Yet, reading them together does give rise to many interesting effects, especially by broadening the scope of what one normally attributes to anti-philosophy beyond the usual suspects of relativism, skepticism, nihilism, or pluralism. As a consequence, the theme of anti-philosophy receives no explicit mention in the majority of the essays, though this is not to say that it is not touched upon, at least tangentially, throughout the volume. Only the first two essays, on Kierkegaard and Shestov, unambiguously tackle anti-philosophy hence, their position in the book as any reader would normally understand it. The authors I treat in this book can be understood as a ready-made philosophers, by analogy with the ready-made artists. An antiphilosopher is like a contemporary art curator: he contextualizes objects and texts instead of producing them. Antiphilosophy does not abolish philosophical metanoia, but rather democratizes it.
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It was a brave as well as a controversial volume, and it was particularly astute in reading socialist realism, both plastic and literary, not as a repudiation of the supremacist art of Malevich or the futurism of Mayakovsky, but as a continuation of the desire to create a politically feasible and genuinely populist avant garde, albeit within the now totalitarian strictures of Stalinism.
Given this background, I was intrigued at the publication of this new book. Although I would recommend it to anyone already interested in critical theory and the avant garde, it is not quite the book I thought it was.
It is an introduction, but one that presupposes you are already fairly well acquainted. These anti-philosophers, broadly speaking, begin with Kierkegaard and Nietzsche, and, mediated by Heidegger, lead into so-called "continental philosophy": Sartre, Barthes, Levinas, Derrida, Baudrillard et al.
There is a pressing need for an unpatronising book that outlines these fractious, contradictory and ennobling thinkers for an intelligent rather than a specialist audience, though that is not what Groys has written. In the preface he admits that "the texts that are collected in this book were written at different times, for different purposes, in different languages, and initially they were not intended to be read together".
That does not mean that there are not overarching themes, and one of the great strengths of the collection is how Groys brings Russian thinkers into play, into a series of arguments that has often, parochially, been characterised as the free-for-all French versus the logically bean-counting British. In his chapter on Nietzsche and Russian thinkers, for example, he brings a radically new perspective to writers such as Bulgakov and Bakhtin.
Two essays stand out. Groys writes beautifully about Walter Benjamin, and again proposes an eyebrow-raising idea: that Benjamin should be read as a theologian rather than as a philosopher. Benjamin certainly fits badly with a conventional version of philosophy, and Groys argues that the difference between philosophy and theology is the difference between the future and the past: the philosopher desires the truth which is just out of reach, while the theologian commemorates and repeats the transformative event which is becoming more and more distant.
His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet".
If you close only one eye, the image could as easily be product upon product lavished on the feet of Capital. A death-bed convert to Catholicism and aristocratically disdainful of the Nazis, neither executed as an inspiration for the Stauffenberg plot by the Gestapo nor tried at Nuremberg as an inspiration to Hitler, he was nonetheless the closest Germany came to an Italian futurist, a lover not of truth, but war.
But the sting is the end of the essay. Would so many thinkers adopt these ideas if their ancestry were transparent? Other essays, particularly when he writes on the internet and Marshall McLuhan, display both insight and naivety.
After having written so vividly on the persistence of the totalitarian and the theological, Groys sees the internet as somehow free from these. Imagine this: your neighbour now knows all your Google searches. Or as Heidegger said so often, Die Sprache spricht — "Language speaks" being the inadequate translation.
When readers have a pocket-sized book on these ideas, they will be delighted by Groys.
Introduction to Antiphilosophy
Biography Boris Groys b. His work engages radically different traditions from French poststructuralism to modern Russian philosophy, yet is firmly situated at the juncture of aesthetics and politics. At the end of this fellowship, he left the Soviet Union and moved to the Federal Republic of Germany. During this time, Groys was also a visiting professor in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literature at the University of Pennsylvania, followed by another appointment at the University of Southern California, also in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literature.
Biography[ edit ] Groys attended high school in Leningrad known since as St. From — he studied mathematical logic at the University of Leningrad , subsequently working as a research fellow at various scientific institutes in Leningrad. From he served as a research fellow at the Institute of Structural and Applied Linguistics at the University of Moscow. He earned a Ph.
Boris Groys: Anti-philosophy and Politics of Recognition