A Lesson on Non-Philosophy

A Lesson on Non-Philosophy
François Laruelle
In En tant qu’un: la « non-philosophie » expliquée aux philosophes (Paris: Aubier, 1991), p.177-197.

1. The first task is to clarify the field of non-philosophy: its programme, its limits, its objects. And especially its name.

The term “non-philosophy” existed before we give it a positive and grounded content here. Philosophies designated non-philosophy, otherwise in a vague and undetermined way, as a thought that was still supposed to be below any philosophical posture. Here, we speak of non-philosophy in excess rather than in defect, and this is still a bad way to define it. In the positive sense that we try to give it, this term has two uses: a broad and generic sense, and a more narrow and technical sense but utterly more complete sense.

The broad sense: non-philosophy is a use of language, and representation in general, in accordance with this transcendental guide of the One thought qua One rather than in terms of Being. If philosophy is the thought of Being principally (of Being-“substance” in the narrow sense of certain metaphysics, or “Being itself” in the broad sense according to Heidegger), non-philosophy is simply the thought of the One – of the One, of course, such that we try to elaborate a non-ontological essence of it under the name “vision-in-One.” For the the One’s own description, and also for the description of Being that can be then made on this basis, non-philosophy requires a new use of language in terms of certain rules that express the vision-in-One and that are not the rules that philosophy invents. Here, the “non-“ is responsible in any case with preventing certain errors of interpretation, excluding the infra-, the meta-, and the super-…philosophical all at once, which revolve around the philosophical or Being, rather than around the One.

It is theoretically important to renounce the term “philosophy” in its vague and generic use. One can always object that non-philosophy – because it is occupied by a certain bias but in any case occupied with philosophy – will still remain a philosophy, in the same way, for example, as Heidegger’s “thought of Being.” However, this objection solely expresses the resistance of philosophy towards a way of thinking grounded on other principles, simpler and more “powerful” ones; a resistance that, as always, attempts to bind differences and efface dualities, the heterogeneities, into a unitary and ideological discourse (including the discourse of “Differe(a)nce”) in this “generality” of “philosophy as such.” “Thought of the One,” “first science,” or again “transcendental science” are some other more adequate expressions that mark the point to break with and the point to institute. This is a specification that is all the more important, that non-philosophy does not negate philosophy, but its claim to attain the “real” or the One alone and that non-philosophy, by contrast, proposes a certain use, a “pragmatics” that renders its relation – a certain relation – to philosophy necessary. Otherwise, the risk is great, to confound with a new philosophical position, or, rigorously, with an absurd “meta-philosophical” claim.

Perhaps, one will also object to the comparison we regularly make with the “non-Euclidean” style, that this does not prevent non-Euclidean geometries from remaining geometries, and that, thus, “non-philosophy” remains belonging to the order of a philosophy and that it is simply more general or wants to be so as such. Nevertheless, this comparison is limited: because we no longer here directly compare philosophy to geometry or to a particular science like Kant did with the “Copernican Revolution” that thus postulated a continuity between science and philosophy. If a mutation of the non-Euclidean type is possible, it is made in connection to philosophy taken globally.  The mutation is not made within philosophy as it is made within geometry, but it implies – being given that this is a mutation of the scientific type imposed upon philosophy – that one passes at the same time from a philosophical type of thought to another scientific type of thought, and that one abandons the very course of philosophy to not treat it any more than as a “particular case.” Moreover – for this latter expression is dangerous if one gives it a philosophical sense – as an “occasion” or an “object” of science. Said otherwise: non-philosophy is indeed non-philosophy, it is not non-Platonism, non-Husserlianism, non-Heideggerianism, etc. Non-Philosophy is a science, a transcendental one perhaps, but something that, in any case, is in all respects of a science-type (for example axiomatic) rather than a philosophy-type, precisely because it takes philosophy as its object and that it enjoys a type of universality that is distinct and more powerful. The true “line of demarcation” – if it is one… – passes between science and philosophy as such and to science’s benefit. It no longer passes between Plato and Nietzsche, Heraclitus and Heidegger, metaphysical logos and its deconstruction, Husserl and his superseding, although all these proper names or these indexes would be in any case necessary as material because they are here reduced, in an equivalent way, to the precise state of simple material, even if each time philosophy is a necessary material. The philosophical and the scientific are now two essences or two incommensurable orders, which does not mean without any relation: the very nature of their relation is one with the autonomy and the specificity of their respective essence, whose prototypical model is given by science in general and in particular by the science of the One.

Because the “stake” of the distinction is here, we must say: the line passes from the scientific “to” the philosophical. Any other formulation remains philosophical, and therefore ambiguous, if one would first pose the sphere of the philosophical and then the sphere of the non-philosophical through a continuous operation of negation. The same ambiguity touches upon the expression “non-philosophizables”: the point is to produce statements and objects that we will call generally “non-philosophizables.” Is it a matter of already given objects and statements – with more or less mediation – in the sphere of philosophy, to which one will then attribute the predicate “non-philosophizables” hoping thereby to make a leap outside of philosophical authority? Certainly not; non-philosophizables do not exist already by definition. We mean, they do not exist in the orbit or horizon of philosophy where in any case everything is philosophizable de jure, if not effectively philosophized; in philosophy’s orbit, there are no Indifferent ones, there are no philosophically indifferent ones. The point is to produce them (with the help of philosophy) as non-philosophizable, according to original and positive rules, that do not result from the authority or the decision of philosophy, which are conquered by it and only use it. Thus, “non-philosophizable” designates statements and objects (indissociably) that are only philosophically indifferent because they are essentially produced in an entirely different sphere of thought and experience. They in some way afterwards receive the name “non-philosophy” coming from philosophy, but in an irreversible afterwards. All of this only “holds” if we can demonstrate that a use of philosophy is possible such that it is reduced to the state of the object of a science and stops its claims to determine the essence of this science as illusory. Non-philosophizables are the correlate of the vision-in-One alone, and if they use a philosophical raw material [matière première] – or another otherwise, but always virtually a philosophizable material – it is no longer a sufficient reason to support that they still belong to this sphere. This is obviously the meaning of the “occasionalist” motif that we here and there develop concerning philosophy and its pragmatics. This is the meaning of the distinction between the order of the real, which comes from the vision-in-One to the non-philosophizables, and the occasional order of effectivity or the philosophizable, that the first uses without there being any such instrumentalization of philosophy, at least in the sense where philosophy can imagine and critique its own instrumentalization.

This fundamental – “dual” or “unilateral,” rather than “difference” – distinction indicates the true meaning of the resistance, that is the inverse of the real order that a science follows: if the real order comes from the One to philosophy, the resistance comes from philosophy to the One and non-philosophy; it is philosophy that resists science and its non-philosophical effectuation, not the inverse. And the terms non-philosophy and non-philosophizable – conquered through a displacement of this resistance – still express the resistance; they express at least the presence of philosophy as a contingent given and therefore the possibility of a new form of resistance. Everything depends on the assumed posture, if it is the posture of the vision-in-One and its immanence, or if it is still a mixed, half-scientific, half-philosophical posture.

2. The narrow and technical meaning, but, in reality, the most complete meaning: thus, “non-philosophy” characterize a special class of texts provisionally called “experimental” which are not the “only” or “true” texts of non-philosophy, but are its “complete” texts or texts whose concept responds fully to the concept of non-philosophy. Why?

a) These texts implement – perhaps yet to implement, such that they already awkwardly exist, this is another question – a “total” elaboration not only of the thought, theme or concept, but its form or its expression. They assume a coherent remodeling issued from this special science of the formulations of “literary genres” and “styles” – such as the genre of the “treatise” in particular or the “theoretical programme.” It is a remodeling or a rectification of writing.

b) These texts avoid or are in a better posture to avoid a naïve use of non-philosophy. Naïve means necessarily restrained and that would not explore all the theoretical or practical possibilities that liberate the vision-in-One. The systematic inventory of non-philosophical rules must be prolonged by their practical, experimental effectuation – not so much to “verify” them (this is not the problem) as it is to exploit at best the chances offered. As soon as we try to think by taking the One rather than Being or the Being-One as the conducting thread – as soon as, for example, we take on a discourse similar to it – everyone, we are already in non-philosophy, but in its generic sense precisely; generic, and therefore restrained and restrictive, because we try to pour a new wine into the skins of philosophy, its dominant style, its literary genre, its codes of receivability and, quite simply, perceptibility. We still proceed strategically: this way is not only inevitable because there is no question to conquer the whole terrain only once and that precisely there is a terrain to scour; it is necessary to “work out” the philosophical resistance and displace it very locally without being able to obviously destroy it (to the contrary). But we must also know that the concept of non-philosophy requires the practical production of new stylistic and literary codes, new “forms” that we do not yet know what they are and perhaps will belong to a very great liberty…and complexity.

Said otherwise: we are condemned to begin non-philosophy on a questioning mode peripheral to philosophy; but we can and therefore must attempt to escape from this naïve mode that is not completely thematized as such. We can and must establish a theoretical and practical programme of the production of text-objects, that are no longer guided by the norm of what exists – philosophy – but which immanently comes from the exigencies of the vision-in-One. Otherwise, this is also something that will distinguish us from the ways of doing philosophy, and above all the contemporary way, that oscillates between the return to…or identification to a flagship author of the metaphysical past and the post-modern bricolage of debris with this same metaphysical past simply put to the test by the Other. In both cases – but this is all of philosophy itself – one thinks in terms of memory, of what took place. Distinguishing itself from this rehashing, non-philosophy is a “transcendental utopia” that would like to radically re-open the future, but the whole future. This is why we also try – through these experimental texts – to not limit ourselves to a classical discourse – this doesn’t mean: to a necessary foundational discourse – but we try to move everything at once and deploy all the possibilities of the field (rather than all its objects) with the risks recognized by this kind of enterprise.

Therefore, non-philosophy is not a partisanship or an intervention in the current debate, the conflict that structures the French philosophical scene: continue philosophy through an identifiable step, one more step or one less step or a counted step, or to deconstruct it through a more-and-less step. The point is to not invent a new philosophy or “thought,” either through the reactivation of an old, proven or even hidden possibility; or through the bricolage and invention of new rules of the same type. It concerns this scientific continent that, through its object called “philosophy” or the “philosophical decision,” but which can no longer receive this name as to the means of its discovery and exploration. If one speaks of the non-philosophical mutation or “non-philosophical break,” we must know that this break is not within philosophy; we must know that it is not an interruption of philosophy, but only the interruption of its “ideological” claim over the most irreducible real; and that it concerns the theory of conditions that finally assure the givenness of philosophy as an object of science.

c) It is undoubtedly on this level of expression and form, style and genre – a level of the specific textuality of non-philosophy, but not only on this level – that the problem of the effects of artistic mutations comes to be grafted that we can sometimes invoke (Dodecaphonism then John Cage; Cubism then Abstraction, etc.). In any case, it is not causes of the theoretical order that determine the essence of non-philosophy through the transference of art or philosophy towards non-philosophy. The relation between both is more complex. On the one hand, there is certainly an analogy between these artistic revolutions and the programme of non-philosophy, an analogy deep within the mutation into the “non-“ of the style or type of thought: Dodecaphonism, Cubism and above all Abstraction belong to this “non-Euclidean” universalization of art and this is so for precise reasons not only as homologies, but exchanges and “influences” between the history of science and the history of art. On the other hand, these artistic mutations function here, if not as the real cause or essence, at least as possible instincts and models that come to overdetermine the non-philosophical programme that is acquired on the most essential and most internal basis, a basis that is too immanent or transcendental to result from a simple transference. Yet how precisely is the encounter of a project that wants to be scientific and a realization that wants to or that has a poetic or “quasi-poetic” allure possible? Through its theoretical basis, non-philosophy belongs to the order of the “sciences,” “of the sciences themselves,” and, for example, but not only, an axiomatic, but a transcendental or real axiomatic. This at least means in any case that non-philosophy is a scientific posture that is deprived of ontological (and therefore philosophical) intuitiveness and naivety and that is developed – being transcendental and related to philosophy – in the element of natural language (susceptible to this transcendental axiomatization) rather than symbolized and formalized language on the logical mode. Therefore, here certain effects, that I prefer to call quasi-poetic or poetry-fiction, are produced that are perhaps the equivalent – in natural and/or philosophical language – of logical symbolization and formalization, but above all the extreme liberty in the invention and arrangement of statements or axioms that define any axiomatic.

Regardless, we better comprehend as well that non-philosophy gives the deceiving appearance of a “reconciliation” of science and poetry, and of all this and the most subjective humanity; the “reconciliation” of affectivity, natural language and science at once. However, this cannot be a “synthesis” (post-faktum or not) nor a “total” work. It is rather put back in this point of the real – man and man’s intrinsic or “individual” finitude – for which and by which the “contraries” of science, poetry, affectivity, etc., are identical before any reconciliation; the point where their disjunction (the disjunction of motifs, positions, and techniques, etc.) has not yet taken place. Non-Philosophy does not think what has taken place, the past, as philosophy does which is always emergence, memory, synthesis, totalization (more or less failures). As we have said, non-philosophy thinks “in-the-Universe,” where everything is both strictly multiple and strictly identical, and it does not think in-Memory or in-History. Non-Philosophy, even more so, renounces the old philosophico-romantic ideal of the Gesamtkunstwerk or the traditional functions of recollection, refuge, and remembrance of the culture and events of truth.

Non-Philosophy allows us to extricate, from determined sciences, an essence of science without an obliged model in a particular or original science; and allows us to extricate from determined poems an essence of poetry – or language – without particular poetic forms or experiences. Thus, I will not say that non-philosophy assembles in the superior unity of the philosophical the matheme and the poem (without speaking of politics and love), which are already particular and derived effectuations (mathematical and poetic) of these essences, but these essences themselves. Hence, the immediate proximity or indiscernibility of the scientific and the lingual-poetic in the axiomatization [mise-en-axiome] of natural and/or philosophical language. What non-philosophy can state or formulate are systems of axioms both scientific and “free” (in any case in relation to the philosophical codes and the economy that they govern) and formulated in natural language.

3. Not just any kind of identity can produce these effects. The vision-in-One, otherwise than the Philosophical Decision, distributes Identity and Duality (otherwise “Difference”). In this respect, it is disturbing, but fruitful in new effects. On the one hand, where philosophy places reciprocal differences or relations, correlations and hierarchies of contraries – and they are innumerable – vision-in-One places Identity, but precisely the most radical Identity, and not what “crowns” the Dyad or Difference. While all contemporary philosophy seeks to demarcate itself from metaphysics through a procedure that is itself metaphysical – the supposed first transcending, therefore auto-positing, carried to the absolute and void of any object, having become the “Other” – non-philosophy “demarcates itself” from any philosophy by resorting from the outset no longer to an unreal procedure, but to the real itself: to the One, to absolute immanencewithout something immanent, rather than to absolute transcendence and posing itself. Non-Philosophy is not at all, to the contrary, a supplementary mode of withdrawal, the reserve, the Other; it has absolutely ruptured with this way of doing, for this Identity constrains contraries to abandon their status and procedures as differends as much as opposites, etc., to be said purely and simply identical in the last instance, and this, consequently, without a dialectical and/or synthetic procedure, but rather through the suspension or the reduction of the philosophy-form or the mixed-form that renders them contrary. Thus, all the carvings,  the cleavages, the regions, economies and distributions of the philosophical type, all philosophical grammars, must be undone or reduced. All the distinctions of the philosophical type are globally lifted in non-philosophical labour.

On the other hand, the vision-in-One in turn places a duality – the equivalent of Being – where philosophy placed identity. However, it is a special duality as well, what I call uni-lateral and what I oppose to the philosophical dyad that is always reciprocal or, for example, “Differe(a)nce.” Here, in effect the duality is primary, static and originary. It is not produced through a scission and therefore no longer destined to be closed and re-enclosed in a system, no longer destined to give rise to a teleology. This is a pure and absolute transcendence without limits, teleology, system; not associated to an identity. Therefore, it is neither a reversible difference, nor a différance, that is, the interminable opening of a system but indiscernible somewhere in the system that it cannot abandon. Rather than an effect of opening onto a closed system, it concerns an opening in itself, which is enough to be in itself and with no need for a contrary closure. There is a givenness of the opening in person, in flesh and bone, never simply produced and therefore closed at the same time as it is opened – an absolute opening, rather than a relative-absolute one. We call this the Universe, in opposition to the Cosmos, the cosmologos, and the Cosmopolis which is an obliged dimension (cf. Kant) of any philosophical thought. Thus, non-philosophy inscribes philosophical material in this “space” or this environment constituted by a Radical Identity, the One or man, and the Universe that is the One’s correlate; non-philosophy inscribes philosophical material between the One and an opened a priori Duality (the Universe itself, hence the notion of the “universe-language”). This is the most general schema, but it is obvious that the Universe itself is intimately structured in a precise way, or that this duality is modalized in terms of the material utilized (the a priori structures of theory and scientific representation).

4. This is why we can say – still imperfectly – that non-philosophy is content with simulating poetry, philosophy, art, and religion. However, this simulation is very particular: it is second, it is an effect produced by non-philosophy and its treatment of philosophical material. There is a simulation effect of philosophy because of the presence of philosophical material in non-philosophy and through its channel. Otherwise, insofar as it is not a true simulation, non-philosophy is an experience [épreuve] of the real and its immanence, absolutely excluding simulation outside of itself as a simple effect. Philosophy is completed and completes its memory, relief, and reappropriation under the form of a generalized auto-simulation. Simulation becomes, has become its essence, and the simulacratization [mise-en-simulacres] of the real is the key to its “metaphysical” and then “post-modern” activity; in philosophy, simulation is essence or is first as metaphysics itself. In non-philosophy, simulation is second, it is itself an effect of the real over effectivity and above all borrows the secondary or occasional paths of the material. Obviously because non-philosophy makes simulation a secondary activity in relation to the real, it could evoke a classical and dogmatic situation of thought. This is not the case. There is a “dualyzation” – here again – of the real and the simulacrum, the non-philosophical and the philosophical, and the simulacrum-of-philosophy does not come from non-philosophy itself, but from the philosophical material.

The result: instead of producing apparently non-philosophical effects (literary, psychoanalytic, etc.) with procedures that essentially remain philosophical (what the deconstructions do, for example), we propose to use really non-philosophical procedures to produce effects that have a last resemblance, a last “family resemblance” with philosophy. “Non-Philosophy” is not anti-philosophical. It contains the philosophical genre as a particular case or a restrained thought. It is what the philosophical as a genre becomes when it is grasped and transformed by the vision-in-One. The statements thus produced only emerge from “philo-fiction” or “hyper-speculation” from the perspective of the criteria of philosophical thought. Elsewhere, they are “scientific.” This scientific character is neither grounded on their apparently logical disposition, nor contradicts through their quasi-poetic, quasi-religious, quasi-logical effects, etc. (poetry-fiction, religion-fiction, logic-fiction, etc.).

By this time using philosophical transcendence in the limits of the human and their immanence, we broaden the possibilities no of philosophy itself (the model of “open philosophy”) – there is no originary continuity between the two practices, no fold or Turning – but of thought itself beyond the philosophical order.

5. What does the slogan, “Reduce philosophy to the state of material,” mean? It is in any case to remove its authority and its realm from it: philosophy and the “real” on the whole of which it claims to legislate; it is prepare it to become the simple object of a science, a new one beside others. Examining its mode of givenness is decisive. From its own perspective, it is announced or given first (even if it means being auto-grounded) on the mode of a faktum rather than a datum, a given both relative (to experience) and absolute; unique and unavoidable in any case; twice unavoidable: as empirical and as aprioritic, historical and rational, sensible and intelligible, factual and normative, etc. Hence these modes in which it is said and manifested as soon as it has grounded or experienced the unity of the provenance of these couples: Tradition, Destiny or Envoy, Necessity, the Universal Horizon, etc. It belongs to the essence of philosophy to contain and produce at least partially the rules of its own commentary, its interpretation, its development and its history – its reproduction – in which are included and programmed the interventions of facticity or the “Other.” We can say that philosophy is thought insofar as it decided and posed itself, that it makes a circle between decision and position (of) itself; that it is the general procedure of the auto-position – or insofar as it admits this operation as real in any case, even if it means partially undoing it. Under some particular form and content that it announces itself (scientific, juridical, ethical, aesthetic), philosophy presents itself as a divided/redoubled object: an empirico-ideal doublet and even an empirico-transcendental doublet. To say it however otherwise, philosophy is always a transcendent-transcendental doublet. This means: a pure or aprioritic factuality endowed with a unifying transcendental function constitutive of experience; and a doublet: it is always the same, the same divided/doubled thing, an essential circularity that must prove the ultimate pertinence and authority of philosophy over itself. There is no philosophy without an exteriority or a distance (a transcendence…) but transcendental (co-determinant of the instance that grounds it). Distance or transcendence is therefore constitutive (= transcendental…) of the real: philosophy is a vision-at-a-distance…or vision-in-exteriority.

Non-Philosophy is the experience of an entirely other thought. Within it, it has the new principle of the vision-in-One that, as its name indicates, makes pure Identity, immanent throughout, and not Distance, the now fully immanent and real transcendental instance. This means that within and for it, in all its regions, nothing more is announced under the form of a doublet or a circle as is the case everywhere in philosophy. Even if there is the transcendence and exteriority of the (non-)One – necessary to “represent” the One – it is no longer announced under this form of the transcendent(al) doublet. As the One itself, which is never an object, every “object” of this thought will be given in the last instance as the One, therefore as a non-object. This means that there are “objects” from exteriority and the World, etc., but they are not divided, redoubled by a universal, by a “real” objectivity, that there is no fold within transcendence. In particular, philosophy in turn will be given to the vision-in-One, it will therefore also be an “object,” but not twice given: only once….This is the state that is called material or objective given. Here, we must understand given in an absolute sense: it is no longer the object that is, moreover, given; it is the state, the primitive status of the given that defines the object. There is the identity of that which is given and its being-given: the being-given is the content of the given. The being-given is the immanent givenness of exteriority, of transcendence, of the object itself, but without the help of those that would already be assumed there a first time. The givenness of the object is itself non-objectivating, it is radically immanent or immanent on the specific mode of the One. The point is to think no longer according to withdrawal, the take-off [entame], or différance (which is still a fold), but according to Identity as it is or Identity-without-fold.

Therefore, we will say that philosophy is a thought not so much complex as it is fetishist: it is auto-factualizing/auto-fetishizing/auto-posing; and that it in general confounds the real complexity with the infinite mottling of its circle of auto-position. Thus, non-philosophy proceeds as an originary simplification, a minimal thought of the object, that resorts to the One or Identity rather than towards transcending, even “absolute” transcending and even as “withdrawal.”

What is the consequence? It makes philosophy pass once more from the state of auto-legislating faktum, from the transcendent-transcendental subject, to the state of given, the datum that however is not obtained like a sensual residue or factual residue of a faktum, but through a transcendental reduction required by the One-qua-One or immanently. Generally, it is the effect of the vision-in-One to “simplify” the fetishes of thought, the philosophical entities, and to reduce everything that is announced as essences or attributes to the state of givens – fulfilling the functions of material, index and simple support, otherwise modes. Philosophy fetishizes the given, divides and doubles it, multiplies or “couples” it finally within its being, transforming it into entities, essences, attributes, a priori, through a series of procedures of division/doubling. Non-Philosophy defetishizes or undoes what philosophy has done and reduces it, with its essences, entities, attributes, a priori, to the state of simple givens (of) objectivity, but not “objective” once more or a second time. Differently from the deconstructions that inscribe themselves in the realist illusion of philosophy and wants to put this illusion in relation to an assumed given Other, non-philosophy is the most radical opening of thought that ensues from the immanence of the One or the vision-in-One in the last instance. It is this opening that science exploits or where philosophy itself no longer enters but as a simple material: non-philosophy is a defactualization or defetishization of philosophy, the critique of its realist illusion, the critique of its fetishism of the “metaphysical fact,” “logocentrism,” and the lingual and textual “fact”; it is the critique of the “sufficiency” that ensues from philosophy and the resistance of philosophy to be constituted into an object of a science.

We urge the critical power of this procedure, the meaning of the genuine “progress” in thought, which is not in the complexification of the philosophical type, in the constitution of hinter-worlds or the step-back which are the ultimate residua of philosophy, but in the treatment as givens of the scientific type or as simple objects of what would claim to escape from rigorous knowledge, claiming to procure immediately a self-knowledge. This is obviously not a destruction or a negation, nor even a transcendental “nihilating” of the “metaphysical” object and the metaphysical type of “object.” It is an immanent already complete or actual suspension of what prohibits – philosophy itself, the philosophical treatment of the object – any such reality from being constituted into an object of science and accessing the state of the given universal material. With this purely transcendental, not effective or not transcendent suspension, and what does not transform the object but allows us to access it as such independently from its philosophical superstructures (they are now comprised within the materiality itself), we precisely access a materiality of the given; we access an intuition of things as they are, but an intuition that is itself non-philosophical or non-representative. This is the scientific concept of intuition and the Transcendental Aesthetic: the immanent or transcendental givenness of the thing itself (here, philosophy). This givenness of the thing itself, a givenness that is neither empirical nor empirico-philosophical, is the first moment of its insertion into a rigorous theoretical space.

6. We measure the complexity of what the substitution of the non-philosophical principle for the philosophical principle means, as first, but not as dominant. We can also comprehend in a simpler way this change in comparison, for example, with an artistic mutation. The non-philosophical is not an amelioration or a simple reform, an emendatio, or, to the contrary, a deconstruction of the philosophy, in such a way that there would be from deconstruction to the philosophical an originary continuity capable of other distances or shifts. There is rather, from one to the other, a radical duality or a duality without synthesis. This is what in Marxist terms one would call a “change of terrain” or the “change of base.” Understand the following: we do not pass solely towards a new base of thought, we do not solely change base for another, but we abandon an illusory base for a real base – the only real base. With this supplementary nuance – explained elsewhere – that “change” cannot be here a reversal [or overthrow, renversement] of the philosophical decision, that is, in reality, from one particular decision for another one just as philosophical and particular. We do not pass – once and for all – from one philosophy to another; we do not combat, for example, one conception of the sign with another. We separate the real (One) and language-as-a-whole. This is neither a displacement nor a change on the spot. We pass from an illusory place to a real place. The real order otherwise is not an illusory order: rather, we make the philosophical false-place appear from the non-place of the One that procures its real place from philosophy, one place from within, if we may say, from utopia, or through the means of a transcendental (but real, not transcendent or unreal) utopia. If non-philosophy is what gives its place, its emplacement to philosophy, it itself cannot already be a place or in a place: it is utopic in a radical and finally positive sense.

7. Is non-philosophy a general method of the description of phenomena or objects of experience? In a sense, yes, it is a radical non-phenomenology, therefore without logos: nothing but phenomena but immanent ones. This generality must not remain on the terrain of philosophy and in particular its phenomenological style. Phenomenology, like any philosophy, describes or thematizes objects, statements and texts that have taken place; it is related either to an object already there, in an independent place and in a past time, when it would only be to transformer or deconstruct it; or in an absent, withdrawn, and reserved origin – the reference is not always empirical…Through its structure, it is anamnesis, always and in any case even if it is also a project, teleology and opening beyond any teleology. Rather, non-philosophy is at once a description of the future and, consequently, a performativity, an immanent production or what remains in the One, a theoretico-contemplative posture and a practice. Non-Philosophy neither thinks nor describes that which is (or what has taken place, Being having always already taken place): it produces-describes – in the same gesture – new objects-statements. Non-Philosophy doesn’t have the goal to better comprehend “our modern world” or “our epoch,” that is, our past. Our epoch, with its “new objects,” does not interest it, or is not its first interest, for they have already taken place, and comprehending or interpreting them (through consciousness, necessarily, and its retention, its retro-tension) is nothing more than a secondary, artifactual activity and an activity of recuperation. Rather, it is put back into the very flow of the production of these new objects; rather, it belongs to the order of a “discovery” or a new theoretical object, if not a new technology. Its specific dimension is difficult to define – once named the “Universe” – in relation to the ekstases of philosophical time, the invariant philosophical temporality. We are tempted to describe non-philosophy as the pure future, but this is a problematic decision. We are prohibited from grounding this description on the philosophical type of future, as an operation of transcendence, for it the future is as much a blend with the past, and every teleology – even open or broken – is an offspring of the past in the future. The future is transcendence, no doubt, but a simple one, not re-folded (the fold as the constitutive or transcendental memory) and not auto-factualized. The future is distance, but lived absolutely or “in itself” without being scoured or overseen. The future is the minimal and irreducible experience of the Faraway or the Unilateral and the Universal: it is the real kernel, outside-of-reduction or already reduced, of the divided-unitary future and past of the philosophical type. Every philosophy is structured by the fold, and the fold is the memory-form (a non-empirical memory) of thought, what contracts, commands and destines it. Non-Philosophy inscribes its statements in a future, or a dimension, that is deprived of this transcendental fold-memory; it inscribes them with the rigor that they already had in the past…I mean that the future no longer serves here to open, institute, break, alter, but to represent – rather than being the supplement to an already constituted and transcendent past – a dimension sui generis that realizes the paradox of being given in itself and definitively: the Future is without to-come. This dimension otherwise combines three or four a priori structures at least: the Intuitive Givenness, the Other, the Stable, and the Unity, under the form that is called non-thetic or non-positional (of) oneself – functions that traditionally (for the last two) belong to the “past.”

Regardless of this description, the past and the future are no longer opposites-correlates, they no longer form a temporal or historico-historial continuum, or a tradition to reactivate. They are identical in the produced knowledge, as as the “universe” where it is inscribed. For the vision-in-One, the produced statements belong to a dimension that treats them from the future or utopia, and they belong to the ideal stability, the recorded objecthood [objectité] or “memory,” the specific memory of the future if you will. In the same way that non-philosophy is identically description and performativity, it is identically past and future, an identity that precedes the disjunction of retention-as-past and protention: non-philosophy is the real kernel of “tention” in-itself, in flesh and bone. This is why the statements of non-philosophy are indefinitely rectifiable into new statements and, at the same time – if they are correctly formed – grounded in rigor and in reality, quasi-sedimented. They are struck, not by a memory but by a future-of-rectification, a radical opening, certainly not in the way in which they can be, as philosophical, sedimented by a writing that both idealizes and reveals or deconstructs them from the more or less dehiscent fold of a writing. The strict, non-oscillating Identity, of their stability and their precarity, their sedimentation and their “deconstruction,” is only understood from the One and as the non-divided “operation” of the One.

8. Non-Philosophy is an integral pragmatics but for philosophy alone. This formula is difficult to grasp. In a philosophical regime or under the Principle of Sufficient Philosophy (PSP), philosophy programs a certain transformation of itself, ruptures or emergences, ends and recommencements, reversals and displacements – a whole history to which gives-rise to the Philosophical Decision and that remains contained within it. It claims to also be the real or the Absolute, or, at least, to co-determine it. Insofar as it is real and passive in relation to itself or given, philosophy is also not objectifiable and transformable, escaping through its ultimate invariants from its own practice. Philosophy is a semi-pragmatics of itself. All on one side or one face, philosophy is a mixture of pragmatics and non-pragmatics. With non-philosophy, the conditions of this problem change: to the extent where it describes the real itself, in the way of an unreflected or absolute reflection, this description is no longer an operation or a use, more or less always transcendent, any more than philosophy is, and is only a “theory” and science. By contrast, non-philosophy inaugurates a pragmatic attitude without reserve with regard to philosophy itself. Here again, we must be attentive to nuances: it is not an effective or intra-philosophical pragmatics (like those of Habermas and others), intervening within the decision and modifying it on the basis of its supposed validity, and maintained as a starting point (PSP). Non-Philosophy is a transcendental and absolutely universal pragmatics in the sense that it requires internally or immanently that philosophy be first reduced to the state of simple material susceptible to a radical givenness (without remainder). The effect of non-philosophy over philosophy is summed up by the reduction of philosophy, by the suspension of the PSP, of its auto-philosophical pretention or its auto-pragmatics. For the rest, non-philosophy does not intervene in philosophical effectivity. It is content with reducing the philosophical to the state of a neutralized material, index and support for its own activity. Thus, the text-objects that it produced are without common measure, without an originary strain or continuity with philosophy. Non-Philosophy is an immanent pragmatics: not in language or in philosophy, or in the limits of philosophy, not even of philosophy but of philosophical material (and lingual, insofar as they are indiscernible). Non-Philosophical use bears on philosophical material, not on philosophy as the PSP.

translated by Jeremy R. Smith

taken from here

Foto: Sylvia John

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