LETTER TO A LARUELLIAN CRITIC

Hello and thank you for taking time to comment on my work, even if for the moment it takes the form of short dogmatic statements without any argument. At least you show you feel passionately about the subject and wish to share your thoughts and reactions, even if this sharing does not take the form of an open exchange. When I pose the question NEW THINKING OR NEW CREDULITY? I think you come down definitely on the new credulity side in remarks like this. I have nothing against you criticising me, but I would like more thinking, and some arguments in your remarks.

I call the concept of “determination in the last instance” that Laruelle develops in his book INTRODUCTION TO NON-MARXISM (2000) “naive” in comparison to his more recent quantum explanation of it as “indetermination in the pre-primary instance”. This can be found in PHILOSOPHIE NON-STANDARD, a book that I admire and that I advise you to read.

This concept of determination in the last instance is naive in another sense, that I have discussed previously on my blog: Laruelle has taken a very long time to free himself of the Althusserian and Lacanian influences on his thought, and his book INTRODUCTION TO NON-MARXISM is perhaps best seen as a transitional work in that struggle. Do you deny these influences and this struggle? If so, then I rhink that you must have a very naive and dogmatic interpretation of Laruelle indeed.

I also think you have a very naive and dogmatic interpretation of my own analyses. My ideas are not limited to isolated and undeveloped facebook expostulations, I have a rather dense blog, extending over five years, and all the arguments on it cohere into a complex exposition of the point of view informing my treatment of the subjects I discuss. There is enough material there for several books. So I do not think you have read me very well, if you read a few sketchy notes on facebook out of context. Nor do you seem to have retained anything from your reading of Laruelle except a few “words of power” (superposition, waves, etc.) without any thought out content, and a rather arrogant attitude.

In your defence, I do not think this closed-mindedness is entirely your fault. I think that there is something in Laruelle’s system that fosters such blind adhesion, condescending tone, and ritual repetition. Also the commentaries on Laruelle that exist, when they are favorable, do little to sort out the empty slogans that abound in his texts from the real work.

I also think you are enacting at your level another real problem in Laruelle’s thought: his system does not allow for the existence of any other non-philosophical thinker. His whole manner of thinking posits that he alone, of all his contemporaries, is a non-philosopher (axiom of uniqueness). When confronted with other examples of non-philosophy he does everything in his power to deny them this status and to force them despite themselves into the box of philosophy (methodology of Procrustes). His book ANTI-BADIOU is a splendid example of this protective procedure.

In the interests of increasing the testability of his claims, I convert his axiom into the hypothesis of uniqueness and confront his assertions with a refuting instance – Badiou’s philosophy after BEING AND EVENT. I also abandon his Procrustean methodology to take seriously what Badiou says about his own evolution, and to examine his work to see if what he says is true. Laruelle is a very unreliable narrator, and his universalist  analysis of philosophy leaves no room for the existence of alternative approaches to non-philosophy.

So by all means criticise me, but read me and think about it first. Perhaps you will even agree with some things I say. I welcome your courage, your openness, your passion, and your honesty, as all these are part of democratic dialogue. You have taken a first step, and I have tried to avoid epidermic reactions, and to give you a developped response.

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One Response to LETTER TO A LARUELLIAN CRITIC

  1. Was reminded of this

    The young poet Evmenis
    complained one day to Theocritos:
    “I have been writing for two years now
    and I have composed just one idyll.
    It’s my only completed work.
    I see, sadly, that the ladder of Poetry
    is tall, extremely tall;
    and from this first step I now stand on
    I will never climb any higher.”
    Theocritos replied: “Words like that
    are improper, blasphemous.
    Just to be on the first step
    should make you happy and proud.
    To have come this far is no small achievement:
    what you have done is a glorious thing.
    Even this first step
    is a long way above the ordinary world.
    To stand on this step
    you must be in your own right
    a member of the city of ideas.
    And it is a hard, unusual thing
    to be enrolled as a citizen of that city.
    Its councils are full of Legislators
    no charlatan can fool.
    To have come this far is no small achievement:
    what you have done already is a glorious thing.”

    from here
    http://www.cavafy.com/poems/content.asp?id=145&cat=1

    Liked by 1 person

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