parallax Special Issue: Philosophy without an Object
Call for Papers Date:
This issue of parallax solicits contributions which explore the theoretical and political implications of defining philosophy as a practice ‘without an object’. Although initially formulated by Louis Althusser, similar lines of enquiry are pursued by thinkers as diverse as Pierre Macherey, Gilles Deleuze, Franҫois Laruelle and Alain Badiou. While each has produced distinctive work on the topic, all address a central hypothesis: what traditional philosophy refers to as its ‘objects’ are in fact the products of theoretical activity – that is, philosophical objects or concepts which perform certain functions within the field of philosophical discourse. For the aforementioned writers, traditional philosophy not only denegates this theoretical activity, it also appeals to the category of the object to claim its ‘discursive presence’ with (or power over) ‘real things’, establish the conditions of possibility for representational thinking and produce the category of ‘subject’. Though divided as to whether this critique should produce a new type of philosophical practice or a ‘non-philosophy’, the aim of these writers is to explore philosophy’s claim to tell the truth about the world, remove its contemplative stance, investigate its materiality and liberate its praxial components.
Taking these claims as its starting point, this issue will explore the development of this mode of thinking and its broader implications for contemporary thought. Possible lines of enquiry might include: attempts to explore the various links and contradictions which continue to arise from this contested theoretical project; responses to the challenges posed by this explicitly anti-humanist line of thinking from the perspective of anti-anthropocentric or object-orientated philosophies; discussions of moments in the history of philosophy in which the understanding of the object differs from the usage criticised by this strand of ‘French theory’; considerations of the material-political effects of philosophy and enquiries into the temporality of a philosophy which has ceased to proclaim its fidelity to the world as it currently is. By pursuing these lines of enquiry, parallax hopes to stage a debate upon the philosophical object as a divisive and contested category.
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