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Why “Philosophy-World-Democracy” matters? Vital Emergence of a New Beginning

There is a new “It” journal—Philosophy World Democracy. It has all the ingredients which make a great journal and a historic moment in philosophy as the “Ends of Man” conference organised by Jacques Derrida, Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe, and Jean-Luc Nancy did in 1980. In fact, Philosophy World Democracy can be traced to that event called “Ends of Man”, but not that alone; it was founded by Mireille Delmas-Marty (Paris), Zeynep Direk (Istanbul), Divya Dwivedi (Delhi), Achille Mbembe (Johannesburg), Shaj Mohan (Delhi) and Jean-Luc Nancy (Strasbourg) in November last year. There is Jean-Luc Nancy beginning something new while there are philosophers of all generations from everywhere among its founders and scientific committee. But this fact of having the ‘big names’ is not what defines this journal, and that is not why we should follow the events unfolding it (there are many thought events already there). To understand what is Philosophy World Democracy we should a take detour. In the midst of the Corona crisis, the uneasy economic and environmental landscape, the beginning of a philosophical journal seems more akin to a kind of “elitism” and “sitting in the Ivory Tower.” After all, everyone today is a man of action, from the many experts who seek to “talk to the people” and solve their problems, to the realists who cling to their utilitarian pragmatism. However, this form of hatred and disgust for thought and submission to the immediate reality does not show honesty and realism, but rather its abstract populism, which conceives the most horrible forms of reactionism. The point, however, is that, as Hegel mentioned long ago, the owl of Minerva spreads its wings only with the coming of the dusk.
In an atmosphere in which the society of spectacle is openly complicit in the phenomena it condemns, everything is permissible, provided it remains in the cliché of “scientific and phenomenological discourse.” Today, the largest budgets are allocated by government and international institutions to a kind of Denkverbot (ban on thought), according to which the current situation is the best achievement that human beings can have, because in the past everything was much worse. In other words, what has overshadowed the intellectual world of today is a kind of rejection of thought or, in Slavoj Zizek’s words, a demand for scientific objectivity. The moment one truly questions the existing order, one is accused of abandoning scientific objectivity for the outdated ideological positions.

In the current situation, however, even the idea of difference, going beyond ideological repetition, has lost its meaning. As Jean-Luc Nancy wrote in the journal: Such is, it must not be denied, the sad state of philosophy today (including often at school and university). It is a self-styled noble version of the reign of opinion – of which perhaps in truth there is no noble version, which is always vulgar and whose vulgarity is now mediatized.[1] It is in such a context that “Philosophy-World-Democracy” matters: a commitment to publish in all languages the thoughts and ideas that transcend the usual boundaries of truth and go beyond its limitations. This commitment to ruin the barriers of thought drives the editors of the journal to translate texts into multiple languages. It is the break with all the logics that center on the distribution of accounts in the world that strengthens this collective. Through its multiple and multifaceted content, the journal aims to initiate new meanings and beginnings. Rather than the hegemony of a dominant language or idea, this is a carnival of languages and ideas. This can be seen in the special issue it published on the anniversary of Fukushima and the ongoing special issue investigating the absence of controversies in the sciences due to capitalistic control of research.
However, the multifaceted nature of “Philosophy-World-Democracy” should not be confused with the pluralistic idea of alternative modernity. Incidentally, the problem with such false pluralities is that it seeks to free the concept of modernity from its inherent contradictions and antagonisms and the way it is established in modern capitalism and reduce it to historical subspecies. In fact, Divya Dwivedi, the editor of Philosophy World Democracy, wrote recently in an ongoing debate in the journal that our task now is to destroy the “oriental-occidental difference” which precedes the “ontico-ontological difference” of Heidegger. In other words, the journal through its very existence has begun the destruction of East-West North-South axes.

This journal is characterized by a destructive and revolutionary passion that can be seen as a struggle against what is seen at first glance as natural and ordinary. This is where the political manifests itself: this collective is a stage for thinking through difference and Différance; a kind of vital emergence, a genesis of new liberties that targets the culture of domination.

It is more important than ever for philosophy to develop new ways of thinking, not by abandoning the past, but by grappling with ideas passed down to us. Critical thinking has no other goal than to create new systems from the ruins and wreckages of the past. This, of course, doubles the concrete importance of PWD, because as Shaj Mohan said in an interview ” To follow the Kantian image of the task of the philosopher, each philosopher finds in the familiar metaphysics ruins […] To philosophise is to experience the world as ruins which seek anastasis.”[2]

Thus, the manifesto of this journal should be emphasized once again: “We believe that at this time, in which collective conversation is of the utmost importance, it is urgent to begin an online journal for short, accessible philosophical and theoretical reflections without ever compromising the difficulties of thinking.”[3]

1. Jean-Luc Nancy, “End of Philosophy and the Task of Thinking”,
2. Shaj Mohan, “But, there is nothing outside of philosophy”, Eipsteme, Issue number 4, “philosophy for another time; towards a collective political imagination” (on the philosophy of Dwivedi and Mohan), February 2021, Editor Kamran Baradaran.
3. See: ————————————————————————————-Kamran Baradaran is an Iranian translator, author, journalist, and editorial consultant at “Philosophy-World-Democracy” journal. He has translated works by Slavoj Žižek, Paul Virilio, Jean Baudrillard, Antonio Gramsci, Paul Mason, among many others. He has also published a book about Écriture féminine titled Feminine Writing: Improvisation in the Mist.

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