On the question of situating contemporary Continental philosophies it is essential to avoid visions that are too globalising, and that neglect important differences.

For example, both Laruelle and Zizek attempt to elaborate quantum images, but there are good reasons to argue that Zizek’s approach is superior, not only in his own terms but in Laruelle’s terms also.The same applies for Laruelle’s and Latour’s elaboration of a performance image of thought

In the terms of my two previous posts, there is a necessary imbrication of these two images with the structuralist image.

Where Zizek differs from Laruelle is that he explicitly addresses this problem of the imbrication with structuralism and integrates it into his system as a necessary passage from quantum superposition to structuralist decoherence, including for himself.

Laruelle is a self-serving dualist here, reserving quantum superposition for himself and attributing structuralist decoherence to his adversaries (this is a typical manoeuvre of projection rather than integration. Further, Laruelle’s key expression of « determination in the last instance » naively mixes structuralist and quantum modes in a single concept.

It is not a question of a contest of images but one of sharing criteria and of their unequal application. The tiresomely one-sided arguments between disciples stubbornly insisting on the rightness of their side, that seem so repetitively familiar,  find their limit in that one must actually try to inform oneself of the views one is addressing, i.e. do the specific reading and think about it, rather than just proffering global arguments.

Neither the quantum nor performance images are ultimately satisfying, and do not seem to be able to radically free themselves from structuralist presuppositions.

The prevalence of democratic relativism involves a general dumbing down, but it is useful to trace the particular dumbings down that Laruelle’s brand of democratic relativism operates:


over-simplified history,

re-« discovering » late what everyone that one is supposedly critiquing have already discovered and integrated,

inability to integrate criticism including one’s own auto-critiques (Laruelle has himself criticised his own « scientism », but then blithely goes on perpetuating it),

word-intoxication (not being able to recognise similar ideas when formulated in other terms than one’s own,

refusing to allow reformulations of one’s ideas in other terms – the most striking example is Laruelleans unable even to comprehend me when I say Laruelle is doing metaphysics as their own definition of metaphysics makes this claim false by stipulation whereas I am explicitly using a Popperian definition),

the confusion of critical discussion with « trolling ».

Dumbing down is rampant, invading even the most « refined » intellectual discussions, but the doses are ever different, and Laruelle’s democratic relativism is responsible for administering a large dose in, it is true, a confined space.

Note: I am indebted to a discussion with Artxell Knaphni for helping me to clarify my ideas on these points.

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3 commentaires pour IS DEMOCRATIC RELATIVISM MAKING US STUPID? Against Laruellean tropes

  1. pvcann dit :

    Perhaps the title might be deemed retrospective, given the stupidity evident in « democratic » societies?

    Aimé par 1 personne

  2. A Great post – this is something that has been troubling me also, for some time, in an unrealised, inchoate way,
    marked as Important. Great thanks.

    Aimé par 1 personne

  3. landzek dit :

    You are so correct!
    Love it. That’s a perfect term for the phenomena. I just had a discussion the other day over on Xenogothic , and this was my point exactly: that I’m saying that I agree with much of what he saying on the post but then he responds to me like I’m an idiot and don’t know what I’m talking about. And then I go on to describe how people get caught up in their own terminology as if that’s the only way to talk about it, The object that they’re talking about. And then he comes back to me and says of course there are many ways to talk about a single object. And then when I point out that he is unable to see how I am agreeing with what he saying but then actually challenging the very idea because I like to challenge myself also he starts calling me ignorant and stupid. Lol

    That’s exactly right: “word intoxication”. The implications of that term even extend to addiction which I relate a lot about so far is discourses in philosophy.

    Aimé par 1 personne

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