Reading Laruelle’s TETRALOGOS (2): Methodos – imaginary numbers and quarter turns

I am reading Laruelle’s new book « TETRALOGOS An opera of philosophies » as it was written: from within a generic matrix. We shall see to what extent he satisfies his own criterion of genericity. In my view it is, as usual, a very good try, but not generic enough.

This book is the synthesis of his non-standard philosophy, not just of its theses, but of the forces and means underlying them:

« We are throwing into the battle the set of our theoretical forces, sketching a rapid complex topology … of our means. These means are deployed on a space that is not at all indifferent, nor even specially mathematical, but generic, ontologico-existential and quantic, space which contains a mathematical contribution (the algebra of the « imaginary number ») but to which it is not enslaved » (this is one of our differences with Badiou, who « collapses » the logico-mathematical generic and the philosophical »  (TETRALOGOS, 29-30, my translation).

Note: if only Laruelle could stop going on about what is wrong with Badiou and Deleuze, who he misreads violently, then his works would be far more interesting and innovative (and a lot more concise).

Within this generic, ontologico-existential and quantic space (if you listen to Laruelle, everything is generic in his philosophy) I will be reading Laruelle’s tetralogic « opera of philosophies » as space opera.

Laruelle here references the « complex topology » of his theoretical means and forces, made possible by the non-enslaved drawing on the contribution of the mathematics of imaginary numbers. Laruelle’s protocol of non-enslavement is the generic.

The imaginary number and the complex plane compose with the freeing of philosophy from its enslavement to sufficiency by means of a « quarter turn ». My own quarter turn, as my reference to space opera suggests, involves rotating Laruelle’s philosophy onto the axis of science fiction.

Laruelle claims to accomplish the science fiction (quarter) turn and to go beyond it. How? You guessed it, by being more « generic »:

« non-philosophy accomplishes itself as generic science fiction (GSF) or Philo-fiction » (TETRALOGOS, 112).

Laruelle goes even further:

« Non-standard philosophy is the rigorous science fiction of our time ».

A little more modesty, and a little less « sufficiency », would be welcome, Laruelle is only now approaching the degree of genericity that Philip K. Dick attained decades ago. Nor does he seem to have read more modern speculative fiction, such as Neal Stephenson’s chef d’oeuvre ANATHEM.


The science fiction quarter turn that I will be effecting takes us to the over-sight of non-standard philosophy, it is an anti-clockwise turn. In contrast, the clockwise quarter turn followed by the religionist Anglophone disciples of Laruelle only gets them to the less generic non-philosophy.

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