Philosophies of Difference

François Laruelle


Laruelle, François. Philosophies of Difference: A Critical Introduction to Non-Philosophy. 1986. Translated by Rocco Gangle. London, UK: Continuum, 2010. PDF: 9780826436634.


“A crucial text in the development of François Laruelle's oeuvre and an excellent starting point for understanding his broader project, Philosophies of Difference offers a theoretical and critical analysis of the philosophers of difference after Hegel and Nietzsche. Laruelle then uses this analysis to introduce a new theoretical practice of non-philosophical thought. Rather than presenting a narrative historical overview, Laruelle provides a series of rigorous critiques of the various interpretations of difference in Hegel, Nietzsche and Deleuze, Heidegger and Derrida. From Laruelle's innovative theoretical perspective, the forms of philosophical difference that emerge appear as variations upon a unique, highly abstract structure of philosophical decision, the self-posing and self-legitimating essence of philosophy itself. Reconceived in terms of philosophical decision, the seemingly radical concept of philosophical difference is shown to configure rather the identity of philosophy as such, which thus becomes manifest as a contingent and no longer absolute form of thinking. The way is thereby opened for initiating a new form of thought, anticipated here with the development of a key notion of non-philosophy, the Vision-in-One.”


Translator’s Introduction (pp. vi-xii)

Put simply and directly by Gangle, “François Laruelle’s non-philosophy marks a bold attempt to think the One, or Real outside of any correlation with Being and without reference to transcendence” (vi)

He must “skirt the twin dangers of positivism on the one hand and false transcendentalism on the other” (vi)

“a key work in which readers new to the arcana of non-philosophy may find their bearings” (vi)

“distinctive readings” of “Nietzsche, Heidegger, Deleuze, and Derrida” as “avatars of a common invariant of philosophical Difference”(vi)

“a non-philosophical theory of philosophical decision” (vi)

“Laruelle’s study is a critique of Difference” (vii)

“what is primarily at stake is the examination of a powerful generalization of a single structure, or syntax, common to them all … the Difference, or Difference as such” (vii)

“the non-differential and non-philosopgical thinking that in fact effectuates (rather than conditions or enables) the critique of Difference [is] the Vision-in-One” (vii)

Non-philosophy “is not in any sense anti- or counter-philosophical. It is a broadening or generalizing of philosophy rather than an opposition or antagonism to it” (ix)

“non-philosophy substitutes the Vision-in-One for the philosophical logic of the example in general” (ix)

“the cobblers and craftsmen of Socrates, the asses, whiteness and laughter of the Scholastics, Descartes’s wax, Husserl’s inkwell, Wittgenstein’s slabs, Heidegger’s hammer. Quine’s rabbit and so on” (ix)

“philosophers make use of examples in highly individualized and often quite telling ways to illustrate their more general theses. Non-philosophy views the use of such examples not as accidental but rather as essential to how philosophy in general thinks” (ix)

Exemplification is a “symptom to be analyzed and adequately understood” (ix)

“Cutting across the diversity of all such examples as well as the diversity of the philosophical views they are meant to exemplify is the form of the correlation1 itself that a priori binds these two sides to one another” (ix-x)

“the empirical, worldly and familiar example is used to indicate a general or universal (precisely philosophical) structure that is itself understood to govern any and all such examples” (x)

“the universal is understood in this way always to stand in relation to the particular or singular, and in truth this—as seen according to the Vision-in-One—works to the essential detriment of both poles” (x)

“What philosophy in general takes to be real is the very form of this relationship, what Laruelle calls the ‘empirico-transcendental parallelism’” (x)

“In the case of the philosophies of Difference, the parallelism itself is absolutized (in various ways) so as better to ensure its unbounded philosophical (but, in view of non-philosophy, not genuinely universal) functioning” (x)2

“For non-philosophy, however, the real universal—the One—does not stand in relation to particular beings at all because it is not in any way correlated to Being (not even through the ‘non-relation’ of transcendence), and by the same token, real singularities remain finally ungovernable by any philosophical generality or universality” (x)

“Non-philosophy is neither more nor less than what thinking becomes when the axiom of this correlation, the axiom that there is and must be such a correlation, no longer operates” (x)

“Laruelle’s style involves … a rejection of the standard scholarly apparatus of citation and reference”3

“two separate forms of ‘duality’ … that exist in French, duel and dual … the former … to represent the standard philosophical duality in which the opposites are … opposed to one another. The latter form … for designating the specific non-philosophical duality (or even dualism) obtaining between philosophy and all its constitutive and accidental dualities on the one hand and the One on the other” (xi-xii)

Instructions for Use (pp. xii-xxii)

“a network of contemporary philosophies” (xiii)

“Can an introduction claim … to outline the essential … of this philosophy while for the most part explicitly citing no more than three or four of its representatives”? (xiii)

Not “doxography” nor “traditional history of philosophy” (xiii)

“No inventories of particular works … no presentations of authors, no summaries of doctrinal positions” (xiii)

“not so much the names of philosophers” but “philosophy, and not so much philosophy as its very work of philosophizing” (xiii)

Difference: “this invariant that forms our horizon of thinking” (xiii)

Laruelle aims to “dismantle systematically the gesture of ‘Difference’, the articulation of its universal moments, the ‘syntax’ of this invariant and its real conditions of existence” (xiii-xiv)

Two key concept-problematics: “Difference” and “Finitude” (xiv)

Heidegger and Derrida differ from Nietzsche and Deleuze in their “imbrication” of Difference “with Finitude” (xiv)

“Chapters 1, 6 and 7 are more globally ‘critical’ than ‘descriptive’ and attempt to introduce a problematic that would no longer be that of Difference” (xiv)

“we are not outlining adversaries or ‘positions’ in broad strokes in order better to shoot them down. We propose to analyse the most general philosophical horizon that has been ours since Nietzsche and Heidegger” (xv)

The “‘critical’ manner” of the work is not in the “habit of the history of philosophy, of somewhat artificially raising problems of doctrinal coherence in order to give oneself the function and the ‘benefit’ of resolving them. There were no contradictions! See how good and clever I am, how I have saved this author!’ ‘There is an insurmountable contradiction: see how I know the author better than he himself, how I myself am a good author, more Kantian than Kant, more Spinozist than Spinoza!’” (xv)4

“A critique of Difference in the name of what we call a ‘thinking of the One’ can no longer be entirely a settling of accounts with a certain philosophical past that would be our own” (xvi)

“Philosophy calculates and settles accounts, establishes distributions and draws up balance sheets, recognizes debts and assures its own benefits” (xvi)5

This work follows on A Biography of Ordinary Man and the “consequences that the restitution of his essence to finite man or to the individual imply with respect to philosophy in general, with respect to the philosophical Decision that would deny him this essence” (xvii)

“In order to illustrate philosophical Decision, it seemed interesting to us to take the case of the contemporary problematic that, most relentlessly, has confounded the necessary anti-humanist struggle with the refusal to recognize in man a specific and positive essence” (xvii)6

“in the One in the sense that we intend, we find the most immanent and most real radical unity of man and knowledge” (xvii)

“Radically individual or finite man as finite for intrinsic reasons and as the subject (of) science—this is the content of the non-unitary One and the criterion against which we measure Difference and philosophical Decision in general.”

“Science … is a thinking of two principles,” a thinking which Laruelle termed in his Minority Principle as “gnosis,” a “a thinking that recognizes a certain irreducibility … to the existence of two principles and that separates what the Greco-Occidental [philosophy] has always united—here, the One and Being” (xvii)7

So, Laruelle contends, “Difference has tried one last time to reunite [Being and the One], allowing the failure or arbitrariness of this forced unity all the better to be seen” (xviii)

Science is, therefore, “the thinking that we oppose consistently to that of Difference” (xviii)8

“the problematic of Difference … accomplishes and assembles the Greco-Occidental style of thinking” (xviii)

This style of thinking cannot constitute itself “except through an absolute forgetting … of another way of thinking, authentically scientific, that had its effects, only effects, poorly engaged and quickly annihilated, in the dualists and gnostics”9

“a mode of thinking that would be specifically ‘heretical’, or denounced as ‘heretical’ by ontology and theology reunited” (xviii)10

“The examination of Difference is made from this point of view that we have elsewhere called radically ‘minoritarian’” (xviii)11

“we attempt a heteronomous destruction, scientific and not philosophical, of the Greco-Occidental style,” as opposed to the “interior” attempt via an “appeal to alterity” performed by the four thinkers in question (xviii)

“It is thus not a question of pursuing the same old game, of proceeding through substitution and proposing the question of the One in place of the question of Being” (xix)12

“More profound or more superficial than the forgetting of Being … is there not, at the very foundation of the question of Being and its vigilance, a ‘forgetting’ of the One that is a much stranger phenomenon, that is not a double, repercussion, or outbidding of the ‘Forgetting of Being’?” (xix)

“Yet would not the awakening to this, this other vigilance to the essence of truth, be immediately the destruction of the illusions of philosophical decision in general?” (xix)

“With the scientific examination of the question of the essence of Being through the thinking of the One there is a way of thinking that is unknown to ontology or first philosophy, even when these refer themselves ultimately to the One, and that dualist and gnostic endeavours have recognized more clearly but only so as to falsify it in the service of religious ends, a way of thinking that asserts itself and demands that we have another go at the task” (xix)

Derrida “constructs ‘Differance’ on the general syntactical model of Difference, he is no longer able to conceive Finitude as Heidegger does and must proceed to the operation, Judaic par excellence, of the inversion of the Greco-Occidental hierarchy that would assure the primacy of continuity over the cut. He substitutes for what is none other than an ‘ontic’ or at least ‘real’ finitude, the finitude of an already idealized cut, a real-ideal difference whose primacy over ideal continuity, with the insistence upon the effects of delay/slowing/differance/inhibition that convert this primacy, creates the appearance that it has to do with a ‘real’ finitude” (xx)13

“all the systems of Difference postulate, even while denying it, a second principle next to and opposite the One, a principle that cannot be perceived from Difference itself, but only from the One as restored in its authentic essence. This second principle is that of the real no longer as One, but as the diversity of an absolute, non-projective, non-horizonal Transcendence, a non-refl exive or non-positional transcendence” (xxi)14

“This diversity is that of a radical transcendence that does not belong to the One, outside the essence of which it is rejected, but which is the effect of its proper act” (xxi)15

This diversity “affects Being and all the ontologico-ideal structures of Difference with contingency and absurdity” (xxi)

This is the “scientific” and “rigorously transcendental space in which the modern and contemporary systems of Difference deploy themselves,” but must do so by “denying it” (xxi)

This is a “thinking of ‘two’ principles … allowing for a radical critique of the mixture of Difference and its aporetic style” (xxi-xxii)

“A critique that would no longer be” an attempt “to cleanse itself of its congenital defect … and through which it would be content to re-infect the wound” (xxii)

The congenital defect is “unifying duality … the synthesis of contraries … dialectic and difference” (xxii)

“To think is not necessarily on the order of itching or infection —this is what our research would like to suggest, in particular as against the philosophy that will have known how to conjugate the arts of Job and of Socrates and to carry these to the height of an essence: contemporary philosophy” (xxii)

Chapter One: Introduction (pp. 1-21)

How Difference Has Become a Philosophical Decision

“One constellation does not dispel another, it installs itself in the gaps of the former, occupies its neighbourhoods and proposes new signs, a new economy of the same places” (1)

“There was the severely articulated matter of the Dialectic, its astonishing passages from the celestial to the terrestrial state” (1)16

“There is henceforth … the cloudy matter of Difference, its dusts, its errant multiplicities, its black and white holes—matter as celestial as it is terrestrial, born apparently from the dissemination of the Dialectic” (1)

“It is necessary, now that this galaxy retreats from us a little, to say The-Difference as in an older epoch of thought one would say The-Dialectic” (1)

“Difference erects itself and casts over us a shadow where to our surprise we recognize once again the oldest spectre of the Greco-Occidental world” (1)

Heidegger made “apparent in ‘Difference’ the oldest and most dominant Greco-Occidental invariant,” that is, Being (2)

Difference is “a general syntax and a concrete, invariant type” (2)

As syntax, difference is “a way of articulating philosophical language” (2)

It is a “a thesis about reality, a certain experience—itself multiple—of the real” (2)

Difference “is a principle, a syntax that is real and not merely formal, transcendental and not merely logical” (2)

“Philosophical decision engenders philosophical logics—real or ‘transcendental’ logics—and Difference is nothing but the most recent of these logics, after Contradiction (‘dialectic’), Existence, Structure” (2)17

“What is the mechanism of Difference? … How does one pass from the category of difference to the syntax of difference, and from there to the concrete philosophies of Difference?” (2)

Where does difference come from? What are its “decisive neighbourhood[s]”? (3)

  1. “linguistics and differential signification” (3)
  2. “the necessity of struggling against Hegelian difference and its outcome in contradiction” (3)
  3. “the phenomenological care for the positivity of spheres of experience” (3)
  4. “the philosophical practice of the limit” (3)
  5. “the impulsion of the mathematics of cuts in their modern form” (3)

Difference “is a particularly plastic and critical instrument” (3)

But how does difference become “a real principle or a philosophical decision”? (3)

By overcoming the “potent philosophical machines” of “Contradiction, Existence, Structure” (3)

“How may Difference become autonomous and give itself a precisely differential form of autonomy?” (4)

“Through the elaboration of its syntactic properties,” which produces its “real or transcendental essence” (4)

“Difference becomes a concrete principle or philosophical decision when it … becomes this Unity,” the foundation of Being as such (4)

“Finally, it must thematize its syntactical structure” (4)

Laruelle sees signficance in the “distinction from Nothingness” of Difference, so becoming Being/Unity (4). He does not make this point clear, however—a symptom, I think, of his hasty generalization of the thinkers in question.

The question of the syntax of Difference is “the problem of Difference as form of order or articulation of the real” (5)

The second question is of the “specific experience of that real—the experiences—animating this syntax and rendering it concrete” (5)

A philosophical decision is “the totality, the unity of the co-belonging and co-penetration of a syntax and an experience of what it calls the ‘real’” (5)18

“Syntax and experience reciprocally determine one another and thus individuate each other to the point of being rendered undecidable” (5-6)19

Difference and decision stand in distinction from (but how to make this distinction without decision?) “from a thinking of the One that would be not a decision but a science” (6)

“the scientific thinking of the One excludes its dismemberment into a syntactical side and a real side” (6)20

Philosopy “demands” this “scission” of syntax and real (6)

How Difference Has Requisitioned the One 21

“Difference cannot help but respond [to the “oldest Greco-Occidental question” (6)], like everyone else, through recourse to the One” (7)

Difference is “the Greek aporia become positive” (8)

Difference “raises aporia to the truth of essence” (8)

How a Theory of Difference is Possible

“If the Turning can signify something for us, it is that thinking is always-already in the Turning, constrained to let itself be carried and carried away by its swerving. And the experience of the Turning must be undergone; it is the specific movement, the moving proper to Difference, only Difference can ‘turn’ in this absolute sense.” (9)22

The “invariant” of Difference is the “reciprocal correlation … the oldest Occidental matrix, the contrary or contrasted coupling” (11)23

If we just keep replacing difference with difference, Laruelle says: “We are decidedly spinning in place, that is, still and always within philosophy” (11)

For Laruelle, “scientific” thinking is “indifferent to this aporia that puts philosophy in motion” (11), the problem of “duality-as-unity,” contradiction, the one and the many (6)

This science requires “an experience of the real that would no longer be co-determined by philosophical decision” (12)

“This experience is what here and there we have called the One” (12)

“its essence as indifference to the Unity of which all the philosophers speak—in particular those of Difference—which is always the unity-of-contraries, or scission-as-unity” (12)24

The One is indifferent “to philosophical decision and its modes of ‘Difference’” (12)

“we are in it [the One] as in the real in itself” (13)

“The One is such that it distinguishes absolutely from itself—in the form of a unilateral duality without reciprocity or reversibility—a domain of reality that we call effectivity containing all the entities, philosophical or not, that are obtained through the unitary combination of the two parameters of immanence and transcendence; that are thus the mixtures whose excellent model is the philosophical Unity-of-contraries”25

The Greco-Occidental Invariant

The “object” of the “present work” is to “to awaken philosophers to a problem, to an experience rather, that is non-philosophical but that is capable of founding a rigorous science of philosophy” (15)

“That the definitions of identity and disparity, unity and scission, ideal and real, immanence and transcendence, etc., vary from one system to another and would be more or less incompatible, this no longer matters to us and is no longer pertinent to our project” (15)

“In every case, it has to do with a coupling or an arrangement of two terms that is dual, or rather duel yet continuous, reciprocal or symmetrical” (15)

“It is to this unitary way of thinking that we intend globally to ‘oppose’ a certain duality that is yet irreversible and ensues from the One: on the condition that this duality is extracted from the wrappings of poorly founded religious ‘dualisms’, dualisms which are to be sure every bit as well founded as the ‘dialectical’ unity-duality of Difference”

“Duality here is no longer as philosophy understands it: two heterogeneous terms finally equal or reciprocal in their exclusion or else in their unitary hierarchy” (15)

“It is the unilateralization and contingency of a ‘second’ term by the One which however does not posit this second term and, consequently, is not determined in turn by it” (15)26

“What duality, thus grounded transcendentally in a thought of the One, allows us to tear out at the roots is the oldest model of Occidental thought, that of which Difference is none other than the purest mode, the model of Unity-in-tension or the One-Multiple” (15)

“To perceive the sheer expanse of this [Occidental] model, one must go back to the canonical enunciation: Everything is (Water, Earth, Fire, etc.)” (16)

“The predicative judgment is a logical model that may also receive a transcendental sense” (16)

“the Milesian enunciation, itself, makes apparent the oldest concrete philosophical matrix, a matrix of the empirico-transcendental parallelism and/or circle (with all its variants: logico-, physico -, psychologico- transcendental)” (16)

“What then does the empirico-transcendental circle define through this enunciation? It is to think the real as all (the all: not only the universaL but an absolute or unifying universal) and thus, inversely, the all of the real as still an element of the reaL indeed as Other: it is ontico-ontological ‘difference’ in its broadest sense, in the sense that Being is here definitively affected by the beings that it conditions” (16)27

“Unity remains transcendent here, that is to say, still affected by what it unifies” (16)

This is the “matrix of duel Unity, of circle or of parallelism” (16)

It is this “matrix of duel Unity … that unilateral duality, founded upon a ‘unary’ and no longer duel conception of the transcendental itself, freed finally from every affection of the empirical in return [i.e., the domain of effectivity], must, if not break, at least reject as a domain of experience immediately reputed not to be the One; as a reality affected by the (non-)One” (16)

Simplified: unilateral duality must reject the matrix of duel unity as a domain of experience or reality.

“The system of Difference thus reconcile themselves … upon the foundation of their common affection by this (non-)One” (16-17)28

“empirico-transcendental parallelism is the Greco-Occidental itself” (17)

The “heterogeneous usages of Difference,” the “domain of mixtures and effectivity,” is unilateralized by the One. This domain “is not thinkable except from a mode of thinking that is not duel but dual or dualist” (17).

This dualism is a “a duality of the One and of Being that metaphysics and the current attempts towards its ‘deconstruction ‘ have always tried to suture, to re-inscribe in a unity that is ‘torn’, ‘in tension ‘, ‘differentiated ‘, etc.” (17)29

Laruelle’s “description” and “critique” of difference is “scientific and transcendental” (17)30

the One as non-reflexive transcendental experience or absolutely immediate and non-thetic givenness (of) itself” (18)31

“Absolutely immediate: the One or Indivision is given (to) itself without passing through the mediation of a universal horizon, a nothingness, extasis or scission, a ‘distance’. It is strictly non-reflexive, that is to say absolutely singular and autonomous as such before any universal (form, meaning, relation, syntax, difference, etc.)” (18-19)

“It is this ‘unarity’ inasmuch as it is distinguished from ‘unity’: unarity is inherently immanent (to) itself, and non-thetic (of) itself, while unity is always both immanent and transcendent, nearly identical to Difference” (19)

“we make no claim to discover, finally hidden in Difference, rendering it real and not only possible, yet denied by it, some Archimedean point of the One” (20)32

“We already possess this” (20)33

“The One is a real absolute and not only a transcendental principle, and it is capable of grounding Difference itself without letting itself be exhausted, in its essence, by the use that Difference at any rate makes of it” (20)34

“The unilateralization or the duality, given their transcendental foundation in the One, cannot pass for an ‘exit’ beyond the World, beyond philosophy and its mixtures, but are rather what give us this indifferent and non-alienating access to the World as to philosophies” (20)35

Chapter Two: Syntax of Difference (p. 22-38)

Difference as Form of Order

The “essence” of the “One” “saves it from philosophical decision” (22)

The One “is not Difference and has no need of it. But Difference, itself, is a philosophical interpretation of the One and has need of it” (22)

“How does one pass from the One, from the concrete or absolute without division … to the syntax of Difference as the articulation of philosophical decision” (22)?

“The One becomes Difference … when it unites itself with what … must thus appear as its contrary: division and all the modes of transcendence, cut, analysis, decision, nothingness, withdrawal. etc” (22)

“the neither … nor of contraries … is re-included … as One” (23)

“Difference does not wish to dominate the contraries and their distance; it does not bring to them an exterior and already accomplished unity. To the contrary, Difference immediately divides any transcendent unity of this kind” (23)

These are: “Presence, Identity, Representation, Logo-phono-centrism” (23)

“But it does not divide without, always immediately as well, retying the thread which ensures that the contraries would never cease to be ‘all of a piece’” (23)

“Difference, inasmuch as it contains the One … is something like a co-sumption, a mutual ‘intertwining’ of contraries” (23)

“The One thus ceases in this way to be a transcendent Unity, the prior domain of some neutral reality, neither ontic nor ontological, that would share out or distribute, for example, Being and beings. Both of these, to take this contrasted pair, ‘participate’ in the One, their sharing out is their very unity” (24)

“The sharing out … conserves the One in each of the differends, and this is immediately the One itself (24)”

“The One is never, by its essence which is non-thetic (of) itself, a tautology; it is solely tautology’s necessary and not sufficient condition. Paradoxically, it is Difference that introduces a ‘tautological’ usage of the One” (26)36

Differential tautology is “the superior (transcendental) form of tautology: no longer that of logical identity, but that of the Same-as-Difference” (26)

Passage from the Meta-Physical to the Transcendental Form of Difference

The “first-level: the meta-physical articulation of Difference” (28)

“The spirit of Difference thus pierces through already in its definition of the ‘metaphysical’ a priori: one will speak less of form than of power-to-be” (28)

“This syntax of multiple powers-to-be is therefore already that of Difference, of the ‘connecting leap’, of the ‘continuing rupture’ or of the ‘relay’: such a being does not become itself except through its own rupture, the division of its identity to self or to others, but conversely to divide is immediately to project and continue” (28-29)37

Originary difference “is threatened with falling back into what it proposes to leave behind, precisely because its principle remains transcendence, and transcendence, characteristically of meta-physics, is always insufficient and fragile, and risks becoming again empirical” (29)

The second level: “the transcendental stage of Difference” (29)

“Difference does not become principle or Same except when division and its modes, one of which is ‘withdrawal’, are at last repeated or ‘included’ as the One itself” (29)38

“To think ‘in’ Difference is to affirm that the undecidable relation of opposites is worth more than any decision in favour of one or the other” (30)

“This second movement thus affects … transcendence, but because it is itself more than a simple transcendence” (30)

“Nothing transcends towards the One without the One ‘transcending’ towards itself, in reality without transcendence inscribing itself in turn within an immanence” (30)39

“interiorizing Turning (Heidegger)”40

“the One rather includes division in its immanence,” that is “Withdrawal. forgetting, difference” (30)

“Nothingness or its modes are what produce transcending: but when thinking undergoes the experience that is the One itself which transcends absolutely in ‘turning’, in reversing upon itself … then one may say that nothingness in its turn transcends itself as One and is no longer solely what produces transcending: it is then this tautological Nothingness that ‘nihilates’ and that merits the care of thinking” (30-31)41

“The passage from the metaphysical to the transcendental is an invariant that is displaced and worked, yet conserved, from Kant or even Plato to Heidegger and contemporary thought” (31)

The turning of the One upon itself “is the most certain sign of the failure of the philosophy … to think the essence of what the One’s immanence really is” (31)42

The Impossible Surpassing of Metaphysics

“Difference is both interior and exterior to metaphysics and representation” (31)

“Interior, because metaphysics and representation move within it” (31)43

“Exterior, because a supplement of difference or alterity is always necessary in order to actualize what resides in the very representation that denies it” (31)

“This double relation constrains Difference to ‘turn’ representation and to ‘turn’ absolutely— to turn and interiorize representation into and as the mode of transcendence” (31)44

“The surpassing of metaphysics is limited because it is turned back against itself” (32)

“Transcending or withdrawing do not become absolute except as Turning. To make the surpassing and the non-surpassing of metaphysics coincide, to inhibit the metaphysical surpassing of metaphysics even while affirming this inhibition, this Unsurpassable as the truly ‘finite’ surpassing of metaphysics, this would be ‘the summit of contemplation’ or the ‘serenity’ of thought” (32)45

“Difference is … not only an operation of thinking towards the One,” that is, the dialectical resolution of contraries, “but, in its essence, the movement of the One ‘in’ itself” (32)

“two solutions are possible: either the Turning is still an autonomous principle forming a system with transcending (Nietzsche: the Eternal Return of the Same; Deleuze: Repetition); or it is a transcending that is immediately One or Turning ( Heidegger). Either it is the-One-that-is-scission-of-opposites, or it is scission-that-is-One, Withdrawal-as-Turning. Yet in both cases Difference, in keeping to itself, keeps also to what is essential in metaphysics, the transcending proper to philosophical decision” (33)

The Three Stages of Difference

Difference “passes through three continuously linked levels of which the last two define the double articulation of philosophical decision in general” (33)

“a. Difference as present in object-being, ontic difference … the empirical level of Difference” (33)

“b. Difference as ‘ontological difference’” (33)

“c. Difference no longer as metaphysical or ontological, but as transcendental” (33)

“the contemporary thinkers of Difference … have found in this syntax a means … for the delimiation … of earlier forms of decision, while still renewing the essentials of philosophical decision” (34)

“Then, on this restricted base of a still philosophical critique of philosophy, to have made of the age-old category of Difference what all philosophers have always made of their principal procedure (dialectic, syllogistic, order of reasons, analysis, etc.): to have assured the passage from its a priori to its transcendental concept” (34)

This “place[s] transcendental truth, the essence of truth once more in the service of the carousel of metaphysics” (34)

Generalization of the Passage from the Categorial to the Transcendental

“Suspend are … the ontically transcendent multiplicities … given immediately in experience … [and] the space of ontological diversity … the ontic plurality of the ontological” (36)46

“an ontic multiplicity of Being could give rise … to the appearances of representation … in order that its suspension would be required and its ontic origin surmounted through becoming-One (specifically, in a differential mode)” (36)

“operation has become immanent to their essence: Nothingness nihilates, Essence essentializes, Language speaks, Desire desires, the World worlds, etc. This becoming-immanent in the form of tautology is fundamental” (37)

Chapter Three: Reality of Difference (pp. 39-75)

From the Syntax to the Reality of Difference

“Difference thinks or reflects itself in itself. It thus entails the disjunction and belonging … of syntax and reality, of the real’s articulation and the experience of the articulated real” (39)

The question now is therefore “what these thinkers understand by the real, that is, specifically, by ‘beings’ rather than ‘ Being’” (40)

“Being refers necessarily to beings, like reality to the real; it intends them in the broadest possible way” (40)

“Being is still the essence that determines beings, but the determination is drcular or iterative; beings affect or determine Being in turn: even when Being determines itself as (a) being” (42)47

“Difference is the sense, the truth, the locus of Being” (43)

“The debate between Nietzsche and Heidegger is one of knowing: which notion of beings?” (43-44)

Heidegger’s Difference with Respect to Idealism

“Difference, and particularly its Heideggerean mode, ‘destroys’ or ‘deconstructs’ the rationalized forms of the transcendental, but it remains transcendental in a broad sense where it is still a thinking of the One” (44)

“There is no philosophical decision, even of the deconstruction of philosophy, without a prior reduction, of an idealizing sort, that isolates the object to be deconstructed and constructs it as factum” (45)

“What are we to think of this war [between realists and idealists]? It is a war—it is unthinkable; we can only watch it, watch the combatants who tear each other inevitably to pieces and who know not what they do” (48)48

A Maximalist Hypothesis of the Sense of Finitude

“The strength and the challenge of Heidegger are to have thought a Kantianism without physical restriction; to have universalized this in an analytic of being-there (Dasein); to have pushed the transcendental distinction of the thing in itself and the object or Being beyond its idealist and epistemological restrictions; to have universalized Being or the object past every limitation in the sciences, all the while guarding under the name ‘Finitude’ the thesis of the thing in itself; and to have thought under the name of essence the imbricated unity of Being thus universalized and of Finitude - their unity and their distinction, precisely their transcendental difference” (52)

In Heidegger, Finitude “has as its function to guard Difference, ‘the intimate drift of uncovering and sheltering’ (Heidegger), establishment of proximity or neighbourhood, and to guard it by way of the real transcendence of the One and of beings against what most surely destroys this, the logical machine of Aufhebung and the superlogical machine of Uberwindung” (52)

“Finitude, interpreted as transcendence of the real, as ontic … transcendence, will be able then to become a transcendental trait that will confirm, as we shall see, the relay of beings by the One in this function of ‘withdrawal’—indeed the very essence of Being” (53)

From the Metaphysical to the Transcendental Sense of Finitude

“Heidegger’s thinking is a transcendental analytic, itself finite, of Finitude” (55)

“Finitude has two faces: a technical and metaphysical errancy, but also a thinking that ‘knows itself’ to be finite and for which finitude is a means of thinking the Other of object-being” (56)49

“errancy, or forgetting buried in itself[,] is an always present possibility of the Sharing-out” of Being (57)50

“the Sharing-out itself … pivots on itself” (57)

The Imbrication of Finitude and Difference[1]

[1] Laruelle’s note: “Given their technicality, the following three sections may be skipped on a first reading that would only want to follow the essential line of demonstration”

“the essence of Being … is the imbrication of Finitude and Being or Difference … the impact of the real on the syntax” (58)

“Withdrawal is not merely a moment of Difference; it is itself the Difference as finite” (58)

“Let us call Finitude, this transcendence in the form of withdrawal, the ‘Other’” (58)

“the Other is as much syntactical as real” (58)

“The Other … [is] intra-ontological; it is the real as cut-object, not a cut by the real in the objectivity of the object” (58)

“Finitude is determination ‘in the last instance’, that is, the essence of Difference that from its side overdetermines Finitude or gives to it its ideal and ontological conditions of existence” (58)51

Finitude-withdrawal “is a ‘scission’ that is immediately the One” (63)

“Finitude is thus the essence in the strict sense of what determines, of what contains not the empirico-metaphysical but the transcendental determination of Being” (64)

Reversibility and Irreversibility

“If Being must be ‘barred’, it is because its essence is still more uni-vocal indeed than it” (66)

From Nothingness Slave of Being to Finite Nothingness

“Difference—in Heidegger at least—is the prodigious attempt to uproot Nothingness and Forgetting from their state of metaphysical subjugation, from their subjection to Being—without simply reversing the relation” (72)

Nothingness itself is finite” in Heidegger (74)

“Heidegger reactivates a tautological thinking of Nothingness in order to guard it as nothingness (Nichts nichtet) , not to reduce or sublate it” (74)

“metaphysics … has always thought Being and Nothingness together” (74)

Chapter Four: Hegel and Heidegger (pp. 76-103)

Insufficiency of the Syntax and the Passage to Finitude

“Difference is circularity, even if its circle is open and unlimited; it is the passage from one contrary to the other in both directions, reversibility” (76)

“Being manifests beings which have need of it, but Being itself has need of beings in order to surpass them” (76)

“Difference does not exceed, in its general conception of the mechanism or syntax of essence, the Greek horizon” (77)

“Difference does not really change the question—the Greek question—but is content merely to recast this in a play of mirrors” (78)

“What is the content each time of originary Difference, which moves in a circle and which in one case founds a finite circularity and in another an infinite circularity?” (78)

“a circularity is always precisely both a finite and an infinite syntax” (78)

“A certain invariant syntactical process of thought was recognized and identified as much by Hegel as by Nietzsche and Heidegger by means of a return to the at once duel and unifying Greek experience of thinking—a return to Heraclitus” (79)

Absolute Finitude: Against Alienation

“the deconstruction of Being … is the instauration of a proximity or neighbourhood that does not imply any identification or exclusion since it is neighbourhood as ‘originary scission’, the continuity of a topology founded upon a reserve and immediately identical (to) a withdrawal” (85)

The Absolute and Its Tearing: Pain and Phenomenology

“in a sense Difference seems to invert at its own expense the situation of the Dialectic” (88)

“In the Dialectic mediation is finally itself suppressed in the Absolute and its parousia” (88)

Difference, however, “affirms mediation in its unobjectivizable essence without suppressing it dialectically” (88)

“If the passion of unveiling may be attributed in all rigor to human being, the passion (of) withdrawal, passion (of) the-veil-veiling-itself, of the Forgetting more profound than any forgetting, transcendental weakness more autonomous than any failure of Memory, may be attributed only to Being, that is, rather to the essence of Being” (90)

“Being’s essence is the ‘making itself finite’ of finitude, the immanence of a ‘finitude-that -finitizes’” (90)

“the central thesis: ‘the Absolute is identically its own tearing’, which is present in Heidegger as in Hegel” (91)

“In the former case, the tearing of the Absolute is truly the mode, and the only mode, in which it is experienced” (91)

“The break to which Heidegger exposes phenomenological experience is not that of the object-being at the interior of objectivity; it is that of objectivity globally, that of the presence of beings” (91)52

“a phenomenology that has pain not only as an instrument but as an affect of scission for every phenomenal content, is immediately—in Heidegger—a phenomenology of the Absolute or the sole content of the immediately di-ffering essence” (92)

“it is not this in Hegel except in a preparatory and limited way where phenomenology, that is, the type of immanence that is that of pain, still does not exhaust the essence of the Absolute and remains an instrument” (92)

“Difference ‘finitizes’ the Absolute and, due to the real transcendence of beings that is the content of pain … it [Difference] restores it [the Absolute] within the limits of a phenomenology” (92)

Systematic Dissolution of the Resemblances of Hegel and Heidegger

“The ‘identity of identity and difference’ is a syntax that appears to hold for Heidegger as for Hegel” (93)

But, the “formula: ‘the identity of identity and difference’, that of the indivision of Being and Nothingness, does not at all have the same sense, nor the same functioning … in Dialectic and in Difference” (93)

“Finitude is the reason that, in the last instance, radically distinguishes the Dialectic and Difference; it is the essence of Difference” (94)

“The scission is no longer ‘internal’ to the Absolute, by and for the Absolute, it (is) the Absolute or the One itself—it is this that distinguishes Heidegger from Hegel” (94)

“The cardinal form of the identity of difference and identity not only no longer has the same sense from the one to the other but perhaps it no longer has sense for Heidegger: difference (is) immediately identity, or rather the unity of the One” (94)

“Finite Difference is not so much the transcending of the One in relation to the Idea—this would be to give here a Neo-Platonic version of Heidegger—as the very transcending as One” (94)

“Being transcends beyond beings and, in this sense, it is no-thing. In the same way the Absolute according to Hegel is ‘pure annihilating of finitude’” (95)

“this nothingness of Being is itself finite” (95)

“In Difference, Finitude precludes that even Being, as Turning, could ever be ‘at home’. An errancy, rooted in the last instance in an irreducible ontic transcendence, remains an always-present possibility to which authenticity entertains (as to technology) a relation of neighbourhood” (95)

“Finitude is source of itself, its own essence, because straightaway the ‘finite’, that is, beings, have not been sacrificed to the Idea, instrumentalized as intra-ontological cut without reality ‘in themselves’, as simple intra-ideal diversity that would no longer be the index of any ‘thing in itself’. At once, beings have ceased to be finite, and it is Being that has become so. Yet although finite, it has, as Being, the resources for coming into its essence or its ownness and of thus raising finitude to the transcendental status of essence” (96-97)53

“Whereas absolute Idealism undertakes to resolve the amphibology of the real and the ideal, that is, to suppress it purely and simply by installing itself in ideality, Finitude conserves and reinforces it in the form of a Difference that no longer suppresses but maintains it as one-tension that sets forth each of the differends” (98)

“Heidegger raises the amphibology to the height of a principle or transcendental syntax while Hegel suppresses or denies it” (98)

“The Dimension, the Conciliation of opposites (conciliation that itself discovers and shelters) is not a dialectical reconciliation, but the amphibological and, the essential and that remains irreducible in its real transcendence, essence of Finitude and Finitude as essence” (98)

“The challenge of Heidegger is the desire to liberate oneself from the inferior or metaphysical forms of the amphibology of ideality and the real, and to give as a task or as stakes to think the essence of the amphibology, amphibology as such” (99)

“Heidegger does not shrink back, as do the idealisms of Hegel, of Husser! or of Nietzsche, before what these latter thinkers all consider to be unthinkable: Finitude and the real in itself, which they immediately suspend as devoid of philosophical pertinence” (99)

“He does not declare it any more thinkable, but is content to give it as ‘to be thought’, the withdrawal-(of)-the-One or One-as-Withdrawal contenting itself with holding spellbound and ‘in check’ the thus finite thinking which is asked only to experience itself as finite, not to lift its finitude, but so as to order once more the thinking of Finitude to Finitude” (99)

“The failure to think is in effect a failure of thinking if thought is understood in the idealist manner as identical to Being, or if Being and thinking are ‘the Same’ in a nonfinite manner, if ‘sameness’ is here that of infinite Difference” (99)

“But it is a completely possible and non-contradictory undertaking—not logically or rationally contradictory—if it knows how to remain faithful to Finitude as to its principle and does not claim to lift it, if it experiences it in a way that does not suppress it, since Finitude as possibilizing, real or determinative essence is inalienable and cannot be suppressed except through illusion” (99)[^54]

[^54] This section on p. 99 is good, very effectively clarifying the preceding mess of a chapter.

The Hegel-Heidegger Conflict and the Impossibility of Distinction

“Of Difference one may say in all rigor that it is a tempered and limited Aufhebung, both less and more than Aufhebung” (100)

“Difference is a dialectic without synthesis: in the very precise sense that it does not know for itself, but only as a logos to be fractured, an idealized identity, a purely ontological unity of the real and ideality that would a priori lift the real as ontic” (100)54

“In its Heideggerean usage, Difference is an enlarged dialectic, more originary and Greek than Hegelian, a finite and no longer logical dialectic” (101)

“By real finitude, it introduces a distortion into all the Hegelian articulations—perhaps what would have to be called, considering the problems of a Marxist form of dialectic, a cut of Finitude in the Greco-Occidental dialectic” (101)55

“It is this in-between of finitude that Heidegger undertakes to inhabit and of which he takes stock as of an inevitable locus, contenting himself with little by little, better and better, glimpsing the identity of the in-between and Finitude” (102)

“we may say that the absolute autonomy of Logic and Logic as the content of the Absolute are founded upon a denial of contingency, of inauthenticity, of the quotidian which we have shown to co-belong to the contrary to Finitude as one of its two continuous aspects, the continuity which is the condition of authenticity as of inauthenticity, and which must ground at the same time the autonomy of the philosophical gesture, the internal possibility of an inaugural cut and the respect for errancy inasmuch as it ignores or forgets itself” (102)56

“Is this not a sign? Must not Finitude be taken—but from another point of view, that of the real essence of the One—as the index of a reality that Finitude itself still refuses to recognize in its absoluteness” (102-103)57

“This other point of view is no doubt the only one that would be capable of throwing off the yoke of these complementary positions which turn in a circle and where Hegel and Heidegger respond to one another interminably . . . , as do all the unitary thinkers who call this war a ‘dialogue’” (103)

“The finitization of dialectic does not fundamentally modify the age-old Occidental conception of essence, namely the supposition of the existence of a syntax within the One and of a real/syntax disjunction (103)

“What must perhaps now be invented is a thought stronger than a cut and which would not be a simple changing of syntax … nor a destruction of Hegelianism through a specific articulation of Finitude, but the renunciation of every possible syntax and an abandonment to the immanent givens of the One” (103)58

Chapter Five: Derrida (pp. 104-151)

Derrida Between Nietzsche and Heidegger

“The present study of Derrida is fitted into the analytic of Difference” (104)

“Derrida, even more than Heidegger:” (104)

  1. “avows what there is of inconsistency, and accentuates what there is of latent self-dislocation in Greco-Occidental philosophical decision, whose originary dehiscence, its primitive incapacity to assure its real and rigorous unity with itself, he points out” (104)

  2. “refuses to unknot this decision and conserves it despite everything as aporia that does not resolve itself except through sheer movement as an unreal. wished for, hallucinated unity” (104)

“this headlong flight is the very essence of incoherence, of impossible Unity, and so wished for all the more” (104)

“Derrida is the thinker who carries philosophical decision to the limit of aporetic dislocation pure and simple and who yet. through a virtuosity of the endangered tightrope-walker. undertakes to seize decision again one last time and to maintain its possibility and truth, refusing to take the final step” (104)59

“Philosophical decision not only accommodates itself to this risk and this contact with the abyss, where it forgets more and more the problem of the essence of its internal unity, but in this experience it actually confirms its unitary essence, it finds new forces: the final step will not be a fall into the void” (104-105)

“This is nothing else, once one measures it against the finite One, than the practice of in-coherence which knows and wants itself as such” (105)

“It is a practice that has relinquished the most radical theoretical exigencies and science itself for an enchanted and magically mastered chaos” (105)

“The deconstruction of metaphysics is the ‘truth’ of metaphysics, the magnification and radicalization of what there is of the definitively insubstantial. unreal. purely fictional and indeed hallucinatory unity within philosophy in general” (105)

But: “the self-dislocation of philosophical decision is at the same time its becoming-unitary, its self-ensnarement, its intrinsic self-inhibition—its paralysis” (105)60

“How with the means now at our disposal are we to render intelligible Derrida’s enterprise and undertake its genealogy? The method cannot consist in ‘applying’ Deconstruction to itself, in letting it be affected by its own procedures, in registering the effects of this affection: this is what Deconstruction itself does. The method consists rather in evaluating from a non-deconstructive point of view the mechanism, thus suspended in its validity from the standpoint of the One, of ‘Differance’) and of the affection of the logos by differance” (105)

The “irreducibility” of Derrida is due his “introduction of a third term—a Judaic component” (106)

“‘Between’ Nietzsche and Derrida, there is more than a continuous torsion; there is a cut by inversion” (106)

“This inversion has a non-Greco-Occidental origin, an origin that may be called Judaic” (106)

“After having elaborated the ‘Greek’ finitude of Difference, we must elaborate the ‘Jewish’ and no longer Greek finitude of the same invariant” (106)

“Derrida works at once ‘by extending’ Heidegger and yet remaining nevertheless irreducibly foreign to him” (107)

“The Judaic inversion of the syntactical relation that is Difference cannot but ‘simulate’ Heideggerean ‘deconstruction’ (Abbau) and questioning, though without using precisely the same ‘procedures’ nor the same ‘positions’. The ‘specific’ difference of Derrida in relation to Heidegger is thus not specific, but Jewish, which means that despite everything it is still ‘specific’ or must pay its debts to the Greco-Occidental” (107)

“Derrida’s entire enterprise takes place within this enunciation that puts him ‘between’ Nietzsche and Levinas (the two extreme poles) and in a simulated proximity to Heidegger: a writing that is neither Jewish nor Greek, at once Jewish and Greek” (108)61

The “Judaic component” is the “de-composition of the Greek” (108)

“Perhaps it will be necessary in the future to read Derrida … by showing how much he ‘suffers’ from a Jewish symptomatic” (108)

The Greco-Judaic Amphibology and How to Treat It

The “Derridean ‘mixture’” is the “immanence of the logos and its becoming-Other in a Judaic mode” (108)

“to what extent is it [this mixture] not an enterprise that ‘holds’ only as a forced yoke, through the genius, that is, the violence of a single man?” (108)62

“the greater part of the systems of philosophy, and not only of metaphysics, make use of a mode of the amphibological unity of the real and the ideal—precisely Difference” (108-109)

This amphibological unity is “a mixture of immanence and transcendence that remains unthought in its real unary essence and that from then on compensates for this emptiness, this fragility with a headlong flight, an infinite postulation, a fury to realize itself that is meant to balance the inconsistency and non-reality of its beginning” (109)

“Derrida accentuates in an extraordinary way this in-consistency or exteriority through which metaphysics self-deconstructs” (109)

Derrida “compensat[es] for [unity’s] lack of a proof of existence with recourse to an ‘interminable’ work” (109)

Derrida’s “oscillation” also “grounds itself in any case upon the practical violence of philosophical decision in general,” despite its “unique and split writing” (109)

“Philosophical decision … either recognizes itself, that is, recognizes its finitude, its exterior possibility, a residue which serves as its motor, or tries to deny itself as decision in an autoposition or causa sui that is ideal in the last instance. Yet even in the former case, it is not a matter of an absolutely radical exteriority but an exteriority still and in the last instance wished for and assumed” (109)

“All the deconstructive vigilance, its worry, its surveillance of self and others will be inscribed in this ultimate naivete, this abandonment to deconstructive practice and its undecidable decision” (110)

This “violence” is “self-legitimating” because “‘interminable’ writing is an ‘ontological’ proof of the existence of writing” (110)

“Either the Same perhaps exists, but ‘to the side’, as paganism exists ‘to the side’ since otherwise it would be possible to lend it a status at the interior of the experience of the absolute Other … Or, if the Same does not exist as such, it is because it is in fact already Other and the Greek is thus the neighbour of the Jew, existing as none other than my neighbour and not as Greek participating with me in a unique Cosmos or a unique Polis” (110)

Derrida “neither makes a simple concession to the Greek as judged to be without importance nor does he deny it: he is affected by both idioms and wants to assure their communication despite everything” (110)

“Derrida is Levinas’s truth, his becoming Greek” (111)

“The discourse of Deconstruction concerning itself cites its own effectivity as a plea to legitimate itself: this may satisfy a philosopher … but cannot satisfy those who, straightaway, regard Deconstruction in One” (111)

“We must reintroduce at the very heart of Deconstruction the point of view of the One that, in a sense, will not destroy it, but, more profoundly, will allow us to operate its ‘Transcendental deduction’ (in a new style, non-Kantian to be sure) … How then?” (111)

“A unity must be found in the real functioning of Differance” (111)

To find this unity, “a completely Judaic inversion of the indivisible relation [between real and syntax] that constitutes Difference” must be undertaken (111)

“Deconstruction does not have at its disposal the minimum of internal unity necessary to the coherence of any philosophical project” (112)

But in this, Derrida “draws a balance from philosophy but refuses to reimburse this debt in order better to reimburse another” (112)63

So, then, to “extricat[e] the kernel of real unity” from Deconstruction, we must “obtain[]” the “experience of the cut as absolute” from “immanence and through a process of inversion” (112)

“like Nietzsche for Platonico-Occidental metaphysics, Derrida ‘tips the hand’ of the Jewish philosopher and he shows this by the very fact that Levinas denies, namely that the Judaic Other, in its inviolable transcendence, is only an inversion of the Greek and does not exist except with the Greek—with paganism, that is” (112)

“This inversion of the Greek … is for Derrida what allows him at once still to be Greek and, nonetheless, to be able to deconstruct the Greek himself” (112)

“Derrida is Levinas come true” (112)

“while Levinas is absolutely unthinkable, or juxtaposes the thinkable and the unthinkable without communication, Derrida is still thinkable as unthinkable even when he experiences the absolutely unthinkable at the heart of thinking” (112)64

“Differance” is “a mode of Difference” and is obtained by way of “a Transcendental Deduction from Greco-Nietzschean or metaphysical Difference of the absolute or Judaic Other” (113)

either Judaism cannot but simply and purely ignore the Greek and philosophical and relinquish philosophy … which Levinas does not do, Derrida thus being able to denounce this inevitable double-dealing; or the Greek idiom will always prevail at the final accounting, that is, through its finite conception of the infinite, over the Jewish idiom” (113)

“the inversion cannot fail … to be relative to what it inverts and also to posit itself as immediately absolute or to deny its entirely relative origin” (113)

“Derrida, as we will show, in no way exits from this Judaic form of duplicity which he exploits in every one of his utterances” (113)

“His strength is to reveal this” (113)

Reduction of the Amphibology

“Deconstruction poses local and relative evaluations of its force” (114)

“It has … the form of a double discourse” (114)

  1. “a thesis of weakness, of relativity, of limited calculation, of micro-economic and tempered vigilance” (114)

  2. “the insistent thesis, never abandoned, of an effect of absolute difference, of a point of irretrievable loss, of a collapse from which one never recovers, of an incalculable which still must finish by being absolute” (114)

Deconstruction “evaluates … its own power and that of its effects” (117)

“The ‘disseminating’ style refuses to bind and unite these evaluations … and from this a certain obscurity results” (117)

“What is at stake in this global evaluation that Deconstruction cannot fail to make of itself at the same time that it analyses itself, exposes-and-inhibits itself, is its significance as both political and anti-political, relatively and absolutely anti-political” (117)

“The Greco-Occidental symptom of Deconstruction is … a denial of the political in the form of its deconstructive inversion” (117)

The Rectification of Differance: As Difference

“Here is a diffuse sensation, little argued but persistent: Deconstruction … accelerates the constitution of contemporary thought, its most insistent and visible phylum, in a combinatorics that is in the midst of drawing out its final consequences, even if it may draw these out infinitely, of producing its final effects and fulfilling itself, even if it may fulfil itself in the form of an unlimited becoming” (119)

Deconstruction “becomes an infinite whole, broken and infinite (we will call this the enterminable . . . )” (122)

“Differance as source, cut-source of a new continuity” (124)

“Continuity does not exclude the cut, to the contrary, and the cut requires reciprocally a continuum” (124)

“Differance is nothing but the and, the copula par excellence, the superior form of the copula experienced in a radical transcendence” (126)

“Deconstruction finally conceives Differance … as a phenomenon of reciprocal determination that fulfils … the ideal that it cannot truly assume from unilateral determination” (127)65

“the prior conditioning of this unilateral determination is posited yet missing. Reciprocal determination annuls or betrays this latter because it is already, a priori, conceived virtually as a relation and the absoluteness of the difference is a priori missing” (127)

The Judaic Inversion of Difference: As Differance

“Derrida always interprets the complete syntax from the cut that slows and stops, from the cut-effect rather than from the flux” (129)

“Derrida has a tendency to isolate the ‘cut’ effect from its real conditions, to index it to an absolute alterity, to dissimulate its relativity” (130)

“The ‘limitless yes to difference’ risks being a limitless yes to the negativity of difference as cut, a negativity necessarily reconstituted through the summation or reproduction of differance as absolute Other” (131)

the Greco-Occidentalsyntax and the age-old problem of the Unity of contraries are still not abandoned. It is still the same project and the same technology, only more refined, more positive, with a sharpened sense of inhibition to be brought against the process of re-appropriation and interiorization. What changes is the power of the scission, of such a kind that Derrida is able to ‘deconstruct’ Aufhebung: more precisely, its most ‘negative’ and idealizing forms, since a continuity subsists through and beyond the de-limited interiorization, so much so that Differance never ceases to render homage in its Greco-Judaic mode to the topic of the Unity of contraries that is Aufhebung in its universal form” (132)

“Deconstruction is the most subtle, the craftiest [le plus retors] … procedure that logo centrism, drawing new forces from Judaism and its affect, will have invented” (133)

The Body-Without-Writing or Judaic Plane of Immanence

“There is here a regularity in Derrida’s work … the requirement of a truly absolute cut-point, of an effect of differance absolutely without return … the contour of thinking” (134)

“as for ends, Deconstruction does not find itself lacking; its very principle is the infinite end, the unlimiting limit” (135)

“The ‘unlimited Yes’ still risks being nothing other than this effect of alterity,” that is, the “threat of cadaverization … which we have seen results from a unilateral interpretation of the etc.” (135)66

Cadaverization and affirmation are two syntactical or structural functions that co-belong to one another” and also belong “to another system … that I shall call the Body-without-writing” (137)

“These functions are inalienable, they cannot fail to appear in deconstructive theory and practice” (137)


  • “a function of universal repression” (137)
  • “Differance itself which impedes and inhibits itself” (137)
  • “writing’s degree zero” (137)
  • “a limit of repulsion” (137)
  • “textual de-inscription or in differentiation” (137)
  • “the whole thematic of disinterest, of distraction, of infinite slippage” (137)


  • “a function of economy” (138)
  • “an economy affected by an-economic repression, overcoming and including it in an infinitely displaced circling” (138)
  • “interest in . . . for . . . the unthinkable, the inadmissible” (138)
  • “interest including and overcoming anti -textual disinterest and distraction” (138)

“The Body-without-writing is itself also constructed in two series or two bands … on the one hand the cut, but having becoming unlimited, universal; on the other hand the continuum, but having become infinite” (138)

“The Body-without-writing (BWW) is the Greek plane of immanence of which Judaic alterity remains despite everything capable—if it does not simply deny it” (138)67

“the BWW is a reserve of inscription that stores up and condenses the energy, intensifies the work of differance and re-affirms the infinity of the DB” (138)

“The Body-without-writing is a kind of double band tape recorder, a recorder and reproducer of writing, but which is in its turn double or split” (138)

The BWW “combin[es] cadaverizing depotentialization and revivifying potentialization, arranging the DB, which remain nevertheless universal, in a superior machine that imprints them with the erect beam of its gallows [sa potence]” (139)

“What does affirmation do? It is interminable perhaps, more precisely en-terminable. It cannot prevent … coming back to sign that to which it makes the faux-bond” (140)

“And it is Derrida who signs this, faithful despite everything to the rendezvous with the BWW, itself faithful to the rendezvous with the DB. A fidelity of Differance to Difference, precisely because Differance is never anything but a mode of Difference” (140)68

“differance just like the rest arrives always at its destination - unless it denies its origins as in Levinas, which Derrida refuses” (140)

“However much it [Difference] slips infinitely, renders itself interminable: precisely because it would be from the origin nothing but an interminable term, an unlimiting limit, a continued and continuing cut, it remains dedicated to repeating itself save for differance, entering under the irrepressible law of the same, sustaining a new coherence, one which is capable of including and overcoming the incoherence of the DB” (140)

“Deconstruction secretes little by little a field of presence without the present, a field of logos without logocentric objects—a Greco-Judaic plane of immanence” (140)

“Deconstruction does not form a topology like science, agreed, but it still forms a transcendental topology even if this is itself parcelled out, and there is a Judaic plane of immanence whose topological properties auto/hetero-affect themselves simultaneously” (141)

“Derrida attempts to ‘compensate’ for the risks of the differance, the inhibition, the originary finitude of the logos by calling for an affirmative difference, an ‘unlimited yes’ of Nietzschean hue” (142)

“Differance loses all chance of becoming ‘absolute’ in the sense Derrida wants precisely at the moment it becomes so. Its absolute character, that which the theory of the DB assigns to it at least as an ideal or a necessity … withdraws definitively with its ‘signature’ by the ‘unlimited Yes’, its magneto graphic recording by the BWW” (142)

Relatively Undeconstructible

“The syntactical scheme of Difference, on the condition that it be infinite, that the cut be in its turn a new continuum—this scheme is thus capable of analyzing Differance, of problematizing its logic and its topic, of denouncing its endeavour” (143)

“every continuum represents a cut for another continuum, a logocentric phenomenon represents differance for another . . . ; no ‘inversion ‘ of this relation to the profit of the cut is able to inhibit this process itself, except of course … to deny it” (144)69

“Deconstruction, through its functioning and its systematics, is thus an ideality, but it is the chimera of a Judaic ideality” (145)

“Even Differance forms a continuity, topos (Derrida’s phantasm) and typos (whether you want to or not, by your identifications and your resistances to it, you become subject-of-deconstruction, a subject in progress )” (145)

“Deconstruction is the univocity of the system-of-the-Other, the Judaic plane of immanence, it exploits an infinite possibility of variations on a scheme to which this infinite possibility belongs” (145)

“Differance analyses (codes, presuppositions, closures, etc.) by using, only as displaced, all the analytic procedures of philosophy, linguistics, psychoanalysis, etc.” (146)

Paralyse”: “a certain movement of dascination” (Derrida, cited 146)

enlyse”: “the self-ensnarement of differance, not by presence but by the unity in progress, the unlimited fusion of differance and presence” (146)70

“The unique flux of an unlimited deconstruction will surprise you in its own way with its necessity of water and stone. While you suffer and enjoy being made and doubled by all the work of disappropriation, it itself is remade in the last instance; it ensnares itself in its vigilance - by dint of recouping itself, of overbidding itself, by dint of oversnarement [surlyse] - and takes upon itself all the weight of the logos that it prevails over, that prevails over itself, lifts and sublates itself, assumes itself once more” (146)

“By dint of practising, systematically, the failure of logos, presence, etc., it [Deconstruction] succeeds all the better in foiling and missing the absoluteness of Differance. It confuses itself with the abyss that it digs out and fills with its own steps” (147)

“Its headlong flight, which recommences always faster, farther, more vigilant and omnipresent, which accelerates its speed, that is, its differential relation to texts and institutions, causes it to lose little by little the original, well-charted ground from which it had given the impression of pushing off in order to take flight” (147)

“It is not ‘over itself’ that it resides, but over the trajectories it maintains with respect to the givens of presence, which it reduces, multiplies, intensifies, intercuts and overbids as it pleases. It has no substance, but it weaves itself one” (147)

“A kind of self-bogging, self-burying beneath what it digs up and brings to the surface, as the very surface of the exposition of the logos” (147)

“Deconstruction does not repel the limit that logocentrism imposes upon it without reconstituting it somewhere else, namely in itself. Bedazzling itself, like Argus, with its phantasm, or, like Argos, with its infinite variations—its self-reference, its infinite oeuvre, its self-contemplation” (147)

“The more Derrida analyses and works, the more he contemplates an infinite agglutination, an infinite collage, a synthetic surface where the andcosimultaneity soars over and surveys itself” (147)

Derrida’s Correct Usage: How the Greek Logos Overcame its Jewish Experience

“Contrary to Levinas, to his provocative rigor, Derrida continues to honour Difference in the name of critical effectiveness and procures from it the Judaic variant—the Judaic pathos of the aporia” (148)

“It is this in-consistency, this (still . . . ) philosophical refusal to interrogate the One and its essence that requires this absolute primacy of the future destined to compensate for them, this brute existence of writing existing solely in the actuality of its traces (all Derrida’s auto-citational capital ), in its effects and their exteriority” (148)

“the injection [by Derrida] of Judaic allergy into Difference does not fundamentally modify the situation of metaphysics, contrary to what happens with Levinas, whose attempt may be judged at a stroke as strictly impossible, really inadmissible, completely devoid of essence and condition of possibility and reposing entirely in the exteriority of a religious tradition that refuses straightaway the minimal conditions of rationality and Occidental intelligibility” (149)

“Of the invariant of Difference one may say that: (a) Nietzsche has given it its absolute or idealist metaphysical form; (b) Heidegger has given it a form that is finite and real or ontico-Greek, that is, antiidealist; (c) Derrida has given it a finitude that is no longer onticoGreek or real. but Judaic, by inverting the ‘terms’ of the relation that it constitutes” (149)

Judaism, once it takes the risk of making itself into philosophy, is always constrained to sign (even in Levinas, though he denies this) contracts and compromises with the GrecoNietzschean and is thus worth no more than it for a radical positioning of the problem of philosophical decision” (150)

“the first principle, the One, the essence of which is not definable by metaphysics” (150)

“That there might be a mode of thinking that would not have to sign such contracts with ‘the’ Greco-Nietzschean metaphysics … is clearly an intolerable claim which has already compromised itself with the adversary (through the simple fact that it thinks an adversary exists)” (150-51)

Chapter Six: Critique of Difference (pp. 152-195)

Of the One as Foundation of Critique

“We seek a non-philosophical critique of philosophy in general and of Difference in particular” (152)

“We have called the integrally real experience rendering such a critique possible the One, in a sense that is, at any rate and before any other precision, non-Greek” (152)

“The One is the immanent Unity—but radically immanent, in a non-thetic form that philosophy has been unable to program—of philosophy and the science of philosophy, as well as of philosophy’s real critique” (152)71

“We do not have to seek out, in a traditional mode, if such a non-philosophical critique of philosophical decision is possible” (152)

“with the One it is real; the real critique of philosophy is as certain as the One itself” (152)

“Thinking cannot begin except with and by the real - it knows straightaway and immediately as science what the real is, that is to say, what posture to take with regard to it” (152)72

Critique must “think in conformity with the real and with its essence … take[] the immanence of the One as its guiding thread … which is rather the element in and from which we now think without being able to transform it in return, which is thus too absolute and irreducible still to be a simple presupposition”73

The One as an “immediate given” is “a transcendental experience that is non-reflexive or stripped of transcendent contents” (153)

“However to ‘open the void’ within the One, to accomplish the sobering up of truth’s essence, can hardly signify yet once again that the One would have to be thought with nothingness, and nothingness with the One” (153)

“The One has an absolutely positive content: and it is the One itself as Indivision” (153)74

“There is nothing here of formal identity or transcendental tautology. The One whose imperishable exigency and all-preceding reality (preceding even philosophy) we are trying here to make understood has nothing of the Unity that one might attempt once more to oppose to Difference” (153)

“The gnosis of the One, yet completely transformed and stripped of its mysticism, having become transcendental rather than theological science—such is the sense of this abandonment to the One through and beyond Unity and Difference” (153)

“the essence of science is the dissolution of centres and, soon enough, of mixtures” (153)75

“Indivision is an absolute phenomenal given that must no longer be experienced in the mode of an ideal essence and transcendent law, or even as a n internal and external limit to division, as is the case with Difference” (153)

“That the One would be the object of a transcendental experience that is non-thetic (of) itself, absolute and without remainder, this would signify that it is given immediately (to) itself as what it is” (153)

“a thinking of the immediate givens of the One and the space of multiplicity specific to the One thus lived in immanence is opposed to the philosophies like those of Difference which posit, after Hegel, after the entire tradition, that is, philosophical decision, that the One or the Absolute is given through and also with scission, given in loss and in the mode of nothingness” (153-54)76

“the One or truth knows neither withdrawal nor forgetting: it is only philosophy that forgets the One” (154)

“To deliver the transcendental truth from the aims of metaphysics would perhaps be the means for retrieving the irreducible ‘mystic’ condition of every philosophy” (154)

“we should distinguish carefully what is at issue here, not the ‘mystical’ [‘la’ mystique] but the ‘mystic’ [‘le’ mystique] inasmuch as this latter is the essence of philosophy—itself nothing but a technology of thinking that would like to take itself to be thought’s essence—and to distinguish the ‘mystic’ precisely from the ‘mystical’ and still more from ‘mysticism’” (154)

“Each of these three cases [the mystic, the mystical, mysticism (mysticisme)] has to do with a recourse to an immediate given ness, or some claim to such” (154)

“by the ‘mystic’, we understand the immediate givenness of the One, as well as of the Other in this radical immanence of the One, the givenness of Indivision as such and as separate from the All” (154)77

“by the ‘mystical’, the claim to the immediate givenness of the Other in what remains here despite everything a theological transcendence” (154)

“by ‘mysticism’, the claim to the immediate givenness of Being or the All of reality” (154)[^79]

[^79]: Laruelle equates Being and All, so, then, the formula in the prior note is that of One(Other All) where the Other (as Indivision being-given to me?) is separate from the All (Being in beings, the Being of beings, all being(s)). Reductively, this seems just a variant of the subject and object formula?

“The ‘mystic’ such as we understand it here is the token or guarantee of the radical autonomy of the most ‘individual’ thinking and, through this, of philosophy with regard to what is not philosophy” (154)78

What is not philosophy will be a “thinking the technology of Difference from its real essence” (154-55)

The Reality of the Critique of Philosophical Decision

“Difference cannot be attacked on its own terrain” (155)79

“We are constrained, by the One rather than by Difference, not so much really to change the terrain as to know that we are already on another terrain” (155)

“To pass … from the terrain of ideality mixed with reality to the terrain … of the real in a transcendental sense—which is not necessarily to ground some ‘transcendental realism’” (155)

“The One in its essence is not transcendent, it is absolutely separated from beings and from Being and is so solely through its real immanence in itself” (155)80

“in reality it is not the One that is separated from Being, it is Being that is separated from the One; it is not the One that is the Other of Difference, it is Difference that is the Other of the One” (155)

“In order to break cleanly with the infinite prestiges of Difference … we must thus renounce ‘leaping’, ‘rupturing’ or ‘interrupting’, ‘turning’, operations that belong to the logic of Difference … we must make a rupture with Difference itself, with transcendence itself” (155)

“the most invisible gesture, to abandon … all transcendence, that of Being, for immanence, that of the One stripped absolutely of ‘opening’, of ‘scission’, of ‘difference’” (155)

“Truly immediate givens cannot take any form other than transcendental; they cannot also be metaphysical or still use the inaugural and supreme operation of philosophy, transcendence” (155)81

“The real does not tolerate any operation and is not an operation itself: we do not exit from philosophy into the One; we describe the vision-in-One of philosophy

Philosophy “is no longer also something to be done”; it cannot “contrive access to the One, which knows nothing of such measures” (156)

But, if “Difference is the Other of the One, then this very distinction must be experienced and tested from the One” (156)

“we do not rise back here from Difference to its foundation in or its requisition of the One, but instead we follow an irreversible order going from the One, which in any case we are, to Difference, which we are not” (156)82

“a real critique of Difference … does not ground itself … upon the fact that Difference presupposes the One in the name of requisite and yet denies or forgets this” (156)

“Difference produces, as we know, such transcendental tautologies as ‘Nothingness nihilates’ or ‘desiring machines desire’ or ‘Difference differentiates’, etc.” (156)

“Difference is a game of paper and ink postulating the most non-reflexive immediateness by drawing a balance from the One, but without placing itself in any state where it could possibly repay” (156)

“Difference requires the One, but the One is not recognized as the true ‘differentiator’ of Difference” (156)

“Difference claims to be its own differentiator and to form a process capable of an auto-production and reproduction” (156)

“without the One as susceptible to being used for grounding the unicity and co-belonging, the continuity and multiplicity of the throws or gifts of Being to thought, without this transcendental factor, universal Being would founder, as essence itself, in the contingency of empirical or intra-mundane plurality” (156)

“We thus do not criticize Difference for failing to assume a supreme Identity in order to bind together the disparate … but rather for assuming that this function of unification exhausts the One’s essence” (156-57)83

“Difference is ultimately ‘grounded’ as such in the One—which is to say, in the non-reflexive transcendental experience of immanence—but Difference makes use of the One in such a way that this experience is denied” (157)84

“Difference does not know how to ‘reduce’ the One to the state of non-thetic given or lived immanence, but has always experienced it at worst in its melange, at best in its co-belonging, with the Idea—in the pure mixture of Being” (157)

“No more however than with the Dialectic or with Structure, no more than with the entirety of Occidental thought, has Difference been able either to dissolve or simply to ground the mixture of Being itself. It would be content to purify Being of the inferior forms of Representation … But a purification is nothing other than a universalization” (157)

“The circle of interpreting-interpreted or of deconstructing-deconstructed no longer holds as soon as it is a matter of the real essence of the One rather than of its ideal modes” (158)85

“From Being to the One—this indeed no longer marks some ‘leap’, some always continuous cut needed for thought, or a ‘shift of terrain’, or a change of order or dimension, or a Kehre” (158-59)

“It is a shift that has no name and is without concept since it sets thinking within the nonlieu of the One and does not proceed by following a boundary or a limit” (159)

“If thinking is able to traverse the cycle of the systems of Difference, a cycle perhaps moreover infinite in extent. but which may still be grasped in its invariant essence, if thinking understands the essentially vicious character of this philosophy … it is not so as to ‘exit’ from metaphysics or to claim naively to have destroyed it, but to recognize the eternal and supra-historical necessity of metaphysics from the standpoint of the One which, in this way, justifies it further than philosophy itself ever could” (159)

“It is hardly a matter of dissolving the mixture of Difference: this would be to prolong and universalize, thanks to the One, the mixtures of metaphysics” (159)

“It is rather a matter of holding separate, without communication, at least without any communication or exchange that would be reciprocaL which is possible only through their vision in One, the ‘opposites’ that are on the one hand the One as immediate givens of truth or of immanence, as transcendental criterion of truth given with truth, and on the other hand philosophy, all the metaphysical technology of Being and Unity, as well as that of the destruction of Being, of Logos, etc.” (159)

This is a “distributing entirely otherwise … without having to operate, sever or cut … what is severable (philosophy) and what is not (truth), of rejecting philosophy outside of the essence of truth in the sense that, while philosophy of course has need of truth, it does not constitutively determine truth’s essence, an essence that neither is nor can be constituted” (159)

“This solution clearly has mystic and gnostic tints” (159)

“we need not enter metaphysics in the first place and that gnosis is what. of itself, separates the principles” (159)

“science does not constitute its object, but knows itself straightaway and non-thetically to be identical (to) this real even as its reflection” (160)86

Science is a representation that is non-thetic (of) the real, altogether distinct from what philosophy imagines as Representation” (160)87

“the logic of immanent gnosis, which is to say, of science correctly understood: to raise philosophy to the status of ‘eternal’ principle that is nonetheless devoid of ‘reality’, devoid and contingent to the extent of its eternity and necessity” (160)

“What is alone capable of rendering a philosophy at once necessary and also empty or vicious, at once absolutely necessary and also perfectly contingent? The One alone” (160)

“absolute science … makes it understood that man may never be … determined and comprehended by philosophy” (160)

“Philosophy is the Other of man”88

The Powerlessness of Difference to be Absolute

“The aim of Difference? To become absolute. By what means? By detaching transcendence from its relativity to beings, to the presence of beings” (160-61)

“What Heidegger means by the ‘absolute transcending’ of Being is obviously wholly distinct from the absolute transcendence of some being, of a divine being for instance” (161)

“The inscription of transcendence within immanence is possible only if immanence is, if not the energy of transcendence at least its unmoved mover. This is the ‘Turning’ : of man towards Being, towards the One in Being, towards Difference” (161)

“but where it is not man who turns ‘himself’, where it is man who is turned by, for, as the One and who lets the ‘Turning’ be” (161)

What does Difference achieve in its tension towards the Absolute?” (161)

“How is one to render ‘absolute’ a transcending which by definition is always relative to what it exceeds and to that from which it separates itself?” (161)

“the relativity that is the essence of withdrawal or transcendence is from here on reaffirmed by and as Absolute; relativity penetrates into the essence of the Absolute with the help of the Absolute: transcending cannot be absolute except when it is still relative, but relative to itself; Difference cannot conceive it [transcending] so except as relative-absolute” (162)

“Unitary transcendental thinking has need of a motorizing couple, and in this case it is that of the ontico-ontological multiple (the a priori) and Unity (the transcendental)” (162)

“What is said to be transcendental is not so much the One itself as the operation of passage, overcoming, appropriation, turning of the multiple towards, by and as the One. The One is not experienced except in the mode of the transcendental All; it is placed in the service of Being” (162)

“The One is indeed required as what distinguishes itself absolutely from empirical diversity, but it is sufficient that this distinction be experienced as a passage, as an ontological mediation, as an opposition despite everything or a relativity of the All and of essence to the particular and its multiplicity, in order that the transcendental essence of the One be missed once again” (162)

“The duplicity of Difference is to make use of the One, to capture it to Difference’s own profit. in order to render Difference absolutely other than its ontological form, but yet to contradict at the last moment the transcendental truth of the One” (163)

“Supreme or transcendental determination comes from the One, and the One would not be transcendental if its determinative power were not ‘identically’ its power of ‘auto’ -determination, its positive power of determining itself solely and immediately through itself without passing through the element of Being” (163)

“But Difference itself makes a restricted or ontological usage of the One. It thus loses the positivity and specificity of unary determination as soon as it experiences this in the mode of loss or division, of ontico-ontological or meta-physical determination” (163)

“Scission, relation and relativity re-appear within the Absolute, within the One and with the One” (164)

“Without a doubt Difference becomes a transcendental principle subjugating the major categories of metaphysics to itself, imprinting them with the form-without-form (the ‘Form forming-formed . . . “ etc. ) of the Same. But Nothingness is indivisible and separated from itself (this is why it ‘nihilates’) and the duality of contraries is found once again at the heart of their unity, even if each of them appears to have acquired its transcendental autonomy or its ‘absoluteness’” (164)

“It is indeed the And in its transcendental sense that Difference strives to think even while supposing it still to be unthought, the And or the Same” (164)

“How would appearance or phenomenality be able, with such an essence, to be other than beings?” (164)89

“If to think Being in its truth means simply that it is distinguished from any determinate being, then Difference suffices … for this task” (165)

“Difference thinks Being as Being” and so as the “‘contrary’ of beings—or nothingness” (165)

As such, Being is also “immediately its scission with itself; contrariety is reintroduced directly into it: Being is also nothingness or being-One to the extent that it is also distinct from itself” (165)

“The ‘ownness’ or essence of whatever category is not an immediacy, is not the immediation of unary essence, but solely Difference, which undoes only the inferior forms of ‘ownness’ and ‘propriety’, but substitutes tautology for these which, despite its transcendental essence, misses the One, misses the ‘proper’ absolute that the One is and, for this reason, is incapable of really thinking Being as absolute Other of beings in general or of nothingness” (165)90

“Difference believes itself able to render Being immediate by relating it to the One, but in this operation it misses the true essence of the One and mediates it”91

The “relativity of Being and beings within metaphysics” is a “circuit” of “reciprocal determination” (167)92

The whole operation collapses then in the inessentiality of an interminable process, in a mitigated but unlimited labour that must presuppose itself in order to give itself reality and of which auto-position is the sale reality of substitution and artefact” (167-68)

Of the One as Guardian of Metaphysics

“Difference fulfils, giving to it its perfect form, the oldest Occidental habitus: at worst, to philosophize is to mix and confuse; at best, it is to traverse the in-betweens or to trace boundaries” (170)

“To think is thus to-think-at-the-limit: never has such contempt for the ‘term’ and the individual been so manifest, such obsession with ‘relation” (170)

Yet is the One equally a phenomenon of the ‘limit ‘ and may it thus be placed solely in the service of the difference of contraries? Are we condemned to return to logocentrism and Representation as soon as we refuse to think the One in terms of l imitation (in terms of cut or ‘analytic’)?” (170)93

“The essence of Being excludes Being from being pure manifestation or transparent presence to itself: Difference in general dismisses this solution” (170)

This solution is “logocentric interiority” (170)

Does this dismissal, “even if it holds for Being, still hold for the One and its specific essence?” (170)

“Difference believes so” (170)

“It posits:” (170)

  1. either that the One may indeed be experienced in itself; but then it is not a matter of the One and its indivisible, in itself and real essence in this idealist version of Difference (Nietzsche, Deleuze), but only of the One’s ideal immanence, understood finally in the mode of Being” (170)

  2. Or that this One is real and supra-ideal ( Heidegger, Derrida) but can never be experienced in itself, every ‘experience’ being presupposed as transcendent and idealized, susceptible to being divided and deferred; and that the One intervenes solely as unsurpassable Limit, as the indivision of a withdrawal or a division” (170-71)

Difference abandons any attempt to explain its usage of the One and abandons above all furnishing any proper and positive essence to the transcendental itself since it reduces all positivity to that of beings” (171)94

“There is nothing more ‘historical’ … than to deprive thought of all supposedly intuitive content, of every given term, and to assign to thought a game of limits or cuts” (171)95

“The systems of Difference belong to this constellation of the transcendental—the greater part of philosophy—that defines the transcendental itself through operations of division, synthesis, choice and non-choice, through an entire technology or syntax, through decision in general” (172)

“The drama of classical and modern transcendental thinking is that it is torn between its aim, which is immanence, and its means, which are, as its name indicates all too clearly, those of transcendence; it is thus a Decision and has an aim and gives itself means instead of being a rigorously immanent contemplation” (173)

“Difference renders immanent, as One, the critical decision that produces the a priori” (173)

“Instead of guarding the truth in its essence, it concerns itself from the start with the a priori and uses the One for the ‘inferior’ task of conserving, affirming, continuing the memory of nothingness that belongs to the meta-physical and in order to struggle against this latter’s relapse into the positivity of beings” (173)

“Difference produces to its own profit a surplus-value relative to metaphysical Being or Nothingness, a surplus-value of Being and of Nothingness that it appears … to have drawn from itself in a somewhat miraculous way” (173-74)

But, “it has most likely taken” this value “from the work of metaphysics” (174)

“An objective necessity of the system demands that it deny this origin, that it attribute to itself this surplus-value of Being, of Nothingness, of Language, of Mediation, etc., that it confound the transcendental truth which itself excludes every form of ‘surplus-value’ with the element or categorial organon that it puts to work (Text, Being, Desire, etc.)” (174)96

the transcendental is indeed an indivision through and beyond empirical distinctions, but it continues to attribute itself to something other than itself to the empirical and to beings, or even to Being” (174)97

“This is to confound the essence of transcendental reality, the One which is transcendental through itself and in itself prior to being so for any experience, with its ontological version which makes a mere dimension of the transcendental, as if Being were its vehicle par excellence, as if the One had need of being supported by and finally related to beings” (174)

Difference has not “acceded to the transcendental essence that remains in-itself even in its gift to Being” (174)

“The thesis undertaken here against Difference … is that it does not save itself from the meta-physical in general as it would propose, but saves only the metaphysical itself from its most reified, inferior forms (Representation, Logocentrism) and thereby carries it back to its essence as scission or transcendence” (175)

“The task will be rather to restore not the truth of Being, but the very essence of truth inasmuch as this is no longer ordered to the safeguarding of ontological Difference or metaphysics” (176)

“All of contemporary thought is drunk with Samaritan piety” (176)

“That Language, Desire, Text, Being, Power, the Unconscious are idols of man the philosopher is certainly quite plausible. However, we are not able to oppose to these idols man or the I as determined still through exteriority as hostage of the Other, for it is also quite plausible that man the philosopher is nothing without these idols” (177)

“It would be fine enough to be able to restore man in his solitude as against the philosophies that try to appropriate him to them and to adapt him to their theological, political, economic, etc., needs. And to restore with him the essence of truth and of science” (177)

“it is solely the essence of truth as transcendental and the transcendental as givens non-thetic (of) themselves that are capable of saving truth from the tasks of the caretaking of metaphysics” (177)

The Philosophical Hallucination of the One

“What Difference supposes as immediately given is not a transcendent hypostasis but the very operation or work of transcendence, division as such or as One” (177)

“Difference destroys the continuities and exclusions that still reign in the hypostatic type of thinking and makes of the simultaneity of the One and Being the authentic essence of metaphysics” (177-78)

“It inaugurates a thinking that is hypo- and hyper-static” (178)

“from the radically finite point of view of the One, Difference like Neo-Platonism may be interpreted as a desire for the One that would be satisfied in a purely hallucinatory way” (178)

“Difference claims to possess neither centre nor focus, but already and at any rate it does have these as fantasies, as sources of desire and anxiety” (178)

“the objective mirage of a focus or a horizon is created only because the One is lacking, that is to say, more profoundly, is hallucinated in its essence” (178)

“When Difference posits a third ‘term’, ein drittes (Heidegger) beyond Being and Thought (Dasein), a disparate and an aleatory point (Deleuze), a point of transmutation (Nietzsche), it is never a matter of the One as such and in its truth but only of Difference as unary Difference” (178)

“Difference is enchained too much to the scission and withdrawal of the meta-physical as such ever to honour this One which gives it its sole reality” (178)

“Thus all contemporary philosophy of Difference offers despite everything a strangely Platonizing spectacle: the interminable procession of the most communal entities, Being, Nothingness, Desire, Power, Language, Text, raising themselves up from the ground of experience each in turn like shades at once bloodless and laden with chains, trying to lift themselves in infinite file towards a mirage of the One where they would believe themselves capable of being regenerated and saved from empirical hell as at a wellspring of life” (179)98

“As if these larvae wished, by their hesitations, their stumblings, their skiddings, the allure of their approach continually spoiled, to abandon the weighty forms of being or non-being in order to yield and sink into their limit, to abandon their determined forms of existence, to prove to themselves that they still exist when in truth they exist only as fleeting larvae on the earth” (179)

“They seek the One precisely because they have not found it, and they will never find anything but their own hallucination” (179)

“They possess no more than tautological life, but they still do not know that tautological existence does not exhaust the real, that Being, Nothingness, Desire, Text, Power, etc., all this is absurd and these tautologies are unnecessary” (179)

“For the One, the World is a redundancy” (179)99

Difference “puts itself immediately in a posture of combat because it assumes that it has a real adversary” (179-80)

Difference “believed it was possible for it to determine Being in an other than ontic manner: but by definition every determination of Being that does not proceed immediately through the One and through it alone, that leaves the essence of the One undetermined and makes use of it as a simple ‘keystone’ for resolving the aporia of the Being/beings relation, which is to say to render it interminable, cannot but remain held at the interior of this relation and continue to determine Being by beings even in its subsequent appeal to the One” (180)

“This is why Difference has this hallucinatory, soteriological and theological conception of the One” (180)

“the One is for Difference the last, the highest means of thinking, thought’s ultimate power-to-be, that which also signifies the powerlessness of thought. to which Difference has recourse as to a last instance without having taken care to ask itself whether the One tolerates such a usage” (180)

The Amphibology of the Real and Ideality and the Self-Dislocation of Philosophy

“Difference is the contemporary solution to the problem [the amphibology] of the relations of the real and the ideal” (180)

“Difference is thus the syntax that endeavours to preserve the amphibology as such” (181)

“What Heidegger insists upon is the correlation of Being and beings as really finite: not only the passage from the Being of particular beings to Being as the whole of beings, which is also Nietzsche’s insistence for example as well as Deleuze’s, but the passage to a ‘really’ finite Whole” (182)

“One cannot, according to Heidegger, remain content with a Whole or All in the transcendental sense ‘in general’, defined solely—in the metaphysical manner—by syntactical structures” (182)

“The explicit introduction of finitude, its conspicuous indication, while it may destroy the idealist usage of the unity of contraries, namely the idealist usage of Difference (Nietzsche), thus does not destroy Difference itself, that is to say, the amphibology, but serves rather to affirm its irreducibility” (182)

“Difference in general is the ruse of a thinking that is obliged to ratify the amphibology and to raise it to the status of essence” (182)

“It is the very notion of ideal transcendence as relative to a real that one must consent to abandon if one does not wish to remain content, like Nietzsche, Heidegger, Deleuze or Derrida, with elevating the aporias of the Greco-Occidental metaphysical fact to the status of philosophy, in an effort of synthesis far too wilful not to flirt with the abyss” (182)

“finite Difference in the strong sense is constrained not only to cast back its internal unity into the infinite and to rest content with a becoming-difference or rather a becoming-finite of Difference, but also to postulate an infinity proper to the Other, for example to the Unthought, the Unsaid, etc.” (183)

“Finitude cannot communicate its reality to Difference, but conversely Difference cannot give its immanence to Finitude: the mixture can only be put back into play and become its own goal” (205)

the unity of Difference and Finitude in which Heidegger seeks the remedy for metaphysics is no more effective than the partnership of the paralytic and the blind man” (183-84)

Difference “appears unable to attain its expressed aim and remains an unfulfilled intention … This intention: that Difference would become essence or principle, that it would acquire reality, absolute autonomy and a strictly internal determination, remains powerless to procure a sufficient determination of essence itself” (184)100

This enlyse (ensnarement) “belongs to every thinking that remains caught within the empirico-transcendental amphibology and”:

  1. “does not perceive the essence of the One as immanent given that is nonthetic (of) itself” (184), or:

  2. “conceives the transcendental globally as ‘syntax’ rather than as immediate or non-reflexive givenness” (184)101

“Difference is THE philosophical decision that affirms the aporetic disjunction of syntax and reality and rests content to ‘turn’, in all the senses of this word, within this in-between” (184)102

“The authentic real distinction—real, that is to say, here, transcendental—is that which goes, irreversibly, from the One to Being: this is the uni-laterality with which the One affects Being” (184)103

“The in-itself and non-reflexive One is distinguished from the regions of the empirical and of ideality by a pure transcendental distinction that is immediately a ‘real’ distinction in a new sense of the word, the real no longer designating the ontic but rather the One’s sphere of nonreflexive immanence” (184-85)104

“Transcendental distinction is here grounded ‘in the nature of the thing’, in its reality which is neither ontic nor ontological. It is no longer simply formal; this transcendental reality is alone that of the One” (185)

The “mechanism” of Difference is an “objective illusion, namely a hallucination of the real, as a point of view still too narrow and vicious with respect to the One” (185)

“The tragedy of Difference … is that either Difference becomes an essence that is self-determining in an internal fashion … but in an purely ideal mode that loses the sense or weight of the real; or it proclaims the real as Finitude (Heidegger), but cannot achieve this except as indefinite … tendency, movement or becoming that is always held in check to assure its immanence and its internal self-determination” (185)

“The systems to which Difference gives rise are forced to confront a dilemma” (185)

  1. Either Difference follows Nietzsche’s idealist path and reduces ontico-ontological difference to an intra-ontological difference, which allows it to give back a certain positivity and autonomy to the One itself” (185)

  2. Or Difference identifies ontico-ontological difference with Finitude, rendering these irreducible and being no longer able, or still less than with the previous solution, to render positive and autonomous the One or the Indivision of opposites” (185)

“Finitude renders impossible not so much a positive definition as such of the essence of truth, in any case absent from Difference in general and all its usages, as its definition through its ‘positive’ side. Even tautology (das Sein west) signifies that the essence of Being is rather on the side of Forgetting, Withdrawal, Non-essence” (186)

“The tragedy of Difference is that it is condemned either to fall into Idealism and to affirm the final primacy of reversibility and of Being; or to combat Idealism by resorting to the quasi-philistine platitude of a Greco-Occidental ‘fact’, or rather a finitude that it presupposes, the foundation and necessity of which it is unable to perceive” (187)

“The primacy of withdrawal, of non-essence that counts as essence … in effect programs ‘Deconstruction’, without entirely determining it, as well as its later forms that privilege the moment of withdrawal, inhibition, delay over that of continuity” (187)

Laruelle remarks that “the primacy of withdrawl … if it has found for example an opponent in Gadamer” (187)105

the One has always been experienced in the last instance not in its essence but in the mode of scission in general and therefore inevitably in the mode of one of the two contraries or differends that it unites” (187)

  1. “either in the mode of Being” (187)

  2. “or in the mode of a real transcendence” (187)

“the content of the disjunction or scission of unifying Difference is Finitude as real transcendence” (187)106

“the One as immediate givens and no longer as simple dialectic of an immanent-and-transcendent ‘limit’ can no longer be a supplementary avatar, metamorphosis or epoch of Difference” (188)

“This eternal conflict of systems of Difference, the conflict of Nietzsche and Heidegger, of Gadamer and Heidegger as well, then of Deleuze and Derrida, is, as measured to the essence of the One, indifferent, since this alternating of primacies is a shadowtheatre playing itself out against the background of a global lack of the One” (188)107

The Powerlessness to Think Individuals and Multiplicities

“Empirico-transcendental parallelism thus impedes a rigorous thinking of transcendental truth, that is, of the One in its essence” (188)

“the reason prohibiting Difference from acceding to the One is the same that prohibits it from acceding to the essence of multiplicities. It is its manner of thinking the One and the multiple through ‘difference’ that causes it to take these once again in their ‘in-between’ and constrains it to take this ‘in-between’ at times for a thinking of the One, at times for a thinking of multiplicities, whereas it in fact thinks neither this one nor these others” (188)108

Two problems:

  1. “The law of the chiasmus, which is the essence of Difference in general. There is a chiasmus or a co-belonging of Being and beings as reversible in their unity” (188-89)109

  2. “The problem of the multiplicity of beings or of the real that enter into the chiasmus” (188)

“this [second] problem must be examined through the framework of the chiasmus of Being and beings” (189)

“Beings are always already given as divided, particularized and multiple, as a ‘diversity’” (189)

“As to the nature of this diversity, the three conceptions of Difference diverge” (189)

  1. extra-ontological (we will then speak of ‘beings’) … the diversity is empirical” (189)110

  2. intra-ontological (we will then speak of ‘objects’) … [the] multiplicity of the plural a priori themselves” (189)111

“Whichever solution is chosen … Difference still programs the external and/or internal affection of Being by beings” (189)

“this chiasmus” is “the empirico-transcendental parallelism” (189)

“Whatever its figure, whether this diversity of beings or the real be recognized as the point of view proper to metaphysics (Heidegger), or as the essential partiality of the ideality or the hyle the very continuity of which presupposes cuts and multiplicity (Nietzsche) - it is an invariant fact. it would seem, that the a priori is always from the very beginning ordered in any case to a diversity baptized as ‘real’“(190)112

“that metaphysics begins always by positing an ‘ontic’ multiplicity of the ontological … signif[ies] not only that Being cannot fail to be considered in its turn as a being … but also that Being is itself particularized and divided” (190)113

“From the start, the determination [the decision, the differentiation] comes to Being from a multiplicity, if not always an ontic multiplicity at least an external and still transcendent multiplicity” (190)114

This is a “transcendent dispersion” of existents, a transcendence “relative to Being,” which is a “brutal and soulless dispersion” (190)

This dispersion “will also rise back … into Being … into the essence of Being,” and metaphysics is “the history of the failure to repel war … this brutal resurgence” (190)

This whole “confusion,” the chiasmus, the “amphibology,” “become[s] structural” (190)

How? “As infinite iteration of ontological Difference: the iteration of Difference itself becomes necessary because the multiplicity remains exterior to it” (190)

“There is nothing here of any deficiency that would be linked merely to a human incapacity to accede immediately to the whole of beings” (190)115

The “essence” or “transcendental condition” that Laruelle seeks is an “ultimate level [that] declares itself in advance in the form of a need for the totalization or re-unification of the diversity of the plural a priori, the ontic diversity of the ontological” (191)

“The passage to the All (of beings) or to the One is the passage to the essence (of Being ) . What, then, of its relation to real diversity?” (191)

“Such an All, clearly, must at any rate be distinguished from a simple empirical or rational summation of beings” (191)116

“On what condition is Being as All (of beings) the Other of beings … given that the All of beings is still related to beings?” (191)

“The transcendental ‘mover’ of metaphysics is found not in the couple Being/beings but in the couple All/particular, the couple of ontic wholes and the transcendental-unifying Whole or All as their Other” (191)117

“it is this that renders a philosophy ‘transcendental’: to pass from the plane of ontic diversity to the ‘plane’ of the One” (191)

“The Other of the diversity of beings is the One, which is not the other of beings in general” (191)

“Being is from the very beginning understood classically by Heidegger as All (of beings),”118 but “it is a transcendental or unary All possessing its reason in the One” (191-92)

“The chiasmus allows for the transfer of the relation Being-beings onto the relation Being-One; the real reference of Being is preserved across its transcendental mutation” (192)

“If Being as Other of beings were to be Being deprived of beings, this transcendent separation of Being and beings in general would be a metaphysical effect … Its indetermination or its nothingness would still be thought through correlation with beings as particular” (192)

What is sought (by Laruelle?) is “an All that would no longer be opposed to the particular, that would no longer be empirical—unless it be defined and borne by the One which causes it to transcend through and beyond ontic multiplicity without letting itself be simply once again opposed to this multiplicity or to become again a merely empirical All” (192)

“That the One is still transcendence and that multiplicity remains ontic and extrinsic even within Being, these would be two complementary traits born simultaneously from the philosophical or unitary interpretation of the One” (192)119

“The effect of the preceding merry-go-round of reasoning, inscribed in the ‘differential’ coupling of ontic diversity and the One, is to have rendered impossible the thinking of multiplicities inasmuch as they are multiplicities of the One” (192)

“‘Being-in-the-midst-of . . . ‘ is the very structure of Difference the internal regularity that immediately coagulates the singular and the universal” (192)

It signifies the necessary insertion of individuals into a universal, their integration into a general economy. This integration may not be to some pregiven All and may express a co-belonging of contraries, but it is no less real” (192)

“There is perhaps no longer any All-politics, All-textuality, All-desire, but there is a being-in-the-midst-of-politics, of the signifier, of the text, of desire which, far from freeing individuals, accomplishes their shackling as and with these universals” (193)

“these infi nite ritornellos, these singsong refrains” (193)

“The reciprocal hetero-affection of these universals, this froth, this wrinkling where your narcissism is dissolved and the resurgent flux of Difference is trotted out once again” (193)

“The anonymous universal hallucinates individuals” (193)

“Metaphysics [plural philosophies] … speak of the highest essence, which is to say, for them, Being, as Cosmos and Movement, as River, Flux and Fire, as Flash or Blaze, as Dawning or Clearing, when it is not as Maelstrom, Circle of Circles or Machine” (193)

“As soon as thinking abandons the One … [and] gives itself over to displays of tautology, it experiences interminably the fragility and errancy of its truth in the infinite metaphysical games of language” (193)

“Never having set ground upon the One itself in its truth, but rather upon Being and its avatars who use the One without thinking any more about it, thought accepts once and for all, even in its attempts to exceed metaphysical ‘Representation’, the delivering of the essence of truth and the One over to the games that are those of the All and the Same, the delivering of the Absolute over to the universal powers that know how to make use of it solely as a crown: World, History, Being, State, Power, Desire, Language” (193)120

“With a lack of spirituality testifying to its vocation for fantasies and imagery, metaphysics-and -its-overcoming, Representation-and-its-difference have not known how to free themselves from what there is of the swampy, the inchoative, the incomplete … everything that attempts to rise to the surface as soon as one thinks in terms of totality, of everything that has need of totality … [metaphysics/representation/overcoming/difference has not known how] to form a defence mechanism against the anguish of its radical contingency … [and so has] compromise[d] the absolutely ‘mystic’ element which is the essence of thinking” (194)

“Metaphysics as ontology, as well as the destruction of ontology … is the unique and double manner in which the mystic essence of the One is compromised, inverted or folded back upon these universals that are Text, Desire, Power, State … substitutes, offspring or new heads of the old Physis and Kosmos” (914)

“they obey the same logic, which is that of capturing the One to their own profit” (194)

“here then is a thinking that entangles itself, ensnares itself, enlyses itself perhaps, turns over itself and in itself faster and faster, substituting intensity for life and the acceleration of motion for movement. yet which thickens heavily like a ‘turning’ doughy paste” (194)

“Is it still possible to open a new thinking that would be something other than a space, other than a locus or a sitting-place, other than a universal. even one sublimated to the status of limit, even one that would also be a limit and a finitude?” (194)

“Difference places us at the foot of the Greco-Occidental wall and forces us to an extreme solution:” (194-95)

  1. “either to conceive individuals, singularities or multiplicities as immediate givens” (195)

  2. “or to conceive them as a simple supplementary refinement of Difference” (195)

“The One and the multiplicities proper to the One thus form a peculiar a priori, purely ‘transcendental’ and not ‘metaphysical’ or universal, since they precede every species of universality and are the a priori not only of experience, as is traditionally the case, but of the universal forms themselves, consequently also of Difference” (195)

“why awaken this alternative? Precisely because Difference does not want it” (195)

“On this terrain of universality and mediation, Difference is a concept of unsurpassable effectiveness and rigor; it relays spatial-temporal extension through intensity as the superior form of universality” (195)

“But the One then remains chained to tasks that are external and transcendent to its own essence” (195)

“Difference remains within logic in general and within the logic of the primacy of Being over the One in particular. Yet is the essence of thinking to be found within logic? Or rather in the vision-in-One?” (195)121

Chapter Seven: Theory of Philosophical Decision (pp. 196-223)

From the Undecidable to the Theory of Philosophical Decision

“The systems of Difference, above all those of Finitude, have posed the problem of the essence of the philosophical act, of its power and powerlessness, its techniques, its calculation, its strategy” (196)

“And also of what would limit these: the incalculable, the non-evaluable, the non-strategic, the an-economic, etc.” (196)

“none has been able to pose … the problem of a real logic of philosophical decision and the status of a real—that is, non-philosophical—principle of choice within philosophy” (196)

“the real or transcendental point of view of the One beyond Difference” makes “possible the elaboration of a logic—none other than real—of philosophical decision and decision in general” (196)

“the moment has come to pursue not the simple ‘analysis’, but the individual or unary ‘vision’ … of the themes that, surrounding Difference, would both announce and conceal this logic” (196)

These themes are: the “finitude,” “constraints,” “weakness,” and “force” of thinking, and the “the long-term identification of metaphysics and technology” (196)

“It is not a matter of knowing empirically or even ideally why we choose such and such a philosophy, the criterion must be transcendental or real and possess a power that would be at least that of a sufficient reason for philosophical decision” (197)

“Transcendental, meaning strictly and solely immanent” (196)

the sale radically immanent and transcendental point of view, that of the immediate or non-reflexive essence of the One” (197)

“it is this criterion of the non-thetic (of) itself immediation of the One that we must now put forward in order to elaborate a theory of philosophical decision” (197)

“It will proceed from this vision-in-One of the struggle among the systems of Difference or of the internal conflict of Difference, and consequently in a mode that will be no longer philosophical but ‘real’ in the sense in which we have defined the real by the One whose essence does not require any philosophical operation” (197)122

Vision-in-One is “a science and a critique, a description and a destruction of the illusions bound to philosophical decision” (197)

This science and critique is “grounded in the One and abandon[s] the processes of Difference and of decision in general” (197)

“If the real is by definition the Unconstituted, the Unproduced, the Undecidable, every theory of decision would from the very beginning have to install itself in this problematic of the real and its ‘undecidable’ essence” (197)

It is from the Vision-in-one, its immanence (to) itself without transcendence that the element of absolute transcendence may be thought as grounding, at the heart of metaphysics- and-its-overcomings, the very possibility of a philosophical decision” (197)123

The (Non-)One and the Contingency of Philosophical Decision

“What then will be the effects of the One upon philosophical decision?” (198)

  1. “the manifestation of the hallucinatory or non-real character of this decision, and of Difference in particular, rejected at once in a radical contingency that is the correlate of the One” (198)

“a philosophical decision is a cut—repeated or relaunched—with regard to an empirical singular, or more generally, some given … It is a relation and it modulates itself each time as a function of the real” (198)

Yet the One henceforth prohibits the reflection in itself of this relation or this mixture in view of its auto-foundation” (198)

“We will call this radical contingency that transfixes philosophical decision itself the (non-)One” (199)124

This new contingency … is a real contingency beyond empiricism that resists every law of contingency and every a priori idealization” (199)

This new contingency is the “irreducible hiatus … which ruins Difference’s infinite process of unification from the inside, signifies that the radical contingency of real transcendence or of the (non-)One has not found, and must not find, any reason or essence that would take the form of a law or ideal regularity, that instead it finds its essence solely in the immanence of the One” (199)125 126

The “(non-)One” is the “dimension that ‘unilateralizes’ decision” (199)

The (non-)One is the “effect” of the One, it “derives from” the One, it is “the charge of weak negation of which the One is capable” (199)

This charge, this unilateral decision, is “a real facticity of a new type” (199)

“In order to formulate [this new type of facticity], we still employ the term ‘transcendence’, yet in such a way that we must henceforth think transcendence directly as a function of the One” (199)

The operation of the (non-)One is not at all an ‘objectivization’ of everything that falls outside the One” but a “setting-into absolute transcendence” (199)

“The One stupefies Difference and lets it fall into dust” by way of an “absolute and absurd transcendence incommensurable to the merely relative-absolute transcendence of Being and Difference” (199)

“The non-positional immanence of the One signifies that transcendence too becomes ‘radical’ as transcendence, meaning that it becomes straightaway absolute or loses its relative nature, its essence of relation or position with respect to some being that it would be responsible for illuminating” (199-200)

“This is no longer an ecstatic-horizonal projection but an ‘in itself’ or unary de-jection, where the horizon of Being or ontological transcendence itself founders” (200)

“What we are calling absolute, non-positional or non-objectivizable Transcendence is transcendence that is immediately in a unary mode” (200)

The identity of the absolute contingency brought by the (non-)One and its ‘reason’ is given immediately with the One” (200)

The One is “a real singulare tantum [single as such, single only]”

From the point of view of the One, the “identification of the diverse and the non-positional diversity itself or its transcendental root fall this time ir-reversibly outside one another” (200)127

With the operation of the One “non-positional diversity” (plurality seen by vision-in-One?) falls outside its identification, henceforth affecting its identification instead of allowing itself to be interiorized by it (200)128

“The (non-)One is not strictly real” (200)129

“Yet it is what there is of the real in every transcendence, what of transcendence there may be through a radically finite subject” (200)

The (non-)One is “a facticity that will never have tolerated any ideal transcendence nor formed any mixture with it: for this reason it affects the transcendence of Being with an absolute abandon and unilaterality” (200)

“The real is the singular, but the singular is no longer or not yet a singularity it is the individual implying the immediately absolute” (200)130

“The One casts [outside of difference and without positing difference] … a diversity which is the residue of the unary destruction of Difference and which is neither ontic nor ontological” (200)131

“It is no longer a matter of an idealized diversity in general, but a diversity of the contingency that refuses itself absolutely to any idealization whatsoever, that is rather the presupposition of every idealization by philosophy in general and by Difference in particular” (200-201)132

Diversity ‘in itself’ and non-thetic (of) itself more profound than the ‘Thing in itself’ and testifying to an absolute contingency of Difference, even ‘finite ‘ Difference” (201)133

The “absoluteness” of the thing-in-itself in Heidegger is “measured to the immanent essence of the One” (201)

The “real content” of the (non-)One is its “uni-laterality” or “irreversibility” (201)

“This absolute and not relative de-jection of ontological transcendence, which is no longer susceptible to being re-interiorized by Being and which derives from the upholding of the One in its radical immanence … renders it uni-lateral or estranges it from the One irreversibly” (201)

This de-jection (importantly!) is accomplished “without dissolving the irreducible mixture of the empirical real and the a priori that were the material and element of classical transcendental thought as well as of Difference”134

“The (non-)One henceforth affects all possible ideality, and philosophical decision globally, with this extra-empirical diversity”135

“This is more than an inversion of the classical domination of ideality over and against empirical diversity. The transcendence of the (non-)One … [is] an irremediable transcendental facti city” (201)136

The reason … for the struggles among the systems of Difference will be this extra-empirical multiplicity, which remains absolutely contingent for the philosophy of which it is the excess“(201)137

“Its contingency feeds an interminable conflict and an indifference that are content to take their arguments from new experiences of the real that they believe naively to be finally the real” (201)138

“the real par excellence, outside of the One, is a non-positional or in-itself diversity of transcendence itself, such as never falls under experience” (201)

“It is a principial [first, originary], non-objectivizable diversity completely determined as such, and not empirically ‘given’ [as to a subjective, cutting consciousness]” (201-2)

“the (non-)One totally escapes objectivization—it is a non-objectivizing or non-positional transcendence—and it implies the unilateralization, without recourse or return, of Difference, Being, etc. It is a radical de-position of Being by the One” (202)

Non-Thetic Transcendence (NTT)

“The second sort of effects produced by the One are what we call Non-thetic Transcendence (NIT)” (202)139

“the real kernel of transcendence that is the basis of every philosophical decision” (202)

This real kernel is “a mode of the (non-)One” that is “in distinction from it, partially relative to the given that presents itself outside of the One, for example philosophical decision or the World and its attributes (History, Language, Power, Desire, etc.) (202)”140

NTT “is no longer relative to these in the sense at any rate of philosophical, that is, traditional (positing and posited), transcendence: it supposes the simple ‘support’ or vehicle of this given without forming again with it any philosophical decision” (202)141

“The One upholds itself in itself without withdrawing or transcending properly speaking, it upholds-itself-as-real in its immanence of the immediately given and abandons Difference to its degeneration” (202)142

“if the philosophical usage of the transcendental offers examples, indices and types of the real or the individual, but without being able to ground their concept, that of the individual or the tantum singulare, it is because it makes of these or begins by making of them—even in ‘Finitude’—an idea that is simultaneously empirical-and-rational; the real is for it what is given at the interior of ob-jective transcendence, as an object or an element subtracted from an object, in order to then possibly be carried outside objective transcendence” (202-3)

The Real in Laruelle’s sense, on the other hand, “is no longer postulated by decision since it is that which commands decision globally and of which decision is no longer the master” (203)143

The “kernel of absolute = non-reflexive transcendence … is at the basis of Difference and of metaphysics” (203)

“we no longer have to choose among Hegel, Heidegger, Nietzsche, or between Derrida and Deleuze” (203)

It is “a nonthetic essence of transcendence, upon which they draw a debt that they refuse to honour” (203)

The Abyss of Philosophical Decision

It is in this abyss of an absolute contingency that can never be partially filled in or closed up that we must go to look for the ultimate reasons of philosophy in general in the strict measure that it takes the form of a decision—hallucinatory, at that—on the authentic real or the One” (203-4)144

The struggles and conflicts internal to Difference are made possible—but not commanded—by this ‘logic’ of non-positional transcendence which is a veritable principle of real choice, more precisely: of choice as such” (204)

“the One is no longer determined in an ontological mode (204)”

It is determined “in a mode non-thetic (of) itself” (204)

“the One is in no way decidable, not even partially” (204)

“Being of the nature of an immediate given, the One and the science that it founds have no need of any criterion of choice nor of any critique, since there is nothing to choose, no critical decision to operate and to limit, no ‘reduction’, no Kehre, no ‘analytic’ of significations” (204)

The criterion of science or of truth, if it is radically transcendental or immanent, annuls itself positively as criterion or manzfests itself (to) itself as ‘immediate givens’” (204)

“The veritas transcendentalis [transcendental truth] may always receive multiple possible interpretations and serve as the object of an ontological hermeneutic bearing upon its significations. These interpretations supply the most diverse philosophies, among these those of Difference. Yet its [the veritas transcdentalis’s] essence has nothing of being the result of a choice or a division among these interpretations, the effect of a selection procedure among them, and neither is it the affirmation of their indivisibility” (204)

“If there is an essence of the One, it falls outside of philosophy, but philosophy does not fall outside of it” (204-5)

This does not mean that “that philosophy as metaphysics or ontology would be some kind of negative ‘henology’” (205)

“To the extent that a thinking is naively transcendental, it thereby has no need to justify or legitimate itself: this is the case with science; it is not so with philosophical decision” (205)145

The “criteria” of naively transcendental thinking “are immanent: not only does it produce them simultaneously with their functioning … [but] it makes of the experience of the ‘positive’ absence of criteria, always more or less exterior, the only real transcendental ‘criterion’” (205)

“For the One there is nothing to choose, no multiplicity of significations or interpretations of the One, no ontological or rational foundation that would be more powerful than it” (205)

“the One does not choose itself: it is the Undecidable as immediate given” (205)

“Of all the criteria put forward by various philosophies, none will be of use to us, since … they annul themselves as criteria once they become fully transcendental, ‘immediate givens’ or ‘non-reflexive transcendental experience’” (205)

“the essence of the One implies on the other hand the passage … to the absolute annulment without remainder” of criteria (205)146

“The immanent givens are index sui: index non-thetic (of) itself, and consequently they are hardly criteria” (205)147

The “paradoxical ‘logic’ of immediate or non-thetic (of) itself decision”: “that this diversity, radical that-ness or in itself of NIT, a diversity that is absolutely indifferent, grounds, unlike the One, an absolute or indifferent choice and thus an absolute limitation of philosophical choice or a positive annulment of philosophical decision” (206)148

“There is no possible decision as regards this diversity; it is too indifferent to offer any reason for choosing, too absurd and contingent in its existence even to offer a reason for its existence” (206)149

NTT “ground[s] choice in its radical absurdity” (206)

NTT “is the very diversity of decisions” (206)

“NTT is even an absolute principle of choice, the principle of choice” (206)150

“Not of any particular and exclusive choice … [but] the essence of choice, of absolutely any choice possible whatsoever without any limitation” (206)151

NTT “is a matter of neither a strategy, nor a logic, nor an economy of choice, but of a transcendental possibilization that frees choice as possible” (206)

“In the non-reflexive experience (of) the One” the “ ublime and modest tautologies” of philosophy “inscribe themselves in the abyss that unary multiplicities impose upon them” (206, 207)

NTT is the “mode” of the (non-)One that is “partially relative to the World and to effectivity” (207)

The (non-)One and NTT “manifest a contingency otherwise-than-empirical of the systems of Difference” (207)

“‘Otherwise-than-empirical’ because it is no longer the traditional empirical contingency that stands opposite a transcendental that is itself exterior and forms a system with it, but a contingency that unfolds in a new sense, non-thetic (of) itself, from the transcendental” (207)

The otherwise-than-empirical is the “radicalization of the well-known and still too empirical ‘transcendental contingency’ of experience (Kant, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty)” (207)152

“There is an emergence of philosophical decision that is of an absurdity more profound and more radical—an absurdity of essence founded in the One—than any contingency of a Greco-Occidental fact, even a finite one” (207)

“Here is the blind spot of all the critical, thoughtful and deconstructive vigilances; it is the contingency that affects in totality this primitive act of reduction itself” (207)

“Even when the logos and phono-centrism are said to return upon the cut to suture differance in Difference, this does not prevent in effect the essence of the ‘philosophical’ operation, its extreme point, subsisting in a Turning or Re-affirmation that still claims to re-inscribe and re-interiorize as One this efflux of the logos” (207)

“This latter, its insistence, is then treated simply and reductively as exterior ‘finitude’, it is not recognized as principial, but merely as necessary evil or constraint that philosophical technique must a nd can limit to inhibitory blows and actions of slowing, without any real recognition of its force” (207)

And what is this force? The “transcendental origin” of the decision “in the last instance and its positivity, its more-than-universal universality and necessity, its contingency more radical than any ‘facticity’ or ‘finitude’” (207-8)153

The Nietzsche-Heidegger Conflict and its Indifference

“From this, the resolution we may bring to the conflict dominating contemporary philosophy: the conflict between Nietzsche and Heidegger, between absolute and finite Difference. Plunged back into the abyss of the (non-)One and the NTT, these two modes of Difference both become, for the finite subject. possible and yet indifferent decisions. We have no reason from here on for choosing between two absolute decisions that are indifferent to one another” (208)

“Posed philosophically, as a simple antinomy, the problem clearly implies a reason for choosing” (208)

“Yet this is still a point of view internal to Difference, to its games and its interminable war. If the Nietzsche/Heidegger conflict or debate is really indifferent to us, it is because it is always possible to draw out the thesis of real Finitude from its naivete and to reduce it to being still a philosophical thesis but one of a new style, forming with the restricted philosophy that it grounds a new space but one the real unity of which is beyond it, in a non-thetic, absolute and contingent decision” (208)

absolute Transcendence, non-thetic (of) itself … is an absolute decision, rooted in the Undecidable or the One” (209)

NTT “renders indifferent, at least for the finite human subject (of) science, the choice of one type of Difference rather than another” (209)

“nothing could ever sublate or idealize this contingency in any ‘transcendental necessity’” (209)

“All these arguments: Kant’s empirical affectivity, Husserl’s categorial intuition, Heidegger’s beings as given in the relation of toolhood or equipment, the ruptures of dynamical forms or ‘catastrophes’, Derrida’s ‘extended’ signifier as arche-writing, Deleuze’s multiplicities of desiring machines, the Other and its exteriority, etc., all these may be invoked as index of the real in order to ground different forms, finite or otherwise, of decision” (209)

but the promotion of such givens and their insertion into the a priori facts rests upon a principial absence of sufficient reason” (209)154

This is the “positive origin” (the excess of positivity that is the One) of the “absence … of reasons for choosing” (210)

“The argumentation by the contingency and multiplicity of the real is still more contingent than it would have thought” (210)155

“The transcendental radicalization of these arguments accomplishes the tearing away of them from their empirical, or, for example, intra-historical, model” (210)

“Metaphysics is not contingent as an empirical fact, nor even as an a priori fact; it is absolutely contingent and absurd beyond every historical insertion, every historical or perceptual model of contingency: it is not necessary except for itself and at the interior of its hallucination of the real” (210)

“the destiny of contemporary philosophy as endogenous paralysis: to ‘furnish’ the Greek earth” (210)156

We must posit the equivalence of philosophical decisions” (211)157

Metaphysics “is so absurd in itself … that it acquires its true reality from none other than this very absurdity itself” (211)

“The Finitude of metaphysics is no doubt an affirmation of contingency directed against autoposition in the sense of the subject’s selfmastery. But NTT, which underlies this thesis of Finitude itself, possesses a more extended and principial sense than it: it is all of Difference, the fact it postulates and its finitude in an Other, that is a matter for this non-idealist experience of Transcendence” (211)158

“Difference thinks ‘lavishly’ or, at times, ‘aristocratically’, identifying itself with the Combat rather than the combatants and having struggle for its essence” (211)

This combat produces nothing. “Finitude or being ‘in itself’ remain idealizations, the non-objectivizable is adjoined to an objectivizing idealization” (212)

Even Heidegger, who “claims to guard the singular or the real” (Being), only guards “the ontico ontological mixture of the singular and its singularity” (212)

Difference, Denial of the Real

Difference “forms one body with a double-sided denial, on the one hand bearing upon the One, on the other upon the correlative NIT” (212-13)

“We have steadily denounced the Heideggerean restriction of non-reflexive Transcendence, individual lived experience” (213)

“if Heidegger maintains a metaphysical or ontological factum, it is on the strict condition that it be finite, since Finitude alone is able to ballast it with a reality and a certain autonomy in relation to the thinking that relativizes it” (213)159

“Yet Finitude itself is a conception of,” a decision with regard tom “the real, of its autonomy, its absoluteness, that still restricts these to being … modes of thetic transcendence” (213)

“On the one hand it restricts the real as One to being scission or rather withdrawal and forgetting, absolute transcendence; it projects onto the One the status of beings … On the other hand, always victim of this mixture of Being and beings, of Difference in general, it inversely conceives transcendence as real, on the side of its ideal or ontological form” (213)

Here then is a mixture to be dissolved, the most general, that of ideality and the real, amphibology par excellence, still more profound, more persistent than that of Being and beings” (213)

Finitude is a blunted weapon. It takes its pertinence, like all philosophical decision, from the NIT that it expresses and upon which it is grounded; but it remains insufficient in its inability to conceive this horizonless transcendence” (213)

Auto-position “grounds the sphere of mixtures or effectivity” (213)

“Auto-position remains essential to every analytic method: analysis posits the given from itself or repeats t, even when it receives it” (214)160

“auto-position is an a priori structure of effectivity” (214)

“As against philosophy we do not object here to the determined content of its point of departure (presence? identity? logocentrism? natural thesis of the world?), nor even to its proceeding through auto-position, but to its believing auto-position to be real” (214)161

“also its believing real the illusion it must overcome” (214)162

The critique of auto-position “takes its necessity and its possibility from a ground of absolute transcendence that, itself, is not self-positing” (214)

“the analytic method … limit its ambitions to modifying its relations” to the schismatic ground (presence, representation, etc.), “acceding to its ‘ownness’ by way of its forever insurmountable dissimulation”(214)

this entire game is none other than a restriction … of the duality of the One and of non-reflexive Transcendence” (214)163

Non-reflexive transcendence is “content of phenomenality or absolute reality … a more universal a priori trait than Finitude” (215)

“Finitude characterizes Being in its relation to beings, to nothingness or to itself, it is identical to its relativity” (215)

“non-reflexive transcendence designates the contingency of the global system of an empirical given or of a transcendent presupposition in general” (215)

Consequently, it renders contingent “the transcendental ‘syntax’ … [that is,] philosophical decision” (215)

“Difference denies” its absolute determination “by hallucinating the real through itself” (215)

“It is thus in turn a presupposition … necessary to the philosophical usage of the transcendental, but unperceived or denied by philosophy which is content always to posit Being or Difference as the presupposed par excellence: Great Presupposed or Pure Mixture, Thing or Case, Locus or Body, that gathers all the possibilities of presupposition and forms a system with the very exercise of thought” (215)

“Difference is a mixture, indeed mixture par excellence. Yet because of this excellence, because it is the last possible degree of mixture, it cannot be said that it occupies the in-between of the One and its correlate, NIT, as if it were to develop itself between these two absolute boundaries” (216)164

“If the One is what, in essence and at least by its own account, does not enter into relations in general. does not leave itself through any transcendence, there is nothing universal … that Difference is able to constitute” (216)

“Thus there is also an absolute emergence of Difference as mixture at the heart of the (non-)One which is the contrary or ‘positive’ absence of every genesis” (216)165

“The mixture of Representation has no j ustification other than itself, and it is this that it draws from the brutality or the absurdity of its existence that becomes manifest upon the ground of the (non-)One and NTT” (216)

Critique of Philosophical Decision

“It is the One in its immanence that makes non-horizonal Transcendence apparent as one of the two origins of Difference and that denounces the objective absurdity of this last procedure of philosophy and of philosophy in general” (216-17)

“That the veritas transcendentalis would be identically the experience of truth—here is an Archimedean point or an a priori constraint of every philosophy that even Difference would be able to accept” (217)166

But, Difference cannot accept “that this immanence would be real and not ideal, that it would be non-thetic and stripped of transcendence” (217)

“Such an Absolute is rather what rejects every philosophy, every universal. every ‘metaphysical a priori’ in the sphere of mixtures and effectivity and what makes radical contingency and then NTT appear as the real content of the ‘presuppositions’ of philosophical decision” (217)

“This is no longer and never has been a philosophical decision” (217)

“This point of view for which thinking would no longer have … to proceed to various reductions, various bracketings always relative to this given—the name of this point of view is science” (217)

“the essence of the One and that of the non-positional Transcendence that is its correlate are never, themselves, accessible through any transcendent operation” (217-18)

Not: “reduction, division, limitation, demarcation, contra-band, disregard, supplement and excess, turning, offhandedness” (218)

“the essence of the One is rather an immediate given that renders possible, as their real unmoved mover, these operations” (217)

The essence of the one “gives rise to an immanent and rigorous description” (218)

“Thinking that is none other than ‘unary’ is in a state of poverty that is practically absolute, it is stripped of all operation, all technique, all power. It is content with a description without intervention, a contemplation without decision” (218)167

“The One has need of neither repetition, nor reduction and suspension, nor turning, it clasps nothing of Being, contenting itself with unclasping Being or de-clutching Difference” (218)

“It is no longer a matter … of suspending all transcendent philosophical positions, but of indifferentiating … every operation of suspension, of rendering useless the reduction itself by rejecting it, together with the presuppositions inseparable from it … [rejecting everything] outside of the essence of the veritas transcendentalis” (218)

“To presuppose them in order to differentiate them, deconstruct them, analyze them, precisely this is the essential presupposition of philosophical decision as such, and it is from this that we discover that it is a matter for a logic other than that of its interminable auto/hetero- affection” (218)

“the truth is not a ‘locus’ nor even the locality of the locus or locus in general. There is a topology of Being; there is no topology of the One” (218)168

“The essence of truth, if it is an immediate given … no longer has need of a metaphysical a priori in general” (218)

The Vision-In-One and the Decision in Favor of ‘Dualism’

“the passage from the (non-)One to NTT supposes that we still place it [Difference] (it is not in effect destroyed or dissolved effectively by the One) in the point of view of Difference without however giving up the experience of the One of which immanence serves as the main thread of every scientific and no longer philosophical description of philosophical decision” (219-20)

“The experience of the essence of the One as solely immanent implies at least for it the inexistence of Difference and the refusal … of its claims to exhaust the reality of the One” (220)169

“‘Dualism’ excludes the unitary philosophizing subject and the unity of his or her decision, but it does not exclude … the immanence of the One in itself as the real, non-unitary essence of Being, of Difference, etc.: this transcendental act of the One in Difference [is] … the ‘determination in the last instance’ of Difference by the One” (221)

“what is proper to this transcendentally grounded dualism” is a description (I am applying this term here) that takes “the non-reflexive transcendental immanence of the One for unique guiding thread of its examination of Difference and its critique of Difference” (221-22)

“we must now take account of the complexity of the real situation and recognize the non-exclusive totality of conditions that has rendered possible the elaboration of this concept in which we see the transcendental origin of metaphysics and of philosophical decision in general” (222)170

The “power of NTT is truly a transcendental power … but a transcendental power of [that is, belonging to] another nature than that, more abyssal, of the One” (222)

The abyss of the One “proceeds as a ‘determination in the last instance’” (222)

NTT is “of a more ‘traditional’ nature … contenting itself with transforming the empirico- transcendental parallelism without rendering it radically contingent as does the One on its account” (222)

“Confronted by the radical immanence of the veritas transcendentalis and the (non-)One, Difference cannot but avow its own vicious essence” (223)

“It must recognize that it carries no legitimacy except from itself—this self that is itself in the last instance designated by the (non-)One and NTT—and that it is thus absolutely contingent” (223)

“everything at any rate takes place at the interior of radical contingency or the (non-) One” (223)171


  1. Compare Meillassoux, After Finitude 

  2. Meillassoux mounts the same critique of the school of Difference, ascribing the label “correlationist” to it. I have argued elsewhere that Meillassoux’s position, though productive in other venues, is rather reductive with regard to these thinkers. I imagine Laruelle will encounter similar difficulties. 

  3. I find such a practice repugnant, despite whatever theoretical point Laruelle might be trying to make. Generous citational practice in Haraway’s manner is better. 

  4. Ha! How often is this the work of philosophy. Compare Whitehead, Process and Reality, on “coherence.” 

  5. Indeed. But I would argue, following Haraway and Moten, that the generous citational practice that Laruelle eschews should instead be a practice of debt, of taking more debt, of refusing to take credit, i.e., to enter into the economy of subjectivization. 

  6. Laruelle is anti-humanist but wants to retain a “positive essence” of the human. So he is resisting the impulse of the last “30 years” (1956-1986) to deconstruct the human and so deny the human essence. Most clearly: the death of the author. Both Barthes and Laruelle would be “anti-humanist,” but where Barthes dissolves essence, Laruelle posits it. 

  7. This is a terribly garbled passage. Laruelle claims that science, as opposed to philosophy, does not maintain the “unitary philosophical reduction” of the One and Being to each other. Thus, science is a thinking of “two principles, the One and Being. This (double) thinking Laruelle called gnosis in Le Principe de Minorite, recognizing a (presumably?) gnostic recognition of the irreducibility of Being to the One, or vice versa, while “Greco-Occidental fact” unites these two principles. 

  8. Laruelle then produces another gnarly passage, saying, in summary, that Difference has tried to think the two principles but in order to reunite them (a contention against dualism), but ultimately could not, and so chose to “resum[e] the Greek state of the problem … elevating it to the state of essence.” This is a wide-ranging claim, though it is interesting to hear echoes of all the talk of “duplicities” and “dualities” in Foucault, Baudrillard, Derrida, etc. 

  9. The gnostics were scientists! These are quite the provocative claims Laruelle is making. 

  10. Ontological heresy: Being and One. Theological heresy: gnosticism. These claims rely heavily on Orindary Man and I feel my ignorance here. I only know gnosticism in the context of theology, so Laruelle’s reading, here so quickly indicated, is decidedly idiosyncratic. The unity of ontology and theology in the philosophy of Difference is quite funny, however. Laruelle is telling the great critics of onto-theology that their work is, in fact, its apex. 

  11. Deleuze and Guattari’s Kafka was published the same year as this book. 

  12. The same logic as articulated in Derrida, “Violence and Metaphysics.” 

  13. This is quite an insightful reading of Derrida. I believe a more thorough, and citationally generous, reading of Derrida would show him to be in allegiance with (at least some version of) Laruelle’s own project. 

  14. A lot of technical language here that I don’t yet have. But, could it be the domain of the multiple, the void, in Badiou? 

  15. So the second principle opposite the one, the diversity of a non-positional transcendence, is the “proper act” of the one. This sounds a lot like Badiou’s “How to Begin with the Void,” but it would take some doing to concept-match (keyi) these two texts. 

  16. i.e., the passage from Hegel to Marx. 

  17. Difference is the decision of poststructuralism, following Marxism, Existentialism, Structuralism. 

  18. Is Laruelle merely describing the philosophical decision, so that he might demonstrate his non-philosophical method later? What he describes, put simply, is the dialogue of word and being, mind and reality—the correlation that Meillassoux critiques. I have endeavoured to situate the correlation in a subsequence, as a product or consequence of the emerging and abiding of being. The decision happens. It has effects. It produces structures. It remains to be seen how Laruelle responds to this state of affairs. 

  19. Indeed, during my graduate studies, I wrote of difference as a reciprocating function

  20. Compare Eco, Semiotics and the Philosophy of Language. Eco critiques the intension/extension divide, arguing for a single continuum of the real containing both signs and matter, or in Laruelle’s terms, “syntax” and “real”—which is to say that syntax is real

  21. Laruelle should really do a close reading here (though that may be coming…). This section suffers from a lack of specifics. Laruelle generalizes his subjects to the point that they become the “mélange” he criticizes. His use of Being and being (lower-case b, the ontic domain of beings) is loose, and lacks the rigor of Heidegger in Being and Time

  22. “The Turning” has been an important essay for me, so these comments are beneficial. 

  23. Laruelle distances himself from the correlation/decision, which I remarked upon in n.18 above. 

  24. Indifference, that is, to the problem of the one and the many. 

  25. A terribly nasty passage. 1) The One absolutely distinguishes from itself a domain of reality called effectivity; 2) this domain is the unitary combination of immanence and transcendence; 3) the model of every such possible combination is the one-and-the-many. Unfortunately, what Laruelle means by this is not yet clear, though the passage has the air of significance. One reading I can mount is the unilateral relation of the preindividual and individual in Simondon: the preindividual is the One that distinguishes from itself an effective domain of individuals. This is an asymmetrical, unilateral, and irreversible duality, to use Laruelle’s terms, a duality insofar as it is sequential

  26. As Simondon says, the individuation precedes the individual. So, then, if what is is conceived first and foremost as unity, then individuation is merely the positing of individuals. But, if individuation is prior to the individual, and the One is not conceptualized as unity, then the individuation is the unilateral distinguishment of individuals (which also renders them contingent in their foundation). Simondon’s notion of the conservation of the preindividual likely problematizes this action, and we might need to introduce some Zizekian failure to Laruelle’s One. 

  27. Starting to see where this is going… 

  28. That is, the duel unity

  29. For instance, being is rupture, whereas more accurately, beings are the consequence of the rupture, upsurge, decompression of the preindividual. Laruelle’s capitalization of Being is problematic. His Being is Heidegger’s ontic beings

  30. Laruelle’s transcendental draws dangerously near the transcendental eye, but I am holding in mind Meillassoux ancestral as precisely the non-correlationist absolute that Laruelle seeks. 

  31. Recalls Sartre’s being-in-itself. 

  32. Good. 

  33. Oh. 

  34. We already possess the point because it is a real absolute. Sure, whatever. Much more interesting: the One is not exhausted by the uses of Difference, just as Simondon’s preindividual is not exhausted in a stroke by individuation! 

  35. So the point is the condition for a non-alienated belonging-with, it would seem? How, precisely, this works I cannot quite say… 

  36. The One is not A=A but merely A, for Laruelle. This is what Galloway has referred to as the “autistic” or “prophylactic” quality of the One. 

  37. If we read this in Simondonian terms, as we have done above, this doesn’t seem like much of a problem. The domain of Being and the domain of beings are, for Simondon, the preindividual and individuated domains, the domain of being and the domain of becoming. These stand in temporal succession. We cannot get back to the preindividual, but the individual is unilaterally determined by the preindividual, and so there is something informative in discussing it. Furthermore, the “guiding principle” of individuation, for Simondon, is “that of the conservation of being through becoming.” The One is conserved in Difference. In other words, the philosophers of difference are right in speaking of the “connecting leap,” “continuing rupture,” or “relay” that is split origin of being, because the being of which they speak is the ontic realm of difference and becoming, which is determined, in this way, as differential, and more, multiple. Perhaps Laruelle’s problem is that his “science” is not all that scientifically informed. 

  38. Laruelle undersells how radical this move is. Try introducing this idea to someone untrained in philosophy, and Laruelle’s casual depiction of this school as halted and passé dissolves. 

  39. We might say, the in-turning and abiding of being. 

  40. And then Laruelle does. 

  41. Though I myself am unschooled, such criticism would be improved by a dialogue with eastern philosophies which, in my limited exposure, prove far more nuanced on such matters of nothingness than most western philosophies. 

  42. Perhaps this is my own convictions leading me to read Laruelle differently than he presents himself, but I feel as though his conflation of his One and the Heideggerian big-B Being is the problem. The One cannot be in the manner of Heidegger’s Being, but that is because Heidegger does not posit Being as the One. Or at least, not in my reading. My reading of the One in Simondon’s sense, as supersatured solution of the preindividual, a unity higher than unity, the radically interior in-itself in Sartre that is utterly glued to itself, has no difficulty then accounting for the emerging-abiding sway of Being (in Heidegger’s sense), which is nothing but the process of the unfurling of (preindividual) Being as the becoming of beings (individuals). So perhaps, in this formula, the Being-beings difference is done away with, because beings are in the becoming of Being, and Being is expelled to the transphenomenal domain Sartre speaks of, but again, this is no problem. Heidegger teaches a sense of the sway of Being in beings, but we can never grasp Being because it is utterly withdrawn, while at the same time here in the becomings through which it is conserved. And why can we never grasp being? Because to grasp, and more so, to see and to conceive presupposes the domain of individuals as what Laruelle terms the domain of effectivity. Being as preindividual one is always withdrawn, utterly interior, and not even tautological. Is this not the kind of One that Laruelle seeks? And have we not already found it (though not without effort) in Heidegger, Sartre, and Simondon? The transcendental interiorization that is the individuation/process/becoming of Being in beings is therefore no problem, but instructive for the world in which we, as individuals in becoming, live

  43. Heidegger says early in Being and Time that representation/objectivity/scientism is a subsidiary mode of conceptuality. 

  44. Compare Baudrillard on the torsion or torquing of representation in Baudrillard, Simulacra and Simulation

  45. The turning of being in becoming, process, individuation, can in fact lead us to a contemplative science (the paradox!) of beings as multiple and finite, a contemplate science that we can find in the philosophies of Badiou and Haraway and Latour. To take Badiou as an example here, the domain of effectivity (Laruelle) is the space between nothing/the void (ø) and the infinite, which is the domain of finitude/multiplicity. Badiou can conceive of these things together, while Laruelle gets stuck. Laruelle is trapped in the games of philosophy, while Badiou, through an actual engagement with science (mathematics), finds a more useful solution to the problem of this book. See “How to Begin with the Void,” 

  46. Is Laruelle approaching a pluralism? I think not, but this paragraph is such a mess that it is hard to tell where he is positioning himself. 

  47. No problem if Being as emerging-abiding sway is the transduction itself, Being-as-process, the becoming of being, and the One the preindividual which is temporally before Being and beings, and indeed, before the temporal as such (where time is the very decompression and upsurge of the original geometry before space-time itself). 

  48. This is a good line that I will probably use in the future when speaking of philosophical violence. 

  49. To turn Laruelle against himself, we can say of the finite/multiplicitous (Badiou) domain of effectivity (Laruelle) that it is a domain of technical errancy (Simondon/Axelos). 

  50. Laruelle continues this sentence with some nonsense, so I have rendered it as such. 

  51. In sum: withdrawal-difference-finitude = the Other; the Other = the real as cut-object; the real as cut-object = the real as finite-difference. This is the imbrication. Doing the “math” doesn’t actually gain much, other than demonstrating how vapid much of Laruelle’s prose is… 

  52. This skirts a mis-reading of Heidegger, but can be clarified if we understand Laruelle’s “objectivity globally” as the there is of Being in Heidegger. 

  53. This is actually quite interesting. If we begin with Difference-Finitude, then beings in their “on-coming” (96) from Being are not irreal “cuts” in the ideal but things, real things. Beings thus “cease[] to be finite” because Being is in them, is them, and thus also Being is finitized. But because, for Laruelle, this is a reversible relation, Being raises this real finitude to the status of transcendental-ideal. 

  54. In this way, we might say of difference that it is an idiotic logos

  55. i.e., considering that Marxism materializes the dialectic. 

  56. Contingency, inauthenticity, and the quotidian ground the philosophical gesture, the inaugural cut of decision, which is also the inauguration of difference, difference as the inaugural, errancy as the forgetting or drifting or dehiscence of being form itself. 

  57. Laruelle finally points at his own position. 

  58. A hundred pages in and now at last Laruelle speaks in his own voice. 

  59. Laruelle wants to take that step. 

  60. This first section of the chapter is very incisive. 

  61. Indeed, in Derrida, “Violence and Metaphysics,” he writes: “Are we Greeks? Are we Jews? But who, we? Are we (not a chronological, but a pre-logical question) first Jews or first Greeks?” Laruelle says that the Judaic element “has hardly, perhaps never, been taken into account, neither by him nor by those who make use … of his project” (107). This is quite simply false. On the next page he even refers to “Violence and Metaphysics”: “Derrida himself has read Levinas by showing how much Levinas still ‘suffers’ from a Greek symptomatic” (108). Did he forget to read the concluding paragraph? 

  62. i.e., how is this mixture generalizable? 

  63. Compare Harney and Moten on debt in The Undercommons and de Certeau on expertise in The Practice of Everyday Life. This is a great line on Laruelle’s part. 

  64. This language game I can dig. Also: Levinas is absolutely unthinkable. Yes. Until Laruelle, Totality and Infinity was, perhaps, the most punishing piece of philosophy I ever worked through. 

  65. Compare Bandura on “reciprocal determinism.” 

  66. i.e., unlimited affirmation is cadaverous in the sense of cancer. Proliferation (the etc.) can become cancerous. Absolute expenditure becomes absolute constraint. This is the “bind, band, double band, double bind, and contra-bind” of which Derrida writes in The Post Card, p. 389. 

  67. Laruelle really wants this concept to be adopted, but I don’t find it that convincing in itself, though his reading of the double bind (and specifically, cadaverization) is compelling. 

  68. The gist: Laruelle contends that Derrida’s “double bind” is Derrida’s articulation of the real and its syntax, the structure of stricture. But then, the one who deconstructs does so through the activity of the BWW, which, Laruelle has just shown, has the same structure as the DB/striction, but superior in power and abstraction. So Derrida comes back to sign the affirmation that is the decision/difference by way of a rendezvous with this BWW, which itself always operates by way of a rendezvous with the DB. So, Laruelle concludes, this is the fidelity of Differance to Difference, the purest, most abstract philosophy of difference there has been. 

  69. The very violence Derrida critiques in Derrida, “Violence and Metaphysics.” 

  70. That is, the proliferation or dissemination of differance in presence. 

  71. Non-thetic insofar as the immanent unity of the One is not something to attend to, but something like an element or atmosphere. 

  72. This is reminiscent of the naive contact with the world that we see in Merleau-Ponty. 

  73. Confirms the One as an element

  74. Very Parminedean. 

  75. Thereby passing beyond structuralism (centre) and deconstruction (mixture) to science (indivision). 

  76. The immediate givens of the One and the space of multiplicity specific to the One—these are resonant ideas sure to be elaborated… 

  77. If I am reading correctly in the mystic we have three terms: 1) immediate givenness of the One, 2) the Other as the givenness of Indivision, 3) the All. How are the One and the All distinct? Is the All the One in relation of alterity with the Other? 

  78. What is here guaranteed is still not entirely clear, nor is it clear why such thinking would be desirable

  79. Such an attack would be interminable, as we saw in the chapter on Derrida. 

  80. Perhaps my struggle is Laruelle lack of definition of what the One really is. Hopefully this is still to come… 

  81. This sounds quite a lot like a mystic common sense. Heidegger’s passion for the Thing but with the transcendence of Being as such done away with. We have transcendents without transcendence (or existents without existence). I can see the benefit of the One abandon to immanent embrace, but… Laruelle is not convincing in his claims to originality. 

  82. So now we are the One, and Difference we are not

  83. Okay… perhaps echoes of the preindividual in Simondon, which is not exhausted in individuals (differentiations?). At present, Laruelle’s One remains a pure postulate, a metaphysical unverifiable. 

  84. At times Plotinian, at times quite plain: now the One is the non-reflexive transcendental experience of immanence. Though, quite plain, this definition neverthless approaches absurdity. 

  85. These pairs are consequences of the differential cut/decision that instantiates the syntax/real divide. 

  86. I think Latour and Stengers would disagree, at least in part. Science is always a selection, a bracketing of phenomena, thereby constituting its object. How much science has Laruelle actually done, I wonder? 

  87. Sure. Because, as the philosophies of difference have demonstrated, Representation is false. 

  88. Ugh. I am not convinced, nor do I like where this argument is going… I do not see the why, the motivation, for Laruelle’s position. What stakes? 

  89. Indeed, in Sartre, Being is transphenomenal, and is only encountered in phenomenal, concrete beings. 

  90. In essence being the essencing of a thing, the essence of Being is its be-ing in beings. This tautology is the operation of Difference which, Laruelle argues, prevents Heidegger from a complete resolution of the One-many problematic, that is, that Being, beings, and be-ing are One. I can grasp this point, at least. 

  91. Relates by way of ur-difference, the ontological difference between Being and beings. 

  92. I noted a similarity in terms with Bandura in note 66 above, but I think this similarity is only superficial. 

  93. Good question Laruelle! Please continue. 

  94. Alright, I can grasp these stakes. 

  95. I am excited for Laruelle to explain the intuitive and the given in terms of his vision-in-One… 

  96. Derrida’s logic of the originary supplement ultimately produces its own violence, positioning itself as transcendental signified while obscuring this very positioning. 

  97. i.e., Difference as absolute-relative transcendental is the indivision of the empirical (their founding in the non-origin of difference), but it absolves itself of/as this origin by attributing itself (difference-differentiating, auto-position and auto-foundation) to the existents in which it manifests. 

  98. Dang. Every now and again Laruelle is good. 

  99. i.e., the world as both workshop and the there of disclosure. 

  100. The intention is always to come, but even if it were to come it could not accomplish its goal. 

  101. So, quite clearly: the (perspective of the) One is: 1) an immanent given, 2) nonthetic (of) itself, 3) immediate, 4) non-reflexive. 

  102. The directness of this statement warrants bold notation. 

  103. The authentic real distinction (of what?) is the real transcendental. This real transcendental is irreversible and unilateral: from One to Being. 

  104. The one transcends really, and as such is a transcendental distinction. This real is nonreflexive immanence

  105. What??? My dude. You cannot just drop a name like that into such a knotted passage and then leave it at that. What do you mean?

  106. But did not Laruelle describe the One above (see notes 105 and 106) as the real transcendental? Is this a terminological difference between transcendence and transcendental? Or is finitude the key (I’m reaching for Galloway…)? 

  107. It’s like someone told Laruelle about Gadamer as he was finishing his book and he felt obliged to name drop him… 

  108. So, then, can we say of Laruelle’s One the one-multiple (the domain of the multiple)? This would be to try and think from the position of the individual the space of preindividual supersaturation (i.e., the void/chaos). Neither One nor multiple but both—the less and more than one. I’m sure Laruelle would balk at the implicit and of this both, but we will see… 

  109. Reversibility=chiasmus=Difference=co-belonging-of-Being-and-beings=metaphysical-unity 

  110. Laruelle aligns Heidegger with this position. Should Derrida (the third conception) go here as well? 

  111. Laruelle alignes Nietzsche/Deleuze with this position. 

  112. The thought of the partial hyle (the broken, incomplete matter) as the cut/multiple continuity of what is is provocative, though Laruelle discards it… Prophecies of Zizek… 

  113. This really does seem to miss the original(ity) (of the) innovation of ontological difference… but oh well… 

  114. That is, we see a multiplicity, a manifold. How, then, one? Laruelle does not like the reversibility of this determination, that we come to the One from this manifold. 

  115. So the criticism is that we have ontologized or own insufficiency-to-know

  116. The All is not the sum of all existents. 

  117. I might formalize this problem as being that of a synchronic ordering of All/particular (preindividual/individual). How can the All and the manifold exist synchronically? This might then be resolved with a diachronic ordering. Might… 

  118. Questionable. 

  119. Philosophical and unitary, not non-philosophical and unary? Though Laruelle’s use of “unary” has been promiscuous… 

  120. Great, I love this! But… the “One itself” is still lacking. 

  121. Okay, sure. But if you don’t explain this vision-in-One in the next chapter, I’m gonna be upset. 

  122. The theory of decision proceeds from the vision-in-One, which is real insofar as the One requires no philosophical operation—i.e., the metaphysical split, difference, decision between the ‘real’ and ‘syntax.’ 

  123. Effectively, vision-in-one is this book. Laruelle is saying, it’s what I’ve been doing this whole time. To have made the argument that he has been making is to have approached difference from the One. But it sure does not feel all that different… 

  124. Philosophical decision cuts the Real (the real real), instantiating the real-syntax duel, which then becomes the target of deconstruction, and is perpetuated by the deconstructive operation (difference par excellance) ad infinitum. The One prohibits this operation, inhibits it, forms a “blockage” (198), acts as a prophylactic (Galloway)—”a new kind of gap … the gap that the unary real itself straightaway imposes upon what is not it, upon this relation as such that is philosophical decision” (198). Difference as transcendental tautology (difference-differencing, reflection-reflecting) is rendered radically contingent by this perspective (of the One), and this “radical contingency” is the (non-)One. 

  125. Difference still establishes a law: itself. Radical contingency, real transcendence, the (non-)One, however, finds no essence in law or regularity, which is to say, has no essential law or lawful essence. Rather, the essence of this experience of the (non-)One is solely in the immanence of the One. That is, in being exposed by deconstruction, the pinnacle of philosophy, to the contingency of the philosophical operation as such (the impossibility of a real-syntax logic or matrix), vision-in-One finally accomplishes the beyond that is not beyond, the real transcendence of absolute immanence (a real transcendence insofar as the prior modes of decision were ultimately unitary and unifying). Utter immanence is real transcendence because finally all is not reducible to an arche, law, or decision that would ultimately gather all its disparate parts together under the (non-)arche, (non-)law, (non-)decision of its own erasure. Thus Laruelle, takes the undecidable and interminable work of difference/deconstruction and accepts the terminus, rather than deferring it any longer. The undecidable is the fiat of what is, the contingency of the let there be, the simple there is. Absurd, idiotic immanence: this is vision-in-One. 

  126. I think I finally get how this is a science and not a philosophy. Quite simply, vision-in-One accepts what is as given. All the formulas of difference (e.g., being is language, one that I once wrote) are attempts, via philosophy, via decision, via difference, to grapple with the raw, pure contingency of the real, that contingency which is the utter transcendence of an irresolvable, undecidable, irremediable immanence—no exit (Sartre), no outside (Derrida). This is also why, if I might hazard a guess, Brassier takes the nihilist position. This is, from one perspective, quite a nihilistic stance to adopt. And yet, does it not also capture the fiat of creation quite beautifully? Existence as unanswerable why. . . 

  127. This is ambiguous. Does Laruelle mean that the manifold and the non-positional (singular) One (which is diverse in its individuations) are outside one another? Perhaps we can interpret through Simondon. The non-positional, non-relative, non-differential preindividual, through an operation of contingent transduction, dephases itself, producing a diversity of individuals. The individuation is a unilateral determination of a diversity. The void-one, that which is less and more than one, is therefore the absolute transcendence that cannot then be folded into an arche-same uniting this individuated plurality. The plurality is determined by the one, but it is this determination which affords the contingency, and as such, the true individuation of individuals as individuals. Perhaps this is what Galloway is getting at when he says that the One is a “totality of insufficiency … never the Whole or the All, but rather merely a finite and generic one: this one; this one here; this one here in person” (Laruelle, xii-xiii)? 

  128. Simondon really is fruitful here. Diversity (the domain of individuals) falls outside its own identification as such (i.e., the statement that is diversity). This is what it means to think individuation before individuals. If the individual is taken as a model for the individuation, then individuation becomes an arche (the law of the identification) that reduces difference (diversity) to the same, to the transcendental root: individual. But if we think individuation first, then individual (and the domain of individuals) presents itself as truly individual: radically contingent, absolutely transcendent, definitively real (that is, on the last point, irreducible). This peculiar nihilism could be fruitful (insofar as its not really a nihilism but a redemption of the individual at a fundamental level). 

  129. Because it is the effect of the One, the effect of unilateralized decision, absolutely contingent individuation (absolutely contingent insofar as irreversible, irreversible insofar as non-commutative, beings do not affect Being [the individual does not affect the preindividual], and insofar as the determination cannot be undone [the preindividual cannot be regained]). This is why this effect is a real facticity and absolute transcendence. The facticity and finitude of human existence in Heidegger, and the projection (transcendence) of the human as such in this condition, is generalized to all of what is. 

  130. Immediately absolute and so absolutely contingent. 

  131. Neither ontic nor ontological because the ontic (real) and the ontological (syntax) are only divided from the perspective of the pure transcendental cut of difference. 

  132. A diversity of transductions, of individuations, that can tell us nothing, in fact, of the preindividual—only of themselves as absolutely contingent consequents of the determination, the individuation. 

  133. Okay. I get you Laruelle. This is how Galloway can say that the One is finite and generic, the saying: this One. The One is spoken in every “one”, but this speaking is not then reversible to the One (the preindividual) whereby this speaking might attain an alibi for its contingency (Language, Desire, Power… idols of Being). Such is the condition of diversity in itself, more in itself than the very thing in itself. 

  134. Philosophy posits the real and its syntax. The history of philosophy is the history of attempts at reconciling this cut. Deconstruction is the culmination of this history, the most purified philosophy wherein the cut itself, the essence of philosophy, becomes the focus. The de-jection of vision-in-One situates the real (empirical) and the syntax (a priori) in the same domain of irreducible diversity—much as Eco situates signs and matter in the same continuum, different segmentations of the same pulp (though indeed, that formulation also falls into philosophy—Laruelle attributes more to signs, in a way, by not maintaining the arche of the pulp in its relation to that which segments it, the cut as such). 

  135. Extra-empirical because the empirical has been traditionally the domain of the ontic/beings/existents in its reversible determination with the ontological/Being/existence. 

  136. A truly transcendental empiricism (Deleuze). 

  137. An irreducible contingency, an absolute, but generic, singularity. This is incredible. 

  138. New experiences: Language, Desire, Text, Being, Power, the Unconscious. Then the formulae: language is being, text is being, desire is being. And finally, the tautologies: language languages, desire desires. This is the relative-absolute, the unitary cut, the empirico-transcendental parallelism that is the unitary-duel. The unary-dual, on the other hand, is the absolutely contingent determination of the generic singular—a true pluralism! 

  139. The first effect being that of the (non-)One: (the thinking of) absolute contingency, unilateral determination, irreducible plurality. 

  140. The (non-)One effects the absolute contingency of the given. NTT is the consequent mode of thought (nonphilosophical) that relates to the unilaterally determined givens (emphasis on the plural), which include philosophical decision itself. 

  141. NTT can hardly be called a relation, because it does not relate via scission (philosophy, traditional transcendence). In supposing the support of the given, it does not posit the given as the “real” and so reform itself as “syntax.” This is its proper transcendence, which thetic (philosophical) transcendence borrows from NTT for its incisions. This very strongly recalls Merleau-Ponty’s naive contact, and his passion for the overcoming of the empirical/ideal divide in Merleau-Ponty, Phenomenology of Perception. A reading of Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology from Laruelle’s position would perhaps be fruitful, liberating him from the Heidegger/Sartre milieu (although to speak of liberation in this way is to (philosophically) posit an enemy…) 

  142. Compare Sartre on the in-itself in his introduction, “The Pursuit of Being,” Sartre, Being and Nothingness

  143. The Real is not posited. The One/the Real is the unilateral determination of all positing (decision). 

  144. That is, the ultimate reasons of philosophy (any statement of which is of course decisional) are rooted in the abyss of absolute contingency. We philosophize because of the contingency of our situation, as unilaterally determined by the One. 

  145. Naive contact, naive transcendentalism. No justification. Very Sartrean, but generalized (this is Laruelle’s move: the for-itself in its contingency generalized to the contingency of what is). 

  146. Criteria, from krī́nō, to separate, divide, part, distinguish, order, arrange, inquire, investigate, select, choose, decide

  147. Self-indices

  148. Existence-and-thought-in-One, NTT, is: diverse, radically that, and absolutely indifferent

  149. Can’t recall prior uses of absurd, but here the Kierkegaardian leap should be noted. 

  150. You are free, therefore choose

  151. One possible outcome of this absolute choice is the banalization of study, which would indeed be the collapse or dissolution of philosophy into science, or rather, the conversion of philosophy from a plumbing of mysteries to a description of surfaces (though the surface-depth opposition will itself by a duel to overcome). All thoughts are equal, Ó Maoilearca says (though I haven’t yet read this to know the full content of the phrase…). For myself, this we might apply as a science of literature, where thematics becomes description. Ideology = form, says Jonas Staal. Infrastructure is a morphology. This would be a deflation and leveling of the humanities and aesthetics, and of the work of the humanities and aesthetics (i.e., the kinds of work performed therein). 

  152. The situating of Merleau-Ponty at the terminus of this list feels appropriate. 

  153. At the beginning of this section, 3., Laruelle remarks that contingency and necessity are no longer “transcendentals,”” no longer “superior and universal ‘categories’ that hold for every being. These are the transcendental and ‘individual’ lived experiences that hold a priori not only for beings but for ‘Being itself’ and for Difference” (206). In the conclusion of this section, then, we see the Meillassouxian prophecy: the necessity of contingency. The necessity of contingency is the transcendental, absolutely singular lived experience of the One. Nonphilosophy, as such, is a radically nonhuman pluralist phenomenology, insofar as it is an examination of experience, but wherein this experience is freed from the limitations of human cognition/psyche. A phenomenology of radically multiplicitous oneness (though the definition of phenomenology necessarily renders it provisional, here, insofar as it depends on the differential logic of appearing). 

  154. i.e., there is no sufficient reason for what is, it is contingent, absurd. 

  155. If you’re going to use arche-writing, for instance, to argue for a multiple and contingent realism, you need to recognize the foundation in absolute contingency

  156. The interminable analysis of the scission, the “irreducible shadow,” at the beginning of Greco-Occidental thought: why are there beings rather than nothing

  157. All thoughts are equal… 

  158. NTT is all of Difference, i.e., the real transcendence of contingent, finite multiplicities, and the fact of such as unilaterally determined by an Other (the One). 

  159. The thinking that is individual lived experience, Dasein as (its) clearing. 

  160. The autoposition is the repoussoir (Laruelle uses this term) that directs (brackets, decides) the gaze, while also containing the gaze in itself: the gaze-gazing, posit-positing. 

  161. Its autoposition, i.e., the syntax of the thetic self. 

  162. The illusion, i.e., the empirical real. Deconstruction performs the critique of this relation, but ultimately requires the relation itself and its originary, abyssal schism. 

  163. Dual not duel. 

  164. This seems to speak to a simple (reductive) equation of “difference” with the space between the void and the infinite in Badiou (“How to Begin with the Void”). This is not to preclude the reading together of Badiou and Laruelle, but to clarify that the domain of finitude in Badiou should be understood truly pluralistically, not in the differential-transcendental mode. 

  165. The (non-)One, to be reminded, is the radical contingency of the unilateral determination, the effect of the One. It is called the (non-)One because to divide effects from the Real is a philosophical holdover. The (non-)One is the acting of the One insofar as that is the absolute, radical contingency of the One in its unjustifiable contingency. 

  166. Aha! Just like the essay in my Field Notes, but now, a point devoid of dominating positionality, oblivious and therefore not surveilling, and unclaimable by anyone, insofar as such a point (in Laruelle’s conception) provides no justification

  167. See my thoughts on a “science of literature” (i.e., pure description) in note 152 above. I am interested, though, in how Laruelle arrives at an ethics without intervention? 

  168. Very much a flat ontology

  169. Indeed, the One is the preindividual that cannot be exhausted in a stroke. It is not the Being of beings. 

  170. All those ones interacting in the situation create a complex enmeshment. This complexity is the impetus for metaphysics, but now we might approach it from the stance of a science of dynamic systems

  171. And that it! It just ends. A mediocre conclusion, but a remarkable final chapter. 

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