This seminar departs from the conventional readings of Karl Marx, by way of François Laruelle’s non-philosophical methods of operating with “transcendental material,”. It will aim to identify a theoretical kernel in Marx whose critical and interpretative force can be employed without reference to its subsequent philosophical interpretations. The students will explore why Marx considered his project “scientific” and in what extent his science appears as post-philosophical.
The seminar will establish parallels with Laruelle’s project of non-philosophy and the participants will closely investigate of Laruelle’s project of non-Marxism. The Seminar will engage in critical explorations of the status of concepts such as, “speculation,” “the real,” “value,” “abstraction,” “physicality,” “the human,” “the animal,” among other key concepts in both Marxist and Laruellian strands of non-philosophy. Another major theme of the course will be “metaphysics.” Marx’s rigorously descriptive language by way of unraveling the radical core of capitalist economic processes also reveals the metaphysics of capitalism. The symptomatology of this reading will display the impossibility to “overcome metaphysics,” identifying the obsession with this as a philosophical fixation. The seminar will attempt to recuperate if not also emancipate the notion of metaphysics by the virtue of radicalizing thought’s encounter with the real. Discussions will move from the already announced generic themes to the concrete issues of contemporary finance industry, automated speculation via highspeed trading (as the core of the 21st century finance industry and of capitalist metaphysics more generally speaking), the post-2008 financial crisis, the status of technology in late capitalism, sexual difference and gender, and the human and non-human body’s subjugation by Capital.
The seminar is composed of four two and a half hour sessions, each of which will be conducted as an extended seminar. Readings will be set for each week, and students will be expected to write 400 words on some aspect of the week’s topic in advance. During this period material written by the participants about the previous week will be discussed alongside the set material. Both the reading list and the student’s responses will be posted to the google classroom page for everyone to read and comment on, providing some preliminary threads for the group discussion. The final assessment will consist of an extended essay on a topic agreed upon with the instructor in advance.
Image: Sybille Bergemann, Marx-Engels Monument (sculptor Ludwig Engelhardt)