Levi, in a reply to my last post, raises some questions about non-philosophy:
I am unclear as to why being or the real must be understood as something completely independent of the human. … What perplexes me is why a realist ontology is required to make the move of claiming that being as such is completely unrelated to the human. This strikes me as a dual world ontology where one form of being is really real and the rest is simply appearances that are not. If this is the case, then the question becomes not that of how we attain the real, but rather how various politics construct or build their polis, their values, the bodies that populate this polis, and so on.
I’m going to reproduce my comment here, with slight modifications, because I think it will help clarify a lot of what I’m doing on this blog.
The point I’m getting at, and I think the same goes for Laurelle, is not that there are two worlds, one human and one non-human, and so on. It is not that there is a false, phenomenal world related to humanity, and then a true noumenal world unrelated to humanity. The point is that the Real is radically non-relational, not related to anything, human or not. But again, this does not imply a separate, non-relational world. The Real as without-relation does not, strictly speaking, exist, because the dyad of existence/non-existence is already an intra-worldly determination; a world is a horizon of existentiality or relationality.
In this way, we can easily claim that a large part of the world is not related to humanity and that it nevertheless exists, but this is still a determination of thought, and dependent upon a philosophical decision according to which the Real is submitted to the existential dyad. This is why for Laurelle, a world is always a Thought World.
The Real as radically foreclosed to such decision, as indifferent to conceptual predication that separates existence from non-existence, phenomenon from noumenon, et cetera, has no positive sense of Being or existing itself. It does not constitute a separate world. Rather, the Real as vision-in-one is, in-the-last-instance, identical to this world, with all of its human and non-human regions. The difference lies in that the Real as foreclosed is, as it were, an operation to which we submit these philosophical decisions and determinations, suspending their efficacy or sufficiency, making them only relatively autonomous, dependent upon that which they, in constituting themselves, must omit, abolish, exclude. The Real is nothing more than this foreclosure, this gap within philosophical decisions that the latter must cover up or fill in.
So there is only one world, the one determined as such through philosophical decision. The Real is simply the name or symbol for the insufficiency of this decision to that which it seeks to determine, and the operation that suspends philosophy’s pretensions to sufficiency or exhaustive determination.
In a comment, Alexei summarizes the ultimate impasse that realist ontologies like Levi’s run up against:
My anxiousness about object-oriented philosophy (and the foreshortened versions of Kant we’ve been seeing) is really a function, I think, of the fact that I have no idea what it would mean to think ontologically, without relation to the normative. For that seems to mean not only (1) trying to climb out of your own skin to think about the world, but (2) trying to think this non-subjective world without concepts. Quite simply put, then, Ontology is only ever conceptual, and concepts are first and foremost normative animals.
How we can talk about a world without humans without ‘climbing out of our skin’?. Non-philosophy is the answer to this problem, not by pretending to get us out of this skin, or contenting itself in imagining this world without really experiencing it, but by claiming that the Real as radically immanent or lived-in-One is precisely such an experience, one that has the effect of suspending the self-suffiency of ontological discourse without negating or supplanting it.
This is why non-philosophy does not rely primarily on concepts, using them rather as its material, extracting from them non-conceptual symbols that enact the foreclosure of the Real, thereby suspending the self-sufficiency of said concepts. In other words, non-philosophy does not imagine a world without humans any more than it denies such a world. It forces into our world that gap that separates us from a world without us, and this gap is the Real.