A New Manuscript by Katerina Kolozova on Non-Philosophical Metaphysics

I am happy to announce that my friend Katerina Kolozova has kindly shared with me a chapter from a new book she is working on. Kolozova’s original and groundbreaking work transversalizes (among other things) the concerns of a (Laruellian) non-philosophical nature with those of a Marxian engagement along with an emphasis on subjectivity and gender studies. She is quite a prolific author, and some of her most recent works include Cut of the Real: Subjectivity in Poststructuralist Philosophy (written with Laruelle) and also Toward a Radical Metaphysics of Socialism: Marx and Laruelle, a work that will resonate strongly with the chapter she has provided below. Katerina Kolozova is Professor of philosophy and gender studies in the faculty of political sciences at University American College-Skopje. Please enjoy!

Katerina Kolozova

Non-Philosophical Metaphysics: Critique of the Bourgeois Ideologies of the Ontologisation of Capitalism, Gender and Culture

(an excerpt from a manuscript draft)

Materiality of formalism

Marx’s study of the species-being of humanity institutes itself as a science that deals with value production and the relation of value to material reality. This is obviously a metaphysical question, but the suggested approach is scientific. Therefore, the science to be established in line with Marx’s precept ought to operate with “philosophical material” but in a non-philosophical way. Laruelle has furnished a rich conceptual apparatus (at once lexicological and methodological) to make this type of science possible. The post-philosophical or non-philosophical Marxian approach I suggest here consists in the complete formalization of the question and the language to pursue this science. This kind of approach should treat the material at hand – the conceptual material originating in philosophy – as material and as matter, if you will, along the vector “from the concrete to the abstract” (de Saussure).1 A similar trajectory is undertaken in Marx’s Capital in which an exact understanding of “the concrete,” the description of empirical data and the explication of its patterns, leads to discoveries about the laws that govern the exchange of goods or the market more generally and, ultimately, to the abstractions of “commodity” and “value.” The examination and problematisation of the relation between the material and the abstract, between use value and exchange value, nonetheless requires the mobilization of “philosophical material.”

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Translation of F. Laruelle’s Introduction to “Textual Machines”

The following is a translation of F. Laruelle’s Introduction to Machines textuelles (Pais: Seuil, 1976), pp. 9-19, by Taylor Adkins, 9/1/13.

Introduction to Textual Machines: Deconstruction and Libido of Writing

            The text, well, it doesn’t send word [s’envoie pas dire], but one can always say [dire] something about it.

Thus I am attempting to simultaneously guide an analysis of deconstruction’s techniques and a displacement of their problematics onto neighboring positions, about which I’m hoping that their neighborhood, in order to have some relation to topology, is neither good nor bad.

Which positions? Those which are implicated, not manifestly but latently, in “Nietzsche-thought”, or in the esoteric problematics of the Eternal return and the Will to power, which I shall call generalized repetition and intensive libido respectively. At the risk of seeming to elicit deconstruction’s virulence and facing the perils of an ideological regression, I am attempting to relate deconstruction to a principle of functionality a) that transforms it into a libidinal process of textual production; b) that pretends[1] to reprise, even activate, effects-of-deconstruction on its behalf.

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Materialist Political Economy

Two new websites worth checking out. The first is Synthetic Edifice, which collects texts related to the accelerationist manifesto – including translations, interviews, and expansions of the ideas in the manifesto. The second site is Speculative Materialism, which looks to be a really interesting new blog which bills itself as a forum for the study of the materialism and ontology of finance.

Call for Participants: Joan of Art – Towards a Free Educational Platform


Call for Participants: Joan of Art – Towards a Free Educational Platform in collaboration with Maldives Pavilion

The homogenization of learning and accreditation modes realized through the ‘Bologna Process’ accords with a marketisation of education across Western Europe which threatens the diversity of subjects on offer as vocational subjects and those which lean towards the project of rationality become prioritized in terms of funding and resources.

The Venice Process – started at Gervasuti Foundation, Venice, in collaboration with the national Pavilion of the Maldives during the 55th Venice Biennale – aims at offering an alternative education and accreditation system offered by a network of international art institutions.

Events – including performances, seminars and workshops – will span the Biennale, culminating in the writing of a free course in art and ecology – written in conjunction with the Maldives Pavilion – and the delivery of a conference on accreditation systems in November 2013.

We are issuing an international call out for academics, activists, artists and ecologists to participate in the writing of the free course on art and ecology. Participants will be asked to write a lecture or seminar (remotely) by the end of September 2013 and be available to present the course with other participants in Venice in late November.

Joan of Art: Towards a Free Education is an ongoing project started in residence with NOMAS foundation in Rome (2012). It aims at the creation of a free alternative education system delivered via a network of art institutions, globally.

Please send all inquires to conceptualmilitancy@gmail.com

Translation of Laruelle’s “The Concept of Generalized Analysis or of ‘Non-Analysis'”

Laruelle, François. “La concept d’analyse generalisée ou de ‘non-analyse’”, Revue internationale de philosophie, vol. 43, no. 171, issue 4 (1989), p. 506-524.

The Concept of Generalized Analysis or of ‘Non-Analysis’

Philosophy’s Judaic Turn

            The undoing of philosophy by psychoanalysis seems to animate and traverse the recent history of the former more so than the latter. This is at least how it appears. It is impossible to give a list of the avatars of continental philosophy of this century without taking this struggle as our guiding thread. Primarily a secret struggle—wherein the adversaries are sought out (to the point of excluding Lacan)—then manifested and claimed as such—wherein the adversaries are recognized and in turn take on the role of enforcing the peace. From this point of view, the parties appear more and more equal. Between philosophy and psychoanalysis, it is not a question of a banal combat of positivist mastery or even of a unilaterally philosophical attempt (merely of appropriation, and merely reflexive and hermeneutic, even if this case is produced and represents a spontaneous solution), but of a conflict waged that is sometimes stronger than the adversaries themselves, of a difference that relates them to one another in the greatest distance and through a strategy of reciprocal appropriation and disappropriation (variously balanced according to the authors). This would be a unilateral and already too philosophical interpretation, like that of seeing philosophy alone leading an enterprise of conquest without nuances, and it is not always inversely psychoanalysis that brings with it the charge of alterity, of critique, and perhaps the most powerful deconstruction. The necessity and nature of this combat (superior to the parties in question) are precisely what determine the crossed becomings and command philosophy’s offensive, and not merely defensive, actions. Its most recent history, although non-hermeneutic, is that of the most enduring blows that it has attempted to launch: The History of Sexuality (Foucault), Anti-Oedipus (Deleuze and Guattari), The Postal Card (Derrida) and finally The Genealogy of Psychoanalysis (Henry) manifest an offensive will where philosophy also allows itself, as in every great combat, to be determined by the adversary. In reality this manner, this style of difference, i.e. of struggle with the angel of analysis, a struggle recognized as infinite and taking its nobility from its incapacity to conclude, began at least with Kojéve and Wittgenstein.[1]

It is useless to say that nothing allows foreseeing the treaty of a real peace, even if on Lacan’s side and after him the question of philosophy in analysis and not merely facing it is incessantly re-opened. It is indeed on the background of this combat, which surpasses them and claims to be interested by thought itself, that the particular history of contemporary philosophy must be re-examined and re-evaluated beyond every problematic of cultural “influences.” Perhaps even, going deeper, it is with Freud more so than Wittgenstein that the Judaic turn begins: this is what profoundly determines the philosophy of the 20th century and is still broader, more dissimulated than this combat with analysis, which is in some sense its mise en scène or its primary representation. We put forth the hypothesis that this Judaic turn is philosophy’s point of inexhaustible fecundity after Nietzsche and facing this sword thrust in the Heraclitean river that should remain Rosenzweig’s protestation for quite a while; to commence, for this is to forget, via Heidegger through his reactivation of the “thing in-itself” and a Kantianism impregnated by ethics; to pursue through Wittgenstein then Derrida; to set off again by infinite provocation in the interminable echoes of Levinas; to punctuate the actions of a more or less offensive resistance of Kojéve, Ricœur, Deleuze, Henry.

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CFP: Tuning Speculation

“Tuning Speculation” will be a two-day conference hosted by the Department of Art and Art History at York University in Toronto from 1-2 November 2013.

Over the past few years, the term “speculation” has become something of a buzzword and has acquired a rhetorical currency that, arguably, owes much of its value to the way Speculative Realism’s agenda to emancipate thinking from a sense of indenture to its own finitude crystallizes a hazy longing in the humanities to invest in something besides the constant deployment of textual strategies and ideology critique. Indeed, a conjectural spirit can be found haunting recent work in feminism, media and animal studies, as well as certain spheres of the social and ecological sciences. However, the force of this speculative thrust has been largely directed towards advancing metaphysical models that challenge the interpretive exception of human experience such that aesthetic figurations, perhaps because the concept of the aesthetic is entangled in the very definition of human being, have been largely excluded from the game. This is lamentable because the speculative venture of the humanities shares much in common with experimental art practices where “an act the outcome of which is unknown” is the not the goal but the very point of departure.

This two-day conference will therefore address the idea of a speculative aesthetics and propose ways of tuning speculation to its imaginative and experimental principle. While several approaches can address the exclusion of the aesthetic from expressions of the current speculative attitude, we propose to concentrate on the sonic arts as an initial point of entry for the reason that the sonic arts rely on a constitutive conceit and effective imaginary that claims access to a material reality which can only be conceived through a rhetoric of immersion and immediacy. In this respect, we suggest that sound art, in the widest sense of the term, pressures the conceptual disconnect between the essentially fantastic gesture that speculation is and the necessary veracity that any realism or materiality demands.

Abstracts (300-500 words) for 30-minute papers from scholars/writers/artists in any relevant field are welcome. We are especially interested in presentations that recognize the necessary intimacy between speculative theory and fiction (in the broadest sense). Please send abstracts, along with biographical details and contact information, to unsound@yorku.ca by 30 June 2013. Participants will be informed of acceptance by 8 July 2013.

More details can be found at www.asounder.org/tuningspeculation.

#Celerity: A Critique of the Manifesto for an Accelerationist Politics


McKenzie Wark (A Hacker Manifesto, and The Beach Beneath the Street) has been kind enough to send us his detailed response to the “#Accelerate” piece which has been circulating around the internet. Since the aim of that original piece was, in part, to polemically intervene in a number of contemporary debates in the UK and US left, it’s been encouraging to see both critical and supportive responses to the vision it set out. Wark’s response here forms a significant and comprehensive commentary on that vision.

It should be emphasised though that “#Accelerate” was written in manifesto form, which means it was presented with the rhetorical force of declarative certainty. Yet while we are confident in the broad strokes of this approach, the specifics are open to debate and we’ve only begun to think through the issues involved. The idea of the manifesto was, first, to initiate and generate conversations about the longest term viewpoint on left politics at a profound moment of crisis. It was meant as a provocation that would raise questions, broach some neglected topics, and put certain key themes on the table. The manifesto was, second, intended to put forth what we believe to be a unique set of possible answers – ones that will hopefully generate further research. Yet, we are not trying to create a new doctrine, nor to determine in advance what must be an experimental process involving the creativity of mass politics. The emphasis, both here and in the manifesto, is on experimentation beyond traditional leftist tactics, in order to discover what works in practice.

Wark’s response is available here. And you can find the original manifesto here. More texts are available at Synthetic Edifice.

Translation of Laruelle’s “Who Are Minorities and How To Think Them”

F. Laruelle. “Qui sont les Minorités et comment les penser?”. Etudes polémologiques 43 (1987): 175-89.

Who Are Minorities, and How Are We To Think Them?

            Minorities represent a certain type of problem that is both insistent or inevitable and never resolved. For political science, one might say it is a crux, a theoretical impasse. The same goes for political practice. What is the source of this difficulty? There are several reasons. First, for a political reason, it became a problem or a question. The problem of Minorities emerged as such with the history of the great modern States with which it is coextensive and whose constitution it accompanies. Perhaps it was a less critical or less obvious problem with the great Empires wherein Minorities were recognized de facto and sometimes repressed. But in the 19th century with the establishment of unified and somewhat centralized States, they became a question as such for political theory, which is simultaneously the sign of their problematic nature and the beginning of their recognition as such.

Afterwards, it has become not simply a political problem but a social one, too. I believe that it is important for reflection and theory and completely necessary for philosophy to overcome the political limitation of the concept of “Minorities” to which it is still too often restricted. The problem has developed an incredible extension with the appearance of a totally different type of Minorities than the national and political. No doubt they arise as political and historical problems, but they now undergo new experiences and require more extensive and not simply political definitions.

This extension beyond their political origins must therefore be considered, even if historians are not in agreement: the new Minorities are social and moral, they arise within the social body, which is supposedly homogeneous from the outset. They are defined according to age class (the “youth” or the “Third Age”), social class (the “Fourth World”), what could be called sexual class (“women”, homosexual Minorities), and not simply in line with political power, but with social, religious, cultural behaviors as such, i.e. according to a power which is not always political. I realize that this extension can be denied; but, on the one hand, they themselves lay claim to the status of new Minorities; on the other hand, they offer, so as to be thought, the same theoretical difficulties as political Minorities; lastly, it is difficult to contest the fact that the modern social body is increasingly less homogenous, increasingly reticent to define itself by the political point of view alone, and increasingly demanding. There is a veritable continuous social production of new minorities, and it is tied to the emergence of the social beyond the political and to the emergence of the individual and the emergence of particularity beyond the social. The transformation of social relations is accompanied by a continual growth of new demands formulated in terms of difference, identity, and right: de facto differences; de jure differences; but also right to difference, the celebrated “right to difference” which is the foundation of all current claims of identity. How do we summarily characterize these phenomena now that the political veil has been lifted from their definition? Do they have anything in common, and what makes them difficult theoretical objects?

  1. The concept of Minority is unstable, poorly defined, with a tendency to be unlimited because it seems that new Minorities are born in quick succession (there is no definitive threshold based on which a minority exists).
  2. Minorities, whether political or not, always present themselves as multiplicities; they are several by definition and are themselves constituted by a plurality of individuals as such; this is an important phenomenon if we consider the centralizing and unifying inclination of modern States.
  3. They are born and manifest themselves through the mode of demand and struggle, toward a different identity that can be prolonged by violence, even terrorism; so that it may be a right, the “right to difference”, to autonomy, to recognition must be acquired by an initial violence.
  4. They always appear somewhat like phenomena of margins or marginality, fringes, periphery, and danger, simultaneously–indeed I say simultaneously–internal and external in relation to the unity of the social body or the centralized political body of the nation.
  5. Lastly (and this follows from the preceding point), due to the centralized State and its agencies, they are regularly the object of a pressure hellbent on containing them, a pressure which is not always brutal, which can have the form of control and surveillance or indeed repression, in all kinds of forms (policing, administrative, cultural, linguistic, etc.) and which, nevertheless, ends in the negotiated granting of rights political, cultural, linguistic, etc., i.e. a generally relative autonomy within national unity.

This is a short description of a situation that everyone recognizes. But what is of interest here for the philosopher and politician? The interest lies in the fact that, on the one hand, Minorities manifest themselves as an improbable object through the mode of violence and conflict that is simultaneously internal or intestine (civil war at the limit) and external. And, on the other hand, because there is something unthinkable about them. I mean to stress that theoretical and political reflection on Minorities is rather impoverished and ill at ease. A recent “Encyclopédie des Minorités”, published by Caratini[1], defines them in this simultaneously vague and overly restrictive way: they are a historical subset of a nation and involve centrifugal-centripetal relations with the State. This definition perhaps does justice to the multiplicity of minoritarian groups, but it cursorily describes the mechanism that binds and opposes them to the State. The traditional political and theoretical means to which we are accustomed do nothing but vary/refine the first impression: these are the fringes, the margins or marginalities, the subsystems of the State or the subsets of the Nation.

Political philosophy ultimately relies on three, and only three, ways to think them. The first consists in saying that Minorities are modes or modalities–just subsets!–of a centralized unity, State, or Nation; in other words, they are external secondary phenomena that do not have their own autonomy because they refer to the superior (i.e. indivisible) unity of the Nation or the State, which they suppose in every way. The second consists in speaking of “differences”. It will then be said either that Minorities are differences (of language, culture, sexual orientation, etc.) in the interior of/or in a set (which harkens back to our usage of “mode”); or, and this is already more interesting, it will be said that they are differences identical to the State (and not under it or in it), or at least that Minorities are what is universal in the social body, which must itself be interpreted in turn as minoritarian or as becoming minoritarian (I will come back to this conception).

Lastly, the third concept in use is that of the relic or archaism; they have been repressed on the Nation’s behalf and must still be repressed yet again. It will thus be necessary to contain them, to master them, and to integrate them–to carry out a veritable gestation of Minorities (which is also their protection)–by a politics simultaneously of firmness and of juridical/ political concessions by according them a relative (always partial and specified) autonomy. This is due to the fact that Minorities remain perceived as a residual phenomenon tied to the history of modern Nations and States in the 19th century–representing a perpetual danger of reactivating the hotbeds of political (and sometimes terroristic) effervescence–or to supposedly provisional and amendable social dysfunctionings. One point is particularly striking in these definitions. They remain content with describing what is seen or believed to be seen immediately; they basically perceive Minorities from the point of view of the State itself, which contains or represses them. In the same way that the State proposes to better integrate them into its unity, these definitions integrate Minorities into political philosophies, which are always unitary schemas or schemas of unification, identification, and sometimes totalization. Philosophical reflection, above all in this form, flies to the State’s rescue and prepares the way for it; it rarely allows itself to serve Minorities, despite certain appearances. And yet Minorities lay claim to their identity while refusing the identification proposed for them by the powers that be: this paradox must be explicated.

What makes it so hard to think Minorities? The common understanding wants clear and distinct definitions of separate and well-identified objects. But, precisely, the Minorities who claim their “identity” are not easily identifiable as such. They are only understood through rapports, relations, and relations of struggle with the State. But what is generally most difficult to understand is the war, the proportion of force, because it defies this general tendency to posit properly distinct identities. The political, historical existence of Minorities is inseparable from the struggle for recognition and sometimes for autonomy; and their theoretical existence is, on its side, inseparable from contradiction, which is the war in thought. Because they are politically unthinkable, demand or struggle is their only way of making themselves heard. Because they always emerge “out of order” [en rupture], they are politically unthinkable.

However, philosophy, more so than the discourse of political action, has the means to think them. Political reflection often remains content with a historical description and acknowledges struggle; but it does not understand that struggle is a necessary mechanism for the emergence of new Minorities. I would like to describe the four theoretical schemas, the four operative ways of understanding Minorities and of doing them justice.

  1. The most conservative and classical way of conceiving Minorities is to turn them into residual, secondary, external phenomena of relics and archaisms, i.e. ultimately irrational phenomena. Two presuppositions are behind this:
  2. a) Political rationality is represented by the Nation or State as unifying, if the meaning of politics is unification;
  3. b) Politics is itself understood as the reason wherein everyone must fulfill themselves.

If we accept these presuppositions, then Minorities will in fact be vanishing[2] phenomena at the limit of nothingness; they will only have a political least-being, and, at the limit, they will have no political future, no historical destiny, no creative signification for national culture and unity. But, precisely, too often philosophy and political philosophy overemphasize unities either global (People, Nation, State, Sovereign, Country) or specific (a Mother Tongue, a Tradition, a common History, a Culture, etc.). From their point of view, the particularity of such unities is that they involve an apparently simple relation to Minorities, but this relation, unbeknownst to them, is in fact complex. From their point of view, everyone who lays claim to an existence outside or in the margins of these unities has no (political, historical, cultural, etc., i.e. philosophical) existence proper: they are particular deficient modes, modalities of these Unities. They must be understood and reduced as such. And because they have no real existence, there is consequently not even a violent and conflictual hierarchy with Minorities. Minorities are vanishing and condemned to disappear the moment they manifest themselves on the periphery of the social body. They are political nothingnesses; simple limits by way of absence, privation, political insufficiency. Here, politics still has not encountered real opposition, but simply the nothingness or absence of existence. Consequently, there is no longer a proper efficacy or political causality of these Minorities; the only causality is that of the unitary social body represented by the sovereign (man, people, State). Political efficacy as a whole goes in a single and linear direction: from Unity towards the vanishing periphery and therefore nowhere. There is a de jure impossibility of fixing, placing, and identifying Minorities: their existence is annulled by decree (all political identity comes from elsewhere). The logic of power is to be coextensive with logic. Minorities are analytically contained in sovereign unitary power, they bring about nothing new = real. Power is master of itself and therefore master of the political real. The political auto-determination or auto-position of the sovereign includes Minorities.

  1. A revolutionary conception in the broad philosophical (not simply political) sense of Minorities is much more modern. Minorities will finally have an autonomous existence here, almost as strong as that of the State, but only in the form of a fringe of the State. Their relation to the State would by definition always be a relation of force or tension. Their existence would be non-manifested, not as manifest as that of the social body, but it would act through violence, conflict, the risk of destabilization and “blind” or “primary” terror. Given their reality and thus the constitution of the social relation as a relation of force or hierarchy, it is necessary to examine this relation from two points of view, for there will be a double causality, both on the one hand and on the other.

            From the State’s point of view: a double and no longer single action; ensemble of the very gesture specific to any hierarchy, the State can only try to repress them (as Other, Stranger, Unclassifiable) and integrate them through force and violence, be it that of right, which is still a force.

The action of the state is double and single: repress, exclude, internalize. This double relation wherein the social body is in fact directed by what it represses is a symptom. The social body does not see Minorities in their reality, does not see what it does, and this double-edged or contradictory repression weighs down on it. It would be necessary to study this complex mechanism of repression or of self-defense, of conflictual repression.

From Minorities’ point of view: what is the response? It is double:

  1. a) Through reversal and terror; they are the source of heterogeneity and conflictuality. This is the flipside of repression. Reversing the hierarchy of relations of force is the only strategy possible; there is no other solution (if at least Minorities exist-as-repressed). The reversal (destabilization as inversion of all social relations) is inevitable and positive;
  2. b) Through the global displacement of the Unity of the social and political body which is reorganized otherwise, or whose economy of internal relations is modified. Unity is reconstituted, must be reconstituted in the form of a global political order that will be different, wherein Minorities will be heard and their claims will be partially taken into account in the general economy of the forces of a society. These (double) effects signify that global functioning is not much different, yet it is modified. If the claims of regional or popular cultures are taken into account as well as those of social groups primarily perceived as deviant or anomic, what changes is the general tonality of a society. Everything has slowly shifted around, even if whole blocks of social relations have remained as they are.

Here the novelty is the discovery of the political relation of force as such, power as real power and no longer logical or identical to the logical unity of the social body. Minorities are no longer analytically contained in socio-political Unity, they are external and necessarily = structurally given in competition with the State and affect the political body with finitude.

This conception, which winds up in a quasi-dualism, discovers the relation of force as indivisible autonomy, as the only reality. Minorities are simultaneously outside and inside the State and therefore all the more dangerous; what is real is the conflict common to the State and Minorities. The State is condemned to self-defense, but for Minorities it is the other way around. They constitute a sort of Other of the State, a political unconscious of the Nation and even an other-than-political unconscious: linguistic, sexual, social, cultural, economic. This unconscious is all of that, masked or disguised by all of that, but globally anti-political. Minorities cannot simply be political, for they are conveyed and masked by all types of social relations. They are individual, but like the Other can be, thus always also anonymous like the Other: this is an opaque, obscure, unintelligible power [puissance], albeit effective by way of its immediate political non-rationality, by way of this moment or this virtuality of radical terror. Minorities are consequently an instance of Antipolitics simultaneously relative and absolute in the political intelligence of a society. But, at the same time, this structural moment of unintelligibility, which is itself incomprehensible in its unity with the social body, re-establishes a unity or a new hierarchy with it.

This conception is much more subtle, differentiated, and realist than the preceding one, which is a dogmatic metaphysics of politics. It gives right–right of existence–to Minorities and to their multiplicity as such. But this is at the price of rendering them unintelligible, obscure like a primary process of force. Hence a third conception that synthesizes the first two by conserving, from the first, its sense of unitary political intelligibility and, from the second, its sense of multiplicity (heterogeneity, alterity), but without turning it into an external unconscious.

  1. Consequently, a third, equally contemporary solution: the synthetic conception of Minorities as “difference”.

It will therefore be acknowledged that we have to think together the socio-political Unity, represented by the State or embodied by it, and, at the same time, the heterogeneous multiplicity of individuals, cultures, languages, peoples, sexes, and therefore: we have to think the unity of the individual (in a broad sense) and the State. Here still and as always, this identification is not called into question: the most individual forces can demand their autonomy, but they can only do so in view of the State, a new unity, or a relation ultimately better accomplished by the State. The presupposition is the same: Minorities indeed have to struggle against the State, or rather simply struggle against some of its old forms; they are ultimately and even initially inseparable from it, for one continues here more than ever to define Minorities in terms of force, struggle, and combat, and therefore in globally political terms.

What, then, is specific to this identity of the State and Minorities? It is difficult to say. Between them, a smaller distance or exteriority is supposed than previously. Minorities are indeed always those who bring about distance, distension, and the risk of ruptures in social relations or in consensus. But they do nothing but bring it about, and they alone are the ones who can bring it about everywhere: everyone is minoritarian, there are nothing but Minorities in all social relations: the State is the ensemble of their functioning. There is no longer, as before, a distance between a State supposed given, already there, and Minorities already given but as unconscious. There is no longer this quasi-duality of realities here, these two modes of heterogeneous realities that was supposed earlier, including the political and the non-political (the unpolitical is as non-negotiable as ever), but a single type of reality, which is the political. Hence a return to a conception of the political-All or social-All, like in the first solution, where everything is again grasped in Unity and thus also in rationality and intelligibility. There is indeed a multiplicity, an unconscious if you will, but it is immediately embodied by this superior Unity, a single reality which can thus be read simultaneously as nothing-but multiple, nothing but heterogeneous or also even as nothing-but-statist or nothing but social. There is no superior and central State on one side and peripheral and marginal Minorities on the other; this would still be to place an exteriority in them, a distance, that of a center fixed to its periphery or a Unity fixed to its margins. There are nothing but partial sequences of connection that must be called immediately and inseparably statist-minoritarian. Every socio-political phenomenon can and must be read as statist or universal–creating a rule for other phenomena which are minoritarian in relation to it–and as itself minoritarian with respect to another that holds as a superior rule. There are only Relations of force, forces in relation, but in a greater and smaller distance than any bond or synthesis by way of a “generality”. The buffer zones between the State and Minorities have been dismantled, including all the economic, institutional, political, and social generalities with which Minorities no longer identify and which they themselves even critique (destruction of the gregarious and intermediate generalities which code desire or statist-minoritarian flows), yet all the better to identify themselves with the State.

This is a complex and ambiguous position, for the revolutionary force of Minorities is indeed conserved, but it is limited to non-statist generalities rather than turned against the State itself. On the contrary, the latter is devoted to becoming immanent to individuals and to triumph over the ruins of the intermediate and middle bodies. Ultra-anarchism is identical to ultra-statism: an anarchism against the intermediate social forms, but so that Minorities themselves still incarnate the State. The statist-minoritarian complexes revolutionize or reverse the entire social structure and the whole intermediate social base in a perpetual and unlimited way, all the better for the State to triumph.

This is a purified position, the pure political diagram relative to the preceding position. But, above all and consequently, it illuminates an aspect of the philosophical theory of Minorities. The statist-minoritarian connection is purified, manifested as such, relieved of its external forms. What philosophy can do for Minorities is thus fully manifested.

I believe that it is the individual who seeks to be heard in Minorities. But all these conceptions are similar because they posit that the individual is ultimately identical to the State, that the individual realizes herself in it, or despite it, but in every way with it, that the individual forms a system with the State for better or worse. I call these conceptions “mixed Minorities” or “statist-minoritarian Minorities”, and I oppose them–this will be the fourth solution–to another conception, the nothing-but-minoritarian, which will give an absolute right to the individual’s claim and would recognize the existence of Minorities absolutely autonomous with respect the State. The first three conceptions describe the social body, and thus their point of view is still that of the unified social body or the social body of the state; they are on the side of the polis or political reason. This is why, on the one hand, they reduce the existence or reality of Minorities to their struggle–and in struggle it is always the State that is ultimately the victor with a few concessions; and, on the other hand, they remain content with describing the surface of the phenomena without explaining them. From my point of view, these are philosophical and not scientific theories of Minorities; they are engaged or partisan (simultaneously on the State’s side State and on the side of Minorities–thus still on the State’s side, for if one gives a simply political meaning and struggle to Minorities, that would still be on the State’s ultimate behalf). Certainly, one can remark that these solutions are increasingly on the verge of recognizing an autonomous reality to Minorities, not merely a right acquired or conquered in struggle, but a reality irreducible to the State, not relative to it, not accidental or irrational, and more so a reality of opposition to it. Yet these solutions still concede to Minorities a reality of simple competition with the State and remain content with tracing in their concept the most external conflicts (social, cultural, etc.).

For both of these reasons, I prefer a scientific type of description, if possible, of Minorities. By scientific, I understand at least this–this is not all, but at least this: a description that would not reduce them to their struggle alone, thus to their relation to the State alone, that would attribute them a reality before, prior to their relation to the State, which does not mean that they do not maintain relations with the State! It is a requirement of their description to posit their autonomy. Just like any science implies, in opposition to philosophical and political partisanships, it recognizes an autonomy in its object without mixing its object with something else, a consistency by itself. From my point of view, only a science of Minorities as individuals rather than a political philosophy renders intelligible what is at stake in minoritarian struggles, what is concealed in them, the value of what announces itself, which is the recognition of the individual as such or in her multiplicity; it is the recognition of her reality, which is not necessarily political or cultural or linguistic, etc. Aside from the philosophical Minorities I have described, the only one still possible is a science of man qua individual that would replace the renowned “human sciences”, which do nothing but confuse man with her political, social, and historical forms of existence.

[1] Éditions Larousse.

[2] [This notion should be understood in the sense of algebra, i.e. of or relating to a quantity that indefinitely diminishes as it approaches zero—Trans.]

Symposium: Schelling and Naturphilosophie

Pittsburgh Summer Symposium in Contemporary Philosophy

Duquesne University

Dept. of Philosophy

Pittsburgh, PA

Call for Applications

 We are pleased to announce the Pittsburgh Summer Symposium in Contemporary Philosophy, held at Duquesne University.  Details for the program are as follows:

Schelling and Naturphilosophie

August 5 – 9, 2013

(Optional Participants’ Conference, August 3-4)

“What then is that secret bond which couples our mind to Nature, or that hidden organ through which Nature speaks to our mind or our mind to Nature?” (Ideas for a Philosophy of Nature)

“The concept of nature does not entail that there should also be an intelligence that is aware of it. Nature, it seems, would exist, even if there were nothing that was aware of it. Hence the problem can also be formulated thus: how does intelligence come to be added to nature, or how does nature come to be presented?” (System of Transcendental Idealism)

Seminar Leaders:

Prof. Iain Hamilton Grant (University of the West of England, Bristol)

Prof. Jason Wirth (Seattle University)

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