1) My englobing philosophical context is that of the contemporary search for an immanent pluralist, diachronic, egalitarian, apophatic, realist, testable ontology.
2) Such a pluralist ontology can be treated as a metaphysical research programme, and evaluated in terms of some very simple criteria, and also in comparison to rival or alternative programmes.
3) This sort of critical discussion is not « trolling ». It may be counter-intuitive for some people, but informed, reasoned, balanced critique is not trolling. Such stigmatisation of real work is anti-democratic, to say the least.
4) I have consistently argued for the need to take alternative research programmes into consideration. François Laruelle’s non-philosophy project may seem plausible examined in isolation, but it does not perform very well in comparison with Bruno Latour’s AIME project or Badiou’s Immanence of Truths project. Laruelle’s own practice of conceptual exclusivity is reflected in the dialogical exclusivity practised by his disciples. Latour’s AIME is deliberately inclusive. This is a big asset of AIME, both conceptually and practically, it may have a party-line but it does not ban alternatives.
5) There are two interesting images of thought that have given rise to contemporary metaphysical research programmes in Continental Philosophy: the quantum image and the performance image. These are in opposition to the domiance of the structuralist image.
6) The most radical version of the quantum image of thought is given by Slavoj Zizek’s recent work, while the most radical version of the performance image is given by Bruno Latour’s AIME project.
7) François Laruelle attempts to give a version of the quantum image, and some of his followers have tried to develop a performance image in his name. In both cases their thought is not radical enough, because they are caught in un-criticised structuralist presuppositions.
8) The problem is to elaborate a form of pluralism that does not fall back into relativism. One of the biggest dangers to thought today is the post-truth image of thought that one may call democratic relativism.
9) Zizek and Latour are pluralists, their most recent thought is devoted to providing a grounding for truths, and to avoiding relativism. Laruelle’s thought is a fall back into the democratic relativism of « all thoughts are equal ».
10) The Laruellean performative hypothesis rejoins the Althusserian thesis of theory as theoretical practice. However, Althusser required a political evaluation of performances. Performance alone is not enough, the attempt to make it so is idealist.
11) Another example of the performative image of thought is Bruno Latour, who tells us that there are quite different felicity conditions for performances in the different modes of existence or veridiction, each with their different temporalities, and actualities.
12) The problems of evaluation and of testability cannot be avoided, mere performance is not enough. It requires criteria of success or failure.
13) Laruelle identifies the « vice » of philosophical sufficiency but is himself unable to propose a virtuous alternative. In view of Laruelle’s claims to scientific status and his inability to respect his own criteria we must conclude that his non-philosophy is pseudo-science.
14) Performativity can only be seen as positive when its use is non-foundational. A foundational use of performativity is one that makes, or purports to make, something true by the mere fact of its being enounced. This is the vice of democratic relativism.
15) Such is the scientism of Laruelle. His work claims to give us a « science of philosophy », but the only proof offered of this structuralist claim is performative: the repeated enunciation of the non-philosophical character of the texts.
16) Laruelle’s use of this philosophical material is abstract, universal and essentialist, whereas Badiou’s use is in comparison concrete, historical, and dialectical. Laruelle’s attempt at new performativity fails, it is sufficient vice and not pluralist virtue.
17) Worse, Laruelle is incapable of recognising a more virtuous performativity when he comes across it in Badiou, and instead of citing Badiou in a democratic pluralist spirit as a successful exemplar of his own goals, and hailing his non-standard usages, he re-essentialises them.
18) Laruelle poses important questions, but his answers are useless. The questions can be turned back on him. His demand for new uses of conceptual material is inspiring, but he does not go very far in that direction. Despite his promotion of the revisionary semantics of philo-fiction and the pluralist pragmatics of performance his own dramatisations are poor and graceless.