Art, non-philosophy, and the generalized transcendental aesthetic

Sutherland, Thomas (2015) Art, non-philosophy, and the generalized transcendental aesthetic. In: Aesthetics After Finitude, 5 - 6 February 2015, University of New South Wales.

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Paper)
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Going as far back as Heraclitus (although perhaps exemplified by the writings of Plato, wherein he sought to expel cordon off all art, be it poetry or painting, from the domain of philosophical truth), aesthetics has been frequently viewed by the metaphysical tradition as a disruptive supplement to its ideal purity, always in some sense secondary and inadequate in relation to its a priori categories. Yet simultaneously, these same metaphysics seem to actually draw upon art in order to illustrate such a priori facta, even though the latter are then posited in a transcendent manner such that they may legislate over this aesthetic realm. This is the claim made by François Laruelle, who argues that philosophy has a tendency to model itself upon artistic forms of knowledge and practice, but does so in such a manner that these models are then disparaged or even spurned entirely in order to illustrate the apparent universality of the philosophical modality of thought. It is through Laruelle’s own project of non-philosophy then, he suggests, that we might escape this philosophical circle, and the reversible causality whereby philosophy uses art in order to demonstrate the validity of its own transcendent categories in apprehending the real.

Laruelle’s goal with this project of non-philosophy is to ‘think according to the One’, which in effect means suspending the self-posited sufficiency of philosophy, such that philosophy becomes a material a priori of all phenomena. By taking the mixture of immanence and transcendence that constitutes philosophy as identity, we think philosophy as that which gives the world, rather than that which legislates over it. In this indissolubility of experience and philosophy (in distinct contrast to philosophical discourse, which requires an extra-philosophical experience that it may appropriate), the aesthetic comes to be understood as not merely a regional phenomenon or practice (which must always maintain some alterity or contingency in relation to philosophy) under the aegis of philosophy proper, but as an a priori organon of experience. The hope that Laruelle proffers is the possibility of thinking a form of aesthetics entirely separate from the strictures of philosophy, one that does not reduce the thought of art to pre-made philosophical concepts.

Keywords:continental philosophy, art, aesthetics, non-philosophy, François Laruelle
Subjects:V Historical and Philosophical studies > V500 Philosophy
Divisions:College of Arts > Lincoln School of Film & Media > Lincoln School of Film & Media (Media)
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ID Code:26934
Deposited On:10 Apr 2017 08:25

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