Doctor of Philosophy
Theory and Criticism
Biswas Mellamphy, Nandita
This monograph dissertation explores the work of François Laruelle and the democratic nature of his non-philosophy. In four separate chapters, this dissertation argues for identifying non-philosophy as the introduction of democracy into thought and seeks to instantiate a necessary theoretical delimitation for its programme, which explores the relationships between people, thought, and power. Chapter One analyzes previous philosophical frameworks from thinkers such as Edmund Husserl, Max Horkheimer, and Louis Althusser on their respective stances toward philosophy’s role for people. Chapter Two investigates the work of François Laruelle for the past fifty years as the development of non-philosophy or “human philosophy.” Chapter Three situates Laruelle’s 1980 essay, “Homo ex machina,” alongside philosophers such as Martin Heidegger, Michel Henry, Michel Foucault, and Gilles Deleuze to lay out the stakes for emancipation from the destining of humanity under the existing dominant relations between technology, power, and biopolitics. Lastly, Chapter Four envisions the transfiguration of non-philosophy from human philosophy into a tool for human emancipation by inventing new non-political means, such as non-politics, the en-demic paradigm, futural democracy, and the generic will. If non-philosophy is the introduction of peace and democracy into thought, investigating the people and their rule or power is a necessary step toward inventing the future.
Summary for Lay Audience
François Laruelle has referred to his over fifty-year project, non-philosophy, as introducing democracy into thought. The slogan, “Man is not made for philosophy, but philosophy for man,” should speak to this project, but it is never so apparent to readers. Several studies about non-philosophy have been conducted in recent years, yet very few reflect on democracy. This dissertation argues that for any discussion about democracy concerning non-philosophy, there must be an analysis of who the people are (demos, “people” in Greek) and what they do in their power (kratos, “power” in Greek). The following work has four significant chapters that explore the dynamic relationship between philosophy, humanity, and power. Furthermore, it serves as an introduction and an extension of non-philosophy for future research and practice. The first chapter analyzes the work of thinkers such as Edmund Husserl, Max Horkheimer, and Louis Althusser in their respective approaches to what role philosophy plays for people. The second chapter dedicates itself to thoroughly investigating François Laruelle’s non-philosophy as “human philosophy.” The third chapter situates Laruelle’s 1980 essay, “Homo ex machina,” as part of a line of post-World War II thinkers concerned with the future of technologies, politics, and power over life. In some senses, Laruelle may be considered as one prophet amongst others, such as Martin Heidegger, Michel Henry, Michel Foucault, and Gilles Deleuze. In the fourth and final chapter, non-philosophy is transfigured (but not transformed) from its role as a “human philosophy” towards what Karl Marx considered as “human emancipation.” As an extension of non-philosophy, this final chapter introduces the reader to non-politics and several associated terms. By rethinking the relationship of people and thought through non-philosophy, we may come up with the means to transform the world.
Smith, Jeremy R., "The Cave and The Stars: On the People and Democracy of Non-Philosophy" (2023). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 9421.
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Correction to the Table of Contents.