept. Within this unified theory, we learn that philosophies have varying degrees of biodiversity. Badiou’s particular ecosystem, for example, has room for four primary species of truth-procedures, but is dominated by mathematics. Thoughts occupy niches and respond to their environment. Sometimes the claims are very concrete and empirical, and sometimes they seem more or less metaphorical. Sometimes we are at the very physical level of needing to eat in order to think — and sometimes it turns out that the scholarly literature on given figures represent narrow niches. Yet none of these claims, we are assured, are mere metaphors. It is not a metaphor to say that books of philosophy are dead thoughts that need to be consumed to produce living thoughts, any more than it’s a metaphor to say that human thought is situated within a wider ecosystem or that the academic publishing industry produces certain over-specialized populations with narrow niches.
In a unified theory, then, we are not dealing with mere metaphor. I grant this. What I would like to ask, however, is precisely what we’re saying when we say it’s not a mere metaphor. Continue reading “A Unified Theory (A Non-Philosophical Theory of Nature book event)”
I know that some readers check in here for Laruelle and non-philosophy related news. I recently made a little road trip which included stopping by the Univocal offices in Minneapolis where I got my hands on the recent English translation of Dictionary of Non-Philosophy. Some readers may be familiar with the PDF version of this text which has been floating around, but I really would recommend not using that and getting your hands on this corrected and expanded edition. I was also happy to receive the collection Dark Nights of the Universe, which includes essays delivered at a NYC event by AUFS authors Daniel Colucciello Barber and Alexander R. Galloway along with Nicola Masciandaro and Eugene Thacker.
My co-translation (with Nicola Rubczak) of Principles of Non-Philosophy is out in the UK and is available for international purchase through The Book Depository (which is where the link above leads). The book is the most complete development of the abstract theoretical methods and concepts of non-philosophy other than the 2010 work Philosophie non-standard (which isn’t likely to be translated for a few years at least). I am currently writing a short readers’ guide for the text which I hope will be out sometime in early 2014 with EdinburghUP.
Also in this series is Rocco Gangle’s just released François Laruelle’s Philosophies of Difference: A Critical Introduction and Guide. I just got this in the mail today and it looks fantastic. This is the first monograph focused on Laruelle and non-philosophy and Rocco’s singular talent is on display here. I’ll just quote the opening paragraph, which I rather liked:
“What has philosophy done for you lately? Has it challenged you? Has it saved you? Has it become an instrument in your hands for challenging and saving others? Or has it used you merely to propagate itself? Has it tricked you? In this dance or fellowship or war between you and philosophy, who leads and who follows? Are you philosophy’s subject or its object, its mirror or its image? Are you Master or Save here; maker, tool or half-finished product? To be sure, such images and relations are just metaphors and not concepts, yet we cannot help but ask what metaphor or image would be appropriate to such questions. Are kosmos, physis, polis metaphors? For whom exactly and to what ends? In such matters, the choice of metaphor largely determines the stakes. What are the stakes between you and philosophy? Are these stakes themselves philosophical? Who decides this? Do you?”
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.
I just got back to Philadelphia after a visit to London and Dublin. The DUST event was really edifying and I am looking forward to seeing what Paul, Michael, and Fintin do in the future with that forum. The Mystical Theology: Eruptions from France was also interesting; the papers from Marika Rose on Zizek and rupture, Alex Dubilet on Bataille and Eckhart, and Catherine Tomas on the semiotic and symbolic were incredibly good.
Those who are interested can listen to audio of my lecture “Faux Amis?: François Laruelle and the Speculative Turn” and the paper I delivered at the conference, “Rejecting the World in the Name of Man: François Laruelle’s Gnostic Mysticism”.
Follow this link for audio from my lecture last month in Liverpool. Some of the introductory sections will be familiar to those who have heard some of these lectures before, but most will be new material.
I woke up to the strange experience of one of Graham Harman’s famous passive aggressive posts, though instead of aimed at young graduate students, this time it was directed towards me and an abstract for an upcoming lecture I’ll be giving in Dublin. It starts with the great line “I’m not trying to pick a fight with Anthony Paul here” and then goes on to try and pick a fight with me by writing, “Smith has wagered his whole career on being “the Laruelle guy,” and I guess he has a vested interested in airbrushing any nuance out of the picture [of the relationship between Laruelle and Speculative Realism]”. Alright, so those of us who haven’t been hoodwinked by Latour litanies or a form of Husserlian phenomenology presented in a pedantic form are kind of used to these occasional passive aggressive bullying outbursts from Harman. The bullying rhetoric from OOOers of various stripes functions in the same way each time, beginning with some proclamation of good intention followed incredibly insulting remarks before then putting the onus of the bullying on the one subjected to the bullying by claiming that it is in fact they who scream at them. It used to bother me when I read this kind of stuff and not just from Harman, but at this point I find it more tiring than anything else and so I frankly don’t want to follow in Brian Leiter’s bullying footsteps either (“John, if it’s war you want, you’ve got it!“). So, let’s see if I can just explain what’s going on with this lecture and maybe respond to a few of the more insulting remarks because, well, they were insulting and I tire of Harman’s unchecked bullying.
Continue reading “Yeah, “seeming closeness”, as in “they ain’t really all that close”: Or, Harman does it again”
Laruelle and Non-Philosophy, co-edited by John Mullarkey and myself, has now been released in the UK (you can pre-order it in the US) and I now have seen the physical copies!
Since EUP has been pretty generous in the amount of copies they’ve given me I thought it would be nice to give a copy away. So, email me (anthonypaul.smith(at)gmail.com) with the subject line Laruelle Giveaway by on the 25th of this month and on the 26th I’ll randomly choose a winner.
Continuum (soon to be just Bloomsbury I think) has sent out the mock-up of the cover to the translation of Laruelle’s Principles of Non-Philosophy by Nicola Rubczak and myself. I am very happy with it, even if it bears no connection with the content.