LARUELLE AND GENERICITY: the problem of scientism and of religionism

If a sympathetic reader of Laruelle has never noticed or been disturbed by the sense of infallible uniqueness emanating from his writing then I think they may be mistaking his many declarations of principle for real practice.

Laruelle often invokes a democracy of thought, but in fact he is one of the least democratic thinkers in the post-structuralist constellation. Laruelle often affirms that he is not doing critique, but he constantly claims that philosophy aims at immanence and fails to attain it, etc.

Laruelle’s use of quantum theory is very rudimentary compared to Deleuze’s and Zizek’s use, and very undevelopped compared to Badiou’s use of set theory. One cannot put on the same plane Laruelle’s handful of terminology taken from quantum physics and Badiou’s well worked out use of set theory and category theory.

Zizek is willing to see convergences between his own use of quantum physics and Badiou’s use of set theory. In particular, Zizek has the generosity to treat Badiou’s mathematically formalised notion of the inconsistent multiplicity as on a par with his own concept of the incompleteness of the real illuminated by quantum physics.

Laruelle lacks that generosity. Laruelle caught in his own philosophical sufficiency cannot see such parallels with others, and seems to think that he is the only one to have broken with sufficient (or standard) philosophy, that he himself is the only non-philosopher. This is what I have called the uniqueness hypothesis and it has had a sterilising effect on his thought.

 There is a contradiction between Laruelle’s goal of genericity and his scientism. Adding the term “messianic” into the mix does not help, as this is not a generic enough term, as any Buddhist or Hindu could tell you, not to mention just simple atheists. My argument on this point is simple: we are not immanently Christian, and the word “messianic” is not generic.

If one claims that the concept of generic is the content of his Christo-fiction, then I object that there is a mismatch between the concept and its specific name. I accept the concept but refuse the name. One cannot conflate immanence with Christian names, even if their sense is heavily re-worked.

Every thinker proceeds by impasses and ruptures, and Laruelle at least has had the insight and the honesty to admit and to foreground his changes and to label them Philosophy I, II, etc. However, we need not accept his own description of his progress. In PRINCIPLES OF PHILOSOPHY he clearly says that his system of thought was scientistic, and that now he has gone beyond it. I agree with his diagnosis of scientism, you’d have to be blind to miss it. Nonetheless, I disagree that he went beyond scientism in that book or even in his later ones.

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3 Responses to LARUELLE AND GENERICITY: the problem of scientism and of religionism

  1. landzek says:

    The reason he set aside his science is because despite what he has come upon which implies the long game, his investment in the institution already pegged hom for the short game. And he thus makes a significant mark, because his is the real substance of the incompatibility of the long game for the short: There is bringing the logic of transcendental imspiration into a coveyable material. That is the job of religion. As you say: tho his notions about Chritos is right, the Names belay the attempt.

    Science comes about through tiny steps of individuals working selflessly for the sake of science itself. Almost religious even.

    Larueelle is vested in the instution of identity. He could not help himself. Lol

    Liked by 1 person

    • terenceblake says:

      I think the “long game” is pluralism, not science by itself. Monism is the “short game”. There is no convergence on a unique answer in the long run, not even in science.

      Liked by 1 person

      • landzek says:

        But the object of science develops as preciptates of meaning, over long swathes of time.

        I see the past say 250 years as but a small progress reiterating and arguing over the same object. But by this process preciptates out that very object by exhausting argumentative avenues. Such that the only way to continue in the same manner is to function in denial that it already has been found.

        This is what i mean by long game. 250 years accomplishes finding the first ‘phrnomenological fact’.

        Like

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