Meillassoux on not understanding Laruelle

In the midst of finishing an article on Laruelle’s non-philosophy in relation to thinking the Absolute I was revisiting the remarks of Quentin Meillassoux concerning Laruelle at the Speculative Realism event transcribed in Collapse III. In addition to making me nostalgic for a time when the very phrase “speculative realism” didn’t also signify “self-aggrandizing marketing tool-being”, but actually introduced me to three thinkers whose work I found extremely interesting, challenging, and productive of thought (two as enemies and one as an ally, and a forth whose work failed to capture my attention), it also served to remind me of the occasional series here about philosophers not understanding Laruelle.

When I first opened the text again I had the vague memory of finding Meillassoux’s criticisms annoying, but reading them again I was genuinely taken aback by the force of his more cogent remarks (which I try to respond to in the forthcoming article). The annoyance stems in part from a criticism Meillassoux makes regarding the axiomatic nature of Laruelle’s Real beyond or indifferent to thought, Being, Alterity, and all other forms of authoritarian transcendence (within theory). Meillassoux essentially says that, unlike his own proof that allows him to radicalize the correlationist circle, Laruelle can only posit a Real beyond thought. When a philosopher than comes along and tries to challenge this non-philosophical axiom Laruelle can only claim that this is philosophical resistance arising from the underlying structure of decision and so, of course, the philosopher will not understand non-philosophy. Whereas, Meillassoux claims, he enters into the debate and performs a kind of immanent critique (not his words, but it suffices).

I suppose one could find this tendency in Laruelle, or at least feel frustrated by his indifference to the conventions of philosophical debate, but Meillassoux’s attempt to show this to be the case still rings of a misunderstanding that can only arise from a resistance (despite his annoyance at this term!) that twists the very identity of non-philosophy and, in so doing, obscures (at least it did for me) the more cogent and interesting criticisms in his remarks. In short, he completely misreads the name of non-philosophy. He said,

“Non-philosophy is supposed to think the relation of thinking with a Real which precedes philosophy, but the name ‘non-philosophy’ can only be constructed from the name ‘philosophy’ together with a negation. Philosophy precedes non-philosophy in nomination, as in the acts of thinking. Hence we have the first and manifest pragmatic contradiciton between what Laruelle says about the Real and what he does when elaborating this notion (p. 419).”

Yet, Laruelle (and Brassier, whose synthetic reading Meillassoux is partly responding to) is clear in every article and book of non-philosophy that the name does not refer to a negation of philosophy, but is analogous to non-euclidean geometry and is a science of philosophy (hence the theory of the philosophical decision) and subsequent mutation via a different set of axioms (thus his reworking of philosophical material like Being and Alterity from the vision-in-One). Meillassoux says that this axiomatic stating of the Real is “something that can be neither demonstrated nor discussed”. Yes, axioms are starting points that are assumed to be true (and in non-philosophy this takes the form of a number of “as if”, i.e. “as if One”), and their veracity stands on the strength of the theorems developed from them (though not deduced from them), which is why you have different mutations of non-philosophy depending on the axioms posited (so Serge Valdinoci has developed his own mutation that he calls europanalyse and my own non-philosophical work with ecology takes a very different form than Laruelle’s (non-)humanism). In fact, though Meillassoux’s own realism is said by Badiou to be a proof, his own thought rests on certain unacknowledged axioms regarding primary and secondary qualities.

The real difference between the two philosophers has to do with the order of the Real as such (and I’m refusing here the difference Meillassoux tries to set up between the Real and realism) in relation to thought. For Meillassoux it is necessary to point to some ancestral moment prior to thought to break from subjective metaphysics, or what Laruelle calls the melange of thought and the Real, and what that ultimately means is that one must think a time preceding any possible thought or manifestation. Brassier flips this and instead of thinking from a time prior to thought attempts to breaks the circle through a radicalized nihilism that thinks a time posterior to all thought in the extinction of the universe. Laruelle’s theory of time can be said to refuse these two empirical theories and instead posits a determination-in-the-last-instance of thought by the Real. This determination does not posit a time prior or after to thought, but instead marks a unilateral determination of thought by the Real in each moment, thought is Real but the Real is not, as such, related to thought. This, in my view, is preferable to either the arche-fossil of Meillassoux or the nihilism of Brassier, because it passes the extensity test in thinking both the human and the Real without the need to rid itself of one to think the other.

38 thoughts on “Meillassoux on not understanding Laruelle

  1. This is all interesting, although I feel that it might fail to respond to the central issue Meillassoux raises. You are of course right to challenge Meillassoux’s reading of the ‘non’ of non-philosophy, but I’m not sure Meillassoux’s criticism is dependent upon that negative reading. In addition, your statement of the difference between Meillassoux and Laruelle (and indeed Brassier) in terms of the arche fossil (or extinction) seems to ignore the fact that the arche fossil is more of a case study for Meillassoux (which demonstrates certain symptomatic features of correlationist thought) than a central part of his demonstration of the Absolute or Real. If one is going to set the debate between these two (or three) thinkers then its going to have to be on the basis of the difference between axiomatics and demonstration itself.

    I think it is interesting to interpose Ray here between Meillassoux and Laruelle, as his appropriation of non-philosophy in Nihil Unbound gives us a nice starting point from which to think. This is precisely because he says that what non-philosophy does is not to suspend an axiom of philosophy as such, but to suspend an axiom which is constitutive of the correlationist form of philosophy. One might disagree with this, but taking it as granted for now, we can see that it leaves us with a broader standpoint – philosophy as such – from which to judge the suspension of the correlationist axiom against the purported direct refutation of it Meillassoux provides. We have a perspective from which to judge precisely what suspension and demonstration are, and whether a given attempt at either is legitimate/successful.

    Moving away from Ray’s compromise position, it seems like we lose the common ground, because it seems as if anything that could give an account of the structure of suspension, and judge its efficacy in relation to something like demonstration, must fall within philosophy and thus be classified as ‘resistant’. However, I for one find this move problematic. There must be some perspective which is neither philosophical or non-philosophical from which we can analyse and compare suspension and demonstration/refutation. At the very least there must be some immanent account of axiomatic thought which provides us with good reason for thinking there cannot be such comparison.

    As much as I disagree with Meillassoux’s own attempt to demonstrate the Real, I think his demand that it should be so demonstrated is a profound one, and I am yet to be convinced that this demand itself stems from something which is characteristic of philosophy that it is possible to suspend, i.e., I am unconvinced that the demand to demonstrate the Real can itself be suspended by an axiomatic positing of it.

  2. I like how you pose Meillassoux and Brassier as both offering empirical theories (against, perhaps, more transcendental ones), the difference being the former’s ‘ex ante facto’ stance (the ‘Real’ object contained in an ‘Absolute Time’ beyond ‘correlationist time’, forever receding from the hermeneutical horizon that attempts to inscribe it within an immanent field of retroaction) and the latter’s ‘ex post facto’ stance (the ‘Real’ as the Absolute nihilism of the universe’s ultimate death).

    When new philosophies appear, it seems that we sometimes overlook how they are repetitions of past ideas (probably the case of ‘non-philosophy’ too). This isn’t to say that the new is bad, just that the ‘newness’ can often be distracting. What I like about your above post is that it points to their shared and implicit reference point of Hume.

  3. Pete,

    Thanks for the message. I think my point regarding Meillassoux’s weak argument (which I do think is centred in his discussion of the name of non-philosophy) is that it miscasts the concept of resistance and, to a lesser extent, axioms or at least it doesn’t touch on axioms in a way that his own work in After Finitude would escape.

    Resistance is not a coded way of saying “no arguments”, which is what Meillassoux suggests in his remarks. Resistance is a necessary response to non-philosophical axioms since they are axioms directly opposed to philosophy as such. What I mean by that is, if Laruelle is right and there is a certain spirit of “everything is philosophizable”, then philosophy will try to philosophize this via the creation of new concepts. Non-philosophy doesn’t create new concepts, it reorganizes and selects concepts in philosophy from the Real (I realize this is a bit circular). Thus, the resistance it speaks of is not the resistance of two philosophers meeting on the same grounds.

    This doesn’t mean that the non-philosopher can’t act like a philosopher, anyone who is engaging in non-philosophical work can also have philosophical arguments with philosophers but this will not be non-philosophy as such (just like a physicist can have arguments with philosophers and vice versa without that meaning they are actually doing physics when they do philosophy, etc.).

    Now, you ask about the question of judgment/evaluation. Laruelle’s radical answer, and for all that perhaps really unsatisfying, is that we have to judge it from the Real itself as known from the vision-in-One (so via identity rather than melange). Where for Meillassoux this means from primary qualities, for Laruelle it means something like from “the actuality” of the thing in itself. Now, I think Laruelle actually passes the extensity test better here than Meillassoux because he doesn’t claim to judge from a kind of potential but from a kind of actual “All” (though one without consistency or sufficency and thus he calls it the One).

    That was a lot of stuff coming at once, but I hope it forms some kind of response to your very helpful remarks. I will say that the strong criticism of Meillassoux is what I’m grappling with right now, essentially how to formulate the response to his criticism that a posited Real is still something posited, meaning something within thought and thus not outside the circle of correlation or, in Laruelle’s terms, decision or melange. I think the answer is found in Laruelle’s actualism, but I need to find the formulation that is, as you say, a demonstration of the Real while still holding to the axiomatic nature of non-philosophy.


    Yes, Laruelle recognizes that he isn’t doing something new here for the sake of it or that he’s not bringing about a revolution in thought. He outlines the non-philosophies that come before his and how he understands his to be an improvement on them in his “Response to Deleuze”, which is translated in the latest Pli.

  4. APS,

    I have no Laruelle directly, and only have absorbed aspects his thought from Reid’s supplimentary comments, but inherently I am picking up strong (heterodoxic) Spinoza sympathies. (If you have any Laruelle essays you can email me in English, I would love it: , of coures.)

    But when you say:

    “Where for Meillassoux this means from primary qualities, for Laruelle it means something like from “the actuality” of the thing in itself.”

    This is very close to the project I find Spinoza to be engaged in, and the entire purpose of his identity of “idea” and “thing”, a kind of forcing the analytic gaze back down into the brute reality of the coincidence of thing and idea, deflating the spiralings of philosophy, all the while restricting the knowledge we can have to a finite horizon.

    Can you expand upon what it means to turn to the “actuality”?

  5. Kevin,

    Sure, Deleuze noted a Spinozist aspect to Laruelle’s work as well, but Laruelle responded quite aggressively to this. I think there are certainly sympathies (I explore them in a chapter of my dissertation), but he wouldn’t be a Spinozist properly so called.

    I take actuality to refer to something akin to a Bergsonian empiricism, or turn to experience, without the the transcendence of the empirical. I’ll try to return to this in another post where I respond some to Pete’s criticisms.

  6. Is there anyway to take a look at that chapter in your dissertation? I would also add that Deleuze’s point about Spinoza and Laruelle might very well not exhaust the comparison, for Deleuze is famous for using Spinoza as a Platform for his own theorizing. I suspect that the connections I see between Spinoza and Laruelle are not those that Deleuze saw (I could be wrong of course), but I have not read any Spinozist really draw out the aspects I have in mind (though some materialists such as Balibar and Montag have helped me become more aware of them).

    Again, I would much appreciate the opportunity to view the Spinoza chapter in your dis.


  7. p.s., what I have in mind is that Spinoza’s psychology is one that drives the thinker (philosopher) to consider all the thoughts he/she entertains as states of his/her body, closing down any representational or even referential quality.

  8. Thanks for sending me Laruelle’s response to Deleuze’s critique. As far as Laruelle refusing a Spinozist correspondence, there seem to be two factors.

    The first is really polemic, as Laruelle rejects the Figure of Spinoza as it operates in either Christ-like or Fraternal exemplars, bordering between aristocracy and democracy, as Laruelle says. Unfortunately this polemic directed at Deleuze’s figuration of Spinoza, and not at Spinoza himself. I am unsure how “aristocratic” Spinoza the man was (positioned as he was at the edge of social standing in at least two ways, and happy to remain there); but in any case, one would be hardpressed to place Spinoza’s philosophy itself on the side of an aristocracy.

    The second refusal comes from framing Spinoza’s Substance/God/Nature as One-and-all. Spinoza does not really do this at all, as this is a Pantheism Controversy (Lessing, Schelling, etc) re-invention of Spinoza. The hen kai pan is actually NOT Spinoza, so it is very hard to coherently position Laruelle’s refusal to Spinoza himself.

    This is not to say that Laruelle is Spinozist, I can’t tell at this point, but only to say that each of his rejections of Spinoza strongly miss the mark, almost with symptomatic excess (!?).

    The question is, aside from Laruelle’s generation of a self-circulating framework of vocabulary, meant to stand obliquely to philosophy, is his subversion of the Philosophical (largely a philosophy in its Kantian and post-Kantian avatarship) in kinship with Spinoza’s own pre-Kantian inversions of the philosophical, the philosophical text, and the philosopher himself?

  9. APS,

    Perhaps you can clear this up, for you seem familiar with Spinoza’s philosophy, and Laruelle. I genuinely a bit confused. I’m trying to get a grip on how Spinoza’s philosophy is “Decisional” (the cardinal sin, and constitutive mark of all Philosophy).

    The Decision, I read is an intial splitting of the empirical datum and the a priori faktum.

    In Spinoza, what is the “empirical datum” and what is the “a priori faktum”? And if there is no firm correspondent to these somewhat Kantian two, would Spinoza’s philosophy still be considered “Decisional”?

  10. The philosophical decision is not a sin. In the same way that many have jumped on the anti-correlationist bandwagon and seem to think that anyone who holds to some form of this thought is nothing more than a moron, while the one who diagnosed the problem (Meillassoux) does not share this same pure antipathy, Laruelle’s location of the philosophical decision is not purely wrong, it is not a sin. In fact it is the sign of philosophy’s salvation in a sense, since it means that everything is not philosophizable (since philosophy can’t get past its own essence).

    The problem in Spinoza is the convertibility of the One with the All, for Laruelle. This leads to all sorts of amphibologies and melanges, rather than any kind of identity. The split is then between the natura naturans and the natura natuarta, in Spinoza. I do think this leads to a kind of slippage in Spinozist thought, but one that can be recast non-philosophically and still Spinozistic. Laruelle’s polemics, and the polemical nature of this period in his thought (Philosophy II), are not, to my mind, the best part of non-philosophy and can lead to distraction.

  11. I was being a bit humorous or rhetorical with reference to the “cardinal sin”. I see that Laruelle can be quite rhetorical himself in his crit of Deleuze :).

    As for the convertability of the One and the all, I don’t see where he finds this. Spinoza never expresses himself in either of these terms. If the split is between naturans and the naturata, which performs the role of the empirical datum. His distinction (which is supposed to be a scientific distinction in Laruelle) doesn’t seem to hold. When “I” (and Laruelle seems far to prediposed to finding an “ego” in Spinoza, which he corresponds to the same “all”/”one) percieves something, this LITERALLY is a natura naturans action.

    To put it another way, his distinction “decision” works pretty good for Kant, and perhaps post-Kantian influenced philosophy, but I can’t see how the scheme/content “decision” (Kantian) ellucidates pre-Kant Spinoza.

    In Laruelle’s comments on Spinoza his problem with him seems to actually fall not on the naturans/naturata, but rather upon the Substance/Attributes distinction. I just can’t seem to locate the REAL one original “Dyad”. Why for instance would it not be between Attributes/modes? It just seems that Spinoza does not fit easily into his scientific diagnosis.

    Thanks for answerng my questions on Spinoza. It does help me think of Spinoza in a different way, which is always appreciated.

  12. In the same way that many have jumped on the anti-correlationist bandwagon and seem to think that anyone who holds to some form of this thought is nothing more than a moron…

    Correction: a neoliberal moron.

  13. Wait, “non-euclidean geometry” is still geometry, it just denies the parallel postulate. It’s not as if anyone does “non-geometry”. Unless “non-philosophy” is actually non-x philosophy, for some x. (Non-philosophical philosophy?)

  14. I too find problems with the analogy of “non-Euclidean” geometry, specifically because Laruelle declares that it must not be taken only as a “metaphor”:

    Laruelle: “Thus, it is necessary to take the expression ‘non-philosophy quite literally, so to speak. It is not just a metaphorical reference to ‘non-Euclidean.”

    If its not just an analogy its invites criticism, or at least that its literal nature should be investigated and traced out. I’m writing a post on this right now, suggestively.

    I don’t find “ben”s comment offensive, do you?

  15. Ben and I do not get along, for reasons that are interesting to no one, so I have asked him in the past not to comment on my posts. I only didn’t delete this one because I figured it brought up a misconception that could easily be avoided.

    You’re not reading that sentence correctly. He isn’t saying it isn’t too be taken metaphorically, he is saying it is more than just a metaphor, but it is clear from the rest of the paragraph that this “rest that is not just a metaphor” has nothing to do with non-Euclidean geometry as such.

  16. In other words the literal nature refers to the “non” in relation to the (non-)One. This is explained partly in the notes I typed up for Les Philosophies de la difference. You can also find a clearly explanation in his En tant qu’un.

  17. Sorry I did not know the history with you and ben.

    When you say: “You’re not reading that sentence correctly. He isn’t saying it isn’t too be taken metaphorically, he is saying it is more than just a metaphor”

    It seems that you are not actually reading what I said. I did not say that “it isn’t to be taken metaphorically”, I in fact said exactly what you said, which is:

    Kvond: “Laruelle declares that it must not be taken ONLY as a “metaphor”.

    I bold the “only” to show that we are in agreement here.

    If it is not ONLY to be read as a metaphor, then there must be a literal connection. Now you say that the literal connection is:

    “the “non” in relation to the (non-)One.”

    Could you explain, briefly, how Non-Euclidean Geometry LITERALLY performs a “(non-) One relationship to Euclidean Geometry?

    I mean Non-Euclidean Geometry arose over the much contested through history 5th postulate, and the development of non-Euclidean Geometry in no way creates a geometry that has any sort of “meta” position to Euclid’s Geometry, that is, it does not in any way take the datum of Euclid’s geometry as its objects. In simply creates a different space.

    To put it a different way, Kant imagined that Euclid’s geometry was logically necessary. Does not the non-Euclid analogy simply position non-philosophy specifically as a critique of Kant (and Kantianisms) and not philosophy itself?

  18. Kevin,

    I think we’re still talking past one another here. My point is that the passage you are quoting means that “non-philosophy” has an identity that arises out of its own practice and is not tied to some literal connection with non-Euclidean geometry. So, I wouldn’t feel at all comfortable speculating on the relationship between the different practices of geometry. If your whole point is that non-philosophy is a critique of Kant and post-Kantian philosophy and doesn’t touch on Spinoza (which, if I can be frank and friendly, this seems to be your ultimate goal) you need not do so via a questionable analysis of this one phrase. Obviously the language Laruelle uses is Kantian and so the burden of evidence is on him to show this decisional structure at work in pre-Kantian philosophers. I am a bit worried though that you’re focusing on this simply because he made some polemical remarks about Spinoza in an essay where he was called Spinozist.

  19. Actually, Anthony (you can delete this comment if you like since I’m just leaving it to communicate with you) I had completely forgotten that you’d asked me not to comment on your posts. FWIW, I only left the comment in the first place because I actually wanted to know how to take the reference to non-euclidean geometry, in which there is a quite specific thing that is “non”ed. I’m not trying to irritate you! honest.

  20. Fair enough.

    It is my understanding that he first used the analogy to explain that he wasn’t negating philosophy, but doing something similar using different axioms. I think your point is fine, Laruelle might disagree, but I don’t see how all things that are called “philosophy” can share the essence he proposes. So, I take it to mean that his notion of philosophy is particular to a certain set of European philosophers, largely post-Kantian, rather than being applied to, say, Richard Rorty.

  21. Hmmm. Well, this is “my goal” (I happen to be writing a post on my experiences with an interchange with you and Laruelle at the moment, I can cannot help but pollute my questions with the subject I am writing on, but generously put, I happened to be writing exactly upon the question of this analogy towards the non-Euclidean just as a read ben’s comment, and could not help but try to gain clarity from you.) So, I am trying not to drive this “goal” down your throat.

    I actually find the rhetorical devices of philosophers very interesting, not simply in an attempted destruction of their philosophy. They reveal much of their thinking. In certain way the non-Euclidean reference is very complex, condensing several ideas into one.

    But I can get back to us “talking past” each other. I still am not grasping the LITERAL part of the metaphor.

    The metaphor seems to be this, at base:

    1. Euclidean G. and Philosophy both operates under a set of axioms.

    2. Non-Euclidean G. and Non-Philosophy are created through a difference in axioms.

    Here, we are dealing only with the analogy itself. But when Laruelle then says that the connection between NEG and Non-Philosophy is not ONLY this, just what is this extra, literal connection composed of?

    Is it nothing more than his exposure of a certain naieve “faith” in decisional philosophy, just as there is a kind of naieve faith in Euclidean geometry? I can accept this, of course, I’m just tracing out the claim of a “not only”.

    Brassier calls the relationship of the “nons” between non-philosophy and non-Euclidean geometry as “rigourous but anexact”. Laruelle also is someone who likes to invoke topology (in the context of Lacan), so it is not as if this appeal to strange geometry is made in a vaccum.

  22. “Here, we are dealing only with the analogy itself. But when Laruelle then says that the connection between NEG and Non-Philosophy is not ONLY this, just what is this extra, literal connection composed of?”

    That’s what I’ve tried to explain you are misreading. There is no literal connection between NEG and non-philosophy. Non-philosophy is not just a metaphor derived from NEG, it is something else too, but that something else has no relation, literal or metaphorical, to NEG. That’s what he is saying there.

  23. Ah. You are saying that the way you read the line is that non-philosophy must not be read as ONLY in reference to non-Euclid? i.e., its something quite apart from such a comparison.

    I don’t know, there is no other mention of Euclid in the context there that would have caused one to imagine that there it could ONLY interpreted as a “non” in comparison with NEG. Such a reading would require a previous comparison made, which isn’t in the text at all.

    And such a reading would not at all alleviate Brassier’s equally non-metaphorical reading of the comparison:

    “Accordingly, if the singular import of Laruelle’s thought is to be properly grasped, it is necessary that the “non”- in the expression “non-Decisional philosophy” be interpreted as the rigorous but anexact counterpart of the “non-” in the expression “non-Euclidean geometry”.”

    Alien Theory

    This flies in the face of your claim that there “is no literal connection”. What is a “rigorous” counterpart (analogy) other than a literal connection?

  24. At this point I feel like you’re willfully choosing to read it the way it obviously isn’t meant to be read. The fact that Brassier wrote something does not fly in the face of anything that I’m saying Laruelle said in this particular context. I know you are a stubborn man and so I doubt I’m going to convince you that you’re wrong, but really, you’re wrong on this and your reasons for why your reading it that way make no sense to me.

  25. Hmm. I’m stubborn I guess when something makes no sense, and I would propose that you and I are the same in this (and it is not a character flaw of mine). As I said, Brassier makes very much the same kind of claim about the “not only” metaphorical nature of the comparison (I did not make up his reading). Perhaps he too is wrong, this is possible. It is not just that Brassier “wrote something”, its that he wrote that there is a rigorous but anexact comparison to be made.

    Also, I fully accept that I might be reading Laruelle’s “not just” incorrectly. It perfectly is possible, but as I have tried to point out, there are some contextual problems with this. To draw them out.

    1. Before Laurelle’s “not just metaphorical” there has been NO reference to non-Euclidean geometry. So Laruelle would be distancing himself from an analogy he hasn’t even made, something of a non sequitor.

    2. Why ever would it be imagined that the meaning of “non-philosophy” (his entire science of philosophy) is MERELY a metaphorical reference to non-Euclidean? A metaphor he hasn’t even presented. This would mean that Laruelle is saying “Hey, despite the temptation to think that “non-philosophy” is some sort of non-Euclidean analogy, it actually has its own reasons for being.” Again, it could be that he is saying just this sort of thing, but it makes little sense, in context.

    Aside from Brassier’s claims of a rigorous connection, your reading makes less sense in terms of context. In fact your own reference to the analogy also infers a kind of literal connection:

    From your post: “Yet, Laruelle (and Brassier, whose synthetic reading Meillassoux is partly responding to) is clear in every article and book of non-philosophy that the name does not refer to a negation of philosophy, but is analogous to non-euclidean geometry and is a science of philosophy”

    You slide from analogy, to geometry to science. Its like a form of geometry, and thus is a kind of science. Of course you may not have meant this, but this kind of sliding seems implicit in not only Laruelle’s use of it, but Brassier and yours as well. I don’t think it is wrong to test this out.

    I post this just for reference, and give you the last word, for sure. I appreciate your attempt to make the passage clear, and I certainly am glad to have your reading of it.

  26. You’re projecting your reading onto Brassier’s and overloading his use of the word “rigorous” with your meaning of “literal”, and ou even slide away from the anexact (i.e. rigorous analogy, not literal connection). The text of Laruelle you cite from makes no sense if he’s trying to show a literal connection to NEG, because he goes on to talk about the (non-)One, which has nothing at all to do with NEG. At this point we’re going in circles though. As to my slippage, well, no. Not at all. The science part doesn’t follow from its analogy to NEG, and it wouldn’t make sense to say that since NEG doesn’t claim to explain EG as a science.

    I’m not against you writing up whatever you want, I just think you’re overcoding a metaphor, but if that’s your bag then that is your bag.

  27. Ah damn. You ARE actually right, now that you force me to read the passage in a kind of reverse. This, what preceded the “not just metaphorical” claim:

    “Non-philosophy is obviously not a theory of knowledge or a system in general. It is a real-transcendental science of the world. The only way of discovering it is by relativizing the exclusive primacy of the logic that hides it and prevents one noticing it in philosophy, even of the non-analytical kind. We could say, in our customary style, that it is a transcendental logic that is real-and-nothing-but rather than logical; one that is without-logic or non formal, so to speak. Contrary to the logicist reduction of philosophy, which leaves the hidden prerogatives of philosophical sufficiency intact, specifically in the form of positivity and hence of a kind of dogmatism, this non-philosophical reduction of philosophy is at once real-transcendental and capable of a wide variety of realizations, not only in terms of logic but in terms of the sciences in general. There is an instance that is more radical than logic, and this is the real. Not that it is possible to replace logic by just any science while maintaining the same privileges for the latter. It is the universal posture of science that must take the place which in philosophy is held by the restricted universality of logic. Non-philosophy shatters the strictures of logic and analytical reduction, just as it dissolves the residues of a compulsory, exclusive and primary logic in the transcendental logic of philosophers, granting the transcendental the sole support of the radical real, and hence the possibility of entering into combination with each of the sciences.”

    What you have caused me to realize is that THIS is the metaphorical appeal to non-Euclidean Geometry, the challenging of the axioms of philosophy, and then what follows is NOT just this comparison (thank you).

    But problem still remains because the above paragraph actually contains the “rigorous” nature of the analogy. You’ve helped me out on this because you forced me to find the assumed analogy itself. In fact Laruelle actually exposes the implicit move from “geometry” to “science”. Laruelle imagines that his change of axioms achieves a science status by shattering the logic of the analytic.

    So when you say: ” As to my slippage, well, no. Not at all. The science part doesn’t follow from its analogy to NEG, and it wouldn’t make sense to say that since NEG doesn’t claim to explain EG as a science.”

    I completely agree that it doesn’t make sense, but it seems that this is exactly what Laruelle is attempting to complish through the analogous comparison.

    I’m sorry to repost after I said that you have the last word, but in the very least I had to report that I actually have found your reading the right one, if only to the reassert the problem of the comparison.

    If indeed Laruelle is saying non-philosophy is MORE than the comparison of its non- to the non- of NEG, this comparison must be the one he just had performed.

    All the same thanks for your thoughts. much care.

  28. APS: “In fact it is the sign of philosophy’s salvation in a sense, since it means that everything is not philosophizable (since philosophy can’t get past its own essence).”

    This strikes me as similar to Lacan. I haven’t read any Laruelle, but I’m curious as to how you think Laruelle might view Lacan in this respect.

  29. You can read the entry for “non-psychoanalysis” in the Dictionary of Non-Philosophy (translation available at Speculative Heresy). Laruelle is, in part, a post-Lacanian thinker and deeply influenced by his notion of the Real. He has, as you might expect from this discussion, some disagreements as well though, especially in relation to Lacan’s understanding of man/humanity.

  30. Have been wondering about Laruelle: since he is about cloning other paradigms, hypothetically, would non-philosophy have been possible before the *first* philosophy, that is, before there was a philosophy (or other system of thought) to clone from?

  31. Thanks! That’s what I thought, it just seemed/seems odd to me, since it makes me wonder what Laruelle (who I find utterly fascinating) would have come up with when people where still thinking pre-philosophical thoughts..

  32. Well, that’s sort of my point against Meillassoux. Laruelle’s thought isn’t set up in this kind of order of operation sense, there is no “pre-philosophical” Real that he’s trying to get to. Rather, there are two orders of experience, there is that of the Real (as One) and there is that of the World (as philosophy). The relationship between these two orders is unilateral, meaning that philosophy does not determine the first order of experience. Non-philosophy attempts to think about this more rigorously.

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