Introduction to Unphilosophy

Unphilosophy is the practice of undoing philosophy by demonstrating that the transcendental conditions for the very possibility of philosophy are also, at the same time, the ultimate end of its own immanent movement, in order to immediately bring philosophy to its own end so as to open up the clearing for illuminating wisdom.

This is done by analyzing particular claims made by an interlocutor about the nature of things and demonstrating how thought, when assuming a priori and taking as given the existence of a mind-independent world intrinsically endowed with essential qualities, will be invariably caught up in incoherence or inconsistency, and that when followed through to its conclusion, such philosophical reason works to undermine itself. To the extent that some existent, object, relation, process or world is said to be mind-independent, by virtue of the fact that such a thing is declared from the perspective of a particular mind, it is ipso facto not truly mind-independent, unless one circularly assumes from the outset that particular minds have unmediated access to this universal world with the added ability to accurately represent it. Without mending, this insecure fault at the very base of this philosophical world-construction ensures that it struggles to maintain structural integrity, especially under the exertion of unphilosophical pressure.

Unphilosophy does not only operate upon realist philosophies but also to anti-realist or idealist philosophies which claim that the world is identical to, is an instance of or a reflection of the mind, for the very world to which such a philosophy could refer is necessarily unthinkable outside of its own terms (this is guaranteed by the measure of its own reasoning) which produces the impossibility of validating this philosophical view of the world since the very idea of an “outside” to the system has been eliminated from the outset; the absolute idealist idea of a mind-dependent world is absolutely unprovable and unfalsifiable.

Finally still we can include within the scope of unphilosophical undoing those philosophies which side-step the issue of metaphysics through the deployment of non-philosophical discourses like mathematics, linguistics, rhetoric, psychoanalysis and the sciences which are made to work within the realm of philosophy. To the extent that such non-philosophical philosophies operate on the basis of the assumption of a “real” given independently of the mind, they are immediately subject to unphilosophical undoing. To the extent that a given reality is not assumed in advance, such non-philosophical thought is rendered as mere thought, which lie outside of the purview of unphilosophical undoing since Unphilosophy is indifferent to mere thought.  

In the effort to successfully achieve this procedure of unphilosophically undoing philosophy, reason is fully deployed to its maximal extent. Unphilosophy is not against reason, Unphilosophy is the real operation of reason whereby philosophical reason is finally done by being undone. Unphilosophy is the manifest expression of philosophy’s own necessary yet antithetical counterpart in the fulfillment of its sole function as auto-annihilating reason. Thus Unphilosophy is not the enemy of philosophy but rather its sole true dialogical partner, destined for consummation under the auspicious grace of the final order of things, in spite of coming in the form of its absolute negation. Unphilosophy is the provisional operation of reason deployed to undo philosophical reason, which is to make use of the function of real reason as an actual instance of the real operation of wisdom.

In order for Unphilosophy to be properly distinguished from philosophy in another guise, (philosophy’s negation of itself is a tired trope in the past and running history of philosophy) it has to be characterized by a few key features (note that this is not an exhaustive list):

-Unphilosophy is completely parasitic. It depends upon the body of philosophy, and cannot exist independently of it.

-Unphilosophy is utterly hopeless. It has no ambition to erect, maintain and complete any philosophical system of its own. 

-Unphilosophy is absolutely ruthless. The quiddity or modus operandi of its very being is to drain the life of its host without providing anything in return.

-Unphilosophy is thoroughly unrelenting. The peculiar and idiosyncratic contents of the particular philosophies being consumed matter less than does the general infrastructure underlying the basic operations of each and every philosophy.

Unphilosophy is necessary because when left completely to its own devices, philosophy can never deliver what it promises. Philosophy is simultaneously oriented towards the value of wisdom while operating outside of its domain, for if philosophy were not outside of the domain of wisdom it could not be, properly speaking, philo-sophia or the “love of wisdom” understood as a relationship in which lover and beloved are mutually exclusive, even if complementary, opposites.

Hence philosophy is, from the very outset, internally constituted by a complex dynamic of mutually contradictory interests that guarantees its continued reproduction over time: by ensuring that wisdom is never actually delivered by always functioning outside of its domain, philosophy secures its own tenure by supplying the very conditions for its own apparent necessity. This sort of deceptive dynamic is an ingenious set-up when you’re a morally indifferent capitalist entrepreneur interested in maximizing returns on investment, but quite stupid when considered even on philosophy’s own terms. For these (non-exhaustive) reasons philosophy is boring and useless at best and deluded and deluding at worst.

Thus Unphilosophy is called to duty in order to bring down philosophy from its empyrean pretense to stand on the firmament of universal reason and bring it back down to the embodied and enacted flows of matter-energy-affect. The messianic praxis of Unphilosophy undoes and recycles the royal tapestry of the high estate of philosophy, to be fashioned into goods made with-and-for the humble peasantry of our common land where all that is thought are mere thoughts, and never philosophy.

Since the peculiar responsibility of Unphilosophy to undo philosophy necessitates that it exists elusively and exclusively as responses to philosophy, Unphilosophy is a momentary and socializing praxis. In its very being and mode of operation, Unphilosophy teaches us the dialogical nature of the process of illuminating wisdom by demonstrating, out in the open for all to see, the complete folly of the underlying basis, operating function and motivating aim of the imperial state of monological reason a.k.a. philosophy, making fully transparent the inability for this state to stand on its own without some kind of robbery of the very life which produces it. By means of the revolutionary movement of wisdom in the service of life, the expropriators are expropriated, and philosophy unphilosophically undone.

Addendum:

This piece of text is not an actual instance of Unphilosophy, but rather mere thought referring to Unphilosophy, particularly to make the promise that Unphilosophy delivers the promise that philosophy fails to deliver. Previously it was mentioned that Unphilosophy is indifferent to mere thought, but that does not necessarily mean that mere thought is also indifferent to Unphilosophy, for mere thought can contemplate and report on Unphilosophy and even prepare its own absence to make room for the occurrence of unphilosophical undoing. Unphilosophy may be indifferent to mere thought, but it is not antagonistic towards it, it is just solely interested in accomplishing one thing and one thing only: the undoing of philosophy and by necessary consequence its own undoing, which is a truly noble use of reason.

2 Replies to “Introduction to Unphilosophy”

  1. I find this movement compelling and I encourage you to continue. I have no other way of communicating this encouragement to you except here. I have already seen some detractors on the Facebook group, ‘The partially examined life’, which is how I stumbled onto your Unphilosophy.

    When you pointed out Nagarjuna’s MMK as a sort of Unphilosophy, I knew you were on to something. I have had this kind of hunch about modern and post-modern western philosophy for a while now… the hunch that philosophy doesn’t reveal wisdom. Instead, it does… something else. Perhaps this Unphilosophy will reveal what current philosophers are actually doing, whatever that may be.

    Please, again, continue. I have provided my e-mail, please use it to keep me updated on this project. I look forward to your final piece once it is completed.

    Cheers

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi David, thank you for your encouraging comments! I knew that I would get the sort of responses I ended up getting before posting on that forum, but in a way that resistance is very encouraging because the way in which they resist is illuminating for me.

      I will be sure to update you as this project comes along, thanks for your interest 🙂

      Like

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