CARGO CULT OR TROJAN HORSE? Laruelle’s scientism and the religionists’ denial


Lyotard was uncompromising in his critique of philosophy and in his experimentation with new forms of thought and expression.  I began my commentary on Lyotard’s short text A l’écrit bâté to show what a real “philo-fiction” (Laruelle’s term) looks like.

Lyotard himself would never have used such a clumsy expression as philo-fiction, except as a playful gesture. Lyotard liked both science-fiction and wordplay, and treated philosophy as a form of writing. Lyotard’s “A l’écrit bâté” (“Of Burdened Writing”) is philo-fiction avant la lettre.


François Laruelle is known for his excessively long-winded critique of standard philosophy and an incredibly timid step outside its confines into “non-philsophy”, or”non-standard” philosophy, or “philo-fiction”. He is the most dogmatic and the most timid, i.e. the most philosophy-bound, of his intellectual generation, and also the worst stylist. Laruelle could only come into prominence once Deleuze, Derrida, Foucault, and Lyotard were no longer with us. He pales in comparison. Lyotard in particular says clearly in 50 lines what Laruelle says murkily in 50 pages.


There is a strong religionist lobby around Laruelle’s thought in English. Religionism is not religion, but rather the suture of religion and philosophy, subordinating philosophy to its religious condition. Far from decrying this tendency as a distortion of his thought, Laruelle cultivates ambiguity on this point. At the conceptual level, Laruelle’s naive, omnipresent  scientism is laughable, noone can possibly take it seriously. This may be why his disciples are content to simply deny that it is a problem. However, his scientism functions as Trojan Horse, allowing Laruelle (or his religionist disciples) to import religious dominance into a purported “democracy of thought”.

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8 Responses to CARGO CULT OR TROJAN HORSE? Laruelle’s scientism and the religionists’ denial

  1. landzek says:

    I have read The Differend. What other text of Lyotard would tou recommend next?


    • terenceblake says:

      I suggest POSTMODERN FABLES. I have always liked the earlier book JUST GAMING because he was feeling things out.

      Liked by 1 person

    • terenceblake says:

      I saw Adam Kotsko censored one of your comments. Do you want to publish it on my blog?

      Liked by 1 person

      • landzek says:

        What? Whoa. I wonder which one it was . Which post was that?

        You know; I think it’s funny: I write my posts wanting critique and wanting people to challenge my ideas. In that way everything I say is a question, asking people to find the holes to offer me challenges to contradict what I think is so true.

        It is kind of strange to me that there are people who I assume are a sort of intellectual who nevertheless don’t want to hear what I have to say about what they have to say, because sometimes I disagree.

        I’m not remembering what post is associated with Adam K. I could’ve just been being a smart ass, but I’m also wondering if you’re talking about the ‘ein sitch fur’ ( lol) blog. That’s the only one that I noticed recently that I commented on his Zizek post. And then he asked me something, but then it seemed he decided he didn’t want my answer to his question, and decided to block me from making comments.

        I plane do not understand that strategy.

        Levi Brian also does that on occasion. It boggles my mind that someone would be a career philosopher and not want people to challenge what he saying.

        At least Graham Harmon doesn’t put a comment prompt for his blog. So at least I don’t get the strangeness of having an ability to comment on the blog one day and then make a comment and then find that ability taking away the next day. Lol

        You’ll have to refresh my memory; i’m not sure what you Maine by censored, and I’m not sure how I would be able to publish it on your blog, because only sometimes do I write my comment on another processor and then paste it in the comments. But I don’t think that I did that on this one.


      • terenceblake says:

        It was on the AUFS blog post on Zizek: “On doing your own homework”. I saw your post in the morning (my time, in France) and then a couple of hours later it was gone. I found it disturbing that Kotsko felt he could do a critique of Zizek but was unwilling undergo the same treatment. Yes you were being a “smartass” as you indicated that Kotsko himself was not doing his own homework, but the point was a valid one too.

        Liked by 1 person

      • landzek says:

        Well. Yeah. If u can somehow get the comment, put it up. I think it is valid. And i like to point that out about Z, that he doesnt really appear concerned with a sort of soft social justice therapeudic kind of ‘truth’ that we might cal politically correct. He calls it as he see it.


      • terenceblake says:

        It has disappeared, so it is lost.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. terenceblake says:

    More generally, after many a bad experience, I always keep a copy of my comments and if they are never published or disappear or simply take too long in the moderation process I publish them on my blog. Intellectual self-defence.


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