A reading from the book The Swerve of Freedom After Spinoza.

For Byars there is no doubt that art can question. His works are figures of the question, of first and last questions, questions provoking knowledge, questions of interrogative philosophy. Yet art is not philosophy. But if art can question then it must be thinking. Thought is not reducible to philosophy. If art can question then it can question philosophy, in the sense that the questions it poses are addressed to philosophy. This is not to say that philosophy is the answer or that philosophy masters art; on the contrary, in philosophy’s responding something about philosophy is drawn by art that philosophy by itself cannot see.

Jonathan Lahey Dronsfield is Reader in Theory and Philosophy of Art, University of Reading, sits on the academic board of the Forum for European Philosophy, London School of Economics, and is a Permanent Fellow of the London Graduate School. Author (with Benoit Maire and Marcus Steinweg) of Materiality of Theory. A book on Derrida and the Visual is forthcoming, as is an edited volume on Philosophy Art Music for Art & Research, for whom he is a contributing editor. Recent performative readings include Philosophers enowning that there be no own (SMAK, Gent), A picture of French literature (Extra City Kunsthal, Antwerp) and Where language stops (Wilkinson Gallery, London).