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Philosophy for Militants

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ISBN: 9780998531823 Year: Pages: 80 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0168.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Philosophy
Added to DOAB on : 2019-06-12 09:24:34
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“No longer imminent, the End is immanent.” “Ends are ends,” Frank Kermode goes on to clarify, “only when they are not negative but frankly transfigure the events in which they were immanent.” From its imminence to its immanence, not “negative,” “no longer,” but transformative, how is “the End” in turn “transfigured”? In what may ending be said then to consist? To “the end times” of apocalypse and eschatology Giorgio Agamben, following Gianni Carchia, opposes messianism and “messianic time”—to the end of time, in a formula, the time of the end. To the writings of those for whom to philosophize is to learn how to die—from Plato to Montaigne and beyond—one may oppose, in like manner, the writings of Spinoza, who “thinks of death least of all things”—“for nature is Messianic by reason of its eternal and total passing away,” as Benjamin writes—and so in whose pages “wisdom,” transfigured, “is a meditation on life.”

Theory Is Like a Surging Sea

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ISBN: 9780692283950 Year: Pages: 104 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0108.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Philosophy
Added to DOAB on : 2019-06-12 09:24:38
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In a 1917 letter to Gershom Scholem, Walter Benjamin writes, “Theory is like a surging sea.” This small book takes more than its title from that line—it takes that line as a point of departure in Erich Auerbach’s sense, an Ansatzpunkt, as a compositional principle so that what follows can be read in its entirety as a gloss on the remainder of Benjamin’s sentence: “Theory is like a surging sea, but the only thing that matters to the wave […] is to surrender itself to its motion in such a way that it crests and breaks.” That motion, in the pages to follow, takes up in its sweep two threads: it folds an episodic meditation on the negative and the problematic into a series of singular interrogations exemplary of the positive being of the problematic, the objective being of problems and questions, in a movement of implication and explication between poetry and philosophy in the tradition of what’s come to be known as theory. Theory is like a surging sea because it’s as part of a revolutionary tradition that it crests and breaks.

The Communism of Thought

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ISBN: 9780615986968 Year: Pages: 90 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0059.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Philosophy
Added to DOAB on : 2019-06-12 09:24:42
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The Communism of Thought takes as its point of departure a passage in a letter from Dionys Mascolo to Gilles Deleuze: “I have called this communism of thought in the past. And I placed it under the auspices of Hölderlin, who may have only fled thought because he was unable to live it: ‘The life of the spirit between friends, the thoughts that form in the exchange of words, by writing or in person, are necessary to those who seek. Without that, we are by our own hands outside thought.’” What, in light of that imperative, is a correspondence? What is given to be understood by the word, let alone the phenomenon? What constitutes a correspondence? What occasions it? On what terms and according to what conditions may one enter into that exchange “necessary,” in Hölderlin’s words, “to those who seek”? Pursuant to what vicissitudes may it be conducted? And what end(s) might a correspondence come to have beyond the ostensible end that, to all appearances, it (inevitably) will be said to have had?

Of Learned Ignorance: Idea of a Treatise in Philosophy

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ISBN: 9780615822549 Year: Pages: 58 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0031.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Philosophy
Added to DOAB on : 2019-06-12 09:24:44
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What is a problem? What’s asked in that question, and how does one even begin to take its measure? How else could one begin, except as one does with any other problem—by way of its impulsion. Of Learned Ignorance: Idea of a Treatise in Philosophy is about philosophy because philosophy is about problems: philosophy, in a word, is where problems become a problem. After Anti-Oedipus, in the Kafka book and in A Thousand Plateaus, what Deleuze and Guattari counsel, strikingly, is sobriety. Sobriety is what they praise in Kafka. And it is sobriety that seems above all else to be necessary here. (Steven Shaviro has pointed out the prominence of structure in Deleuze’s writing: “even when Deleuze’s prose, by himself or with Guattari, seems to be ranging anarchically all over the place, in fact it has a rigid and unvarying architecture, which is what keeps it from falling apart.”) Of Learned Ignorance is a dead letter because it names a problem. It’s a dead letter because it is, cautiously, a love letter. It’s a dead letter because it lovingly stages an experiment in whimsy, and perhaps above all, because it is problematic (in the Kantian sense): It is a (sober) attempt at exemplifying what it talks about — and what eludes it: A series of footnotes, with blank (transcriptive) pages above, effects something like the integration of a differential, the reciprocal determination where the sources enter into in relation to one another in order to produce a paper, essay, or (inexistent) (chap)book. Of Learned Ignorance, in facing down a problem, makes a wager; it courts failure; it puts it all on the line. All, yes, for love — a kind of love … (of wisdom?)

What Is Philosophy?

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ISBN: 9780615685137 Year: Pages: 72 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0011.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Philosophy
Added to DOAB on : 2019-06-12 09:24:46
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“Every written work,” Giorgio Agamben opens the preface to Infancy and History, “can be regarded as the prologue (or rather, the broken cast) of a work never penned, and destined to remain so.” Although that observation applies to any work of writing, the exemplary case is that of a work of philosophy. While every written work is put to work in its nonexistent successor, a work of philosophy is bereft of even that recourse: philosophy is written in the breakdown of destiny, so that every work of philosophy must first and foremost confront the absolute abandonment of its writing. At work in each and every work of philosophy is the question, “What is a work of philosophy?” More concretely, although well-formed and rigorously structured, What is Philosophy? abstains from work. On even a quick reading that fact must be palpable. A seminar paper? An article, or book chapter? Not in the least. Nor, essentially, may the individual pieces that compose it be so developed. Fragments unrecognizable as at one time a cast, inconceivable at a future time as anything else, the position of each piece with respect to the others thwarts development in order to preserve, in its place, the tension of its absence. As such, the articulations internal to each of the three divisions, and between them, are essential. The first division — What is Philosophy? — takes seriously Deleuze and Guattari’s contention in their book of the same title that “The nonphilosophical is perhaps closer to the heart of philosophy than philosophy itself, and this means that philosophy cannot be content to be understood only philosophically or conceptually, but is essentially addressed to nonphilosophers as well” — including the nonphilosopher in every philosopher. The second division — On Argument — interrogates the status and value of evidence, and self-evidence. The third division — On Not Knowing — generalizes a parenthetical observation of Agamben’s on Heidegger, “If we may attempt to identify something like the characteristic Stimmung of every thinker, perhaps it is precisely this being delivered over to something that refuses itself that defines the specific emotional tonality of Heidegger’s thought”: Might not philosophy be defined, the phil of sophia, precisely, as what it is to be delivered over to something that refuses itself?

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