EXPANDED PHILOSOPHICAL UNIVERSE: Laruelle and philo-fan-fiction

It is by now generally admitted that François Laruelle has never really read Badiou, and in fact he has never seriously pretended to. His polemical book ANTI-BADIOU, devoted to a quantum deconstruction of Badiou’s philosophy, is both a philo-fiction and a philo-hoax.

More specifically, Laruelle is ignorant of the last ten years of Badiou’s thought, and visibly not well-acquainted with his LOGICS OF WORLDS, which was published in French in 2006, nor with the pluralisation that this book brought to Badiou’s ontology. Going further back, Laruelle has only a philo-rigid understanding of BEING AND EVENT. He also seems unable to relativise his own thought by situating it as a particular contribution in a wider context, and he is incapable of realising that Badiou’s set theoretic and category theoretic thought already does much of the work that Laruelle requires of his own quantum thought.

Ignorance, perfunctory reading, decontextualised thought, inability to relativise oneself: these are the traits of philosophical sufficiency, the fault that Laruelle sees everywhere, in everyone except himself.

One may contrast this state of affairs with the thought of Slavoj Zizek. In his most recent books Zizek elaborates a quantum thought that he does not oppose to Badiou’s philosophy based on set and category theory but that he puts in parallel with it.

Reading Laruelle’s ANTI-BADIOU in this light implies considering the book as bridging the difference between hoax and fan fiction, making of it something rare, a “fan-hoax”.

The fan fiction corresponds to the non-philosophy side of Laruelle, and the fan-hoax to the non-standard side. Indeed we may assume that the prefix “non-” favored by Laruelle to indicate an expansion of a field beyond its customary boundaries, is best translated as “fan-“. This is on the analogy with the now defunct Star Wars Expanded Universe, haven of non-canonic fan-fiction.

This expanded philosophical universe invented by Laruelle and expressed in an expanded French has led to a new genre of translation and of philosophical discussion in what can only be called fan-English. Fan-English translations and discussions of Laruelle’s ideas are conducted in an incomprehensible language that only partially resembles English, but that one thinks surely means something in French.

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