OOO’S GENERIC META-FANTASM: REWRITING THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY

OOO has on its conscience an incredibly simplified and deformed history of philosophy by means of its its key concept of “correlationism”, or of the even vaguer Harmanian version: the “philosophy of access”. In this grand narrative OOO emerges after a long history of correlational philosophies, including the structuralist and poststructuralist thought-systems that immediately preceded them.

This fantasmatic negative history of post-kantian philosophy is even more desolating in its postive form, where it speaks of its fantasised intellectual “allies”, and not just of its polemical adversaries. The idea that OOO is a genus containing many different species, allows for the various conflicting positions by subsuming them under a unitary generic category.

This generic status of object-orientedism introduces a form of relativism at the meta-level, applied to the (extended) list of OOO philosophers (i.e. to the OOOxians and to anyone that their impudent propaganda can annex to the movement as being OOO-like). OOO fears internal debate and concentrates its polemics on the correlational others, with a very few swipes at each other. Thus the myth of a unified movement is maintained by semantic ascent to a generic unity that abstracts out from all the radical divergences. What is left is a generic category with no substance and a meta-history with no credibility.

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PHILOSOPHIE DE LA NATURE DE PAUL FEYERABEND

Resté inédit pendant une trentaine d’années, ce manuscrit était rédigé par Feyerabend au début des années 70. Il opère ici la transition entre les oeuvres à dominance méthodologique, qui culminent dans la grande synthèse CONTRE LA MÉTHODE (1975), et ceux écrits après son tournant ontologique (qui s’exprime notamment dans LA TYRANNIE DE LA SCIENCE et dans CONQUEST OF ABUNDANCE).

Note: en fait le souci ontologique traverse toute l’œuvre de Feyerabend, mais se dégage plus explicitement quelques années après la publication de CONTRE LA MÉTHODE.

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RELATIVISTIC CLOSURE vs QUANTUM OPENNESS

The quasi-totality of Laruelle’s work is marked by the drive to go beyond the habitual confines of philosophical thought. This drive to genericity while praiseworthy in itself has had some unfortunate repercussions on Laruelle’s texts. He spends much time alluding to and enumerating all the possible philosophical options in order to distance himself from them, but correspondingly less time on exemplifying the non-standard thought outside these confines. Further his enumerations are typically incomplete, procrustean lists of boxes into which he tries to force any and all philosophers. Thus he tries to squeeze Deleuze and Foucault into boxes into which they clearly do not fit. In general, Laruelle is a very unreliable narrator concerning contemporary rivals such as Deleuze or Foucault. We are entitled to ask: what is the use of suspending philosophical sufficiency and going outside into generic freedom if it generates such blindness?

The religionist reductionist translators and interpreters of Laruelle’s works show no sign at all of the quantum in their texts. They are all to content to play with the limited relativity of religious sublimation. This relativity is constrained by the unilateral foreclosure of the One – as required by non-philosophy. But this unilateral foreclosure is conceived in relativistic terms, and thus the relation between gnostic and quantic is lost. A relativistic meta-world is still a World in Laruelle’s sense. Isolating such a world from quantum collisions condemns it to low intensity mechanistic interactions. The whole socio-intellectual enterprise remains closed in on itself and its idiosyncratic milieux, insufficiently quantic and generic.

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AGAINST RELIGION-ORIENTED PHILOSOPHY: the hi-jacking of Laruelle by the religionists

One must never forget that the same Laruelle who wrote INTRODUCTION TO NON-MARXISM later wrote SCIENCE OF CHRIST and CHRISTO-FICTION. Whatever the strategic calculations of the publication of translation decide, the translators of Laruelle are predominantly “religionist” and have their own ideological agenda. A religion-oriented philosophy as interpretation of Laruelle would be a shame, given his non-standard potential. Being “non-standard” in religionist circles is no guarantee of being non-standard in the wider philosophical culture.

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LARUELLE FROM NON-MARXISM TO CHRISTO-FICTION: a de-generic evolution?

I think many people would be willing to take the quantum leap if it were not for the Christic obstacle. My duty is merely to remind people that the author of non-marxism went on to write christo-fiction. Of course, the principle of sufficiency gives the normative evaluations, so there is no “obligation” to go quantum. I would emphasise that to attain the quantum it is best to first get the relativity correct, which is something that I do not think Laruelle succeeds in doing in this instance. For me the most interesting thing in his Cerisy talk on this subject was his tiny allusion to his own “personal myth”, a Jungian concept. My thesis is as always that Jung is both the precursor and the often unavowed source of much of Deleuze’s and Laruelle’s work. Jung worked for many years with Pauli, a leading quantum physicist, in particular on the notion of synchronicity as an acausal principle and we are only now catching up.

Prehistory: I read some extracts of the book translated into English. I found them intriguing but obscure, so I tried to clarify them by means of Bruno Latour. Laruelle himself says he has always made use of such a “collider” approach, working constantly with two philosophers and making them enter into collision to overcome their incompleteness and to attain genericity.

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FOR A NON-SCIENCE OF NON-CHRIST

There is not the slightest sign of quantum thinking in the English-speaking followers of Laruelle, except for Drew Burk. The others are all at the stage of non-philosophy, that is to say of relativistic thought perforated, at best, by the unilateral foreclusion of the (non)-One. Even such an insightful commentator as Katerina Kolozova is pre-quantal in her equation of the Real and trauma, as the unilateral perforation of relativistic worlds by the Real is no doubt experienced as traumatic. “Experienced” but not lived, as the lived-without-life is not encapsulated inside relativistic worlds but transits, without perforation, quantically from the Real traversing the worlds non-traumatically. If one can quantize Christ and “his” logia (in fact these logia are retrospectively attributed to Jesus and not to Christ) then there is no reason why one cannot quantize Deleuze. The critical stance towards Deleuze is a leftover from the old non-philosophy days. Indeed, Deleuze himself realised this operation of self-quantisation by means of his collaboration with Guattari.

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LARUELLE’S QUANTUM “SCIENCE IN CHRIST” AS SUB-GENERIC FOREGROUND

This is a critical look at Laruelle’s recent “science in christ” material, which I argue does not attain a generic background but rather foregrounds sub-generic vocabulary

No name is generic in itself nor is any name necessarily deprived of genericity, so incrusted in the rigid sedimentations of pre-existent limitative significations that extracting it into generic freedom is impossible. However, such an operation of extraction into genericity has no guarantee of success. François Laruelle in his most recent work wishes to extract two nouns from the bounds of doxic paradigms of signification in the hope of creating a new type of thought that would be both philosophical in aspect (and in its points of departure) and something else, both freer and more ordinary.

Laruelle has tried to free science from its own principle of sufficiency and from the principle of mathematical sufficiency., to make of it something generic rather than reductive. However, in doing so he has taken the word “science” to a very great distance from its habitual sense, to the point that his texts are virtually unreadable to the uninitiated, displaying a surface meaning that is in grand part indistinguishable from vulgar scientism.

Viewed from the perspective of the ordinary man or woman this operation, the extraction of the word “science” from its context of sufficiency into a generic sense, is a failure. It can even be argued that Laruelle’s own texts often do not live up to this generic redefintion of science, cycling around in a vain repetition of the vocable “science” as a poorly disguised replacement for original thought.

Laruelle’s attempt to liberate a generic meaning by means of the word “Christ” has met with a similar fate of failed genericity. The historical , geographical, and theological sedimentation is too strong here. “Christ” is the wrong word to designate the generic background common to all religions, unless it is given a radical redefinition, and unless Laruelle himself manages to stick to this generic sense of the word. This is what he tries to do with his identification of Christ and the quantum, in the hope of freeing this word (“quantum”) from the grip of scientific sufficiency.

However, colliding two insufficiently generic words together in the hope of generating a more generic result is a risky business, and I think this detour of the quantum via Christ is a failed operation. The word “Christ”, however algebrised and quantised, is not pertinent for freeing the generic content of religions such as Hinduism, Taoism, and Buddhism, which are already more generic, and which could be used to locate and to extract the imprisonned generic content of Christianity.

Inside the Christian worlds Laruelle sometimes conflate Jesus the “religious personality”, the hypothetical historical human being whose life is supposedly recounted in the gospels, and Christ the “founder of a new religion”, whose physical and or historical existence is not evoked by Paul. Further he operates a further conflation of this “Christ” and the “author of a “logia” which must be read as the protocol of a new human science” (Angelaki, volume 19 issue 2, A SCIENCE OF CHRIST, 25-26).

In consolation, we can say that the experiment was worthwhile, as it looked good on paper.

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