LARUELLE AND THE PROCESS OF RADICALIZATION: on the language of non-epistemology

Discussing Katerina Kolozova’s explication of the procedure of “radicalization” of concepts that she draws from Laruelle’s non-philosophy I distinguished two strands that she seemed to conflate: a pragmatic strand, that I endorse, and an empiricist or positivist strand, that I reject.

1) The pragmatist strand affirms that we need to “disorganize” philosophical systems and reduce them to the status of transcendental material whose concepts can be used outside any wholesale fidelity to the original system. The procedure is: disorganize the systems (decomposition), liberate the concepts (extraction), reduce them to their transcendental minimum (concretisation), correlate them with immanence (determination in the last instance).

2) The empiricist strand affirms that we need to describe and rigorously explain reality by means of a process that “observes the effects of the real”, “reacts” to its workings, “builds its own syntax”, and then subjects this syntax to the real ( CUT OF THE REAL, 3). Here the procedure is: observe the real (observation), react (selection), invent a syntax (hypothesis), subject the syntax to the real (verification).

The pragmatic sequence (decomposition, extraction, concretisation, determination) is of greater generality than the empiricist sequence (observation, selection, hypothesis, verification) and can include something like it as a special case. However, it would seriously modify the empiricist description of its sequence. This empiricist description does not correspond to the real workings of science but to a positivist phantasm. Outside this phantasm, there can be no prescription to observe the real without concepts and to react passively to its workings, as we cannot even observe the real without concepts.

What I have called the pragmatic sequence is a part of Laruelle’s non-standard vocabulary for talking about science. The empiricist sequence is a remnant of classical epistemology’s approach to knowing the real.

Anne-Françoise Schmid makes a similar distinction to my own in discussing Laruelle’s non-epistemology. In her article “The Science-Thought of Laruelle and its Effects on Epistemology”, published in LARUELLE AND NON-PHILOSOPHY, Schmid juxtaposes two lists of words for describing the sciences, a Laruellian list and a classical list.

1) Laruellean list: “Science, opacity, virtual, future, cloning effects, generic, matrix, generic experimentation, science of philosophy, superpositional, imaginary number, quartile (geometric interpretation of the imaginary number), non-commutativity, modelling, non-Einsteinian, non-Gödelian, non-Schrödingerian, non-Cohenian, fractal identity, amplitude of futurality, oraxioms” (page 124).

2) Classical list: “theory, fact, model, observation, experience, measure, verification, scientific criteria, verificationism (Carnap, Vienna Circle), falsificationism (Popper), research programme (Lakatos) or anarchic dispersion (Feyerabend)”.

(NOTE: I have given reasons in the preceding post for not reducing Feyerabend’s position to one of “anarchic dispersion”).

The point of this distinction between sequences of terms and of such lexical scrupules is that we need to escape from philosophical sufficiency, to suspend its presuppositions, those “allowing science to be translated into the language of true and false, of what can be verified, be falsified, putting theory in relation with ‘facts’ through observation or experimentation” (Schmid, 124).

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2 Responses to LARUELLE AND THE PROCESS OF RADICALIZATION: on the language of non-epistemology

  1. K says:

    “Outside this phantasm, there can be no prescription to observe the real without concepts and to react passively to its workings, as we cannot even observe the real without concepts.”

    For Non-Epistemology (NE), the real is axiomatically not observable, insofar as both methodological categories of ‘passive reaction’ are predicated on a condition of Being from a World that observes and declares observability against a backdrop of unobservability (i.e. positivism). While the non-epistemologist practices from the radical foreclosure of the One which is immanent to a World of both observability and unobservability, the practice can only be from that which is already observed, without a negative backdrop. Thus, the One is the radically observed before methodological, and thereby conceptually-predicated, observation. In other words, I’m unsure that NE would admit that the One is only conceptually intelligible, where the observed-without-observation of the One is identically non-conceptual, and thus non-Epistemological, in-One.

    While I agree with you that the project of NE deploys positivist rhetoric, particularly with respect to its constant insistence on ‘experimentation’ with transcendentals, and despite its rejection of positivism (without much reason why), it seems more and more that to be consistent with the system of NE is to end up with the incapacity to experiment from or with any thing. The procedure of cloning as outlined by NE is an experimental process, as I have argued in my own work, but is only *ignorantly* experimental. This ignorance effectuates itself in the inability to systemically deduce its treatments (fx of cloning) as any thing *but One*. Therefore, the hypothetical p-value of any result is always to be exactly equivalent, or even indistinguishable (aliasing?), insofar as no numerical predicate can be attributed to the One. Thought I’m unsure if NE would be willing to admit this.


  2. dmf says:

    very good, reminds me of the shift to “neo” pragmatism


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