MORE INVESTIGATION, LESS AUTHORITY: philo-fiction and conceptual pluralism

Speaking about philo-fiction Laruelle tells us:

‘what is being investigated here is not a particular philosophical position of fiction in relation to the real but philosophy’s legislation or right over it’ (Philosophy and Non-Philosophy, 229).

(Note: I am indebted to John Ó Maoilearca for reminding me of this quote).

More investigation, less authority is a good motto. More conceptual investigation and experimentation, less philosophical authority and foundationalism is one specification of it. In NON-STANDARD PHILOSOPHY Laruelle tells us that philo-fiction is “the experimental practice of conceptual possibles” (489).

“To weaken or to depotentialise philosophical sufficiency (“suffisance”) in order to liberate its power of invention” (490). This is Laruelle’s aim. “Suffisance” in French means both sufficiency and arrogance, together that makes “dogmatsim”. Expressed in Deleuzian terms, philosophical sufficiency is the dogmatic image of thought. This is no discovery of Laruelle’s but something whose hegemony Deleuze strove to weaken all his life.

“Obviously, one can judge that all philosophy is already strongly but clumsily fictional, a shameful fiction. We try to draw a radical fiction from this object as a function of certain of its properties” (492). The radical fiction is not subject to the authority of philosophy. It is non-foundational (“radical”) and constructed.

What Laruelle calls “fiction” is not necessarily “unreal”. This is Bruno Latour’s point too, that constructionism is realism, as long as we distinguish what is badly-constructed from what is well-constructed. But Laruellians don’t like comparisons with Deleuze and Latour, as they are under the sway of one of their own principles of sufficiency, the uniqueness principle, that Laruelle is the only non-philosopher among his contemporaries.

Often Laruelle can be seen as systematising insights that can already be found in Deleuze’s work. However, there is a tension in Laruelle’s texts between this systematising and the escape from “sufficiency” that he prpounds as the goal of non-philosophy. Deleuze resolves this tension by basing his system on “heterogenesis”, but Laruelle has a far higher coefficient of homogeneity in his system than Deleuze and Guattari.

Laruelle in his quantum trilogy is saying new things, so I care a lot for his thought. But I do not care for his self-proclaimed uniqueness. But this fantasised uniqueness has for function to clear a space where a new freedom can be practiced, not just in relation to the philosophies of the past, but towards Laruelle’s own non-philosophy.

For example, Laruelle says in the introduction to PHILOSOPHIE NON-STANDARD: “perhaps one must let go in the very heart of the work and avoid fantasizing about its difficulties”. He advises us to “traverse the crossing by jumping from one stepping-stone to another”. He says that to a certain extent an “aleatory reading” is possible, inevitable, and even desirable. We should follow the throw of the dice, in order to “establish new relations in this space”. He is actively encouraging heterogenesis first, classical comprehension will arise in that process. This is the Laruelle I care about.

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