Although the French philosopher, Hellenist and sinologist François Jullien has published more than thirty books, half of which have been translated into English, he remains much less known in the English-language universe than many of his fellow “French philosophers”, which may be due to his work being perceived as within the limits of sinology. This book attempts to rectify this, highlighting Jullien’s work at the intersection of Chinese and Western thought and drawing out the “unthought-of” in both traditions of thinking. This ‘unthought-of’ can be seen as the culture that conditions our thought, lessening our capacity for new ways of thinking and understanding. This notion of ‘unthought-of’ is at the core of Jullien’s methodology, operating in what he calls the ‘divergence of the in-between’. Written in an engaging style, Arne de Boever offers an accessible introduction to François Jullien’s work, in the process emphatically challenging some of the core assumptions of Western reasoning.
Introduction / 1: Chinese Utopias in Contemporary French Thought / 2: In Between the Landscape and the Nude / 3: In Management as in War / 4: François Jullien in Dialogue / 5: Conclusion: For Future François Julliens
Arne De Boever teaches American Studies in the School of Critical Studies at the California Institute of the Arts, where he also directs the MA Aesthetics and Politics program. He is the author of Plastic Sovereignties (2016), Finance Fictions (2018) and Against Aesthetic Exceptionalism (2019).
Great thinkers need outstanding interpreters to disclose their thought. If Nietzsche ceased to be a cultural psychologist after Heidegger and Derrida a literary theorist after Rodolphe Gasché, it is now through Arne De Boever that François Jullien will be perceived as much more than a sinologist. He is a true philosopher determined to draw out the ‘unthought’ of both the European and Chinese traditions. As De Boever explains, Julien does so by pursuing a ‘deconstruction from the outside’ (in opposition to Derrida’s deconstruction from the inside) of exceptionalist European thought that demonstrates how Chinese thought is unexceptional. If you want to know why and how Jullien’s philosophy ventures through the realms of Chinese aesthetics, politics, and economics to critically understand European philosophy, you must read De Boever’s unique and impressive book very carefully.