EXTENSION vs REPLACEMENT
I distinguish “extension” theories, such as those of Deleuze, Badiou, and Zizek (whatever one may think of their respective merits) from, adapting Zizek’s terms, “replacement” theories (Latour, Laruelle, Harman).
FROM SUBSTANCE TO SUBJECT
Zizek argues that OOO cannot explain the passage from substance to subject, and so has no room for the subject (except the illusory humanist subject). The same argument can be applied to non-philosophy. Laruelle’s unilateral duality constitutes an apophatic veil such that there is no science of man but only a science-man or man-science. Despite his talk about a stranger subject, Laruelle can only posit the subject as a supplement.
In conclusion Laruelle’s non-philosophy, like Harman’s OOO, has no means of getting from substance to subject except by tautological synonymic chains that do not lead where he claims they lead.
SOLIPSIST NON-METAPHYSICS: Laruelle’s uniqueness hypothesis
Despite his declarations to the contrary, Laruelle’s thought is metaphysical, unless you buy into his dishonest self-serving re-definition of metaphysics to include everyone but himself.
In my own analyses I do not accept Laruelle’s definition of metaphysics, I accept Popper’s concept of metaphysical research programmes. This subtracts Laruelle’s self-proclaimed uniqueness, and makes it possible to create useful comparisons and encounters between his views and those of others.
So I think Laruelle’s definition just creates an obstacle to research rather than allowing for or furthering progress.
NON-NEGATIVITY: place-holder for a future solution
The”non” of non-philosophy is the closest that Laruelle can get to productive negativity in his “non-philosophy” phase, an empty promise instead of the real thing. If we want to be charitable, we can call it the place-marker for a hoped for solution.
Laruelle eventually came to realise these problems with his position himself, and that his insistence on his being outside philosophy and of replacing it was an impossible utopian dream. This is why he moved on to “non-standard philosophy”, which comes much closer to a satisfactory formulation.
UNRELIABLE NARRATOR: non-philosophy as pseudo-science
Laruelle is often an unreliable narrator as to what he has in fact said. Here is a quotation from the introduction to A BIOGRAPHY OF ORDINARY MAN:
“the sketch, by way of an introduction, of the most general program of a rigorous science of man intended to replace philosophy and its avatars, the “Sciences of Man.” A transcendental science, which is to say a non-empirical science, but also not a “philosophical” one…”
Laruelle’s research programme here intends to replace philosophy, and it is unjustifiably called “science”, despite Laruelle declaring that it is “transcendental”, or “non-empirical”.
Laruelle’s constant recourse to this sort of word magic explains why we can never accept his definitions when evaluating his claims.
Do not take my word for any of this, only (re-)read for example Laruelle’s A BIOGRAPHY OF ORDINARY MAN with my comments in mind (there is no need to believe me) without automatically accepting his self-descriptions and self-evaluations, treating them not as posits to acquiesce to but as hypotheses to examine for their credibility, coherence and consequences, and you will be amazed.
Note: I am indebted to a discussion with Matt Barber for helping me to clarify my ideas on these topics.