Katerina Kolozova – whose latest book Cut of the Real is likely to make a huge impact not only on Laruellean studies but also on the larger fields of philosophy, politics, cultural studies and critical theory if it hasn’t already – has kindly shared The Location of Resistance, the second chapter of her previous book The Lived Revolution,..
That said, Cut of the Real is probably one of the best applications of François Laruelle’s non-philosophy in a non-standard way so far. It is a thought-provoking book likely to shake the foundations of our contemporary modes of being and thoughts on what it means to be human. One perceives a progressive retrospection, a remembrance of that which is yet to come, gets the sense of a future anterior mode of being-in-the world in-the-last-instance to say the least…
For those who are interested in from where Kolozova is coming and where she is possibly heading towards, here is a particularly exemplary rendering of Laruelle’s non-standard philosophy within the domain not only of identity politics but also in political ontology in general…
The Real in Contemporary Philosophy
These efforts of invoking the real within a theory which is marked as predominantly poststructuralist seem to have failed to offer a satisfactory response to the ever increasing theoretical and existential need to reclaim the real. Hence, the emergence in the second half of the first decade of the 21st century of strands of philosophical thought such as “speculative realism,” “object oriented ontology,” Badousian-Žižekian realist tendencies in political theory and, finally, François Laruelle’s non-standard philosophy or non-philosophy. There has been a notable tendency in the last couple of years to subsume all these lines of thinking under the single label of “speculative realism.” The notion of “speculative realism” has taken a life of its own against the fact that virtually all of the prominent representatives of the heterogeneous theoretical trends it pretends to refer to do not endorse or even reject the label (except for some representatives of object oriented ontology).
All these trends to which the identification of “speculative realism” is assigned to, in spite of their fundamental differences, have something in common: they identify limitations to thought or discursivity precisely in the alleged “limitlessness” of thought, proclaimed by most postmodernists. The main epistemic problem of postmodern philosophy identified by the “new realists” is what Quentin Meillassoux, in his book After Finitude (2008), called “correlationism.” At the heart of postmodern philosophy lies “correlationism,” a philosophical axiom based on the premise that thought can only “think itself,” that the real is inaccessible to knowledge and human subjectivity.
Laruelle’s non-philosophy radicalizes the problem by way of insisting that indeed all that thought can operate with is thinking itself, and that the hallucinatory world of representation is indeed the only means and topos for mediating the real, viz. for signifying it. Nonetheless, according to him and radically differently from any postmodernist stance, the real can be thought and ought to be thought. Laruelle argues one should produce thought in accordance with the syntax of the real, a thought affected by the real and which accounts for the effects of the real. The real is not a meaning, it is not a truth of anything and does not possess an epistemic structure since it is not mirrored by and does not mirror any accurate knowledge of its workings. Therefore, a thought established in accordance with the effects of the real is unilateral. In non-philosophy, this stance is called dualysis. Namely, the radically different status of the immanent (the real) and of the transcendental (thought) is affirmed, and by virtue of such affirmation the thinking subject attempts to describe some effects of sheer exteriority, i.e., the real. The interpretation of these effects makes use of “philosophical material,” but it does not succumb to philosophy but rather to the real as its authority in the last instance.
Such fundamentally heretical stance with respect to the history of philosophical ideas or to the idea of philosophy itself creates the possibility of being radically innovative as far as political possibilities are concerned, both in terms of theory and action. In The Cut of the Real, I attempt to explore the potentiality for radicalizing some core concepts of the legacy of feminist poststructuralist philosophy. By way of resorting to some of the methodological procedures proferred by the non-philosophy, but also by way of unraveling a radically realist heuristics in the thought of Judith Butler, Luce Irigaray and Drucilla Cornell, I attempt to create grounds for a language of politics “affected by immanence” (Laruelle).
“Following François Laruelle’s nonstandard philosophy and the work of Judith Butler, Drucilla Cornell, Luce Irigaray, and Rosi Braidotti, Katerina Kolozova reclaims the relevance of categories traditionally rendered “unthinkable” by postmodern feminist philosophies, such as “the real,” “the one,” “the limit,” and “finality,” thus critically repositioning poststructuralist feminist philosophy and gender/queer studies.”
“Poststructuralist (feminist) theory sees the subject as a purely linguistic category, as always already multiple, as always already nonfixed and fluctuating, as limitless discursivity, and as constitutively detached from the instance of the real. This reconceptualization is based on the exclusion of and dichotomous opposition to notions of the real, the one (unity and continuity), and the stable. The non-philosophical reading of postructuralist philosophy engenders new forms of universalisms for global debate and action, expressed in a language the world can understand. It also liberates theory from ideological paralysis, recasting the real as an immediately experienced human condition determined by gender, race, and social and economic circumstance.”