2.05.2010

What Is – Or What is Not - Contemporary French Philosophy, Today?

Cp and what is this you are broadcasting tonight.
CDI cant quite reall the occassion of this talk/lecture ofAlliez' __But its special and was written before its time! we saw it coming all he speaks ! of! the magic dust of time which hid our facts from us.

Cp __ where were you ? overseas nearby?
CD _ Yes I was in Ireland to see the son as he prepared his ... private preparatory to starting a new business. A small art business in Cork
Cp will you say his name at last?
CD: You are relentless yes, well his initial as C S.D. That's as far as I am able to disclose with colouring circumastances....
Cp _ Fair enough so you didnt attend this terrific lecture Eric Alliez. He is younger than you is not that the case?
CD _ Age! O no I think he is my elder by a month or so. He was a friend of Felix and a philosopher. I am not and have never been a philosopher. I am interesting in the production of subjectivities and I care to obsever as a former student of Vinceness the policing of philosophy this last odd years or so...



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What Is – Or What is Not - Contemporary French Philosophy, Today?_________________



Cp __ attended this lecture ... her head was spinning at the half-way mark.

Eric Alliez
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The question which today serves as the title of my lecture, the question which motivates this inaugural lecture is sustained by a negation which is necessary to the construction of the problematic I aim here , not so much to develop, as to open. Here, that is, in London, England, in the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy at Middlesex University, under the directorship of my friend and now colleague (in that order), Peter Osborne, a major post-Hegelian before the Eternal, an Eternal or Internal which he wishes to be absolutely historical, but ok, "nobody is perfect" (exceptionally, he may have reason on his side, and in any case, I am beginning with a negation so, so far, so good).
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Alliez sets up his materials and his stage:

Except that I am going to do more than this, since I have found no other means than the “labour of the negative”, in the most literal sense — which consequently falsifies my initial lecture title and forces it to become What is Not Contemporary French Philosophy Today? — to submit my claim to the order of reasons that has led to the absence in France of chairs of philosophy defined in this way, such that the syntagm “Contemporary French Philosophy” be immediately understood as we currently understand it here, in the UK and in France. It is hardly necessary to specify that it also testifies, on my part, to a reasoned recognition with regard to Middlesex University, which has welcomed me, albeit initially in a slightly different capacity (as Senior Research Fellow) since 2004. It equally testifies to my gratitude towards the Centre and its researchers and lecturers, whose work demonstrates, directly or by more indirect routes, the vitality of “Contemporary French Philosophy”.
Is this a paradox?



I am, then, starting or rather re-starting with this slightly 'simple' negation, but here, that is to say, 'not in France', and now, that is to say, today, in May 2008, more determining than ever: in so far as the theoretical field implied by the title of my chair invites a problematisation of the philosophical and of the contemporary from which a French otherness could be deduced : contemporary French philosophy not being simply the philosophy produced in France (or in the French language), by and in the institution of the



university, according to a single diachronic line whose moments and whose diversity would be gathered up in a calendrical present whose variable dimensions stand for the 'contemporary epoch'.


More generally, and more academically, in the distribution adhered to by the French university system for defining chairs of philosophy, 'contemporary philosophy' is wedded to the official chronology of the contemporary used by historians, which begins in...1800. This poses a number of amusing problems when it comes to studying Kant, who is split in two by the turning point of the French Revolution, which completes the modern period (opened, as everyone is supposed to know, by the taking of Constantinople). One is thus constrained and forced to adopt, by convention and by consensus, the most philosophical date : that of the publication of the Critique of Pure Reason (1781). It is almost unnecessary to say that in an institution whose destiny has long been negotiated between 'traditionalists' (privileging the study of the texts of this tradition), theorists of knowledge (with whom the first generation of French 'analytic' philosophers began by allying themselves) and the tenants of moral and political philosophy (the very name itself is something of a manifesto...), the most contemporary French philosophy (in the sense of a philosophical actuality which it will be necessary for us to define better later) is superbly ignored. I should emphasize the extent to which I take pleasure in the opposite tendency, practised here in the aptly-named Centre for Modern European Philosophy, which consists (how could it not?) in starting from the most contemporary stakes of thought, in order to interrogate the multiple "non-self identities" of an unfinished and interminable philosophical modernity, constructively rather than exegetically, from an affirmative or from a critical, genealogical point of view.

------------------------------------------------- Quarter Mark and she's in 'raptures' visitated!


The contemporary could, according to a reading heavily guided by the 1970s, also encompass the entirety of 20th century French philosophy, but it would analyse less the "1900 moment" or the "rupture of the 1930s" (two objects of recent study), than the passage from the generation of the three Hs (Hegel-Husserl-Heidegger), so-called after 1945, to the generation of the three "masters of suspicion", that is, Nietzsche, Marx and Freud.

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Only we must point out straightaway that the game and the philosophical stakes of

the second half of the 20th century would make at least these six (Germans) intervene - along with several others, pushed back by this analysis into the nineteenth century, before being returned to favour as a somewhat precious and regressively Franco-French anomaly. I am thinking here inevitably of Bergson (who published The Creative Mind in 1934) and of the conceptual machination that Deleuze was able to extract from him in order to emphasise the speculative principles of a superior empiricism, shattering the disjunction between the 'philosophy of life' and the 'philosophy of the concept', whilst singularly complicating the relationship between philosophy and science. One may also recall here the iconoclastic reading of Bergson proposed by Michel Serres in his Eulogy to Philosophy in the French Language. Bergson constructed an unexpected bridge between the intuitions of the mathematicians Hadamard and Poincare at the start of the 20th century and the contemporary theories of chaos, which infuse the Deleuzo-Guattarian plane of immanence; a Bergson (not unlike Gabriel Tarde, an author to whom I have applied myself, reinscribing the contemporary debate between philosophy and the social sciences), caught up in the "total forgetting of the properly French traditions of the start of the century", evacuated by the total domination of German thought framed by the background of war (and the century is presented as a between of two world wars) which made logicism return in mathematics, determinism in history or psychology (but also in psychoanalysis), and imposed dialectics as the philosophy of war. And so Serres concludes his argument by evoking the "obligation to think the tangled multiplicities of the new contingency", an exigency which appears in real time as an anachronism cut by the thread, if not the iron hand, of history.

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It has also been possible - and this concerns my own proposal today more directly - to make "contemporary French philosophy" begin with the caesura of the post-war period and its traumas (thinking ‘after’ Auschwitz, Stalinism, Colonialism), traumas that would give birth to the philosophical generation of the 1960s (animated as it was by the deconstruction of the metaphysics of modern democratic reason implicated or enveloped in the catastrophe)


This generation would culminate in "68-Thought", before giving way, after the marketing episode of the New Philosophers of Anti-Totalitarianism with their concepts as big as hollow teeth, in the 1980s (those years which Felix Guattari called the 'winter years'), to a new generation - I'm citing Alain Renaut - "marked by a powerful re-evaluation of the values

of intelligibility of modernity and of the democratic idea". This would [supposedly] allow "France" to rejoin the "state of the philosophical and political problematic dominating everywhere else". What has, on the plane of political philosophy in the strict sense, been called "New French Thought", and which, in reaction to the Anti-Humanism of 68-Thought, varies in form between a liberal-conservative neo-Tocquevillian paradigm, an allegedly progressive ethics of communication, and a republican philosophy of universal human rights, would in this way mark the time of a pacified dialogue between contemporary continental philosophy (at the categorial outset, phenomenological, but more broadly of a hermeneutic spectrum) and the Anglo-Saxon analytic tradition (which, it must be said, has been broadly represented in France by this generation). It is in this way that France, the new contemporary French philosophy, the contemporary French philosophy of today - I'm still paraphrasing Alain Renaut - would give itself the means of "rediscovering a place at the heart of a global philosophy which is, in any case, in the process of surmounting its ancient splits and succeeding in its unification". Less academic than institutional, this highly consensual response to the question "what is contemporary French philosophy, today?" would thus have as its primary characteristic the closing of the parenthesis of “68-Thought". Now the modalities of this foreclosure have been stated successively in two books which have incontestably translated the forces at work in this period of Restoration in philosophical terms and produced long term effects in the whole of the French academic field.
• The
Same and the Other. Forty-Five Years of French Philosophy (1933 - 1978), published in

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1979 by Vincent Descombes, was originally commissioned by a British publisher, and not just any old publisher, but Cambridge University Press, for a new series called Modern European Philosophy [and note: the book was published in English as Modern French Philosophy]. It was prefaced by an English philosopher, Alan Montefiore, who restricted himself to recalling the project of the collection: to deepen the dialogue that was establishing itself between the analytic tradition and the European continent. Descombes concluded his opus on the stakes of the philosophical discussion "in France today" (that of the 60s and 70s), that is to say, in his eyes, "philosophy that was part of the climate of the time " (dans l’air du temps) explaining that the sovereign subject that one claimed to criticise had been multiplied
into a "myriad of little underlings each one attached to a perspective".


Minimally, one could argue, along with Etienne Balibar, that "none of the major 'structuralist' philosophers limited themselves to disqualifying the subject: on the contrary, all undertook to throw light on this blind spot set up by classical philosophy in a founding position, that is to say, to make the subject pass from a constitutive function to a constituted position". But that is not the determining point - because the question is more political than philosophical: who does not sense the resonances between Descombes's critique and the thesis of Daniel Bell on the individualistic hedonism of neo-capitalism (published in French translation in the same year, 1979), along with its French extension, The Era of the Void by Gilles Lipovetsky (1983), which makes 1968 the year of the birth of post-modern individualism ? A work praised by Luc Ferry as the most illuminating political philosophical analysis of recent years.

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• Before becoming the Minister of National Education, of Universities and Research (2002 - 2004), Luc Ferry had, together with Alain Renaut, been the author of French Philosophy of the 60s. An Essay on Anti-Humanism (1985). This is of course the second work to which I was alluding. Our two accomplices oppose a "post-metaphysical humanism" to what they analyse as a Nietzscheo-Heideggerean critique, of the philosophical values of democratic modernity. This humanism endorses the Heideggerian thesis of the completion of metaphysics in an ego-onto-theology (understood as the closure of 'speculative philosophy') the better to justify the belated opening of contemporary French philosophy to rationalising the defence of the conditions of reality (which one may dare to call 'empirico-transcendental'), which conditions the becoming-adult of the secular democratic universe of our Western societies (thus purging it of the cultural relativism which, between Race and History, is borne by the critique of ethnocentrism).






This cannot work without the transformation of philosophy into a practical philosophy, qualified today by Alain Renaut as "applied moral philosophy", but at the outset largely inspired by the communicational turn of Habermassian thought. As is known, the latter was able to rely on the "pragmatic" version of the post-analytic mutation of the Anglo-Saxon
tradition, the better to dissolve the last glimmers of Critical Theory in the elucidation of the conditions of universality necessary to every language. Nevertheless, the “historicist” objections of Hegel or the “critical” objections of Horkheimer are still valid against a linguistically reformulated Kantian ethics (i.e. after the linguistic turn)



Here again one discovers the dialogue between philosophical cultures matched up by a double condition. It will be enough for me to recall this double condition briefly in order to motivate my principle of negation - that which contemporary French philosophy is not: no more today than yesterday - by affirming that which menaces philosophy tout court with extinction, today more so than yesterday, on this fortieth anniversary of May 1968, which would have us believe that there is no other alternative than to choose between the "ethical turn" (with a liberal/libertarian connotation) of which the events of May 1968 would have been the secret bearer in thought (cf Julian Bourg, From Revolution to Ethics. May 68 and Contemporary French Thought) and the post-philosophical Restoration of the most reactionary of Republican ideals.


Here and there, between the ruse of reason and a reason with no ruse at all, the disaster for thinking is absolute and the profits as certain as they are complementary from the point of view of universal capitalism and the democratico-economic consensus, a consensus which Jacques Ranciere is justified in qualifying as “post-democratic” if democracy is nothing without the mode of subjectivation which animates dissensus as the “refiguration of the field of experience” of all.



In the first place, there is a veritable watchword for the 80s generation, the announcement of the end of a philosophical (and not doctrinal) history of philosophy, calling into question an authentic opening up of the history of philosophy to a becoming, animated by the excess of philosophy over its own history.


The latter is what all French philosophers have practised intensively since after World War 2, between deconstruction and reconstruction, archaeology and stratigraphy, not without attacking, much like a Deleuze, a Derrida, or a Badiou, the enclosing of its teaching within the disciplinary regime of the university.




But for the generation of the 80s, the discipline of the 'history of philosophy' could only escape its analytic/post-analytic condemnation on condition of making itself both a form of expression specialising in the most antiquarian form of historiography and a form of

content based on the most deterministic kind of historicism, flattening the life of concepts and their always singular dispositifs onto pre-selected moments cut out from and by the closure of metaphysics, assured of a permanent and outdated identity by a compartmentalised history running in a single direction.



But in truth, the conditions of the exercise of this discipline after the closure of metaphysics may be formulated in perfect convergence with its post-analytic practice, as follows:


1. The history of philosophy arises from the duty towards truth in general (as historical truth and scientific exactness);


2. Critique is a response to the duty of probity without any specific relationship to philosophical writing;


3. Specifically philosophical truth only exists in the research into the conditions of thinkability of any problematic fact whatever


To which one will object, precisely what is denied by this reduction of philosophy to a form of logico-social expertise — whose insistent affirmation without any kind of expert mediation could be valid more than ever for French otherness — that the idea of philosophical truth bears within itself the always singular autodetermination of philosophy in the concepts that it creates (beginning with the concept of truth, or the critique to which one submits it), which is supported processually by an idea of "system' abandoning its classic/modern form of the "systematic totalisation of knowledge" to the profit of a "system of effective intervals and possible displacements" (according to the highly Foucauldian formulation of Jacques Ranciere).


This is a system ontologically invested from the point of view of our actual becomings (the heterogenesis of the Deleuze-System) or by the fidelity to an event subtracted from the the rules of the situation (according to the axiomatics of the Badiou-System); or a system submitted to the most systemic de-ontological and/or de-ontologising critique (Derrida or Laruelle, Levinas, Henry).




In the second place - and we have inevitably anticipated this point by virtue of the logical historicism that supports it - there is above all the declared end of philosophy as a singular zone of thinking where "concept and creation are related to one another"
(Deleuze) : because it is thought as such that is propositionally submitted to the intersubjective requirement of clarity and to control by public criteria without which all consensual possibility of rationality would be lost.


We might say that the contemporary French antiphilosophy that we are denouncing here is nothing other than the hexagonal adaptation, inevitably mediated by a Habermassian Germany, of Rorty's idea that "democracy [ie liberal-parliamentary democracy] is superior to philosophy".

But I owe it to myself and to my audience at least to recall its politico-institutional domination, borne as it was by the generation of the 80s who will have had the power to make us pass from a situation marked by the resounding statement of Jacques Bouveresse "Why I Am So Very Un-French" (in French Philosophy Today edited by Alan Montefiore, Cambridge University Press, 1983) to the alarm bells of Jacques Derrida five years later "I believe that the identity of French philosophy has never been put to the test in such a harsh way".


Because it is indeed this French philosophical otherness that is returning, in France itself, twenty years later, that is to say, for the generations coming after, under the impulse of French Theory and the transdisciplinary theoretical practices that it has inspired on the


basis of a conceptual 'transversality' affirmed (by French protagonists on the margins of the institution out of which they arose) the better to be negated (by the French university).

This is so to the point that, in France, a refreshing of a style of thought now more than thirty years


old can be proposed, a style of thought which has metamorphosed into poststructuralism via a practice of concepts (which one re-creates rather than creates) evaluated and reanimated as a function of those other practices with which it interferes.



We could discuss the intraphilosophical interest of this ‘Fresh Theory’ to which I am referring (with its three hefty tomes published since 2005, at a sustained annual pace, along with the multiplication of seminars to which they have given rise), but not its value as a general

symptom, by the return of the repressed which is manifest here in the form of what has been called, not without reason, an overpoliticised image of the contemporary thinking philosophically associated with the Event-World of 1968.


_____________________CP faints from pure joy: her blossoming becoming
is shiver me thimbles!



Because "poststructuralist", an improbable philosophical notion from a continental point of view, historically signifies what can be called 68-Thought — that is to say, Post-68 Thought, but in the paradoxical sense that it will only have been able to make the critical and clinical effects of 1968 reverberate
for structuralism, the thinking of difference, and for thought tout court, by the deterritorialisation of philosophy which had preceded the singular political experience of May 1968.



This was a deterritorialisation as much of the self-identity of philosophy with regard to the schema of the experience of modern Reason, defined as it is by a thread stretched out between a subject and an object (or indeed in the revolution of the one around the other), as of its new relationship to a (non-philosophical) Outside.


Because this Outside was working philosophy from within to the point of renewing its very meaning, it showed that philosophy, in the space of its contingencies, was not limited to the repertoire of recognisably



philosophical questions , and that it could no longer simply abstract from a distribution of discourses sedimented by the distribution of existing power. Here is where French philosophy discovered itself to be the contemporary of the putting back into play of politics, by a direct problematisation of the relationship between life and thought, which would go on radicalising itself under the sign of May and alone be able "prospectively" and "retroactively" to give meaning to the notion of 68-Thought.


Failing this, the notion of such a thought remains more operative for its detractors than for the actors of an after-effect (après-coup) whose multiple circulations are too numerous to be reunited positively under the unifying label of a school of thought.


So, I must define this deterritorialisation of the subjective/objective identity of philosophy, which bears within itself the contemporary French otherness affirmed by the long generation of philosophy before 1968 — an otherness which thus passes through the 60s before crystallising in 68-Thought, and which will continue to develop beyond this first plane of immanence and its institutionalised exhaustion in France, in subsequent processes, in terms of resistance (otherness resists because resistance of inside and of outside thought is, in a philosophical and non-philosophical sense, "primary") and of persistence (that is, of "re-insistence").



The persistence of a force for rupture and for experimentation. "Persistence" is the word proposed by my colleague Peter Hallward in his Introduction to a Special Issue of Angelaki 'French Philosophy Today', published in 2003.




But such a persistence is precisely difficult in France for the generation that comes afterwards (from the selection and definition of the topic of a thesis, and the choice of a supervisor, both of which open up or close down the possibility of a university career even
before it has started...), and it can only be opposed to the academic 'transistence' of the reception of French thought in the Anglo-Saxon world and abroad more generally (our finest export...), wherein un
der the guise of French Theory it is directly or indirectly hybridised and 'trans-nationalised'.


It has also been remarked that in any case the French generation of 1968 or post-1968 has only ever produced "underlings of variable talent and more or less original followers" of the generation before 1968, as result of the "priority given to the political dimension" in the form of a "critical orthodoxy" - the oxymoron here is de rigueur — insists Marcel Gauchet in the conclusion to his retrospective "68, Forty Years On" in the journal Le Debat.


In short, "intellectually speaking, the generation of 1968 [children included] do not possess a distinct identity".



It is this affirmation that I wish to take up again and develop, in the direction of a brief genealogical elucidation of the persistence of a contemporary philosophical otherness for which 'contemporary French philosophy' up to today offers the proof, such that this otherness can and should be philosophically defined.


This will be the occasion for a final variation, the most philosophical, of the figure of negation that today haunts my discourse on "What is NOT Contemporary French Philosophy?"


Here, today designates a "hypercontemporary" time that aims to shelter the difference of the now in the dialogue between continental and Anglo-American philosophical cultures, long opposed according to the division of the philosophical world into two blocs, the phenomenological and the analytic, at long last reconciled from both the theoretical and practical points of view as the adult image of contemporary thought.



And yet … by following the principle of the deterritorialisation of the discipline taken by a French philosophy rupturing with the articulation of the subject/object reference, invested in opposed and hence complementary senses by the two traditions : issuing the one from Husserl (phenomenology), the other from Frege (analytic philosophy), the same story can be told very differently — to the point that 20th century philosophy would find a properly contemporary orientation, irreducible to its situation on the junction of the 19th and 20th centuries and in radical excess with regard to the chiasmus that would make us evoke the "phenomenology" of the failure of logical formalism and the "analysis" of rupture of

phenomenological intentionality in its Husserlian guise.


It seems to me that the first point to make with regard to the renewed dialogue between the positivist and phenomenological traditions characterising an international philosophical community and a global academic philosophy in which French philosophy is at last taking part, is that this dialogue makes the examination of the historical Novel of their formation, the order of the day. It is a story oriented by the 'race for reference', for the objectivity of reference (exterior in relation to representation), supporting the project of a philosophy providing the object in the element of meaning (or “sense”), because it is really this finishing of Kantianism (in the two senses of the word 'finishing', which also presides over the divergences between the two traditions) - Kantianism here understood as the making explicit of the relationship between the subject and the object in a theory of knowledge - which would determine the inaugural constitution of 20th century philosophy.



This is an inaugural constitution in which it needed to "claim the rights of the empirical at the level of the transcendental" (following an expression from Foucault in The Order of Things) to accomplish the destiny of philosophy as a 'rigourous science' (according to the guiding expression of Husserl) and to realise scientific rationality as the generative telos of a new humanity (according to the tropisms of positivistic intentionality/anti-intentionality). To "claim the rights of the empirical at the level of the transcendental" means either that one tries to reduce all transcendental reflexion to the analysis of the formalisms of the object and to the project to formalise the concrete, or that one seeks to uncover the grounds of possibility for all formalism and the implicit horizon of all empirical contents in transcendental subjectivity.


An 'empirical' description of the transcendental or a 'transcendental' prescription of the empirical: it goes without saying that the 'transcendental' emerges from these disjoined coherences profoundly disfigured. However, to the extent that the reference remains here that of an object ad extra that founds a common, although diversely shared realist ambition, the notion of "phenomenological positivism" given primacy by Merleau-Ponty could be a valid expression for a properly French critique engaged with this disjunction included in the same episteme. In this way too, Merleau-Ponty's critique could have been informed, at the two extremes of the philosophical spectrum — the existential and the epistemological — by Levinas and Jean Cavaillès.




That is to say: Merleau-Ponty's critique could have been informed by :



1. Levinas's texts on Husserl and Heidegger, which condition the discovery and understanding of phenomenology in France in the 1930s (beginning with Sartre and Blanchot), starting from Husserl's critique of objectifying representation. This leads - in The Theory of Intuition in Husserl's Phenomenology (1930) - to the minoring of the key concept of "reduction" by virtue of the link between intuition and "all the vital forces defining the concrete existence of man", confronted in his zones of non-intentional opacity named sensibility or affectivity, with the enigma of the visible constitutive of the "phenomenon" (so many themes announcing the anti-Husserlian, Heideggerian and non-Heideggerian turning of French phenomenology) ;


2. The critique of logicism attached to the name of Jean Cavaillès, a major philosopher and member of the Resistance, who was executed by the Nazis. During the years of WW2, Cavaillès denounced the void of a radical abstraction leading the scientific transformation of the philosophy of the positivists back to the bitterly contested major aporia of neo-Kantianism. By eliminating predication anchored in apperception and the categorisation of the sensory datum, the register of quantification by definition effectively leaves the precept of evidence and the return to things themselves with nothing to do. But then it is the phenomeno-logical distance that renders problematic to say the least those philosophies which appealed to the arguments for either for analysis or for foundation in order to cross that distance. The recent attempts to refound cognitivism in the Husserlian noema are no exception to the aporia which was posed by Cavaillès in a fashion that was as rigourous as it was brutal. It is worth recalling that for the philosophical generation of the 1960s, who recognised themselves in the programme of a philosophy of the concept, this aporia effectively expressed and denounced the real logic of the purely logical grammar that cannot condition transcendental subjectivity without fissuring a priori its constituting power. “If transcendental logic truly founds logic, there is no absolute logic (that is to say, no logic regulating absolute subjective activity). If there is an absolute logic it can only draw its authority from itself and so is not transcendental”.


From which Cavaillès deduced that “if, by
separating transcendental consciousness from a consciousness inserted in the world, the epokhe takes away from logical empiricism and from psychologism their naïve and slightly aggressive qualities, they remain subjacent to the development of phenomenology” (Jean Cavaillès, On the Logic and Theory of Science, 1947).



Or, as Dominique Lecourt puts it, in its rupture with the psychologism of traditional logic “the Husserlian doctrine in its turn comes up against major difficulties which, in the final analysis, are the exact replica of those that logical positivists had endeavoured to circumvent”. This lesson, we know, will preside over the anti-Husserlian/anti-Krisis tone of the last part of The Order of Things.


It is interesting to note, at the very least, that at the end of his critical traversing in and of phenomenology, Merleau-Ponty reached the same conclusion whilst making the point that because reflexive philosophy, in the trajectory that led it from Hegel’s Phenomenology of Mind to Husserlian phenomenology “wanted to seize the thing in itself immediately, [it] falls back into subjectivity – and inversely, because it is haunted by being for us, doesn’t grasp it and only seizes the thing ‘in itself’ in its signification/meaning”.


From which it could then be deduced that phenomenology is in itself a naïve ontology in so far as in it one starts from the distinction between consciousness and object. Hence it was not enough to dissolve every form of representationalism in a requirement of referentiality semantically and tautologically (ie analytically) reinforced by the Fregean functional-linguistic turn in order to escape it most effectively. It is in its understanding of this that the distance taken by The Visible and the Invisible is marked with regard to the texts that preceed it, indebted as they were to the realism and the transcendental psychologism of Husserlian phenomenology.



This would lead Merleau-Ponty to announce the “necessity of return to ontology” wherein “ontology would be the elaboration of notions that must replace those of transcendental subjectivity, subject, object, meaning….”



In its literality, Merleau-Ponty laid out on the cusp of the 1960s a field of research whose condition of reality — in all the diversity of procedures and the multiplicity of discordances it would induce — was to extract philosophy from the magic triangle of Critique–Logical Positivism–Transcendental Phenomenology, a Bermuda Triangle in which it had for the most part breathed ever since the 19th century.


Its realisation, however, would
have to deal with the reality of the critical observation set out by Merleau-Ponty (“the crisis has never been so radical” he stated), along with the multiple and contradictory necessities borne by reopening the question of ontology under an Heideggerian influence twisted so as to grasp a highly improbable nexus between the “philosophy of structure” and the analysis of the “flesh of the world”, against Sartre’s Transcendence of the Ego. (In his article of 1937, Sartre had tied down the impersonal field of the transcendental he had discovered in the auto-unification of an “absolute consciousness”).

We know how it will turn out: it is ontology that will have its “Presence of Being” deconstructed by Derrida; un-said (dé-dite) as Otherwise than Being by Levinas; or un-done by the “action of structure” in the crossover between Marxism and Lacanianism (Althusser’s Circle).


Hence also that because the critical distance from the transcendental-phenomenological and analytic-positivist traditions was not equally maintained, it was possible for some to respond to the question “what is contemporary philosophy today?” by opposing (not without the more and more frequent possibility of combinations) post-analytic Anglo-Saxon philosophy to a post-phenomenological French philosophy.


I will only remark straight-off that post-analytic and post-phenomenological philosophies (taking the latter in the rigourous sense of those philosophies at work since Husserl against Husserl) are all worked on by a strange principle of telescoping between two traditionally antinomic positions. Positivism and scepticism in the case of Austin, Searle, Cavell, and what has been called the “sceptico-positivist becoming” of the analysis of language ; immanence and transcendence in the case of those philosophers who have invested the sites that, despite himself, Husserl had opened up beyond constitutable objectivity, so as to investigate them in the name of a “donation” that, thanks to Heidegger, had turned out to be “absolute” (absolute Gegebenheit), with the suspension of the appearance of phenomenality proper to being in its pure presentness to hand (vorhanden). This can be said, according to the formula of Jean-Luc Marion, so much reduction, so much donation.



Divested of its metaphysical ambiguity, the principle of principles stated by Husserl can in this way escape from the aporias of descriptive phenomenology by virtue of a reduction to the originary.



This reduction permits the elaboration of a “new apophansis” of the otherwise than being, by positing the donation-revelation of a phenomenality that is not
phenomenalised in the world but in itself in the “invisible” and the “unseen”.


In this way, by subordinating ontology as a regional instance to phenomenology in the pure form of its deconstruction (which is not without its echoes with the Derridean project), French post-phenomenology will inevitably develop a manner of negative of phenomenology which renews the thinking of the divine Absolute that had presided, in Husserl himself, over the ultimate development of immanence in an “auto-transcendance”. (Merleau-Ponty denounced this “’theology’ of consciousness which led Husserl back to the threshold of dialectical philosophy”).


_________________________________'the heavy guns have been firing'


In this way, there would be less a turning, a theological detournement of French phenomenology, than there would be an auto-comprehension of the returning of immanence to the call of the primordial transcendence which had never stopped haunting phenomeno-logy.

_________________________CP Takes off her skirt as its too Hot listening
to such delirious philosophy _____________________



Thus, despite the apparently antithetical character of the philosophies of Michel Henry (an ontology of immanence purified of all Outside) and Emmanuel Levinas (an ethics of absolute transcendence), faith would be conceived identically as the last resort of a post-historical time where it becomes practically indifferent whether one thinks of immanence as the foundation and the revelation of transcendence or of transcendence as the calling of immanence: the religious pathos of phenomenology…


"The reversal of values had to go so far" concluded Deleuze at the end of his reflection on the labour of the “mole of the transcendent within immanence itself”: “we are no longer satisfied with thinking immanence as immanent to a transcendent; we want to think transcendence within the immanence, and it is from immanence that a breach is expected”



Except that this breach comes from the radical philosophical im-possibility manifested by phenomenology with each new attempt to think donation as more originally unconditional in an endlessly expanding metaphorisation, which by exhaustion and reductio ad absurdum brings the metaphysical and post-metaphysical Odyssey of transcendence in immanence full circle.


Thus, French post-phenomenology demonstrates in its negative way the actuality and the necessity for new images of non-post phenomenological/analytic/modern thinking which configure, more and more frequently from abroad, the reality of “contemporary French philosophy”.

As “multiple” as it may be, the first characteristic of this thinking is to have never
compromised on the question of the immanence on which its materialist consistency and contemporaneity depend.

______________________The Multiple always makes her head tremble
her knees quake her EyeBalls Roll


This is for reasons that are indissociably philosophical and political which the “movement” of May 1968, in the long period of its retro-actions still bitterly disputed today, will have crystallised for “subjects” no longer sustained by a consciousness of self or any mention of an “object”, but rather subjectivised in a constructive relationship to a non-transcendent Outside, the stake of which is the Event as the condition of reality of the production of the new.


A non-transcendent Outside: this is, of course, the key point which conditions philosophies as different as those of a Foucault, a Badiou, a Deleuze or a Ranciere…- and their differences overlapping in the understanding of this falsely common notion that determines so many “thoughts of the event” as “thoughts of immanence”.



This thought,

which I wanted to name and re-name “68-Thought” because I also persist in thinking

(I wrote that nearly 15 years ago in a very official report on “Contemporary French Philosophy” at the request of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs – seriously, I’m not making this up!)


She and the audience hold their breath. Now no one is wearing pants or skirts, panties or undies, thongs or briefs. Everyone's fingers is palpitating Pal Pal Pal PIP tattttttttttttttttingggggggg.!

that it is distributed across a spectrum whose arc of forces unfold materially and ideally between the philosophies of Gilles Deleuze (with Felix Guattari too) and Alain Badiou;


__________________________|||| Between the Big Bad DG _____Et Bad _iO U

and that between these two the absolute antagonism of thinking is motivated openly and more secretly by what of 1968 is still an event for contemporary philosophy (to fully convince yourself that this is the case, you have only to read the Preface of Alain Badiou’s recent Logics of Worlds, where he dramatises the opposition between a “democratic materialism” whose progressive other side takes the name ‘minoritarianism’ from Deleuze and the “materialist dialectic”).

For both Deleuze and Badiou share the decision to draw the consequences of a double philosophical impossibility: the impossibility of phenomenology, definitively “reduced” to the archi-aesthetic of its “religious” unthought;

the impossibility of logicism as the calculating disposition in which thought no longer thinks, and a rupture with the linguistic turn (the oscillation between positivism and scepticism, the calculus of propositions and the pragmatics of culture on which the linguistic turn runs aground demonstrates this).


------------------------------------------ A slight denouement in the audience response as
Eric is driving home his last laps and final thrusts.

All this is carried out from the point of view of an ontology equally distinguished from any Heideggerian or hermeneutic conception in order to develop an immanent thinking of the multiple which will invest to their contemporary extremes of coherence the two major paradigms in which it can operate: the “vitalist” paradigm of open
multiplicities and the “set theoretical” paradigm of the pure multiple.

Now, it is still the thought of 68 that will constrain each of these systems to confront its constitutive limit: the pure expressionism of the becomings of the world of which the event is the immanent consequence for Deleuze; the pure constructivism of a subtraction from the world of which the event is the immanent principle, qua exception to its becoming, for Badiou.


Historically over-determined by the encounter with Guattari in the aftermath of 1968, for Deleuze it will be the constructivism of a de-naturalised desire, of a desire-machine, of desiring-machines which will assemble the expression-selection of the forces of the world by “cuts” and “connections” of fluxes so as to extract “revolutionary-becomings”.



To respond on the terrain of the world to the proclaimed bio-materialism of the multitudes, Badiou’s Logics of Worlds will for its part apply itself to defining a logic of appearing that gives up the rigid opposition between event and situation (mediatised by a mysterious “nomination”) so as to express the existential nuances of a transformation placed in the present of a being-there-in-the-world by the subjectivating incorporation to the exception of a truth…


_____________________OoooooooooooooooooooooooHHHHHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
_________________Poles Poles Poles Polarssssssssssssssssss Swinging Ringing
Twinging the folks at the philosophical field.


But this polarisation of the contemporary philosophical field,

placed under the political sign of a constitutive relation to the necessities of the present,

also, inevitably signifies:

the reactivation, the over-problematisation of the relationship between philosophy and its “sensible” other, which can no longer be simply said under the category of the aesthetic.



Because there is indeed Discontent in Aesthetics, as Ranciere’s appraisal has it – for


philosophical reasons that animate the tension between the contraries of the aesthesic

(making sensible insensible forces: Deleuze and Guattari) and inaesthetic (the transformation

of the sensory into the event of the Idea: Badiou) ;


and also by virtue of the sensible and conceptual “dis-identification” of contemporary art.


Although there is the risk that the latter finishes by projecting art before philosophy.


For is it not to contemporary art that it falls today to invent, in a spectacular fashion,

counter-narratives of the relationship between life and thought, through the re-staging of a


sensibility knotted to the thinkable and to the words to say it?


Such a claim would be validated by the very descriptive-genealogical allure of contemporary art, taken up here by Deleuzo-Rancerian formulae that had originally aimed to express the


immanence of philosophy to the description of the possibilities of a life that assures being of what (there) is to (be) sens(ed) and to be thought…Formulae that

________________________ITs dark and beautiful in these ranges of thought in the Between of the Betweens _________________________Cp pants . She's recorded it all for CD.

Badiou denounces to better identify art by the univocity of its most modernist of names,


subtracted from the mélange of genres…


The last moments are churned yet winding 'down' ______________


To complete the regression : it remains only for us to mention the phenomenology of art that will have exhausted itself in celebrating the “absence opened” in the visible/invisible “gift/donation of the sensible” of the work of art (right up to Jean-Francois Lyotard and Jean-Luc Nancy).


This is to say everything about the initial ambition and claim of my subject, materialised, and formalised in an abstract that I haven’t stopped trying to subtract from your attention in ways you may judge to be somewhat too strategic : “Contemporary Philosophy After Contemporary Art”…


This programme of research, one which could become mine, for “historico-speculative” reasons that Peter Osborne would explain better than (but doubtless differently from) me, is not inscribed “on the edge of the void” but on the extreme border and in a still very virtual zone of contemporary French philosophy – even redefined as I have tried to do today, not without provocation.

Which is all the more reason to conclude that it concerns one of the most “active” stakes for a de-nationalised and in-disciplined contemporary philosophy such as that promoted by this Centre, at the forefront of Modern European Philosophy.
_____________________________________________

APplause tears, weeping n the seats, laughter. CD missed it! but he was there in spirit. Cp was there in his stead. CD the lecture'd broken your heart. People were mute at first a pin could have dropped. Then Thunderous applause. ____ Poets and marching bad bands. Round the corner Up the AiSles. Recitation of Odes, abstracts of desire singular incoherences: Love bbreakers. Theory buskers.: Masked ID beings of LibIdo shankers.


=======================================================================
Cp calls Cd in Ireland. THey meet a week later in London Town. She tells him and plays the recording. His reply is PRomPT and Severe! No less
___________________ CD________________________>A masterpiece this essay that aid us putting to sleep the monstrous idiocies haunting the fringes of philosopher. particularly and especially those perpretrated by the parasite of thought: One thinks of those hundreds of resentful tertirary and quaternary no nothings barely able to think beings static shitbeats. and addled professors . secondary hauntlings that 'd reduce all original thought pastime and imitation ./


CD:--------------->The talk is of course near to two years and still relevant. Clearly mIDdlesex would be a grand place and more are needed. I could not attend as I told Cp as Ireland and personal matters kept me busy. I am 68 thought a seconding of the OUtSide that Wishes No INISde to Hold me. From what I see via my periScoPe the



(CP yer so harsh! CD!)
CP____________Can you elbow room elaborate
the importance of these comments for your trade
Mister
D?




CP________________>University has not opened its doors
in Canaada but barred them surely shut_ It demand
you speak 'english' 'french' 'italian' 'greek'
'bulgarian' 'chinese'
it remand you to Order Word Gramma

Machinery clankclank can

Speak ee Ritey disway en you get gradeD passed
if Not to gramma Essa Y PunKUation
PriSon U go


_______________They are in London why he is speaking about dumdumCanadumdum ???????????



CP ! ????????????????? She rips
of f her clothes!
rends her garments?
What????????? Can that be?

CD____________He holds her crying breast:
OUI yes work off TheE sort of Work Alliez and his colleageus

seems to be trying to do and achieve

NO t Done In Poetree
_____ SOmet ime it do

In PHiKO PHILO
in
thee

I refer to PHilo departments that I happen to know
of
NeBER

As the poetry world it flourishes
by happenstance and haphazard
And very few If any among the practicers
of the poetry arts

__________________ she offers him une verre d'eau!
he swallows
and continues.
a crrowd has dispersed and regrouped
across the road
of deterritory and terry.

are able to articulate these long and depth sounding
varia and contrary strains
indeed the
-- Poetry unlike music is the most subversive
of the arts
so it is the most persecuted
restrained
and reterrritorialized at every step or motion
it makes the poets themselves
become their own police
of course

__ Foucault discussed this as it pertains to
other levels of social control

this counts for every level
Success is Punished and Rewarded
but reterritorialized

Failure is Punished
and deterritorialized
then
yet again
in another perverse
turn of the spiral

'conservatively reterritorialized'

(Chaosme Guattari)


__________She takes him to the harbour . She read him some of the honey and bear poetry of Shakespeares stuff. She strokes his head. His headpiece.
His cod noggin.

He raves on
"Conscious work of most poet beings
is to insure their shell is not broken
in as their solitude is barley able to muster energy to write

Writing of the free sort is not encouraged

Contrary to Popular perception /academic /critical
opinion
the best intended of the critics remain
far behind the acutalites of poetic practice
and the poets who've become
essentially 'critics'

_____At the end he has an epilepticpoetic fit!
hes fitto become fucked!
hes orgasmic Bacchanal.

______________To morrow theyhead off to the Cinema. THey calm down. Down she calm his serendipitous love. Wrong to the Raving of his Beauty.






__________________The Long Detour and Return ~