DUST event: John Mullarkey, “How to Behave Like A Philosopher”

Dublin Unit for Speculative Thought (D.U.S.T.) and the M.A. in Art in the Contemporary World (National College of Art and Design, Dublin) presents:

John Mullarkey (Professor in Film and TV, Kingston University, London)

“How to Behave Like a Philosopher”

2pm-4pm, Harry Clarke Lecture Theatre, National College of Art & Design, Dublin, Friday 1 February 2013

Mullarkey poster

Abstract: In this talk I outline one way in which Laruelle’s non-standard philosophy might be introduced – through philosophical behaviourism. Images of ‘posture’ are common throughout Laruelle’s work, with the seemingly literalised use of ‘orientation’, ‘stance’, ‘gesture’, and ‘comportment’ being prevalent in his writings. Such allusions might bring to mind ideas from Ryle, Wittgenstein, Dennett, and even the early Merleau-Ponty, whereby the conscious intent of philosophers (the world each creates) is eliminated in favour of the shared behaviour, or style of thought, they manifest. Yet this would be a philosophical behaviour without ‘behaviourism’ – the overdetermined philosophy of what behaviour is (which is usually reduced to one or two variables). By expanding the notion of behaviour beyond these limits – that is, rendering it non-standard – it can be seen that the concept of philosophical ‘decision’ (the key structural invariant for philosophy, according to Laruelle) is neither intellectual nor voluntary, but a matter of orientation or posture as regards the Real. That said, what non-standard philosophy may ultimately teach, is less a new thought about the Real, or even just about philosophy, but a different category of behaviour as regards other behaviours – a re-orientation that renders behaviour indefinite.

For more details about DUST: http://dublindust.wordpress.com/
For more details about ACW: http://www.acw.ie/

19 thoughts on “DUST event: John Mullarkey, “How to Behave Like A Philosopher”

  1. This non-philosophy is a fad of false radicality: is getting worse as its anglo-acolytes promote it uncritically: say that non-philosophy is a product of the academic-incapacities and atrophies of academic-philosophers to be enoughly critical so to break with their academic-subjections: for this sake, seems that Laruelle invented an academic-term for academic-philosophers to justify this lack and so to let them wash their hands and avoid taking as an ethical/philosophical **responsibility** the overcoming-overthrowing of this fleshed and embodied academic-subjections: non-philosophy seems to take apart from academic-philosophers this responsibility (like if they were goners diseased to death, incapable by themselves to do something about it) to justify the non-effectuation of the epistemological ruptures that are indispensable to grasp philosophy as such and by experience: look now what is happening: there is a Mr. John Mullarkey telling us from his very academic-bunker, how to behave like philosophers! This is ridiculous and confirms what I said to him last year: http://schizosophy.com/2012/01/16/can-we-think-democratically-discussing-non-philosophy-with-john-mullarkey/ : academic-philosophers do not even know how to be critical because no one inside academy has taught them how to do so: how come John is making the very first step teaching us with a non-philosophical patronizing **how to behave like philosophers**, while he does not even know what is to be a self-happened philosopher, while he does not even care about it?

    • Hey Anthony, I just noticed your comment. Thanks for the reactive reply. Well, whether you like it or not, I am making a point here about how “non-philosophy is just a product of the academic-incapacities and atrophies of academic-philosophers [like you or like John] to be enoughly critical so to break with their academic-subjections”. I don’t really think that you or John are capable (nor have the courage) to counterargument this critique (and that is the reason why you are so pissed off: if John could not do it on his very opportunity, I just don’t think that you can, sorry). You should tell John to not hide under his academic skirt and to be more creative and less arrogant with the titles of his lectures. Or maybe you can just avoid advocating on his favour because you are not doing a good job being the clown of others. You can be subjected as much as you like to the texts, I don’t care at all about your blockages ;-) Cheers :-)

      • Counterargument isn’t a verb in English but regardless there has never been a reason to respond becuse nothing you ever say means anything or has a point. But that was a nice attempt to be cutting. Try harder.

        • Oh, well does not matter if that is not a verb if you got the point. You may deny what I have said regards my critique against Laruelle’s non-philosophical ***discourse*** (including the mild discourse of its anglo acolytes, like you) because that is the only thing you can do. I guess that if you feel you can get out of the text for a while and see that beyond it there is a whole discoursive horizon to be enunciated in your own name (and you may wonder, how does history is occurring / dis-curring meaningfully in your own life?), if you feel you have acquired the courage to speak in your name about this and hold a counter-argument in relation to my point of view (in general, that non-philosophy is just a fad of false radicality) you are free to post something about it no? but If you truly think that doing that is just a waste of time, you are on your right to confirm your mildness no? what else can we expect from you? Not that much, right?

        • Hello Anthony, I was very surprised someone interested in non-philosophy reply to Naxos by claiming that “counterargument” is not a verb in English. Such majoritarian normativity ill-becomes you, especially as you are responsible for broadcasting such words as “dualysable” to the interested lay public. This posture, over and above the factual question, is quite unsatisfying. Unfortunately it is also factually false. A quick Google search shows up a fair few occurrences of “counterargument” as a verb, for example:
          http://forums.darklordpotter.net/showpost.php?p=203806&postcount=47, and in fact many more. True it is laborious going through the many false hits to tally up the real ones, but there are quite a lot. If you allow the variants “counter-argument” and “counter argument” (this sort of variation is quite common in such compound verbs) that suffices amply to counterargument your assertion, based on what? your linguistic intuition?
          I read Naxos’s blog with pleasure and interest. It is true that occasionally he picks a fight where I can’t follow him, and I deeply regret his dispute with John, as I like and respect both parties. So when you declare to Naxos “nothing you ever say means anything or has a point”, I must disagree. I would point out that Naxos has a long history of non-laruellian non-philosophising behind him, and I wish you could perceive the sense and the point of his interventions. It is true that the style is “non-standard”, but I regret that this should be an obstacle for replying adequately to his arguments.
          I dream of a democratic conversation between blogs and I certainly count Naxos’s blog http://schizosophy.com/ high on my list of democratic philosophy blogs. True, Naxos writes and argues with many intensities, including but not at all limited too the polemical intensities, and he certainly was not tender with John. But that is no excuse for such sweeping dismissal.

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  4. What is ‘posture’ toward the Real? If the real is real and really real as it is in-itself real, and we are immersed in the real then isn’t every ‘posture’ in- with- worlding (Haraway’s word) a ‘real’?

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  6. One last point on this, Avital Ronnel posits that one is ‘truly’ a philosopher if one begins with (and ends with) ‘stupefaction’ – Her book ‘Stupidity’ is central to a thesis I am stumbling stupidly through at the moment. She says that Hegel’s Absolute Knowledge is about the stupidest thing ever! LOL Philosophy can be fun and stupid, as rigour is often ridiculous and absurd (and useful too?) Warmly, Eilif

  7. Naxos,

    I don’t know if I would necessarily agree that Laruelle’s ‘discourse’ is a fad…perhaps as much as anything else. But, on the other hand, the question you have also brought up concerning the name–concerning propriation–is perhaps too strong when we refer to Laruelle’s name in a possessive sense–as though Laruelle were the source, arbiter, legislator and dictator of the essence of the virtually infinite instantiations of non-philosophy and the ‘non-‘ in general. So, to begin with, neither the fads, the academic usages, or Laruelle’s own theorization determines the essence of what is at stake here (non-philosophy either as program, hypothesis, axiomatic unilateralization, etc. etc.): also, proclaiming to describe Laruelle-thought as fad reveals what is in fact the resistance to the objective appearance of one last philosophical residue of auto-position that perhaps still needs to be lifted–namely that of the sufficiency of authority (of a namesake or a university platform, or a trend, fad, tendency, occasion etc.).

    All I’m trying to say is that it would be easy to lump Laruelle-thought into a general category and deny or reject it. But here, it would be a question of wondering the operation that would be at the base of this resistance. If it is merely the associative link of being aligned, coordinated with Laruelle, non-philosophy, etc. etc. that constitutes the resistance, then we can start to clarify the cause of the repression of these associations and say that its inherent to the war of philosophical decision, etc. I’m not sure if you would be satisfied with that analysis, and I will not assert it with any sufficient reason.

    On the other hand, if one were to proceed non-philosophically (for example), the sufficiency and authority of Laruelle-thought (taken as material, occasion and symptom) could be submitted to the chora of transcendental equivalence and rendered sterile. Thus it would no longer matter what may or may not present itself as a ‘fad’ vis-a-vis Laruelle, non-philosophy…precisely because, and this is almost poignantly ironic in light of your claim, non-philosophy–at least ideally, theoretically/pragmatically, etc.–would provide the very means to suspend these fads and submit them to regulated axiomatic processes (vision-in-One, non-thetic a prioris, etc.) just like any other material.

    Non-philosophy or Laruelle’s name isn’t a prop to lean on or a mask to wear, at least no more than anything else. If the real issue seems to be that any investigation of Laruelle or non-philosophy is doomed from the start (due to some inexplicably unavoidable deficiency, lack, superficiality, misguidedness, etc.), or is at least believed to be doomed to naught, then I would have to say that you are entitled to your opinion and that it altogether deserves no ‘counter-argument’ or contrary opinion, lest we perpetuate some presupposed unavoidable conflict of opinions whose war-mongering spectacle would fuel the very thing that you yourself seem to decry in Laruelle/non-philosophy/his ‘anglo acolytes’.

    It is perhaps redundant and pointless to say that I share a different opinion: nevertheless, this difference would express the essential indifference of (and to) such matters of opinion. Which is to say that your opinion is secondary to and a symptom of a deeper resistance, or differently stated, a different investment. If it is your investment to discourage current and future thinkers (in English or otherwise) from taking seriously what Laruelle offers; from putting it to use; from exploring its potentials; from ‘doing’ ‘Laruelle en anglais’, then I would say that you are free to burn off excess nervous energy however you see fit. On the other hand, if you are trying to pick a more specific fight with John, or any other ‘anglo advocates’ [I will have to admit that Anthony’s first response indicates previous, perhaps tense, encounters], then I would have to say that you can virtually take everything I’ve said up to this point provisionally and with a grain of salt (which you could do anyway): in other words, that is not my concern, for what I’m more interested in is bracketing your complaint insofar as it was at least implicitly addressed to (perhaps) someone like myself, whether or not I explicitly lay claim to the title of an ‘anglo advocate’ of Laruelle’s…

    In other words, I am investing my energies differently. I will not say that I have spent countless hours translating and working on Laruelle (although I have just now said it), but instead to merely suggest that my labor and investment is not determined essentially by the label of ‘fad’, even if it may give rise to that illusion…Perhaps that is the difficulty of heresy and heterodoxy for Laruelle et alia: caught between ‘(oc)cult’ status and dogmatic institutionalization, between popularization and marginalization/scandalization…

    • Taylor
      Sorry for my belated response, I just noticed your reply, thanks. Well, in first place, I do not quite see why is relevant to know if you agree or not to take Laruelle’s discourse as a fad if you yourself do not even know if you have agreed or not with that (!). However, it would not make any change really. I guess meanwhile you decide, please let me recall better what I have said: that ‘non-philosophy is a fad of false radicality’: I am not only saying that it is a fad, I am also saying what kind of fad I think it is. I even extended my critique saying that ‘non-philosophy is just a product of the academic-incapacities and atrophies of academic-philosophers to be enoughly critical so to break with their academic-subjections’. While I see that you are not aware of the discussion I had with John with regards to this issue, you will have to pardon me if I am lazy to repeat here my same arguments (which are not directly addressed to Laruelle’s name, but to the aim he gives to non-philosophy in general). To this point, I admit that I do not know to what degree you have been critical about Laruelle’s philosophical take. And I also see that you are neither aware of what kind of posture I am defending here, which might be somehow the base of what for you would probably appear to be as my resistance. Anyhow, I do think that with your translations you inadvertedly have fed non-philosophy only as a fad, but I am pretty sure that this should not necessarily discredit your philosophical path and restlessness, not if you at least take it critically.
      What I defend philosophically is regarded to the experience of life: to the very concrete empirical experience of life itself, which comes as an event of total aperture (and this experience conditions philosophy itself to the extend that we can say that philosophy is-in-itself impossible, that philosophy is not, without experiencing this event). So, that is the height where I flag my objections and resistance: not only to non-philosophers, but also to those that consider themselves as materialists. In my case this could not be otherwise: this experience means not a question of philosophical decision: it happens in your life or not. So my posture only serves, if so, to the authority of this full-intensive experience that is life itself, that brings thought itself as the result of its immanence, and that elongates it as a plane where to compose and recompose it.
      You may see that we are not talking only about the realm of knowledge here, not about the realm of the embodied schemes to presume of our own very academic and intellectual know-how capacities. We are also talking about the realm of experience: about our own experience in life, about life: we are entering here to the realm of our own factual know-whats, which may lead us or not to comprehend the event of life, depending on the experiences that our bodily-values has successfully ionized as to express or not our own very singularities. Philosophy is a matter of life and the matter of life is our own life: if one wants to deal with philosophy as a matter of fact, one must dig into his own life first. We are not playing school here anymore: we are talking about life and its principle of excessive reason. And yes: there is not any kind of sufficient reason to ‘counter-argument’ this principle.
      You reply to me if I were already in the need to know and learn first about laruellian non-philosophy, in order to understand my philosophical position and critic. This is absurd for anyone who has already a philosophical position in life. I wish that this would be not too non-philosophical for laruellian non-philosophers, but maybe is asking for too much. But then again, how this could be otherwise, speaking of the very principle of excessive reason?

      • Naxos,

        I did not assume anything regarding your philosophical position; I was simply pointing out that I do not agree with your prognostications concerning non-philosophy as a fad. But I do not want to change your mind on the issue. You are right to point out that I am unfamiliar with some of your earlier conversations and arguments. I was not disregarding them, but merely replying to your most recent statement.
        I have to admit, I did come from out of nowhere, and I apologize because I understand that I am intruding. I had no business in the previous conversations leading up to that statement to which I was responding, besides the other comments in that thread. In any case, I hope you will excuse me for that, and will pardon my late entry into that conversation. I assure you, I was not trying to come across as a dick in the manner of one-upsmanship. Because, I do not take issue with what you say or have said per se, but merely the broad characterization that you were mobilizing at the time concerning Laruelle’s Anglo acolytes. So, I was not at all implying that you needed a schooling in Laruelle, as though I were trying to convert you. That was besides the point. I merely wanted to understand your motivations for prophesying the Anglophone reception of Laruelle as doomed from the start. Not necessarily your theoretical concerns, although you have addressed this above in your reply, but merely what was at stake for you in this denunciation of Laruelle, or Laruellians…In any case, I do not doubt your reasons or reasonings; I was merely trying to find a basis upon which we would be able to converse about the topic without you having already relegated me to the inadvertence of fad-mongering. I see that I may not be able to find that basis, and so I won’t try to justify my own endeavors as a translator.

        In any case, I would be willing to admit (as a hypothesis) that non-philosophy, in English or elsewhere, would be doomed to failure from the start. Nevertheless, I find it more difficult to turn that hypothesis into a direct claim or oracle about the future.

        In any case, what you say above about life and experience reminds me a great deal of Montaigne’s self-reflection(s) in his Essais…That is not meant as an indictment at all, just a way of inflecting in my own way what you were saying above.

        • Thanks Taylor for your attentive response: your reaction is explainable and I thank you for being attentive with your replies. I am sorry if my posture does not leave any room nor concealment with regards to laruellian non-philosophy, but this is not because of my philosophical decision, you may understand, nor because of my unwillingness to agree with you, with Anthony or with John. This is how things are in fact and in-the-very-first-instance, when talking about life itself as the matter of our knowledge and experience. This is philosophy itself differentiating itself from academic philosophy: it does not need any prefixation nor any prefixed fad as mediator: it does not even need to be something reasonable: from its very intensive viewpoint: philosophy is that what brings life into something materially thinkable (and this is what a philosopher should aim if he wants to be such, this is his very own achievement, not quite to be reasonable, which is only secondary).

        • So then, I assume that this is why you take a stand against non-philosophy in general. A fight against mediation or anything that would obstruct the immediacy that you are pointing to here. That actually makes things clearer, for what you say above to me recasts some of the things said to Deleuze concerning naivety, and Laruelle’s own early remarks about the special kind of naivety that non-phi seeks to cultivate.

          Thank you for clarifying your thoughts for me.

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