An Other Beginning: A New Thinking of the End

8 February 2022

An Other Beginning: A New Thinking of the End
PHILOSOPHY

Untitled, Velu Viswanadhan, 2021; Image Credit: naturemorte.com

Philosophy World Democracy has initiated a debate by publishing three essays within 24 hours in July 2021: Nancy’s ‘“The End of Philosophy and the Task of Thinking”’, Divya Dwivedi’s “Nancy’s Wager” and Shaj Mohan’s “And the Beginning of Philosophy”. And since then, there have been a number of responses from other philosophers. The various contributors declare each in their own way the end of a certain “transcendental” philosophy, one of the important questions to be asked is whether they can do so only by proposing another philosophy and perhaps even something of a new “transcendental” philosophy. These are undoubtedly questions that are familiar to us since at least Derrida’s deconstruction, and we would have to read each of the texts in question extremely closely in order to determine in what way each repeats this transcendental gesture and in what way each seeks to avoid and actually succeeds in avoiding doing so. We must ask whether that the “other beginning” to philosophy is an “end” to philosophy as we know it or whether this end is the only real subject of philosophy. But perhaps even this alternative is undecidable, insofar as the only way we can think the “real” end to philosophy is through philosophy itself, just as philosophy is always thinking its supposed “real” end.

In his ‘“The End of Philosophy and the Task of Thinking”’ Jean-Luc Nancy provides two distinct reasons for the end of philosophy. The first we might say is an internal reason. Philosophy ends for philosophical reasons, because of a failure within philosophy itself that must be explained philosophically (and we can perhaps already see some of the problems that will arise here). This is Nancy in ‘“The End of Philosophy”’ on this internal end: “The realisation of philosophy – itself born out of the need for autonomy in a world where there seemed to be no more reference to anything else – is the realisation of the reduction of the ‘other’ in general”. (1)


But philosophy also ends for external reasons, reasons that take place outside of philosophy and cannot be explained or even corrected by philosophy. Arguably the chief of these is the rise of the new information technologies, which have turned philosophy into a kind of common sense with their demand for instant transmissibility and accessibility to everybody. This is Nancy: “In practice, philosophy has become the speciality of non-specialists, of the handlers of ideas and evaluations, each of whom speaks according to his or her own opinion”. (2) But there are other reasons as well that arguably point in the opposite direction: not the over-presence of philosophy but its irrelevance to and inefficiency in resolving such contemporary problems as colonialism and the increasing homogenisation of the world by the West: “It is as if the entire physiology of the planetary organism is developing an auto-immunity that exhausts it. Colonisation is the emblem of this auto-immunity”. (3)


Of course, the title of Nancy’s essay repeats that of Martin Heidegger’s well-known “The End of Philosophy and the Task of Thinking”, originally delivered for him at a conference in Paris in 1964, towards the end of Heidegger’s life. (4) In that essay too Heidegger provides both internal and external reasons for the end of philosophy. The internal philosophical reason – and it is a complex question to what extent Nancy repeats it in his own diagnosis – is that philosophy is unable any more to provide those transcendental conditions for things that is its fundamental task.


The rejection of or turning away from this task had been an issue in Heidegger’s work since at least the so-called “turning” [Kehre] of the 1930s and then his engagement with Nietzsche during the War, but here in “The End of Philosophy” it is understood not just as some personal choice but as something that is altogether no longer possible for philosophy: “With the reversal of metaphysics [by Nietzsche]… the most extreme possibility of philosophy is attained. It has entered its final stage”. (5) And in his external reasons for the end of philosophy Heidegger is extraordinarily prescient and again in some ways precedes Nancy in pointing to the rise of technology or what he calls the “cybernetisation” of culture (Heidegger knew of the American computer pioneer Norbert Weiner and followed the latest developments in artificial intelligence closely): “The sciences are now taking over as their own task what philosophy in the course of its history tried to present in part, that is, ontologies of the various regions of being (nature, history, law, art)”. (6)


And this is also what Mohan means, according to Benvenuto, by speaking of philosophy in terms of the German word “Lust”, which is not any kind of desire that might evoke a kind of voluntarism as though seeking to fill something that is missing, but rather what we might call “drive” or “Trieb”, in which the attempt to fill in something creates the very thing to be filled in and which nothing stands outside. It is in this sense, to conclude, that we might understand Nancy’s, Dwivedi’s and Mohan’s calls for a philosophy that is no longer “white” and “racialised” in overcoming the East-West or oriental-occidental divide.

Philosophy World Democracy has initiated a debate by publishing three essays within 24 hours in July 2021: Nancy’s ‘“The End of Philosophy and the Task of Thinking”’, Divya Dwivedi’s “Nancy’s Wager” and Shaj Mohan’s “And the Beginning of Philosophy”. And since then, there have been a number of responses from other philosophers. Dwivedi and Mohan both follow Nancy and take him further in thinking through the reasons for a notional “end” to philosophy (they are particularly attuned to his disagreements with Heidegger over this). Dwivedi in her “Nancy’s Wager” develops Nancy’s observations concerning the “self-realisation” of contemporary philosophy by pointing to an underlying East-West or oriental-occidental divide that characterises its practice: “A ‘philosophy’ that would also be the substantialisation of ‘the occident’… metaphysics as ontotheology as the history of the West”. (7) A similar point is made in a different way by Mohan, who in his “And the Beginning of Philosophy” speaks of Heidegger’s rooting of philosophy in the “soil” out of which it comes and the subsequent territorialisation that this produces: “When we attend to this ‘history of metaphysics’ that is also ‘the history of the West’, we should understand what history is for it. History is intimately connected to the soil”. (8) Finally, Sergio Benvenuto in his “The Eternal End of Philosophy”, picking up on another thread of Nancy’s argument, speaks of the way that philosophy, and particularly analytic philosophy, replicates the example of the social sciences, insofar as it sets out its own standards and can be judged only in its own terms: “[Like the work of the sciences,] rational philosophy would be able to really find definitive solutions to certain philosophical problems, progressively”. (9) And in a longer essay that appeared more recently in Philosophy World Democracy, which in part also summarises previous contributions, Reghu Janardhanan in his “Deconstructive Materialism: Einsteinian Revolution in Philosophy” diagnoses philosophy’s fear of otherness or difference in its desire to reduce everything to the same: “The logic based on identity, classical logic, is not capable of apprehending reality. Logic based on identity gives us at best a functionally isolated slice of a world”. (10)



The Education of Achilles, Eugène Delacroix, 1862; Image Credit: Wikipedia

However, Nancy’s essay, following Heidegger, is entitled not merely ‘“The End of Philosophy”’ but also ‘“The Task of Thinking”’, and so after his initial diagnosis of the end of philosophy he posits that it might still live on. After suggesting that philosophy ends both because it has no other to it and because of technological “rationalisation”, he then proposes a contrasting “otherness” or what he will call “allotropy”. But this is not merely a simple dialectical “otherness”, which as Nancy notes has always been the way that philosophy even before Hegel has realised itself, but something that avoids or is irreducible to the logic of the same and the other. And this is where the internal and external reasons for the end of philosophy and its possible rebirth come together in Nancy’s thinking of a philosophy that would neither reduce the other to the same nor leave it as merely other. Towards the end of his essay Nancy quotes the Ancient Chinese Taoist philosopher Tschoang-Tseu speaking of a “mode of expression that would be at once non-silence and non-speech” and relates him to Hegel. But then, as he cautions, it is not a matter of comparing the two nor of suggesting that they are simply incomparable:


‘Neither-nor’ must exclude any kind of mediation. Neither a China that we could think of recovering, nor a West that we would think of orientalising”. Or as he puts it in more positive terms earlier in the essay: “What opens up the possibility of philosophy is a rupture… The Eastern Mediterranean [where philosophy begins] is at a certain point shaken in what was then an important set of empires and palace powers. (11)


It is obvious that in his positing of a new “beginning” for philosophy Nancy is in part following Heidegger in his original ‘The End of Philosophy and the Task of Thinking’. “Thinking” [Denken] for Heidegger is that alternative to philosophy that might be seen to take philosophy’s place after its end. But what exactly is this “thinking” for Heidegger and how does he characterise it? Thinking for Heidegger is the abandonment of metaphysics, by which he means the search for the underlying conditions behind things. In this it would be opposed to philosophy, which at least since Plato “departs from what is present in its presence and thus represents it in terms of its ground as something grounded”, (12) and in which what is only stands in for something else. And this might even be understood as saying that substance is subject, that the world must be thought from the point of view of a subject outside of it that finally finds itself equivalent to and only expressible through that which it thinks: “What the matter of philosophy should be is presumed to be decided from the outset… Presence in the form of substantiality and subjectivity”. (13) All of this would be why Heidegger speaks of a certain “light” [Licht], “opening” [Lichtung] or “unconcealment” [Unverborgenheit] that precedes the very distinction between absence and presence and subject and substance. It would be this “thinking” that comes before and even allows the distinctions of philosophy: “We must think aletheia, unconcealement, as the opening which first grants Being and thinking and their presencing to and for each other”. (14)


It is this that we think is that “allotropy” or “allophony” gestured towards by Nancy and Dwivedi: not simply some other or alternative to the choice we make, but what cannot be chosen, what is excluded by any choice, but that opens up the very possibility of choice. (We are always offered the same choice, and we always end up making the wrong choice.) And the history of philosophy is nothing less than the history of these always mistaken forced choices.

Again, Dwivedi, Mohan, Benvenuto and Janardhanan each propose in more affirmative terms what that “thinking”, or following Nancy what that “reinvention” of philosophy after its end, might consist in. Dwivedi suggests a certain “anastasis” (15) or overcoming of the settled that would do away with the East-West divide that so strongly determines our thought: “Ana-stasis is the rising of the other, which for us would be the other of the oriental-occidental difference”. (16) Mohan points towards the necessity of an “obscure experience”, by which he means a system of thought that does not seek to clarify or produce the truth, but to linger without resolving conceptual uncertainty in rejecting the classical laws of thought: “By dismantling the philosophies that were derivative of a thought of identity, which appeared by enshrouding the obscure experience, which includes the thought of being”. (17) Benvenuto in a perhaps more orthodox or at least recognisable manner posits both love and art as the other to philosophy, which stand outside of philosophy or at least are that which philosophy must attempt to think without reducing to inferior versions of itself: “The strange challenge of philosophy consists in wanting to go through relations, the relative, the propositional, towards the thing itself”. And, finally, Janardhanan, after summarising aspects of each of the previous approaches, puts forward an Einstein-inspired “deconstructive materialism” that would be an advance upon that conceptual framework philosophy has laboured under for at least three centuries:


[With the only invariant the speed of light], a thorough decentring of all the classical concepts, including the centre of classical logic, is underway. Every identity is a functional isolation in dynamic relation to other functions. (18)



Ciron and Achilles, Giorgio Sommer & Edmond Behles; Image Credit: Wikipedia

Needless to say, it is an extremely complex question, going back to Nancy and beyond that even Heidegger, whether the contributors to the debate propose an “alternative” – if that is ultimately what they want – to philosophy in what they are saying here. While some of them acknowledge that philosophy itself already thinks its own other or anti-philosophy, others reject the identity and substantiality of philosophy itself, thus allowing alternative paths for thinking. Indeed, since at least Hegel, philosophy has lived on and perhaps even starts from the beginning in thinking its own other, and all of them, it goes without saying, are aware of this logic according to which there is inevitably a new beginning after the end of philosophy, and even that this new beginning is indissociable from the announcement of an end to philosophy. In other words, when the various contributors declare each in their own way the end of a certain “transcendental” philosophy, one of the important questions to be asked is whether they can do so only by proposing another philosophy and perhaps even something of a new “transcendental” philosophy. For is not the gesture of declaring an end to every particular philosophical system that comes before not the very transcendental philosophical gesture as such, and even if someone like Heidegger in his essay calls this new philosophy a “thinking” in order to draw some kind of a distinction, is this not merely the same old transcendental gesture in a new guise? (19)


These are undoubtedly questions that are familiar to us since at least Derrida’s deconstruction, and we would have to read each of the texts in question extremely closely in order to determine in what way each repeats this transcendental gesture and in what way each seeks to avoid and actually succeeds in avoiding doing so. In other words, we must ask whether that the “other beginning” to philosophy called for in many of the essays, commencing with Heidegger, is truly an “end” to philosophy as we know it or whether this end is the only real subject of philosophy. But perhaps even this alternative is undecidable, insofar as the only way we can think the “real” end to philosophy is through philosophy itself, just as philosophy is always thinking its supposed “real” end.


Indeed, since at least Hegel, philosophy has lived on and perhaps even starts from the beginning in thinking its own other, and all of them, it goes without saying, are aware of this logic according to which there is inevitably a new beginning after the end of philosophy, and even that this new beginning is indissociable from the announcement of an end to philosophy.

For let us consider here a moment from Mohan’s “And the Beginning of Philosophy”. In the course of a consideration of what guarantees the persistence of material objects over time, he speaks, recalling Kant’s famous 1794 essay “The End of All Things”, of “the unanticipatable insistence of the world, the non-event of the end of things”. This point is then continued by Janardhanan in his discussion when he quotes a previous article by Mohan entitled “What Carries On”: “If we bring Kant and Wittgenstein together the end of the world is not an event, for it is not an event in the world.(20) Kant’s text and its so-called “theological eschatology” has been subject to an enormous amount of critical discussion, (21) but perhaps the point we would want to begin by making here is that in a brilliantly paradoxical way this end of the world is proved by our very failure to think it, or – to put this in more transcendental terms – the world as it is, precisely without end, now only stands in for its end. In an uncanny kind of doubling, the hypothetical end of the world is evidenced by its non-existence, its very failure to be thought, And this, we suggest, is the unique power of philosophy: not its direct ability to posit things, but to make what is stand in for what is absent, proved only by our very inability to think it, or more exactly – and, of course, this should remind us of Kant’s notion of the sublime – our ability to think our inability to think it. And if this seems tenuous or a mere philosophical conceit, relevant only to the past of philosophy, let us consider Nancy’s critique directed against the contemporary commodification of philosophy, the turning of it into an invariably practical “common sense”: “The content of these discourses is already known: violence and injustice are condemned, egoism is criticised, and the common good or being-in-common must be rethought”. (22) But then Nancy goes on to suggest that even the seemingly more ambitious attempt directly to seize political power is not a true revolution but merely a transfer of power within existing structures without thinking how it originally arises: “The very idea of revolution remains that of a transfer of power within the acquired framework of technical super-power”.



Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas, Nevada/USA; Image Credit: Wikipedia

Now Nancy is not positively asserting what would lie beyond these two kinds of failure – both the unquestioning repetition of the criteria that already structure society and the posing of an alternative that turns only into another version of what is already in place – but rather that “allo” or “otherness” he gestures towards is implied in his very ability to think these failures. It is a failure that would necessarily be repeated, we suggest, if Nancy for his part attempted to propose positively what exactly a better “common sense” would be and what a proper “transfer of power” would consist in, but the philosophy he means consists in his very ability to think his own failures. We see something of this also in Benvenuto’s speaking of the way that philosophy ends in becoming part of the world, which is of course one of its desires, but that philosophy also lives on in thinking this. And, crucially, this is a “failure” of philosophy that occurs not simply in it becoming part of the world, but in its ability to think that it has. For the decisive aspect of all of the texts discussed here – Nancy’s, Dwivedi’s, Mohan’s, Benvenuto’s and Janardhanan’s – is that they do not in any way deny that external end to philosophy in which philosophy becomes an agent of so-called “instrumental” reason, which endeavours to make the world over in the image of philosophy, but that it “fails”, that is, succeeds and lives on, insofar as philosophy is also that place from where we might think this identity of philosophy and the world.


Perhaps one of the terms we have to describe this situation is what Lacan calls the “forced choice”: the fact that in certain situations, say, a robber demanding “Your money or your life!”, we can only choose the wrong alternative, with the choice we did not or even cannot make standing in for what precedes and makes possible the choice itself. (23) That is, the “correct” choice is what is excluded so that we can have this false or forced choice at all. But we can see this transcendental ground or choice not taken, what we should have chosen but did not, only after the wrong choice. It is this that we think is that “allotropy” or “allophony” gestured towards by Nancy and Dwivedi: not simply some other or alternative to the choice we make, but what cannot be chosen, what is excluded by any choice, but that opens up the very possibility of choice. (We are always offered the same choice, and we always end up making the wrong choice.) And the history of philosophy is nothing less than the history of these always mistaken forced choices: the attempt each time to speak of that choice not made by the system before, that which makes the choice it offers possible while always being the wrong choice. In a way, each subsequent system is another attempt to think that choice of choice, in a constant ascension or mounting up of transcendental conditions (24) – the thinking of what makes the current philosophical system within which we think possible – but each time we fail to do so and can think only in those terms we are trying to question. It is why that “wound” [ferita] – that opening onto the other spoken of by Benvenuto – is also a circle or loophole [feritoia]. (25) And this is also what Mohan means, according to Benvenuto, by speaking of philosophy in terms of the German word “Lust”, which is not any kind of desire that might evoke a kind of voluntarism as though seeking to fill something that is missing, but rather what we might call “drive” or “Trieb”, in which the attempt to fill in something creates the very thing to be filled in and which nothing stands outside. (26)



Untitled Anthropometry (ANT 84), Yves Klein, 1960; Image Credit: © Yves Klein, DACS, London, 2016

It is in this sense, to conclude, that we might understand Nancy’s, Dwivedi’s and Mohan’s calls for a philosophy that is no longer “white” and “racialised” in overcoming the East-West or oriental-occidental divide. This is Nancy: “It is not about managing a people and its territory but about redefining both”. (27) This is Dwivedi:


“Philosophy begins again, and again, to look for this thought, which is… neither end as destining-accomplishing demise nor end as the all-gathering image of the ‘world’ in the mirror of the ‘West’”. (28)


And this is Mohan:


We should also think together in a wanderlust without surrendering to the temptations of other regional configurations—sciences and poetry—or nationalistic temptations, which include both the surviving vestiges of the projects of ‘the west’ and the newly assertive obscene stances of ‘the east’. (29)


What is crucial for all three thinkers is that it is not simply a matter of opting for one over the other, selecting the East over the long-running and undoubtedly detrimental hegemony of the West. For this would be merely that false “transfer of power” within a pre-existing structure that Nancy for his part calls out. Or, rather, if it is a matter of choosing the East, it is an East that allows us to think that which cannot be chosen, that which precedes the East-West divide and makes it possible. Crucially, however, if we are tempted to use the language of Heidegger to describe this as a kind of “opening” or “unconcealment”, an Aletheia or revelation that precedes all conceptual oppositions, it is also to say that this “Being”, if this is the word we want to use for it, is not simply beyond or outside of this opposition. Rather, it is only to be thought through it.


Dwivedi and Mohan both follow Nancy and take him further in thinking through the reasons for a notional “end” to philosophy (they are particularly attuned to his disagreements with Heidegger over this). Dwivedi in her “Nancy’s Wager” develops Nancy’s observations concerning the “self-realisation” of contemporary philosophy by pointing to an underlying East-West or oriental-occidental divide that characterises its practice: “A ‘philosophy’ that would also be the substantialisation of ‘the occident’… metaphysics as ontotheology as the history of the West”.

This is why, if Nancy, Mohan, and Dwivedi can be read as gesturing towards something that precedes this opposition, it is also true that what they are speaking of can be grasped only by means of it. As Nancy writes: “Philosophy fully assumes the neither-nor by identifying it as a mutual and automatic self-negation of that which nevertheless opens up in it and to it”. (30) Each in a way is the “transcendental” condition of the other, which is why the internal and external conditions of philosophy are ultimately indistinguishable from each other, or put otherwise always involved in a reciprocal, circular relationship. There is philosophy and its end, or the end of philosophy and its beginning in a new thinking. If for Dwivedi the history of philosophy has so far been determined by the opposition between East and West, she seeks to find for a certain “unhomeliness” that would belong to neither. (31) Or as Mohan writes:


In philosophy bastard logic means to think from an intuition older than identity, or from out of a bastard family of philosophy. In other words, philosophy has the responsibility to create a new set of faculties which operate without identity as the fundamental law of thought. (32)


 

NOTES


1. Jean-Luc Nancy, “‘The End of Philosophy and the Task of Thinking’”, Philosophy World Democracy, 30 July 2021, https://www.philosophy-world-democracy.org/other-beginning/the-end-of-philosophy.


2. Nancy, “‘The End of Philosophy and the Task of Thinking’”.


3. Nancy, “‘The End of Philosophy and the Task of Thinking’”


4. For a good account of the circumstances of Heidegger’s presentation of the lecture, see Claudia Baracchi, ‘A Vibrant Silence: Heidegger and the End of Philosophy’, in Michael Marden and Santiago Zabala (eds.), Being Shaken: Ontology and the Event, London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014, pp. 92-121, esp. p. 92.


5. Martin Heidegger, “The End of Philosophy and the Task of Thinking”, in On Time and Being, New York: Harper & Row, 1972, p. 57.


6. Ibid., p. 58.


7. Divya Dwivedi, “Nancy’s Wager”, Philosophy World Democracy, 16 July 2021, https://www.philosophy-world-democracy.org/other-beginning/nancys-wager.


8. Shaj Mohan, “And the Beginning of Philosophy”, Philosophy World Democracy, 16 July 2021 https://www.philosophy-world-democracy.org/other-beginning/and-the-beginning-ofphilosophy.


9. Sergio Benvenuto, “The Eternal End of Philosophy”, Philosophy World Democracy, 2 August 2021

https://www.philosophy-world-democracy.org/other-beginning/the-eternal-end-of-philosophy.


10. Reghu Janardhanan, “Deconstructive Materialism: Einsteinian Revolution in Philosophy”, Philosophy World Democracy, 13 November 2021, https://www.philosophy-world-democracy.org/other-beginning/deconstructive-materialism. In saying this, Janardhanan would be drawing particularly on Mohan, who in his “And the Beginning of Philosophy” writes: “Thus, we begin: By discarding the philosophies which were derivative of a thought of identity, which appeared by enshrouding the obscure experience, which includes the thought of being”.


11. Nancy, “‘The End of Philosophy and the Task of Thinking’”.


12. Heidegger, “The End of Philosophy”, p. 56.


13. Heidegger, “The End of Philosophy”, p. 62.


14. Heidegger, “The End of Philosophy”, p. 68. Shaj Mohan also draws a distinction between Heidegger’s notion of “thinking” and this new “beginning” to philosophy that the contributors to Philosophy World Democracy are trying to bring about: “For now, we can mark out the implications of this phrase [Heidegger’s ‘the other beginning to philosophy’] following the distinction made by Dwivedi between ‘origin’ and ‘beginning’”, “On the Bastard Family of Deconstruction”, Philosophy World Democracy, 20 December 2021, https://www.philosophy-world-democracy.org/other-beginning/on-the-bastard-family-of-deconstruction.


15. See Jean-Luc Nancy, Noli Me Tangere: On the Raising of the Body, New York: Fordham University Press, 2008, and for a related but different use of “ana-stasis” by Dwivedi and Mohan see their Gandhi and Philosophy: On Theological Anti-Politics, London: Bloomsbury, 2018.


16. Dwivedi, “Nancy’s Wager”.


17. Mohan, “And the Beginning of Philosophy”.


18. Janardhanan, “Deconstructive Materialism: Einsteinian Revolution in Philosophy”. That is, again following Mohan, Janardhanan argues that identities are produced through their functional isolation and should not be taken for granted. Since the classical laws of thought rely on identity, we should begin with a new bastard logic which is a critique of identity.


19. This is also the point made by Roberto Esposito when he writes in his “What is Philosophy? A Tribute to Jean-Luc Nancy”, World Philosophy Democracy, 14 September 2021: “Of course, the first necessary step [of a future thought] is to deconstruct the metaphysics of negation along the path opened by Deleuze. But working on a project of affirmative philosophy does not mean removing or, worse, denying the question of the negative. Also because, in spite of any easy dialectic, the negation of negation is still a negation”, https://www.philosophy-world-democracy.org/other-beginning/what-is-philosophy.


20. See Shaj Mohan, “What Carries Us On” in Fernando Castrillon and Thomas Marchevsky (eds.), Coronavirus, Psychoanalysis, and Philosophy: Conversations on Pandemics, Politics, and Society, London: Routledge, 2021, p. 45.


21. For a recent essay on “The End of All Things”, see Evan F. Kuehn, “The Idea of the End: Kant’s Philosophical Eschatology”, International Journal of Philosophy and Theology 82.1 (2021): pp. 17-33.


22. Nancy, “‘The End of Philosophy and the Task of Thinking’”.


23. Lacan arguably first develops the notion of forced choice in Seminar VII: The Ethics of Psychoanalysis, 1959-60. For an account of Lacan’s forced choice in the sense we mean, see the section “How to Count Zero for One?” in Slavoj Žižek, For They Know Not What They Do: Enjoyment as a Political Factor, London: Verso, 1991, pp. 31-54.


24. Shaj Mohan proposes something similar in an interview with Rachel Adams published in Philosophy World Democracy. As Mohan says to her: “To follow the Kantian image of the task of the philosopher, each philosopher finds in the familiar metaphysics ruins and then one must raise it according to a new comprehending law. This new comprehending law, if it does not have the games of political orientation of the east-west kind as its internal milieu, will then raise a thought which might have components that resemble metaphysics without being metaphysics”, ‘“But, There is Nothing Outside of Philosophy: An Interview with Shaj Mohan’, Philosophy World Democracy, 24 February 2021, https://www.philosophy-world-democracy.org/interviews-1/but-there-is-nothing-outside


25. Benvenuto, “The Eternal End of Philosophy”.


26. Benvenuto writes of Mohan’s use of the word “Lust” at the beginning of “The Eternal End of Philosophy”. Admittedly, this Lacanian reading of the difference between “desire” and “drive” is not directly to be found in their texts. And in terms of this perpetual “recursion” of thinking, we might suggest that, if Janardhanan through Einstein is able to posit light as that invariant against which all else is measured – “Einsteinean revolution forced humanity to see the world as more complex with everything including space-time in dynamical relations… As is well known the invariant in Einstein’s world is the speed of light” – it is also possible that eventually light itself will be revealed as variable when measured against another, “higher” invariable. This would be something like an “end” to physics that would lead to a new “thinking”. And, indeed, it might be what Einstein devoted the later part of his life to doing: attempting to think a certain “unified field theory” that would be the condition of possibility for the previous “general relativity”, that place from where “general relativity” could be thought.


27. Nancy, “‘The End of Philosophy and the Task of Thinking’”.


28. Dwivedi, “Nancy’s Wager”.


29. Mohan, “And the Beginning of Philosophy”.


30. Nancy, “‘The End of Philosophy and the Task of Thinking’”.


31. Dwivedi, ‘Nancy’s Wager’


32. Shaj Mohan, “On the Bastard Family of Deconstruction”, Philosophy World Democracy, 19 December 2021, https://www.philosophy-world-democracy.org/other-beginning/on-the-bastard-family-of-deconstruction. This is the text of a public seminar originally held at École Normale Supérieure, Paris, on 23 November 2021, under the title “Anastasis of Philosophy”.

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