A Strange Subject: X-Fiction
December 4, Friday, 6-9 PM EST
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Each participant will be contacted on registration to discuss how they might (begin to) prepare their own x-fiction for the session.
Each generation invents new practices and new writings of philosophy. Ours should have been able to introduce certain mutations that would at least be equivalent with those of cubism, abstract art, and twelve-tone serialism: it has only partially done so. But after all the deconstructions, after Wittgenstein, Heidegger, and Derrida, this demand takes on a different dimension: What do we do with philosophy itself? How do we globally change our relation to this thought, which keeps indicating that it is increasingly conservative and repetitive? —François Laruelle
Laruelle adds that “These two questions together have prompted what we call ‘non-philosophy.’” I think we can be more specific and claim that they have prompted the non-philosophical practice of philofiction; namely, “the invention of new usages of thought and language that disrupt the rational narrative of the real.”
The “fictional” character of these inventions does not lie in their newly rendered fanciful or purely imaginative form. Rather, Laruelle is clear that he derives the practice from”the ‘fictionalist’ school of mathematics, where the warring ontological commitments of traditional debates are eliminated by taking up a stance of hypothetical ‘acceptance’ with regard to the implications of the various objects they propose.” (See the Mary Leng article below.) This practice is driven by the question: how might the material be liberated from the “punctilious gaze” of tradition, and rendered fit for the human, rather than, as tradition insists, the human rendered fit for it?
In this session, we will engage in the creative re-description of some material of your choice (called “x-material” here) along the lines of Laruelle’s philofiction. His basic definition is that “philofiction is a genre parallel to science-fiction, a lowering of dogmatics and of philosophical axiomatics to the state of fiction.” In non-philosophy, this genre is considered to be optimally “radicalized” and thus rendered “rigorous” because it involves (i) the cancellation of the principle of x-sufficiency and (ii) the “axiomatizing” of the Real. These two moves alone result in the depotentialization of authoritative forms of thought and practice, thereby opening them up to our rather than their usages.
This practice can also be thought of as modeling. It can be performed with material from any expressive medium whatsoever: photography, poetry, religious doctrine, ritual manual, liturgy, mystical assertions, philosophical discourse, psychoanalytic case studies, aesthetic prescriptions and propositions, historiography, literature, and beyond. We should note that non-philosophical fictionalization does not entail creating fictions of or about some material. It involves, rather, rendering x according to the muted material. Finally, our x-fictional engagement follows from, and so assumes, a prior critical uncovering of the material’s identity using non-philosophical concepts.
Below is a brief bibliography. It is intended to stimulate ideas and strategies. Read or skim or spot-check or skip over the readings as you feel drawn. Texts with an asterisk * are, or include, actual x-fictions.
- Anthony Paul Smith, “Fabulation, or Non-Philosophy as Philo-Fiction.”
- François Laruelle, “The procedures of non-philosophical pragmatics.” My underlining and marginal notes may help.
- François Laruelle, “What would ‘thinking (from) the one’ mean?”
- Simon O’Sullivan, “Non-Philosophy and Art Practice, (or, Fiction as Method).”
- Katerina Kolozova, “Toward a Radical Metaphysics of Socialism: Marx and Laruelle.” *
- Alexander Galloway, “Laruelle and Art.” On James Turrell’s exhibition First Light, in which the artist insist, “I am dealing with no object.” May help with an understanding of the non-x first term “the Real.”
- Tony Fisher, “Thinking without Authority: Performance Philosophy as the Democracy of Thought.”
- Laura Cull Ó Maoilearca, “Philosophy, Non-Philosophy, and Performance.” On non-philosophy in theater and aesthetics.
- John Ó Maoilearca, “Laruelle’s ‘Criminally Performative’ Thought: On Doing and Saying in Non-Philosophy.” Explores Laruelle’s contention that “practice is the presupposed that determines thought.”
- François Laruelle, The Concept of Non-Photography. Photography fictionalized. *
- François Laruelle, Future Christ: A Lesson in Heresy. *
- François Laruelle, Christo-Fiction: The Ruins of Athens and Jerusalem. “Christianity stripped bare by Christ.” That’s by, not of, Christ. *
- Chapter Six of my A Critique of Western Buddhism: Ruins of the Buddhist Real, “Buddhofiction,” is an argument for fictionalizing Buddhist material. Chapter Seven, “Meditation in Ruin,” * is an attempt at conjugating material from continental philosophy and from non-philosophy to Buddhist material.
- My “Stranger Sutra.” A buddhofictional rewriting of the canonical Anapanasati Sutta.
- François Laruelle, “The Truth According to Hermes: Theorems on the Secret and Communication.” * Conjugating science-thought, (non)philosophy, and mysticism, or: “Hermes unsullied by the sallies and wanderings of hermeneutics.”
- François Laruelle, “On the Black Universe.” *
- Anthony Paul Smith, “’To love human beings in so far as they are nothing:’ Deracination and Pessimism in Simone Weil,\.” *
- Mary Leng, “Fictionalism in the Philosophy of Mathematics.”
- Anthony Paul Smith, “Conclusion: the Future of Non-Philosophy;” or: You ain’t seen nothing yet.
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