LARUELLE’S TWO LANGUAGE MODEL: On Abduction by the One

We have seen that François Laruelle is in revolt against « philosophy », in revolt against even the most radical of contemporary philosophies (Deleuze, Derrida, Lyotard, Foucault, Heidegger) and in search of a language and concepts to construct the foundations for a new discipline, a « rigorous science of man ». This formula expresses Laruelle’s focus on the concepts of rigour, science, and man (the human). From the previous posts we can see that Laruelle will be giving these, and other, seemingly familiar concepts a radically new sense, to the point that we can speak of two incommensurable languages:

LA – the language of the authorities, the old philosophical language predicated on the « ways of transcendence »

LM – the language of the minorities, the new philosophical language that Laruelle is inventing and employing, unbeknownst to us, from the beginning.

Of course, it is impossible to create such a new language ex nihilo, and Laruelle will often make use of the traditional philosophical vocabulary, but its sense will be radically transformed. Nor is it possible to create the conceptual and lexical means all at once, even if one has made the incommensurable leap in an instant. There will be a period of transition.

In the interimary phase Laruelle necessarily used a hybrid, interimary language LI composed of linguistic and conceptual elements drawn from LA and LM. Indeed, it may be an open question whether a completely pure language of minorities (LM) is possible, or even desirable. This purity may serve as a regulative ideal, to be approached by lexical extension and by semantic revision of the old language and to be accomplished by these extensions and revisions being subsumed under the incommensurable leap.

Laruelle discusses this problem of the interimary phase and the hybridity of the language used during the transition:

« The Minority Principle is a transitional book, a mixed attempt in the sp[i]rit of traditional philosophy to break with that philosophy, and in particular with the author’s earlier books. That book was a “breakthrough” that still proceeded pedagogically and philosophically, that is to say, by means of transcendence, starting from philosophical problematics…towards a thought of the One or of individuals ».

The interimary period is vectorial, characterised in its generality by rupture, breakthrough, and hybridity of language, methods, and problematics. More specifically, Laruelle characterises his own path as proceeding from philosophical transcendence towards the immanence of the One (= individuals).

Laruelle is using his two language model (LA and LM) to describe his period of transition from the point of view of its final term, or end point (the « thought of the One »), that once attained becomes the point of departure for thought within the emergent paradigm. However, he does not abandon the old language, the language of the authorities (LA), once he establishes himself in the thought of the One. Throughout A BIOGRAPHY OF THE ORDINARY MAN Laruelle uses the new language of minorities (LM) to re-describe philosophy from this new perspective.

There is no way to describe the transition by the « means of transcendence », i.e. in the terms of LA: we cannot deduce LM from LA. There is no path going from LA to LM, but only from LM to LA, their relation is not symmetric or bi-lateral, but asymmetric and uni-lateral. The terms of LA as interpreted by LA do not make sense within LM and vice versa, but LM can construct a simulation or approximation of LA, whereas the inverse is not possible.

The relation between the two languages cannot be that of deduction, as we have seen they are incommensurable. The relation is one of abduction, both heuristic and noetic:

to think the thought of the One we must make an abductive leap, and

we must be abducted to and by the One.

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