Frank Rudha: Counterhistory of Rationalism

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“The ultimate philosophical figure for this retroactive inversion, the thinker who, strictly speaking, invented it, is Hegel. The present book is therefore written in a Hegelian spirit (Was there ever any other?) and, methodologically speaking, seeks to present a kind of Hegelian counterhistory of rationalism in philosophy.”

– Frank Rudha, Abolishing Freedom: A Plea for a Contemporary Use of Fatalism

Frank Rudha in his new book will argue that fatalism is an assumption that makes it possible to prepare for what one cannot prepare for— that is, for what Badiou calls an “event.” His argument resembles to some extent what Jean-Pierre Dupuy calls “enlightened doom-saying.” Dupuy argues that what might seem impossible, namely a final (for example, ecological) catastrophe that would end the present order of things, is nonetheless absolutely certain based on our present knowledge. Assuming that this catastrophe is our destiny might then retroactively change the conditions of possibility of this very destiny. It may retroactively make it possible to change what appears to us as fate. His argument also bears a strong similarity to what Slavoj Žižek calls the “inversion of the apocalypse”— a maneuver that does not take the apocalypse as something that we will have to face in the future but as something that already took place.1

In this sense we could argue that the worst case scenario of Climate Change has already happened, and yet because we know this we can retroactively “change the conditions of possibility of this very destiny”. What would that mean for us change the conditions of our destiny, our fate? How? By what means? Dupuy’s “enlightened doom”? Zizek’s “inversion of the apocalypse”? If we take the notion that it is not in the future, but that we will have to face something that already took place” how to change what seems already laid down in fate? Ultimately as he suggests “The ultimate philosophical figure for this retroactive inversion, the thinker who, strictly speaking, invented it, is Hegel.”

I’m continuing his book… stayed tuned for more tomorrow… we seem in our time to have two threads running in philosophy: one that promotes – as Badiou terms it “democratic materialism,” a form that includes the likes of Deleuze, Land, Bataille, etc., in their stance as antagonists – along with naturalists, of a non-dialectical materialism that despises the dialectic; and, the other the dialectical materialism as shown forth by Badiou, Zizek, Johnston, Rudha, Bosteels, and others… I’ve been keeping both in view on this site for some time. Playing the one against the other in a sort of continuous exchange of concept and non-concept, countering one another against each other.


1. Ruda, Frank (2016-05-01). Abolishing Freedom: A Plea for a Contemporary Use of Fatalism (Provocations) (Kindle Locations 224-231). UNP – Nebraska. Kindle Edition.

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