LARUELLE’S « NON-MARXISM »: From Ethicism to Religionism

INTRODUCTION TO NON-MARXISM is a very interesting work of transition, published in French in 2000, and well worth reading in the contemporary context of philosophical thought attempting to free itself from self-limiting constraints. It comes just after the works of Laruelle’s ethical phase, where he is still unable to shake off the influence of Lacan and of Levinas on his thought, and just before his religious phase.

In an only half-successful attempt to escape from his previous scientism (which despite his denegations is not at all limited to his Philosophy I phase) Laruelle undertook an ethical turn that left him imprisonned in schemas of thought and ensconced in a system of references inherited from post-68 thought. Mobilising other aspects of that thought, in this case Althusserian Marxism, and attempting to rework it by means of a non-philosophy newly freed from its preceding scientistic phase, Laruelle seems to have initially thought a nonphilosophical extension of Marxism could achieve the breakthrough into nonstandard philosophy that he was searching for.

Far from hailing Laruelle’s notion of « determination in the last instance » as a major concept, readers should be aware that from the point of view of Laruelle’s later works this concept is an impasse as it is articulated in this book, just as his concept of Christ in THE FUTURE CHRIST is an impasse. Both are overcome and fused together in Laruelle’s quantum approach, which to be found principally in NON-STANDARD PHILOSOPHY, ANTI-BADIOU, and CHRISTO-FICTION. One of the most notable innovations in these books is that the notion of « determination in the last instance » is reworked to mean indetermination in the pre-primary instance:…/LARUELLES_QUANTUM_HERMENEUTICS

Thus INTRODUCTION TO NON-MARXISM is a transitional work, caught in an impasse if read in its own terms, or in those of a reductionist approach to his work. I am particularly worried about the touting of the pre-quantum version of « determination in the last instance » which is to be found here as a panacea, just as I am worried about the equally reductionist appeal to the pre-quantum Christ as presented in THE FUTURE CHRIST. I am glad that Laruelle’s « quantum deconstruction » is ongoing, and I think his recent quantum approach is what is needed to avoid the suture of his thought with any one particular truth procedure (science, psychoanalysis, ethics, art, religion).

INTRODUCTION TO NON-MARXISM as it stands is a sutural, and thus reductionist, work. It provides us with a very interesting interim report, containing a well-worked out example of the application of Laruelle’s non-philosophical approach to a philosophical thought-world that is still producing useful effects today. However, Laruelle will later argue that what is needed today is no longer the non-philosophical extension of any particular thought-world, but the quantum superposition of a plurality of thought-worlds taken outside their tendency towards closure and sufficiency.

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