Locating the Anti-Philosophical Core of Philosophy

If it is true, as Badiou maintains, that one of the telltale signs of an anti-philosophy is the reliance upon an autobiographical account of one’s self (e.g., Kierkegaard’s true love, Nietzsche’s personal genius, etc) then what can we say about the forcing of an autobiography upon another as a way of dismissing the pretensions of a given philosophical system?

For example: Adrian Johnston critiques Alain Badiou for constructing his philosophy on the basis of a personal conviction that May 1968 was an event. His philosophy is thus grounded upon a personal involvement in radical struggle, for example.

So, the point is that on the one hand there are anti-philosophers who very clearly put their personal existence before their constructed essence, if I may put it like that, anti-philosophers who consistently ward of systematic conceptualization and who pit their personal life as war machine against the great Phallus of philosophy. On the other hand, there are those who attempt to conceal their anti-philosophical foundations.

So, what do we make of those who attempt to draw out the anti-philosophical and accentuate it in the work of the philosopher?

My own claim is that this is the properly philosophical exercise. This is the victory, in a sense, of Zizek’s account of anti-philosophy as the very dialectical movement of philosophy itself: “You are an anti-philosopher? Well then, welcome to the camp of philosophers!”

The philosopher has at least two (actually, more) ways to assault the great Phallus: first, he may counterpose his autobiographical life against the power of the phallus; second, he may destroy the philosophical basis of the phallus by exposing its anti-philosophical core.


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