PLURI-REDUCTIONISM: simulating pluralism by multiple reductions

« Pluri-reductionism » designates the recent attempts in Continental Philosophy to incorporate the insights of epistemological and ontological pluralism within a more manageable post-pluralist framework. The old reductionism cannot work, today the pluralist condition has become our common lot.

This post proposes a typology of the new forms of reduction that acknowledge diversity, plurality, multiplicity, difference, but that try to provide systematic guidelines for finding one’s way in this complexity.

1) Post-pluralist reductionism: the pluralism wars concerned the erroneous attempt to identify pluralism with its anti-realist shadow – relativism.

2) Reductionism 2.0 : those who adopted this fallacious identification of pluralism and relativism but did not want to return to old style reductionism were obliged to invent new forms of reduction.

3) Mono-reductionism: the mono-reductionists tend to pay lip service to the apparent multiplicity of the world, but they reduce this plurality of appearance to a single real, that of science (Brassier), of mathematics (Meillassoux), or of intellectual intuition (Harman).

4) Bi-reductionism: François Laruelle in his scientistic non-philosophy phase is a mono-reductionist, but he later came to feel the need for at least a partial relativisation of science by religion (and vice versa).

5) Collapsing bi-reductionism: Laruelle’s bi-reductionism in his later « non-standard philosophy » phase is based on both science and religion (Christ and the Quantum), but it struggles constantly against its internal enemy, the tendency to identify the two and to regress to a scientistic mono-reductionism.

6) Tri-reductionism: Bernard Stiegler’s thought is a form of tri-reductionism based on the trinomial of individual, collective and technical determination, with primacy in the last instance given to technology.

7) Collapsing tri-reductionism: Bernard Stiegler is constantly struggling against his own internal enemy – the regression to technological determinism. His denial of his own reductionism is flawed: he is able to avoid technological mono-reductionism only by means of a system of heuristic reminders, constantly falling away from and returning to his more complex triune model.

8) Tri-reductionism bis: Slavoj Zizek’s case is more complex. His ontology, like Stiegler’s, is based on a form of tri-reductionism (Freudo-Lacanian psychoanalysis, Marxo-Hegelian dialectics, quantum physics), with primacy given to dialectics.

9) Double Tri-reductionism: Each of the conditions within Zizek’s triple reduction is itself internally reduced. Psychic and social individuation are reduced to Lacanian psychoanalysis and Hegelian dialectics, and science (as ontologically relevant) is reduced to quantum physics. Pluralist psychoanalysis (Jung, Hillman) is excluded, deconstructed dialectics is re-inscribed within Hegelian negativity, and other relevant sciences, such as biology (as Adrian Johnston points out) are neglected.

10) Collapsing Double Tri-reductionism: Zizek struggles constantly against his own internal enemy, the tendency to identify Lacan, dialectics, and quantum and to regress to a dialectics based mono-reductionism, i.e. to idealism.

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3 commentaires pour PLURI-REDUCTIONISM: simulating pluralism by multiple reductions

  1. dmf dit :

    failures of imagination


  2. landzek dit :

    I don’t know if you follow my blog, but in case you don’t hear is one of today’s post which I think is most relevant to your post here:


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