decision, Deleuze, mathematics, Nietzsche, nihilism, non-philosophy



Philosopher (Dali)


Is mathematics discovered or invented? But what if we have misplaced the scent from the start; in other words what if this clear distinction elides the process itself, if the particular and immanent relation between invention and discovery forms the basis of the ‘singularizing’ expression involved in a new mathematical proof? But a rigorous diagram of novelty itself, of the Event, seems to escape the boundaries of mathematical thought. Ontology is not the royal road to reality, any more than dreams are a singular road the unconscious. In a way, it does not even seem to get us very far at all; at least in terms of understanding “truth,” that exceptional ontogenesis of knowledge and/or being, which after all constitutes what philosophers have so far approached as the ideal “problem” according to which all others are to be modeled, and to which the creation of any new concepts must invariably be induced to correspond.

Risk. The utter annihilation of the soul is an unavoidable stage of becoming human. The human soul is restless, without certainties — at least until it has finally inoculated itself to the world, jamming any channels still open to the outside.

Nihil. Philosophy is a whirlwind from which very little can escape; the breaks are not always where they appear to be! A pure negation of philosophy remains pure philosophy; it is coded in the same semiotic, an inverse. Even suspending this decision (to separate essence from appearance) is still a philosophical position. Finally, even if we manage to truly escape philosophy and found a new science which could in turn truly take the “human” science of philosophy and grasp it as raw experimental material, the risks of a new asceticism corresponding to this “higher” rigor are nearly unavoidable. All these risks are not unlike those Nietzsche or Deleuze are continually warning us about. The worst consequence of nihilism is not necessarily that of forgetting our philosophy in our despair; rather there is a stranger, more uncanny possibility — that the pious suspension of philosophy would be capable of sweeping reality away along with it, abandoning us in some non-human plane of transcendent nullity, enslaved to transparent emptiness and arcane jargon. Nonetheless, a positive “nihilism” undoubtedly constitutes an ideal space for the creation of a new kind of science capable of grasping in turn any human science, and even philosophy itself.


Supplements. What is true cannot change; what changes cannot be truth — is this not the miserable dream in which too many have diffused their cleverness?

critique, decision, escape, gravity, health, language, love, metaphysics, modern, order, outside, parasite



If a person never contradicts himself, it must be that he says nothing.
Miguel de Unamumo

Modernity is a mass exhumation, plunging multiple, trembling, accelerating tunnels into the depths of affectivity. An ambiguous anticipation of this pure positivity can be paradoxically grasped already in the very grayness, finality, boredom and gravity of the classical categories of knowledge. For the consistency of the subject in the classical sense is metaphysical, sublime, hidden, like a secret promise.

But the same metaphysical operation has an entirely different meaning to modern ears. To us, subjectivity indicates creativity and energy. Flight exploits gravity, both in taking-off and landing: modernity brings a celerity and furor to bear upon hypocritical objectivity. For what guarantees the consistency of a decision upon critical self-awareness, besides an uncertain and terrifying project of profound (psychic) extrusion?

The modern project is also classical, but re-opening rather than repeating it. Dehiscence. The modern is an historical excess, a point of over-saturation, in-differentiation, hyper-depersonalization, “literal” dissolution. Conduct an experiment, disintegrate cautiously, get started! For beneath culture and nature, beneath science and literature, a cosmic or microscopic order intrudes.

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concept, decision, dialogue, distinction, humboldt, language, metaphysics, order word, protoype, representation, segmentation, sign, Thought

Language is not a Signal: Notes on Wilhelm von Humboldt

Language is not a Signal: Notes on Wilhelm von Humboldt

One of the earliest and most strident critiques of the signifier, Wilhelm von Humboldt’s philosophy of language refused the even-then-canonical concept of a “sign” by questioning the universal conceptual image of a language as representation.

Beneath the semiotic aspect of language — the “common sense” idea of language as utterance, signalling, communicating, “saying” — Humboldt catches sight of a more profound function of language, where it is no longer understood primarily as communication, but rather as itself an originary and formative “organ of thought” not in any sense limited to representation, but which on the contrary is instrumental in the genesis of (new) concepts themselves.

Rather than being a form for thoughts, an essence subtracted from the heterogeneous field of actual languages, Humboldt proposes instead a generative prototype of language based not on substance but generation, the series of rules and structures by which thought divides and rearranges itself ‘between’ us.

In catching sight of this difference ‘between’ languages (as classically understood,) by taking empirical account of the qualitative break between various representations of reality, we suddenly discover the question of language has carried us all the way to the essence of language and reason at once, the heart of the metaphysical decision.

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critique, decision, determination, epoch, expression, freedom, history, illusion, Marx, metaphysics, networks, Politics, practice, production, religion, slavery, struggle, Thought

Being and Revolution



The materialist doctrine concerning the changing of circumstances and upbringing forgets that circumstances are changed by men and that it is essential to educate the educator himself. This doctrine must, therefore, divide society into two parts, one of which is superior to society.

The coincidence of the changing of circumstances and of human activity or self-changing can be conceived and rationally understood only as revolutionary practice.

Karl Marx

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axiomatics, decision, first science, fractality, French Translation, Laruelle, metascience, non-philosophy, Theory / Philosophy, transcendental, Untranslated Theory

Translation: Six Entries from Francois Laruelle’s Dictionary of Non-Philosophy


Francois Laruelle’s project (from the following entries) can, in my opinion, be best related to the previous translations I have posted on Alain Badiou and Albert Lautman. Badiou’s concept of model as coupling (ideological/scientific)–like Laruelle’s coupling of philosophy/non-philosophy–and questions of logical formalism intersect well with Lautman’s discussion of Hilbert and metamathematics.

Although Laruelle specifically names Deleuze (in a negative way, moreover), his project seems to have the strongest correlation to Alain Badiou (especially some of the language like: philosophical decision, the One, philosophical faith, etc.). The strongest ties between these two figures is definitely the constant problem of locating and axiomatizing philosophy’s foundation (unlike Badiou, who goes to philosophy’s four conditions, Laruelle opts for an autonomous discipline–non-philosophy–which axiomatizes in philosophy’s place). As a contemporary (and possibly the most radical) thinker of the void, Laruelle asserts that philosophy must evacuate itself in order to found itself, and failing the former, non-philosophy continues the task of the foundation of philosophy (which necessarily cannot legitimate itself). Even the figure of St. Paul (Badiou’s ideal subject type) must craft a discourse that navigates beyond the discourses of Greek philosophy (proof and argument) and Jewish prophecy (interpretation of signs) in order to install itself in an apostolic discourse (which is a discourse of weakness, of ‘folly’, because it can never lay claim to the other discourse, i.e. the miraculous, which would propagate itself through a discourse of revelations and miracles). The apostolic discourse is (at least for Badiou) precisely this (non)founded discourse that will evacuate fidelity from the state of the situation, making it legitimate. (If not Deleuze and Guattari, Badiou and Guattari–Nomadology and Moses rebaptized as the ideal subject–the Wanderer and His Manna.)

The following are six selections or definitions from Francois Laruelle’s Dictionnaire de la non-philosophy. Pars: Editions Kimé, 1998. Original Translation by Taylor Adkins 10/24/07.

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