It is useful in this context to turn to Laruelle’s recent work, THE LAST HUMANITY, to find a less philosophical, and more ecological (in a non-standard sense of ecology) conceptual frame capable of avoiding the traps implicit in the concept of « life », which he replaces by « living-without-life ».
The first sentence of THE LAST HUMANITY:
« L’enjeu est ici de définir l’homme et les autres vivants dans le cadre général de l’écologie plutôt que traditionnellement de la philosophie et donc de transformer notre concept de l’écologie » (page 7).
« The stake here is to define man and the other living in the general framework of ecology rather than traditionally in that of philosophy, and so to transform our concept of ecology ».
Note: it is difficult, but not impossible, in English to avoid inserting a substantive after « the other living », although « the living » by itself seems alright. One could read « the other living beings », but « beings » would have to be under erasure, as so much must be under erasure in Laruelle. Or one could translate « living others ». These others, and the humans, are « living-without-life », like Zizek’s concept of the « Undead ».
A QUANTIC ECOLOGY
Laruelle is replacing philosophy with ecology, a general non-standard or « transformed » ecology. One operator of this transformation is the « quantum », as Laruelle re-defines it. He proposes « a very extended ecology as new science, less biological than quantic » (page 7). Ecology, like everything else in Laruelle’s view, must be transformed by breaking it away from its persisting Newtonian paradigm and re-visioning it in terms of a quantum paradigm.
Laruelle shares this rejection of a pervasive philosophical Newtonian orientation with Bernard Stiegler, who uses thermodynamics as his own privileged scientific operator of conceptual transformation. Laruelle regards this entrenched still Newtonian science of ecology as founded on « positive » biology, to be transformed by « quantum » thinking.