Creating a common destiny…

For a while I thought Italian philosophy would be the new French. Sure, there’s Meillassoux and Badiou, but Continental philosophy was running out of people with accents, and the Italians were doing great work on nihilism before Brassier made it cool. Alas, Negri tells me this morning that …

When one says ‘philosophy’, one means that critical activity which allows one to grasp one’s time and orientate oneself within it, creating a common destiny and witnessing the world for this purpose. If one defines it in this way, after Giovanni Gentile and perhaps a bit Benedetto Croce, there hasn’t been any philosophy in Italy in the twentieth century.   

…which is one of his typical ways of phrasing things: if you mean by liberation x, y, and z, well, no one has ever thought of it yet. (Though as the person pointing this out, well, I’m the one doing true liberation.) He does identify here three thinkers always worth reading (Antonio Gramsci, Mario Tronti and Luisa Muraro). And if you mean by philosophy “creating a common destiny…” then really, who is doing philosophy? I really wish they had taught that in graduate school…

Incidentally, however much I love reading Negri’s provocations, this has always been what has been wrong with certain post-structuralist readings of him. Multitudes for me always meant what Dante meant by it in De Monarchia, and so let me say that if philosophy is creating the conditions for a common destiny, then I’d … prefer not.

One comment

  1. “Common destiny” would mean that people gather under one truth and follow it as a goal – there’s already a lot of that going on, it’s called comfort trough consumerism!

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