Principles of Non-Philosophy
Wresting Vital Potentialities of Humans
Four Tuesdays: January 12, 19, 26, February 2. 6-8 PM ET
François Laruelle’s Principles of Non-Philosophy is widely considered his magnum opus. One reviewer lauded its appearance as “Laruelle’s first full articulation of non-philosophy” and as “a book every bit as consequential as Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition or Badiou’s Being and Event.” Another reviewer even says that the book may be “one of the important texts of our time.”
Why should those of us who stand clear of the battlefield of academic philosophical disputation invest time with a thinker whose austere thought “operates at a level of abstraction which some will ﬁnd debilitating”? For, Laruelle is nothing if not “extremely difficult,” “barely intelligible,” “highly idiosyncratic”—in a word, strange.
The answer may be that Principles of Non-Philosophy “constitutes one of the most considerable challenges to the project of transcendental thought.”
A doctrine that conceives God, consciousness, or even philosophical knowing as wholly separate from material reality, transcendental thought alienates us from our own productive powers in favor of invisible orders of being. Assuming the injurious consequences and in direct rebuke of the transcendental project, Laruelle writes in his “Transcendental Theorem, On Nontransferable Identity:”
“Nothing can, except through illusion, substitute itself for the person and for its identity. And the person cannot, except through illusion, substitute itself for philosophy, for the Other, etc. The human is an inalienable reality. There is no reversibility between the human and the [transcendental order].”
In this seminar, we will approach François Laruelle’s Principles of Non-Philosophy by reading it together very slowly. The practice of reading this text is inseparable from the understanding we are seeking. Proceeding in this manner should enable participants to find their own footing on the strange, austere terrain of Laruelle’s thought.
Marjorie Gracieuse perfectly sums up the goal of this seminar: “wresting vital potentialities of humans from the artificial forms and static norms that subjugate them.”
Facilitator: Glenn Wallis holds a Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies from Harvard University. He is the author of several books, including Cruel Theory/Sublime Practice and Basic Teachings of the Buddha as well as numerous articles, chapters, and essays on various aspects of Buddhism and Western Buddhism in contemporary society. His more recent work, A Critique of Western Buddhism: Ruins of the Buddhist Real, employs the “non-philosophical” methods of François Laruelle. Wallis has taught at Brown University, Bowdoin College, and the University of Georgia. He is the founder of the blog Speculative Non-Buddhism and Incite Seminars. His most recent book is An Anarchist’s Manifesto (Warbler Press, 2020) .
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