art, experiment, Laruelle, non-philosophy, philosophy, text, textuality, Uncategorized

Philo-fictions and Experimental Texts: Philosophy as Artistic “Whatever” Material

photo (2)

A few years ago, I took a graduate seminar on experimental texts at Emory University. Some of the work I have done during my studies I have put up on Fractal Ontology, but I never included this one. I will run you through the basics of the project.

First, I wanted to showcase the “consumption” of philosophical texts that I have participated in over the course of my reading. This usually entails me, pen in hand, marking and re-marking texts with underlines, brackets and marginalia. At the end of the course, alongside my own reflection in text-form, I produced an artistic artifact. Basically, I ripped out the pages from 25 of my favorite–and most marked–texts, juxtaposed them as partial objects, and grafted and glued them onto a desk chair. So, the seat and center of the chair looks something like this:

IMG_0299Below, I will include my experimental essay reflecting on this project and the questionnaire I had to fill out for the project. Here is the questionnaire:

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Laruelle, non-philosophy, translation

Non-Philosophy in Translation

I wanted to let everyone know that two of Laruelle’s books (Dictionary of Non-Philosophy) (Philosophy and Non-Philosophy) are now in print and available to order.  Univocal has done a great job in getting both of these books out in rapid succession, and the mirror fractal images of the covers just makes the pair the ultimate accessory :).

The Dictionary has been fully revised, and there’s a new introduction by the author included, along with his essay on the non-philosophical dictionary. All in all, it’s infinitely better than the PDF dictionary, which is outmoded and incomparably inferior.

I also wanted to link to a number of translations of F. Laruelle’s that I have posted in the past year or so, just to cross-wire the translation interests along with Fractal Ontology, my original conduit and channel for my translation-inspirations.

Intro to Textual Machines

The Transcendental Computer: A Non-philosophical Utopia

Badiou and Non-Philosophy: a Parallel

The Concept of an Ordinary Ethics or Ethics Founded in Man

The Concept of Generalized Analysis or of ‘Non-Analysis’

Who Are Minorities and How To Think Them?

[UPDATE] Toward an Active Linguistics

Deleuze, Deleuze and Guattari, Laruelle, transmutation, zero

Dooley on Deleuze: the Dieulieuzian-Dooleuzian Disjunction

Thinking in waves

Let me just say that it has been such an honor and such a treat to welcome Brian Dooley and his voice to Fractal Ontology (cf. Brian’s recent work “Schizophrenia of Zero” and “Transvaluation“). I can only inadequately convey my excitement and joy to share a mutual interactive space with a free-spirit like Brian, who, in (not being) himself, constitutes a veritable thought-force, a violence that forces one to think. Nevertheless a positive violence that takes thought to its immanent limit; the violence of the witch’s broom and the dice throw. Obviously not an empirical violence…

How to engage such a violence while coming out unscathed? Wrong question: how to come out scathed, how to love the fate of the wound for which we are born–the nothingness and abyss through which Bryan transports (us). Hence the ethics of transmutation: not to be unworthy of what happens (to us), since the ‘us’ does not repeat in the purity of the event, except as surface effect…But also the ecology of the virtual, or, in another vein, the respons-ibility towards the infinity of dialogue: how to throw down the gauntlet for the exhaustion of the infinite conversation while affirming the negation of agon, the anagonic war at the genital heart of acephalic thought? The encounter where violence is simply the thresholds crossed by reactive forces being tapped into, activated, countereffectuated…

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Laruelle, non-philosophy

Full Translation of the Dictionary of Non-Philosophy

I have recently finished translating Francois Laruelle’s (with his collectif) Dictionary of Non-Philosophy. Kime: Paris (1998). Please feel free to spread the knowledge far and wide, because I intend this to help encourage people to start engaging with non-philosophical concepts and their inevitable entry into all facets of thinking, including the philosophical.

I also want to thank Sid Littlefield and Anthony Paul Smith for their work on some of the definitions. It makes it all the more fitting that the translation would also be a collaborative effort. In that sense, I also want to thank Joe Weissman and Chris Eby for their intellectual support, as well as Ben Woodward and Nick Srnicek for their efforts in editing the work. Lastly, I want to thank Sid again for his constant efforts towards enriching my own intellectual development and those of many others who have the veritable luck to learn from him.

Also, last but first and foremost, let me extend my thanks to Laruelle and his collaborators (A.-F. Schmid, S. Valdinoci, T. Brachet, G. Kieffer, L. Leroy, and D. Nicolet) for their endeavors to make an economy of philosophical vocabularies, i.e. a non-philosophical dictionary, possible.

Here’s a link to the pdf. Enjoy!

being, communication, Deleuze, immanence, language, Laruelle, naivete, paradox, philosophy


Notes on the Preface of Laruelle’s Critique of Deleuze

“There is reason to revolt against the philosophers,” this is where philosophy, in its greatest triumph, only further encourages itself. This is the moment, when philosophy perhaps no longer recognizes the autonomy of science and art, that it denies their autonomy, and with the utmost subtlety.
Francois Laruelle, “I, the Philosopher, Am Lying: A Response to Deleuze”

Deleuze has discovered a secret — the secret or the property of philosophy, a secret which gives us the impression that it is very old and that it has been lost. He discovers the philosophical idiom, which now becomes alien to itself, but which remains an idiom precisely because it has become the language of the infinite. The language of the good news is absolutely private and absolutely universal. Their coincidence is the peak of the self-contemplation of the philosophical community. Hence the horror displayed towards transcendent artifacts like consensus and communication.

Laruelle, ibid.

Francois Laruelle opens the preface of his remarks on Gilles Deleuze by stating that it is necessary to thank Deleuze for having said so clearly that philosophical discussion is neither interesting, or perhaps even possible, unless it is directed towards an outside of thought.

This praise should be read with more than a slight nuance. For Laruelle goes on to argue that the authors of What is Philosophy? have another interest than directing thought towards an outside: namely, in what Laruelle distinguishes as “laying claim to philosophical naivete.” [Laruelle, “I, the Philosopher, Am Lying: A Response to Deleuze” 1] Laruelle declares the object of such naivete to be to force us in the corner, figuratively speaking — to make us give up the secret to our tricks. They do it so well, it works.

The effect is generic, perhaps even all-too-human: through its innocent provocation, the laying-claim to “philosophical naivete” itself inevitably calls for the clarification of anyone else’s ultimate presuppositions as regards their own relationship to philosophy. Laruelle calls this “innocent” laying-claim a paradox — Deleuze abandons disputation, while succumbing to the worst excesses of communication.

It would still be wholly necessary, notes Laruelle, to explain the reasons for abandoning communication, and precisely in terms of the reality of thought. Laruelle notes Deleuze’s behavior in this case is symptomatic: the ashes of a critique of communication end up communicating only the reasons for abandoning communication.


Laruelle is rigorous on this point in particular: philosophy, if it it is able to pass for the paragon of dogmatism, the most complete form, is also that which inscribes communication, “relation,” into the essence of Being.

Here we are asked to consider Leibniz, and his concept and practice of communication. They are dogmatic and destroy themselves, Laruelle says, for they are communicated from his philosophy itself.

But what about Deleuze? It is the same paradox in reverse which affects Deleuze’s philosophy, Laruelle argues. A great deal is communicated, little understood — and even less utilized. And so perhaps, Laruelle continues, the problem is undecidable, at least in philosophical terms, since each philosophy defines for itself a concept of “communication.”

By doing so, they scramble any codes which would allow an “objective” evaluation of both communicational and non-communicational powers.

The combination of these powers, along with the power of miscommunication, defines the philosophical, according to Laruelle.


This book, What is Philosophy?, is highly anticipated, critically acclaimed, and widely successful — in short, completely assured of its own force. It makes the affect of the philosophical depend upon science and art, but not “themselves” or practically, rather upon the philosophical concept of science or art. Not upon geology, but the philosophical concept of geology; not upon x, but the philosophical concept of x. Philosophy denies the autonomy of science and art, declares their immanent practices without concepts to be heretical.

This is the point, precisely, where philosophy encourages itself to deny the autonomy of art and science with even more subtlety: Laruelle observes the “concordant” style of the work, its “local” style of reciprocal respect. He grants this is undoubtedly that within it which is opposed to communication — but is it not, he declares, also its most unapparent ruse, its greatest danger, and also the remedy itself for whoever knows how to identify in it — this last sleight of hand?

The self-affirmation of philosophy does nothing but trouble other philosophers.

Laruelle wonders: how do we make this immaculate book into a problem — a new type of problem, since it’s already the solution to the problem of what a problem is?

Suppose there is a book, Laruelle says, and that it is called What is Philosophy? Suppose further that it claims to respond to this question, and through its own existence, in its very manifestation.

It would therefore be impossible to discuss the book, because it would be at the very center of philosophy, and philosophy would be at the very center of this book. Because one does not converse with God, one does not communicate with natural phenomena.

One does not argue with Spinoza.

This book is absolute, Laruelle writes.

It has written, spoken, and made itself into a response to this question: ‘what can a book do — what can a philosophy book do, especially?’

In other words, it can do nothing but auto-write, write itself right in front of you.

And so, Laruelle asks, what could readers do — but get off on a philosophy being done without them?

Laruelle admits he can no longer give in to the tone of Deleuze’s voice, that is: if it is indeed a question of doing what they’ve done, rather than saying what they’ve said.

And perhaps, Laruelle quips, there still remains one last situation they have not foreseen: really doing what they have said they have done, or what they have only done by saying it, once again mixing doing and saying under the name of ‘creation’ — as all philosophers have.

It remains to do the immanence they say, Laruelle asserts. Laruelle is clear about the point here: not to comment on the work, not to make a problem of it, is “perhaps to no longer want to do something besides what they have done.”

Is it still perhaps possible, Laruelle asks, to really do what they have thought to do?

heresy, Laruelle, non-philosophy, philosophy, science, speculative realism

Speculative Heresy: a New Collective Blog on Laruelle and Speculative Realism

In just the past few days, Nick from Accursed Share, Ben from Naught Thought and I have created a new joint blog gathering together translations, book reviews, commentary, reading discussions, etc. on Laruelle, speculative realism and non-philosophy called Speculative Heresy. We conceive it to be an open discussion and collection of different perspectives on this new and still slightly obscure discipline.

Generally conceived, non-philosophy is opposed to revolution which is much too often the mode associated with new philosophical decisions. Modeling the “non-” after the non- in non-Euclidean geometries, non-philosophy aims to suspend some of the fundamental axioms which support the principle of sufficient philosophy (or PSP). According to Laruelle, non-philosophy proceeds through mutation rather than revolution, and this mutation lately has taken the form of heresy (testified most explicitly in Laruelle’s The Future Christ: A Lesson in Heresy (2003)). The site is still fresh, but within the week there should be quite a few posts to sift through. Other contributors may include Stellar Cartographies and Ross from Apeiron, but we hope to include as many critical voices necessary to create a chorus (though not one which is a priori harmonious). One of the first projects we hope to proceed with includes an open discussion on Ray Brassier’s dissertation Alien Theory: The Decline of Materialism in the Name of Matter, which is more or less conceived as a defense of Laruelle’s non-philosophy. Luckily, Brassier has made his dissertation accessible online for free, so anyone can join who wishes to. The file is made available on Accursed Share, but it will also be linked to on Speculative Heresy very soon.

Aesthetic, axiom, badiou, epistemology, form, Laruelle, legitimacy, matter, non-philosophy, ontology, science, transcendental

(Non-)Epistemology and Ontology: Three more definitions from Laruelle’s Dictionnaire

Laruelle, Francois. Dictionnaire de la non-philosophie. Paris, Kime, 1998. Original translation by Taylor Adkins.


Unified theory of science and philosophy that takes for its object and material the discourse which lays claim to a particular mixture of science and philosophy: epistemology.

Philosophy recognizes epistemology in two ways which are not always exclusive. It can treat it as a continuation of traditional philosophy of science, crystallized around the Kantian question of the possibility of science, often relating precise and delimited scientific problems to philosophical systems, whether classical or modern (Aristotle, Descartes, Kant, Hegel, Russell, Quine, etc…) along with traditional philosophical positions (realism, empiricism, idealism, etc.). It can also consider it as a relatively autonomous discipline—simultaneously more regional and more technical—whose sources or occasions are extensions beyond the mechanical or Euclidean geometry of the physical, or even “exact” model of the concept of science; or still it can consider the technological interpretations of this concept. With this more specific preference, the epistemological tradition, going strong for over a century, has become extremely multiform and varied in regard to the nature and order of grandeur of its objects and methods. Nevertheless, its object or its final interest always more or less explicitly remains the criteria of scientificity for science or the sciences. This question, in its constantly displaced and renewed repetition, is always understood as aporetic and even at times gives rise to an admission of failure, which is the motivation for “external” perspectives (technological, sociological, economic, political, and ethical) on science. The advent of epistemology under these hypotheses seems like a becoming-network of its concept of science in a complex, non-linear and instable system.

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