This responds to Timothy Lavenz’s FB post, here, which quoted a section of a blog essay, “Evil Compassion”, here. This is the quote:
“Nihilism is a belief in the sufficiency of any determination of what is, of how it is, of how one is, of what the future will be, in short, of what can or even might be (known, created, changed, destroyed). To turn one’s back on this presumed sufficiency of the thought-world necessarily leads to offense — but offense is not the goal, nor the non-nihilist’s point of pride; it is rather an effect of the search for future causes, for novel grounds of creativity not legitimated by any given situation or horizon of sense — causes that remain essentially unknown and suspended in their sufficiency, thus in constant contact with their own evental conditions, their own force of potential and means of invention. In Nietzsche’s words: ‘Excess force in spirituality setting itself new goals.'”

{AK}: To say that “Nihilism is a belief in the sufficiency of any determination of what is, of how it is, of how one is, of what the future will be, in short, of what can or even might be (known, created, changed, destroyed)”, is to characterise Nihilism according to ontological modality, and its given conventions (“sufficiency of any determination of what is”). This is precisely not an availing of Nihilism’s potential for liberation from any ontological “sufficiency”, whether allegedly quiescent or otherwise.
That Nihilism is often equated, by Occidental convention, with apathy, is merely the symptomatic characterisation conferred by Occidental ontology’s PR hype; its relentless campaign of self-celebration; & its ideology of positivist inflation.
The nihilistic moment, is the exceeding of any “given situation or horizon of sense”, in order to generate explosive Nietzschean revaluation.
But how often, do such alleged revaluations not merely return to the tired sufficiencies of ontological convention – “Every vaunted revolution, one more turn of the wheels of oppression.”?


Decades ago, I read: “The world is an anarchy of nation-states.”

The nation-state has, hitherto, been the largest formalised grouping of people. This has now changed, with both consumer & ‘social’ networks. Nation-state networks, hitherto, coordinated consumer, pre-internet ‘social’, & Corporate, networks; this coordination function is now shifting, to an indeterminate ‘state’, interstitial to all three.
The anxiety of this shift, is causing a lot of attention-seeking, in all of those networks; as they attempt to secure positions of imagined dominance, usually by replaying the nostalgic cultural detritus of histories of perceived authoritarian success. Such nostalgic replays are, of course, the dream-stuff of advertising & propaganda, & it is this oneiric substance which is being accelerated, now through all networks, not just through those of commerce & entertainment. The acceleration enabled by public elctronic networks, accelerates the fluxions of desire, leading to a libidinal directness obviating alienating mediations through the archaic convolutions of administration belonging to past cultures of political specularity. ‘High Frequency Trading’, begets ‘High Frequency Politics’, with concurrent loss of depth considerations that could effectively question any systematics of production concerning this festival of accelerations.

The Occident is getting the ‘world order’ it deserves, the mundane mirror it cannot bear to look at, the demonic reflection it accelerates away from.


[Redacted] “My minimal suggestion is this: insofar as the contingency or emptiness or worldlessness is itself a consistent fact (that it describes what is always already the case), then contingency is itself not contingent, not empty, i.e., absolute or the form of all content.

If the universe were truly and completely contingent, then the possibility of non-contingency becomes a logical possibility.

I think Nagarjuna is not affirming meta-contingency but at some point thinks there is an absolute that = contingency (nirvana = samsara).”


{AK}: A ‘fact’, is a ‘thing made’, a fashioning.
That the collection of supervenient ‘facts’ are seemingly supervenient on a ‘systematics of manufacture’, merely displaces the essentiality of origination, the integrity of classical entity or ‘ens’, to that ‘systematics of manufacture’. Reifying such a ‘systematics of manufacture’ as a ‘form’ governing ‘content’ misses or elides the conventional, empty, & perspectival nature of ‘facts’.
If no ‘fact’ has ‘own-being’, why should an infinite quantity of them suddenly start to have ‘own-being’?

This is a confusion of the reifying intuitions of socio-perceptual convention with the logic of metaphysical category? It’s an ‘idealism’ no less speculative or mystifying than Hegel; but it’s allegedly hallucinatory nature, in the Hegelian case; is masked by consensual practice, in the case of socio-perceptual convention.

Its origin, & the origin of the faith in it, is based on a notion of increasing & graduated coherence with a veridical structure of ontological essence, scientifically sifting out a correspondence to a fixed truth. That’s the model, & it’s a model, itself based on the very essence, or ‘own-being’, that it presupposes as its horizon. That model is a perspective, of probabilistic fixations. This is not to say that such a model is without utility; it is the ‘ground’ of utility, & conversely, utility is its ground.
But if the becomings of utilisation are governed by a journey of increasing coherence, along a sequence of probabilistic fixations, towards an unknown figure of ‘fixed truth’; is this not all too easy & contrived a perspective? A complacent idealisation? An open adventure of a ‘theology’, collapsed into the stagnant closure of a habitual ‘religion’?

This is why Nagarjuna would reject the figure of ‘Consciousness’, as an Absolute.
Schopenhauer, in the quote, understood this, but broke off to do a phenomenology of the ‘motivic’ (force-‘Will’) & recurrent imaging (form-‘Representation), ‘consensual concept chatter’, that can be written about.




[Redacted] “insofar as the contingency or emptiness or worldlessness is itself a consistent fact (that it describes what is always already the case),”

{AK}: Okay, consistency of ‘fact’, “describes what is always already the case”, & suggests the invariance of abstract law, which suggests Platonised idealism & fixation; hence, non-contingency.


[Redacted] “then contingency is itself not contingent, not empty, i.e., absolute or the form of all content.”

{AK}: But ‘contingency’ is not an independent ‘fact’, ‘quality’, or ‘thing’. Contingency requires things that are, or seem to be, ‘contingent’. But those ‘facts’, are not truly ‘things’ or ‘entities’, in an absolute sense, their entityhood is alleged. Conversely, in the classical sense, no entity is ever contingent, if it is truly an entity.
Thus, factual contingency is not classical contingency, in the sense of an actual entity that could be said to be truly contingent, absolutely. The fact of Contingency vitiates the very classical objectivity that could support its own absoluteness. No absolute ideality of the Contingent can be achieved, because of the contingency of supporting evidence.


[Redacted] “If the universe were truly and completely contingent, then the possibility of non-contingency becomes a logical possibility.”

{AK}: Both contingency & non-contingency are supervenient operations of the metaphysics of Identity. Without identities, there is nothing to ascribe ‘contingency’ or ‘non-contingency’ to.


[Redacted] “I think Nagarjuna is not affirming meta-contingency but at some point thinks there is an absolute that = contingency (nirvana = samsara).”

{AK}: My suggestion, is that Nagarjuna is engaged in the radical critique of Identity, of its metaphysics, & of its conventions. Such a critique transcends the traditional binary discursivities & conventions of contingency & non-contingency, before they can even arise, as supervenient fixations of a (de)limited logical hallucination. This, I feel, is in line with the ‘Two Truths’ doctrine of the Mahayana.


Relevant Links:
“Babich and Bateman: Last of the Continental Philosophers” (November 29, 2016)
Terence Blake: Very interesting discussion on Continental Philosophy between @babette_babich and @SpiralChris
The “Analytic Co-opting” and Death of the Continental Tradition

I think that what Prof. Ben-Ami Scharfstein writes, in his explications concerning the differences encountered between global traditions of thought that can be considered as ‘philosophical’, apply, mutatis mutandis, to the so-called Anglo-American Analytical/Continental Divide.

A lot could be said concerning the Anglo-American Analytical/Continental Divide; about the historical forking from Kant onwards, vis a vis, acceptance or rejection of Hegel, etc.; about sociopolitical styles of the background cultures involved; yes, one can differentiate endlessly about these things. Do the approaches involved, reflect tactical considerations of those background cultures? Are there political agendas involved? No doubt, cases can be made for such views.
As to the figure of the ‘philosopher’, moreover, the professional ‘philosopher’; cultural insularity can be said to be the very byproduct of professional inculcation,, as Ben-Ami Scharfstein outlines here:


Soon, after this introduction is done, each of us, the authors, will be speaking for himself; but before we arc reduced to almost unrepentant individuals, we should like to express the attitude that thc five of us, who are colleagues and friends, hold in common towards the subject of comparative philosophy. We can begin to express it by stating the implications of the title (including the subtitle) we have chosen for our book. The title, as we see it, has three major implications. It implies that philosophy is not confined to the West; it Implies that the Indian, Chinese, European, and European-allied Islamic traditions are worth comparing and are similar and different enough to make the comparison intellectually profitable; and it implies that the comparison ought to be critical, by which we mean, factually careful, and as intelligent as its authors are able to make it.

This justification of our title may be more persuasive if each of its three is itself explained or justified. Take the first point, which may not seem worth arguing. It is true that there have been Western philosophers with a serious interest in Chinese, Indian, or Islamic philosophy. The Interest in Islamic philosophy was mostly confined to the Middle Ages, when Chinese & Indian philosophy could only have been. Later, however, in the seventeenth century, there was a moment when Leibnitz hoped that China would give him the universal logic for which he was searching. During the eighteenth century, French thinkers half-invented an ideal China, the kingdom of philosophers, the better to criticise a Europe that appeared to them as absurd as it was cruel. Still later, Kant and Hegel, though they may not have given the Chinese and Indians a high cultural rank, studied what they could of their thought, while Schopenhauer, who read the Upanishads every night before going to sleep, made his own synthesis of Indian certainties and Kantian doubts. In the twentieth century, the American philosopher, Santayana, more than once compared his own so-to-speak Platonic naturalism with Indian mysticism. Still more recently, Jaspers devoted a good many pages of his book, The Great Philosophers, to Buddha, Confucius, and Nagarjuna.
   Yet these and the other examples that could be cited have never been enough to convince very many Western philosophers that philosophy, in the sense they most appreciate, exists outside the Western tradition. By and large, they seem to have believed that Eastern thought was either pre-philosophical or extra-philosophical, that is to say, either composed of traditional, perhaps superstitious rules of conduct, or of formulas for mystical salvation. They seem to have found it incredible that non-Westerners should have engaged in the constructive intellectuality, adventurous reasoning, and logical analysis that is identified with philosophy in the West.
   They are wrong, of course. The reason for their error, if we may speak bluntly, Is either cultural myopia or personal ignorance. Both stem from an insufficient education. Western education, whether that of philosophers or others, has never been seriously concerned with the thought of anyone or anything not long assimilated into the Western tradition.’ Consider the education of the professional philosopher, which we, along, we suppose,    with some of our readers, have enjoyed or been subjected to. The professional philosopher may have studied logic and philosophy painstakingly, he may have read and practised linguistic analysis, which is nothing if not painstaking, and he surely has read, with painstaking attention, such books and articles as his teachers have regarded as essential. He has probably learned a second and perhaps a third European language. And he has, in addition, studied a number of the great philosophers—Plato and Aristotle, Locke and Hume, Spinoza, Leibniz, and Kant, not to speak of the contemporaries who interest him. At this stage he may well begin to attempt serious original philosophizing, or, if his Interests run that way, serious scholarship relating to philosophy. Absorbed in his attempt, he can no longer spare the time or summon up the desire to study philosophers from other traditions. What, at this stage, could inspire him to sit down again like the callow student he once was, who learned with a sense of revelation what Plato meant by an Idea and Aristotle by Substance, and study the strange concepts, transliterated from unknown languages, of philosophers from puzzling, distant cultures? Out of curiosity, he might leaf through the Analects of Confucius or through a paperback edition, in pseudo-Biblical English, of some Upanishads, and he might even find rational ethics or poetically stimulating religion in them; but these would no longer have the power to transform him as a philosopher. He would be likely to assume that the rest of Chinese and Indian thought was approximately the same, and so he would not attempt the later, more complex books. For now he would be feeling. not the student’s curiosity, but the professional’s mastery, and he would be unlikely to delay or humiliate himself by becoming a student again. A young philosopher on the verge of his career is apt to assume that what his teachers never required of him cannot be of any importance. Then, when he himself becomes a teacher, he perpetuates the attitude he has learned, the beginning is never made.
 The first point will not be argued any longer. Like the others, its plausability rests on the evidence we bring in the body of our book. The second point, that the traditions we have chosen are worth comparing and similar and different enough to make the comparison intellectually profitable, must be worked out slowly and by example. We shall try to characterise each of these more or less self-sufficient cultures so that each becomes more visible by way of contrast with the others. Over and again, we think, a clearly analogous technical device will be seen to serve a different cultural end; and at least somewhat analogous cultural purposes will be seen to be served by different technical devices. Each of these traditions has its sacred writings and revered philosophers, and, during long periods of time, everything that is said in them appears to be said by reference to such writings and philosophers; but sometimes there is open denial of the writings and always there is a process of surreptitious change from them., conscious or not. Arguments become more keen and better elaborated, paradoxes are raised, and scepticism or sophistry begins to flourish. It has often been noted that the great philosophical systems of China, India, and the West (to which Islamic philosophy may be said to belong) were all in part developed in answer to the potentially destructive paradoxes of men who seem to have taken pleasure in wielding the instruments of the logic they had discovered. The great systems all incorporate something of the scepticism they combat. Sankara is something of a Buddhist, and so is Chu Hsi; and the Buddhist himself has a touch of philosophical nihilism. Likewise, Plato incorporates Gorgias, Descartes incorporates Montaigne, and Kant incorporates Hume.
   If you continue to compare, you find formal or at least formalizable logic in India, including a Buddhist theory of syllogisms, which looks not un-Aristotelian, except that it has an existential qualifier. You find elaborate lists of fallacies and discussions of modes of sound and unsound argument, including Indian analyses of the types and the validity of evidence. It is possible that Sankara, the ancient Indian, depending in this upon the ‘school’ of Mimamsa, has a view of evidence like that of Karl Popper, namely, that no hypothesis can, in the positive sense, be proved to he true, but can only be shown to have successfully resisted the attacks levelled on it. Incidentally, one branch of the Mimamsa (that led by Prabhakara) teaches a Kant-like morality, for it contends that religious precepts should be carried out, not for possible reward or punishment, which are morally irrelevant, but for the sheer consciousness of duty performed. Furthermore, In Indian and Islamic philosophy, matter, time, and space are atomized, in both familiar and unfamiliar ways, while the Chinese, we are told, unify the world by means of quasi-field theories. The European problem of causality, which will be compared with the Islamic, receives a hundred Indian and a few Chinese forms, reminiscent, respectively, of the Epicurean, Stoic, Neoplatonic, Humean, Kantian, and Hegelian forms. Bertrand Russell appears to be anticipated and answered. The great Scholastic debaters of Nominalism and Realism have their peers.Briefly, there is a wealth of thought and experience concentrated in philosophical abstractions.
We now come to our third point, that the comparison we are undertaking should be factually careful and analytically close. Even though five of us are collaborating on this book, we are, individually and collectively, aware of how much there is that we ought to know but do not. But we take our relative ignorance to he a cause, not for despair, but for the attempt to be explicit about our evidence and careful in interpreting it. Too much of the study of comparative philosophy has been motivated by nationalistic pride or shame, too much of it has assumed just what it ought to have found evidence for, and too much of it has been intellectually slack. We hope that we are taking a genuine step out of our own provincialism and towards the world in which the different philosophical traditions exist as equals and together express the single humanity of them all.”

(“Philosophy East/Philosophy West: A Critical Comparison of Indian, Chinese, Islamic, and European Philosophy” Ed. Ben-Ami Scharfstein; Basil Blackwell, Oxford; 1978: pp. 1-5)

The Crystallinear Collection

The alien collector
The alien collector – not yet written.


inspectable l.c.d. consciousness
“The “extended concept of naturalism” as: “the suspending of transcendence”; “naturalism as immanence”; “there is nothing outside the world”: all these are a particular rhetoric of containment, preliminary categorisations that set up an epistemological schema or framework, a world: a world to be ruled. When transcendence was necessary, to compensate for lack of sufficient material control, a central principle was arrived at and implemented with brutal force (in the Occident, at any rate). The principle was tightly governed, authoritarian, and inflexible. As networks of cyber-kontrol and exploitation developed, the central principle was contested and recontextualised as an element of these networks. The essential movement of assimilation continued, the element of earlier brutalisations transposed into the ‘scientific’ implementations of an ‘industrialisation’ that colonised almost without limit.
As the innate pragmatics of this deprived and depraved barbarity prevailed: as the entire globe was cast into the abyss of the lowest common denominator: an ‘l.c.d. consciousness’ took hold, crystallising a mundum depletus whose ever-renewing facets glittered out to the void: powered by a circuitry of oneiric commerce, endlessly replaying nostalgic imagery of the earlier stages of liquid vitality, even of the ‘l.c.d. consciousness’ itself, all of which had been displaced: the crystal world shone its twinkling visions of frozen desire, but its invitations to the dream life were in vain, the mechanism of seductions now only a museum for passing inspection by alien ‘brains’, an exhibition of the “Era of homo insane“.”

(”The Final Refractions of Common Sense (sensus communis), the Clarifications of Commerce”, December 3, 2012)


lithographic conclusion of the Techno-Geo-Logic Era
“Powered by the petrified liquefactions of a prehistoric vitality, a contemporary vitality accelerates its transition to a solid, substantial future form, one whose glistening facets announce a fresh stratigraphic layer; the culmination of a new force of erosion, that called itself ‘Consciousness’; & the lithographic conclusion of the Techno-Geo-Logic Era.”
(”Between Monstrous Accords: the Sound of Solid Decisions”, March 8, 2016)

the spectral stone of the West
“All of this follows an oneiric logic of the Name; the Hellenic obsession with nominal glory, or glorious nominalisations, as it were. It’s a perpetually repetitive mechanics of mnemonic recognition, technologised; merging with that which formerly memorialised, inscribing the ephemerality of anthropic bios onto the enduring lithic media of monument; a monu(mentality) where nominal sign & its medium are unified in the enduring ecstasy of lithic legend – the spectral stone*, of the West.
*3D screen consciousness”
(Asymptotic Aim of the Name, April 6, 2016)

inert tablets of stone
“For that, one needs to abandon the ‘monumental’ desire of The Occident, its ceaseless & incessant self-memorialisation as inert tablets of stone; so many, they are effectively become as ‘dust’.
In this l.c.d. & ‘nanometric dust’, driven by an Occidental instructional desire; in the ‘programmable matter’ to come, where ‘world’ is become as ‘screen’; it is ‘there’, where every ‘glorious name’ is condemned to circulation in an economics of abject stupidity; that this Occidental theatricks of fear & desire imagines a resolution, & it is indeed into this ‘screen’, in which it is condemned, by its own choice, to eternally collapse.”

(“The Assumptions Informing Glorious Collapse”, 23 September 2016)

On! the Club(s) of Occidental Buddhism

These are quick responses to Matthias Steingass’ “Check out The Imperfect Buddha Podcast => “, FB post, here; & the “9.1 Imperfect Buddha Podcast on the liberating force of non-Buddhism”, there. I’ve only heard about an hour & ten minutes of the podcast, so this responds to the content up to that point.



The desire for ‘commitment’, for a ‘being together with’, whether with an ideology or communitarian sect, is inherently contradictory, if an identified form is sought, whilst at the same time, all ideological identities are proscribed.

[Laruellean Questioner?]: “Tell me something, but don’t specify anything.  If you do so specify, you are susceptible to narrow literal interpretations of ‘sufficiency’; if you don’t, you are susceptible to accusations of vagueness.”

It’s the demand to free the questioner from his/her habits, & to expand his/her mind, but to conduct this liberation in the language of the habitual; which can actually be done; but then, to do this while the questioner engages in deliberate obfuscation & contradiction, whilst demanding that such deliberations not be analysed or critiqued.
This is an enforced framing, calculated to produce ‘non-communication’ & ‘non-commitment’, lol. This calculated militancy preserves, in a farcical way, an obligatory faceted & controlled critique, within tight parameters, as a superficial commodity that can be bought & sold in the Occidental marketplace, whilst leaving all the iniquities through which that marketplace arose, & continues to be sustained, unquestioned.



On transcendence: ‘transcendence’ is always specific; it is ‘transcendence from’; it occurs as a relation, not being bound by, specified identity, or identities.



One of my FB, & SL, friends, has had a ‘white light’ experience, which is often associated with religious or theological ideas. If one wished to absolutise a physicalist interpretation, to totalise the metaphor of scientific phusis, as it were, reducing to anthropically mediated conventional notions of ‘physical process’; it can be said that a ‘white light’ experience is a resonance of being closer to being driven by the liberatory flows of stellar energy, which is an ‘origin’ of the life force coursing through all biological instantiations belonging to ‘Earth’. It could be considered a ‘solar memory’, recalling this ‘origin’; an ‘origin’ we experience, & that is reinforced, everyday.
But to say it is exclusively that, & to identify it as such, is to cut off further contextual resonances & the insights they could bring. To justify such a scission, citing economy of thought in search of some ‘true’ structural necessity underlying an allegedly supervenient ‘phenomenal’ play, is merely to dualise in the service of some ‘purpose’ or expediency, some assumed teleological structure, that equally needs to be taken into consideration, & not left in the slums of unthought dogma. This is precisely what Occidental thought has a tendency to neglect, leaving unquestioned its own animus; & rejecting all other ways of thought, either blatantly, or through some positioning of trivialising exoticism alienated into the Orient or elsewhere, as, let us not forget, an ‘identity’, always an ‘identity’. An ‘identity’ that can then be run through all the regular procedures of an essentially Aristotelian bureaucracy typifying so much Occidental discourse. The algorithm of such bureaucracy, more often than not, stifles imagination & truly effective critique, necessary for the speed of understanding.



Laruelle’s ideas are just obvious restatements of logics already within; Derrida, for instance; & in Buddhism, in Mahayana, Chan, & Zen Buddhisms; & even in prior Western receptions of those.
One has to ask the question, whether or not it is a conflation to contrast the practices of Buddhist institutions with the philosophical doctrines of a Laruelle, whilst avoiding the engagement of critical comparison between Nagarjuna, say, & Laruelle.



Both Buddhist & Hindu institutional interventions in the West, are necessarily going to contain traces of, & be constrained by, the sociopolitical distortions which can affect any other institution, whether in the ‘East’ or ‘West. Using & pointing out these factors, can indeed, constitute critique of a praxis already conforming to Occidental (Christian-Islamic) modalities, but it doesn’t constitute an engagement with actual philosophical doctrine, not even to the level of prior Western receptions. It only continues the venerable tradition of exotic inflations & deflations, where the Occident continues to speak only to itself, whilst repeating the insights of others, which initially it always pretends not to understand, as discoveries of its own.

That, in short, is the business of Buddhism.
But the texts are something else, & they are freely available.
My own awareness of Buddhism comes solely from textual encounters, decades ago. I’m well aware of the fragility of collectives & sects, so have no expectations of them. If one expects Buddhism to be yet another social club, it’s obvious that actual textual encounter with its philosophies is not one’s priority.

REFLECTIVE INTRODUCTIONS IV: from the Introduction to Rodolphe Gasché’s “The Tain of the Mirror”

“To expose the essential traits and the philosophical thrust of Derridean thought, I have chosen a triple approach. First, I ,situate and interpret Derrida’s philosophy with respect to one particular philosophical problem and its history: namely, the criticism of the notion of reflexivity. Second, while choosing that form of presentation, developed since Aristotle, that proceeds by logical dependency, I also link together a multitude of motifs in Derrida’s oeuvre in order to demonstrate the consistent nature of this philosophical enterprise, and to attempt to systematize some of its results. Third, I further develop these concerns, especially insofar as they impinge on the problem of universality, by analyzing a series of Derridean concepts that have been absorbed into deconstructionist criticism, and I clarify their philosophical status in Derrida’s work. This threefold intention broadly corresponds to the three parts of this book.
Unlike others who have attempted to situate Derrida’s thought in the history of the grand disputes concerning the question of being (Gérard Granel], or in the apocryphal history of the grammatological (Jean Greisch). not to mention certain histories bordering on the phantasmic which some philosophers and critics have devised, I discuss Derrida’s philosophy in terms of the criticism to which the philosophical concept of reflection and reflexivity has been subjected. The reasons for this choice are dearly circumstantial. Indeed the dominant misconception of Derrida is based on the confusion by many literary critics of deconstruction with reflexivity. Reflection and reflexivity, however, are precisely what will not fit in Derrida’s work – not because he would wish to refute or reject them in favor of a dream of immediacy. but because his work questions reflection’s unthought, and thus the limits of its possibility. This book’s title, The Tain of the Mirror, alludes t0 that “beyond” of the orchestrated mirror play of reflection that Derrida’s philosophy seeks to conceptualizc. Tain, a word altered from the French étain, according to the OED, refers to the tinfoil, the silver lining, the lusterless back of the mirror. Derrida‘s philosophy, rather than being a philosophy of reflection, is engaged in the systematic exploration of that dull surface without which no reflection and no specular and speculative activity would be possible, but which at the same time has no place and no part in reflection’s scintillating play.
Yet my history of the critique of reflection, outlined in Part I, is not a straightforward history. It does not describe the full range of answers suggested with respect to this question. Nor does it refer to the Anglo-Saxon and American authors who have broached this problem, from Shadworth Hodgson to Sydney Shoemaker. By contrast, Hegel’s speculative criticism of the philosophy of reflection is given what some may consider inordinate importance. But Part I is intended not as a total history of that problem, but merely as an oriented history that serves as a theoretical prelude to the systematic exposition of Derrida’s thought, which I undertake in Part II. In spite of my contention that Derrida’s philosophy must be related to the modern history of the concept of reflection and to the criticism it has drawn, I seek primarily to bring into view Derrida’s debate with the traditional paradigms of philosophy in general. The speculative form in which Hegel cast the unvarying philosophical topoi, and even their Husserlian or Heideggerian phenomenological form, are, undoubtedly, because of their strategic importance for Derrida’s writings as a whole, privileged means of access to this thinker’s discourse. But neither Hegel nor Husserl is truly at stake, nor is any other regional or historically limited form of philosophy. At stake rather is what in these authors touches on the enterprise of philosophy as such. Indeed to interpret Derrida is to confront the whole tradition of Western thought, not so much as a cumulative series of philosophical figures, however, but as a tradition rooted in and yielding to a set of unsurpassable theoretical and ethical themes and demands. These are, as I have tried to show, the real terms of reference and the adequate horizon of thought of Derrida’s philosophical enterprise, and they alone explain the radicality and contemporary attractiveness of his writing, however misconstrued they may have been.
In short, whether discussing Hegel, Husserl, or Heidegger, Derrida is primarily engaged in a debate with the main philosophical question regarding the ultimate foundation of what is. Contrary to those philosophers who naively negate and thus remain closely and uncontrollably bound up with this issue, Derrida confronts the philosophical quest for the ultimate foundation as a necessity. Yet his faithfulness to intrinsic philosophical demands is paired with an inquiry into the inner limits of these demands themselves, as well as of their unquestionable necessity.
My goal is to demonstrate that Derrida’s philosophical writings display a subtle economy that recognizes the essential requirements of philosophical thought while questioning the limits of the possibility of these requirements. Deconstruction, as I show in Part II, is engaged in the construction of these “quasi-synthetic concepts” which account for the economy of the conditions of possibility and impossibility of the basic philosophemes. Infrastructures, a word used by Derrida on several occasions in reference to these quasi-synthetic constructs, seemed to represent the mast economical way to conceptualize all of Derrida’s proposed quasi-synthetic concepts in a general manner. “Undecidables” would have been an alternative, yet ‘‘infrastructure’’ has the supplementary advantage of allowing for a problematization of Derrida’s debate with structuralism and with the Platonism that it has inherited from conservative strata in Husserlian phenomenology. The notion of infrastructures has not yet been picked up by any of those who have written on Derrida. From the perspective of my analysis of deconstruction, however – its necessity, how it is carried out, and of what its conclusions consist-the occurrence of the word infrastructure in Derrida’s writings is more than a coincidence.
In Part III, I inquire into the problems of philosophical generality and universality from a deconstructive point of view by way of a discussion of Dcrrida’s use of the terms writing, textuality, and metaphor. In each case I try to reconstruct the precise context in which these concepts become operational in Derrida’s work, and thus to determine what philosophical task they are meant to perform. Here too I suggest some of the criteria that a possible deconstructionist literary criticism would have to observe.
As an investigation into the irreducibly plural conditions of possibility of all major philosophical, theoretical, and ethical desiderata, deconstruction is eminently plural. Derrida’s philosophy, as I shall show, is plural. yet not pluralistic in the liberal sense -that is, as Hegel knew, secretly monological. This plural nature, or openness, of Derrida’s philosophy makes it thoroughly impossible to conceive of his work in terms of orthodoxy, nor simply because, since he is a living author, his work is not yet completed, but primarily because it resists any possible closure, and thus doctrinal rigidity, for essential reasons. Still, such openness and pluralism do not give license to a free interpretation of Derrida’s thought. or for its adaptation to any particular need or interest. Nor are all the  interpretations of Derrida’s thought that seek legitimacy in such openness equally valid. In this book I hope that I have found a middle ground between the structural plurality of Derrida’s philosophy – a plurality that makes it impossible to elevate any final essence of his work into its true meaning – and the strict criteria to which any interpretation of his work must yield, if it is to be about that work and not merely a private fantasy. These criteria, at center stage in this book, are, as I shall showphilosophical and not literary in nature.
Some might want to call my efforts a retranslation of Derrida’s writings back into the technical language of philosophy and its accepted set of questions. Indeed, in order to show at what precise point the questions and demands of philosophy are transgressed in Derrida’s thought, I have had to emphasize their techhnical aspects. Yet such a procedure can hardly he called a literal retranslation, since “philosophy” is spelled out in capital letters throughout Derrida’s work, his seemingly more playful texts included. If this is a retranslation at all, it is one that focuses on what Dupin describes, referring in The Purloined Letter to a certain game, as that which escapes “observation by dint of being excessively obvious.”‘ Yet this excessively obvious aspect of Derrida’s work, which so many readers have overlooked, is precisely what gives special significance to Derrida’s so-called abandonment of philosophy and its technical language.
Bur in addition to the danger of being too obvious in demonstrating the philosophical thrust of Derrida’s work, a more serious risk is involved in attempting a retranslation. Apart from the always looming danger of opacity and crudity owing to insufficient philosophical sensitivity on the part of the interpreter, the major danger is that this operation may be understood as an end in itself. Obviously this is the risk I encounter with the professional philosopher. Indeed, in referring Derrida’s philosophy back to the classical and technical vocabulary in order to determine precisely the level, locus, and effect of a deconstructive intervention in the traditional field of philosophical problematics, one may well confound the assignment of that locus with the debate itself. In spite of all the precautions I have taken – regarding, for instance, my reference to such Derridean concepts as originary synthesis and transcendentality to indicate the level on which his debate with philosophy occurs – my determination of the level and the scope of the debate may be mistaken by some for that which is at stake in the debate inelf. In this sense, rather than clarifying extremely intricate problems, my “retranslation” may even create a series of new obstacles to understanding Derrida’s thought. Yet this is the risk any interpretation must take, a risk that, as Derrida’s philosophy maintains, is always possible and thus a necessary possibility that has to be accounted for. And it is a risk that I happily assume, if I have been successful in providing some insights into a number of difficult matters not previously addressed, and especially if this book helps set forth more rigorous criteria for any future discussion of Derrida’s thought.”

Introduction to “The Tain of the Mirror: Derrida and the Philosophy of Reflection “, Rodolphe Gasché: (1986): pp. 15-19

REFLECTIVE INTRODUCTIONS III: Epigraph to “The Tain of the Mirror”

“Tain (tēin), sb. [a.F. tain tinfoil altered from F. étain, tin…].
Oxford English Dictionary

The breakthrough toward radical otherness (with respect to the philosophical concept – of the concept) always takes within philosophy,  the form of an aposteriority or an empiricism. But this is an effect of the specular nature of philosophical reflection,  philosophy being incapable of inscribing (comprehending) what is outside it otherwise than through the appropriating assimilation of a negative image of  it,  and dissemination is written on the back-the  tain-of  that mirror.
Jacques De
rrida, Dissemination”

(Epigraph to “The Tain of the Mirror: Derrida and the Philosophy of Reflection “, Rodolphe Gasché: (1986))

REFLECTIVE INTRODUCTIONS II: Seeing through the Mirror: Aleatoric Turnings: Viewing All Ways From Beyond

This is a response to a FB post, by Matthias Mauderer, “~ SEE THE MIRROR WITHOUT REFLECTION ~“, & here is the picture on that FB post:


Seeing through the mirror, & through the man (hairy arms) holding it; to the moment of sky? Is the sky, though, not ‘reflection’, ‘turning’, too?

What do you choose, to see through, & to see ‘as’? Through the ‘twists & turns’? What ‘moments’ are so privileged by the intentional & intensive gaze? By the intentio? The forced ‘picturing’? Some, none, all? Or all of those possibilities; all those deliveries, liveries, & deliverances, of the so reified?
Yes, there is a ‘metaphysics’ to all these ‘turnings’, these ‘twists’ of the ‘spirit’; of the ‘world’; of the ‘Self’; of however these veering operations are brought together, under the sign of one of their number. And, yes, level on level, of meta-configurational, or infra-configurational, possibilities, can be discerned & derived, created & generated. In such stomping-grounds, conclusions come easily.
And if it is asked, if ‘one’ asks, is there not ‘more’? Is this request for another quest, not just another ‘turning’, that presupposes the very structures it wishes to exceed?
What is the difference between ‘thinking’ & ‘breathing’? Without reducing one to the other, what is it? See the structures of both; ‘think’ them & ‘breath’ them. In this respiration, can be observed the rite, the ritual, of inspiration.


This FB post, by Matthias Mauderer, “~ SEE THE MIRROR WITHOUT REFLECTION ~“, brought to mind the need, on this blog, for explicit considerations on the philosophy of Reflection, & on the various ways it has generated metaphysical systems.
Ultimately, of course, my feeling is that this admittedly central concern in Modern philosophy is supervenient on ‘Identity’, or at least is a corollary of ‘Identity’; even if Identity is seen as configured & delivered by processes of ‘Reflection’, or in some way, constituted by movements not other than the specular. They arrive together, but this sequence of posts emphasises the reflective.