Towards a Non-Baudrillard

Theoretical Violence and the Gift

  • Matthew J. King University of Bristol
Keywords: symbolic exchange, postcapitalism, fatal strategy, nihilism, post-modernism


Against the difficulty of thinking outside conditions of the contemporary age, this paper develops a non-philosophical cloning of concepts introduced in Jean Baudrillard’s philosophy, with the aim of introducing a (counter-)gift against the present system’s reproduction. Rather than locating a revolutionary subject in the conditions of reference determined by the (capitalist) system, but also rejecting the catastrophic and nihilistic counter-gifts proposed by Baudrillard himself, this paper performs a cloning of a philosophical decision implicitly present in Baudrillard’s thinking between symbolic exchange (that which haunts the system), and sign-exchange/political economy (the system itself and its simulations), towards developing a non-classical revolutionary “subject” rooted in a plurality of knowledge practices. The cloning presents two new first names of the Real as “exchanged-without-exchange” and “(counter-)gifted-without-giftedness.” These are then taken as tools for orienting thought for imagining the outside of a capitalist/semiotic decision and bringing forth an unbound “man-to-come.” The paper thus situates future post-capitalist planning within a democracy of knowledge practices irreducible to the practices of thinking promoted by the system alone. These are already “(counter-)gifted-without-giftedness” to resist, with a theoretical, but not fatal, violence, the congealed thinking of status quo capitalism and fantastical unplanned alternatives.

Author Biography

Matthew J. King, University of Bristol

Matthew J. King is an MA student studying Philosophy at the University of Bristol. He has recently published on Baudrillard and Speculative Realism in Open Philosophy, and has further forthcoming papers exploring the potential for Baudrillard to inform contemporary philosophical and practical discussion via the encounter of his own conceptual frameworks with those of other contemporary figures. Other research and publication interests include the nature of technological objects and tendencies in human conflict, the ontology of gender, philosophy of medicine, and sexual ethics. He will be commencing a PhD studying Kantian sexual ethics in October.

How to Cite
King, M. (2020). Towards a Non-Baudrillard. Oraxiom: A Journal of Non-Philosophy, 1(1), 61-75. Retrieved from