The theme of the “syntax of the real” is in tension with another Laruellean theme, that of approaching immanence by transcendental impoverishment. Is immanence to be attained only by an absolute break or by gradations on a path? That is the question. What is at stake here is a democratic model versus a traumatic model. Or non-standard philosophy versus a dogmatic image of non-philosophy.

The brunt of my argument is a critique of the illegitimate use of the concept “syntax of the real”, and of the particular goals that this concept may serve:

1) obscurantism – legitimation of Laruelle’s stylistic obscurity, said to be “syntaxic” when it is in fact semantic (use of undefined, poorly defined, diosyncratically defined, conceptual vocabulary.

2) foundationalism – dogmatic validation of Laruelle’s conceptual apparatus, making it the basis of non-philosophical practice

3) monism – exclusion of other thoughts such as Deleuze’s, said to still “remain” in philosophy, and so to miss the real (the uniqueness hypothesis: Laruelle as the only non-philosopher »).

4) structuralism – worlds are treated as structurally isolated, incommensurable and impermeable, except by traumatic encounter.

5) authoritarianism – inflation of the epistemic, artistic, religious, and political authority of non-philosophy, attributed to its affection by immanence, and so by the dictatorship of the real.

The notion of performativity offers a way to accomplish the same goals. However, the theme of performativity in this context typically implies the suture of (non-)philosophy to language under the condition of its pragmatic effectivity. My objection is not to the thesis that “saying is doing”, but to the illegitimate variant

6) infallibilsm – “saying, as doing, makes it so”.

I consider performativity only from this perspective, and I have no necessary objections to other senses and uses of the term.

To sum up, a reading of Laruelle in terms of performativity is acceptable if

1) semantic obscurantism is avoided

2) no foundational use is made

3) the hermetic closure of worlds only breachable by trauma is abandoned

4) no exclusivity of viewpoint is implied

5) no undue authority is claimed

6) the conjectural, and thus testable, nature of all performance is acknowledged

Freed of these obscurantist, dogmatic, monist, structuralist, authoritarian, and infallibilist elements, a performance model is highly fecund, and is in closer affinity to the democratic approach than to the traumatic approach.

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