LARUELLE’S SUPPLEMENTATION: pluralist, diachronic, and dialogical

Contemporary continental philosophy is tracing a difficult path between positivity and negativity, often trying to compensate for its one-sidedness by importing aspects of rival theories, all the while affecting to ignore them. Badiou has described this struggle as taking place between the two poles of scepticism and piety.

In Badiou’s terms Laruelle’s non-philosophy alone is too sceptical, and we can add that Badiou’s scientistic maoism alone is too pious. In our search to create a thought apporiate to our time we need  both thinkers. This lack of positivity explains why Laruelle seeks to incorporate quantum thinking, just as Badiou has always sought to confront and to incorporate the negativity of anti-philosophy, to avoid falling into academic dogmatism.

Both Badiou and Laruelle felt the need for a pluralist supplement. Badiou supplemented his theory of Being with a pluralist theory of appearing, in LOGICS OF WORLDS. Laruelle supplements his non-philosophy with quantum thinking, but this is insufficient, and an admission of error.

Laruelle’s quantum supplementation to non-philosophy is implicitly to make reparation with Deleuze. In his non-philosophy phase Laruelle published a reply to Deleuze under the title “I the philosopher am lying”. Laruelle’s later non-standard philosophy constitutes a retraction of this critique, implicitly declaring “I the non-philosopher was lying, Deleuze the non-standard philosopher was not lying”.

Laruelle is aware of this need for supplementation, and has resorted to a watered down form of Deleuzism, disguised and rebaptised as “quantum” thinking and “Christo-fiction”. Laruelleans try to supplement Laruelle with Bergson, Lacan, or even Althusser, somehow considered not to fall under the “principle of sufficiency” that is supposed to characterise all philosophy.

Another disturbing defect at the heart of Laruelle’s non-philosophy is the absence of dialogue. Laruelle and the Laruelleans speak of democracy but not of dialogue,conversation, encounter or exchange. Democracy is treated as a synonym of relativism, by way of the thesis “all thoughts are equal”. This democratic maxim of equality is a static, structuralist slogan, asserting a synchronic pluralism.

However,  diachronic pluralism requires something more, a sense of the fuzziness and of the permeability of boundaries, of movement, and of constant traversing and exchange across boundaries. Paul Feyerabend’s democratic maxim is “potentially every culture is all cultures”. In this slogan equality is combined with evolution over time.

Like Feyerabend, Latour has placed this sort of unregulated exchange at the heart of his empirical metaphysics, under the name of “diplomacy”. In Laruelle’s thought there is no such valorisation, or even theorisation, of dialogue.

Laruelle’s non-philosophy needs a pluralist and diachronic supplement, but it also requires a dialogical supplement. If not, it will remain the ideology of a closed society, to whom all free exchange is “trauma”.

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