Laruelle: The Philosophical Decision

Philosophers are no better than creationists. Philosophers may hate irrationalist leaps of faith, but French theorist François Laruelle locates their own narcissistic origin story. For him, all philosophy begins with the world as ‘fact.’ The atomists begin with the rain of the void, Kant posits the noumenal thing-in-itself, and the New Materialists start from matter. These facts do not speak for themselves but are mere setup, as once philosophy establishes what ‘is,’ then it narcissistically suggests the world exists for the purpose of proper philosophical reflection. Gottfried Leibniz presents the principle of sufficient reason, “everything in the world happens for a specific reason” (and it is the job of philosophers to identify it), and Alfred North Whitehead alternatively says, “no actual entity, then no reason” (so it is up to philosophers to find one). 

For Laruelle, philosophy is simply variations on a single approach that first begins by selecting how the world presents itself, and second determines the mode of thought that is the appropriate response. The consequence Laruelle finds between the two halves is a grand division – appearance/presence, essence/instance, Being/beings – that cannot be thought by philosophy itself. [nb: Pragmatism, empiricism, and transcendental thought and their notions of genesis, givenness, and the real are also easy targets.] Such division is tantamount to cheating, as it wills thought into being through an original thoughtless act. The act of thoughtlessly splitting of the world in half is what Laruelle calls “the philosophical decision.”

3 thoughts on “Laruelle: The Philosophical Decision

  1. Reblogged this on synthetic_zero and commented:
    Decisionality of any kind (regardless of genre) is figured in relation to the ground [zero] of a self-articulating Earth – the sheer facticity of being as doing. Every offered abstraction partakes in the schematization [+2] of radical immanence [0] in all its modes. Thus we, the decisionally dependent, are all realists to whatever functional extent or we are delusional.

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