back to

e-flux conversations

What Is Philosophy? Part One: Axioms and Programs

The central thesis of this text is that philosophy is, at its deepest level, a program—a collection of action-principles and practices-or-operations which involve realizabilities, i.e., what can be possibly brought about by a specific category of properties or forms. And that to properly define philosophy and to highlight its significance, we should approach philosophy by first examining its programmatic nature. This means that rather than starting the inquiry into the nature of philosophy by asking “what is philosophy trying to say, what does it really mean, what is its application, does it have any relevance?,” we should ask “what sort of program is philosophy, how does it function, what are its operational effects, realizabilities specific to which forms does it elaborate, and finally, as a program, what kinds of experimentation does it involve?”

Even though the corollary problems of philosophy as a specialized discipline (the tenor of its discourses, its traction beyond its own domain, its applications and referential imports) can in no way be ignored, they are however problems that, as it will be argued, can only be sufficiently addressed in the context of philosophy as deeper cognitive enterprise. The primary focus of this cognitive program is to methodically urge thought to identify and bring about realizabilities afforded by its properties (theoretical and practical intelligibilities pertaining to thinking as such), to explore what can possibly come out of thinking and what thought can become.

§1. Traditionally, philosophy is an ascetic program for the craft of (general) intelligence.

Read the full article here.