Theory of Identities

François Laruelle


Laruelle, François. Theory of Identities: Generalized Fractality and Artificial Philosophy. 1992. Translated by Alyosha Edlebi. New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 2016. E-Book: 9780231541459.


“François Laruelle proposes a theory of identity rooted in scientific notions of symmetry and chaos, emancipating thought from the philosophical paradigm of Being and reconnecting it with the real world. Unlike most contemporary philosophers, Laruelle does not believe language, history, and the world shape identity but that identity determines our relation to these phenomena. Both critical and constructivist, Theory of Identities finds fault with contemporary philosophy's reductive relation to science and its attachment to notions of singularity, difference, and multiplicity, which extends this crude approach. Laruelle's new theory of science, its objects, and philosophy, introduces an original vocabulary to elaborate the concepts of determination, fractality, and artificial philosophy, among other ideas, grounded in an understanding of the renewal of identity. Laruelle's work repairs the rift between philosophical and scientific inquiry and rehabilitates the concept of identity that continental philosophers have widely criticized. His argument positions him clearly against Deleuze, Badiou, the new materialists, and other thinkers who stray too far from empirical approaches that might revitalize philosophy's practical applications.”


Preface to the English Edition: Retrospection (2014)1

“Philosophers always present their undertaking with the seriousness of ferrets at work and usually without much humor” (ix)

“Saving their irony for the world or for their predecessors, they are more reluctant to take on their own fictions, their ‘novels’” (ix)2

“And yet they dream … these reveries are philosophy’s matrix, its preparation or the lying-in-wait of its rationalization” (ix)

“We hesitate between two modes of classification grounded in the style of our object, a corpuscular mode earlier … an undulatory mode now. Each of non-philosophy’s works contains all of this in an indivisible or ‘holistic’ way” (ix-x)3

“the division into stages or steps,” the passage from corpuscular to undulatory theory, “serves to mark doses or proportions, nuances and accents that should not be dogmatically isolated. Non-philosophy is a system of stages as much as of phases, of particles as much as of flows or waves” (x)

“We dreamed of a joyous Iliad that left too hastily to look for its Odyssey, that believed it reached this Odyssey from time to time, and that wandered from shore to shore without ever finding solid ground, doomed to sink in the contemplation of immobile stars that the river Metaphysics carries along” (x)4

“Let’s say immediately and clearly: non-philosophy is a dreamed philosophy, a reverie or a fiction that owes a great deal to a certain power of dreaming peculiar to music” (x)5

Theory of Identities is the book of the milieu, of the middle” (x)6

“The work’s milieu, its middle, is a way of rejecting the system. And there are many possible rejections” (x)

If a “caesura, the milieu determines a philosophy’s fairly rigid and definite order of exposition (Heidegger and Wittgenstein) … the sure sign of a will-to-system and to-unity that failed” (x)

“Treated more positively as a continuous milieu of existence, it [the milieu] does not exclude modalities, nuances, and accents” (x)

“Non-philosophy is a thought of the duality that began through a reclamation of the One rather than of Being” (xi)

Theory of Identities is—after Biography of the Ordinary Man—the retrospection on the construction of a philosophy, the central arc of a bridge open to the circulation between the first construction of non-philosophy and its current or ‘nonstandard’ forms” (xi)

“it is a synoptic book, a systematic capitalization of acquired knowledge” (xi)

“Within this [book], we introduce the central theme of identity as a weapon against the postmodern theme of difference, but it does not yet reach quantum indivisibility” (xi)7

“Here fractality anticipates the future use of quantum mechanics” (xii)

“Generalized fractality rather than textuality” (xii)8

“‘artificial philosophy,’ which anticipates a mode of nonstandard philosophy or of philosophy through the quantum model” (xii)

“Each work [in Laruelle’s oeuvre] has a near-absolute autonomy; each restarts the trajectory that assembles the various phases or brings the entire problematic into play” (xii)

Non-philosophy is better understood through “leitmotifs” than “discursive themes” (xii)

Non-philosophy has “a musical organization or tissue. Vertically, it is a spiraled thought, contrapuntal in spirit or with superposed themes … Horizontally, it is a melody that exposes and reexposes the themes. Its profound or desired model is musical … music is the placenta that has to give birth to non-philosophy” (xii-xiii)

Non-philosophy “is born of relatively precise obsessions, of repetition through a system of variations” (xii)

“A work is a retrospective self-knowledge, the permanence of solutions and of obsessions, a theoretical confession of faith” (xii-xiii)

“What does it mean to philosophize in a nonstandard way? … It always involves philosophy, but in new relations to science, to art, or to religion” (xiii)

“We touch on all these old relations, but their confusions would denature ur project” (xiii)

“the knowings [savoirs] that are our materials (empirical but also philosophical knowings, which we no longer distinguish as the philosophical tradition does)” (xiii)9

Laruelle’s “gnosis” does not operate through the “traditional relations founded on the hierarchical distinction between philosophy and some knowings, since philosophy now forms part of these empirical knowings” (xiii)10

“We are not specialists of the postures called science, art, and religion (we are not even specialists of philosophy, which, to begin with, is any posture whatsoever). But we assume them each time as materials or variable properties of an object = X to be determined” (xiii)11

“we posit the identity of the variables of science and of philosophy, to be conjugated in view of this object = X” (xiii)12

“we also distinguish as quantum and generic the knowledge of this knowing … the generic object par excellence, which can only be humanity. Not the humanity of humanism, but the humanity of the last-instance” (xiii-xiv)13

Laruelle asks: “How can we gain or produce this … ‘gnostic’” knowledge? (xiv)

  1. “the first operation … the first product, is specifically quantum in spirit and consists in reciprocally weakening the brute spontaneity of the two opponents and in transforming them into simple inventive, productive, or variable forces for a nonart, a nonethics … that will therefore be deprived of every principial [principielle] and dominant value” (xiv) 14
  1. “the second product, the inverse of the first, deprives the concept as brute variable of its instinct for domination and does so by means of quantum algebra (the imaginary number). We thus transform the brute properties of the primitive reserve into variables (nonbrute this time, but quantum) within the chamber where the struggle between disciplines unfold” (xiv)15

“we prepare a wholly new—and this time generic—determination of the struggle, which will interiorize in its own way the quantum struggle that neutralized the opponents” (xiv)16

“The outcome is an equalization of variables and a quantum knowledge, probable rather than certain, a way of asserting quantum indetermination” (xiv)17

“For the moment, and at this stage [in quantum mechanics], the indetermination is neutral” (xiv)

This neutrality is a “reciprocal double interpretation,” a “symmetry, give or take an inversion” (xiv)

This inversion “implies noncommutativity itself for symmetrical instant” (xiv)18

Noncommutativity “implies the primacy of one or the other variable or of any product whatever” (xiv)

“Symmetry is still formal or indifferent and, in this sense, has to be broken” (xiv)19

As a consequence, “a new (this time ‘generic’) decision has to be grafted onto the quantum” (xiv)

“It will no longer be a decision of overdetermination or of mutual reinforcement in view of a superior knowing à la philosophers. It will instead be a subtraction by the real, i.e., by science, which ratifies quantum noncommutativity” (xiv)20

“Either the quantum symmetry remains in itself as a virtual third term or instance of overhanging [surplomb] or the break in symmetry pertains to a nonquantum origin, even if it also affects the quantum” (xv)21

“It is a matter of actualizing the quantum and its still-formal indetermination” (xv)

“We cannot stop at this pure formalism of products. We have to tie them together, if only to find a real order between them” (xv)22

“The instance that has to carry out this passage from the quantum to the generic and break the quantum’s still-formal symmetry—by realizing it concretely in the experience of the real—is what we call idempotence, a fundamental algebraic notion” (xv)

“Idempotence is what subsists of the One when it is affected by the imaginary number” (xv)23

“In reality, we distinguish the double transcendence or the doublet of the philosophical variable and the absolute instance of the One-of-One, which is also specifically affected by the imaginary number of the quantum real. We introduce here the One that finishes the philosophical edifice. And so, there are three variables to be considered and not only two. The One must also be brought face to face with the imaginary number, it has to be affected by it as idempotence. But this number, at least insofar as it is multiplied or interpreted by philosophy as a simple variable, is also stripped of its philosophical sense in order to become a variable or a productive force, as we have already said. We understand by this that the productive forces are multiplied by one another and are so retroactively from the generic One of idempotence, an instance that is superior to transcendence itself. In one way or another, and in the more or less long term, all the strata of philosophy will be affected and reduced by the imaginary number or the real” (xv)24

“The paradox is that the formalism, which continues to reside in the quantum, is realized and broken only if an instance intervenes that breaks the formal symmetry by relating it to human experience” (xv)25

This will be a “general reduction of philosophy” to “the theory or image of humans,” but specifically “the generic humanity of the last-instance” (xv)26

As such, non-philosophy “is also the unification of quantum theory and of Marxism” (xv)27

“We have surpassed the thematic and even the theoretical level of Theory of Identities. This suggests the direction in which our future research will develop” (xvi)28

“Our practice mobilized scientific as well as other models (quantum, Gödelism, Euclidism, photography, theology . . . ). These are forms of dual thought; they conjugate two objects or two postures. The one is not specifically philosophical, but the other is necessarily so, as if it were each time a matter of the unification of philosophy (which has become a simple empirical theory) with an empirical discipline elevated to the state of paradigms” (xvi)29

“Nonphilosophical practice has no proper and well carved-out object; it seeks fluid models of the undulatory, the fluvial, and the oceanic rather than the topological. Or again: the river’s unhurried drift, the casualness of the great wave, the furor of the tsunami, and among them the hesitation of the drunken boat that transports us” (xvi)30

“These models are purified of their positivity, universalized and idealized. They become Ideas or paradigms. Scientific, artistic, and religious theories in their multiplicity are our Ideas, our paradigms. This is not a dogmatic and terrorist purification of a discipline, which is transformed into a constraining model, but a double transformation, a purifying idealization, a realizing subtraction, and, in the middle, an idempotence of the drunken boat” (xvi)31

“musical metaphysics … is a microphysics” (xvi)

“Provided we understand it as a quantum superposition and not as an identification, nonphilosophy … is theory interpreted as music and music interpreted as theory … this is the most profound, perhaps the most absurd dream. A multiplication of music and theory by each other as variables, their noncommutativity, their fusion as generic human properties, the utopia of a musical philo-fiction for generic humanity” (xvi)32

Preface to the French Edition (1992) 33

“This book is a contribution to a few local problems that philosophy is currently examining, like ‘singularities’ and ‘fractals’” (xvii)

“It does not comment on texts; it forges new tools for thinking” (xvii)

“It does not question yet again its origin and its historiality, but asks how it can afford philosophy a future other than that of memory and nostalgia, commentary and deconstruction” (xvii)

“the philosopher is a hero, but he is a fatigued hero whose life is a life of survival and whose vigor is the vigor of sudden fits and starts. How can we make this discipline enter into the concert of the sciences?” (xvii)

“How can we finally satisfy this requirement of reality and rigor that philosophy has only ever been able to half-fulfill by its own means, but without reducing and weakening it in a positivist way?” (xvii)

“A scientific reform of the philosophical understanding—such is the program that four fundamental concepts punctuate: identities-of-the-last-instance, nonepistemological conception of science, generalized fractality and chaos, and artificial philosophy” (xvii)

“the problem of singularities and differences, partial objects and critical points, catastrophes and effects, disseminations and language games . . . All of these objects were directed against “logos,” “presence” or “representation,” “metaphysics” and so on … But from our point of view, they represent a half-solution, an unfinished attempt at the critique of metaphysics” (xviii)

“Why? Because they always associate with these singularities of various types an identity, but as at least equal to them or reversible with them. Identity thus falls back on the singularities, appropriates them, capitalizes or traditionalizes them, subordinates them to an indeterminate generality, and so forth. This solution entails their erasure or drowning” (xviii)34

“At their origin, nevertheless, those objects were scientific and belonged to thermodynamics, differential calculus, the theory of sets and of critical points, the theory of catastrophes and of fractals . . . But their appropriation by philosophy (ontology, Kantianism, Nietzscheanism, structuralism) and their placement in the service of Being, Desire, and Language contributed to limiting their scope. Their philosophical generalization partially effaced them” (xviii)

Laruelle’s aim is to “restore to these singularities their positive and critical vigor” (xviii)

To do so, “he will reinscribe them in the content of science rather than of philosophy; but the content of a science that is itself rethought and described in its essence in a new way” (xviii)

“science also ‘thinks’ … it is a specific and original way of relating to the real, distinct from the philosophical way; [and] it can thus describe itself” (xviii)

“We call this conception epistemic and no longer epistemo-logical” (xviii)35

“science and identity entertain the most intimate relations; but this identity no longer has its traditional essence (transcendence) nor its philosophical functions (totalization and closure)” (xviii)

This identity is “Identity of-the-last-instance” (xviii)

Identity of-the-last-instance is: identity “not alienated in that of which it is the Identity, in its effect, and correlatively that it autonomizes this effect without folding back on it or reappropriating it” (xviii)36

“this Identity emancipates singularities that are at last radical, fractals that are no longer subjected to it” (xix)

This identity “authorizes the constitution of an autonomous order of singularities in the form of chaos” (xix)

This book “has a ‘fractal’ nature: each chapter reexposes in a distinct mode, at different ‘scales,’’ and under variations of objects the same structure of nonphilosophical inequality or irregularity” (xix)

The concept of “Identities-of-the-last-instance … serves here to describe the chaos-essence of the real and that of science” (xx)

The concept of Generalized Fractality” takes as a “theoretical signpost B. Mandelbrot’s works” and forms “a novel theoretical tool” (xx)37

The concept of “Artificial Philosophy” is a “a search for conceptual formalisms and rules of theoretical treatment, of algorithms, which allow the use of philosophical statements in view of the production of synthetic statements” (xx-xxi)

Artificial philosophy asks the question: “Can a synthesis of philosophical statements be imagined that retains a philosophical or nonpositivist type of value, but that is realized by means of science?” (xx)38

“Philosophy’s future … surely does not lie in its infinite commentaries or its interminable deconstructions, and even less in its naive, more or less positivist practice” (xxi)39

“This research would like to have contributed … to the global reevaluation of the relations between science and philosophy, to the destruction of their unitary (epistemological or philosophical) theory, and to the establishment of a unified (scientific) theory of thought” (xxi)40

Introduction: Science, Identity, Fractality 41

Commentator’s Note: Like Laruelle’s Biography of Ordinary Man, I also dropped off this book and haven’t returned.


  1. pp. ix-xvi 

  2. Though I resist the use of the ‘novel’ (or its generic correlate, ‘fiction’) as an ascription of irreality, in this context it does recall Philosophies of Difference, 198: “the effect[] of the One upon philosophical decision” is 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” (which radical contingency is the (non-)One as effect of the One). 

  3. The “corpuscular” recalls the particulate theory of light; the “undulatory” recalls the wave theory of light. This configuration quite plainly presents the wave-particle duality: “But what is light really? Is it a wave or a shower of photons? Once before we put a similar question when we asked: is light a wave or a shower of light corpuscles? At that time there was every reason for discarding the corpuscular theory of light and accepting the wave theory, which covered all phenomena. Now, however, the problem is much more complicated. There seems no likelihood of forming a consistent description of the phenomena of light by a choice of only of the two possible languages. It seems as though we must use sometimes the one theory and sometimes the other, while at times we may use either. We are faced with a new kind of difficulty. We have two contradictory pictures of reality; separately neither of them fully explains the phenomena of light, but together they do!” See Einstein and Infeld, The Evolution of Physics, 278. For Laruelle, the contradictory pictures here presented are the result of a decision (or rather, the difficulty in deciding between them indicates the decisional structure of the ‘picture of reality’ as such). The picture, in this sense, is philosophical. Non-philosophy, however, contains all this—the duel style of its object, the philosophical scission in physics. 

  4. Are these immobile stars the generic, finite ones of unilaterally determined multiplicity? 

  5. We might attempt a link to Fred Moten on jazz and improvisation. Also, the quick recuperation of fiction here as a positive mode of labour is heartening. 

  6. Compare Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus, 25: “A rhizome has no beginning or end; it is always in the middle, between things, interbeing, intermezzo … the rhizome is alliance, uniquely alliance … the fabric of the rhizome is the conjunction, ‘and. . . and. . . and. . .’’ Laruelle is critical of the and in Philosophies of Difference. He sees it as the logic of the unitary-duel, the relative-absolute synthesis of (the) transcendental tautology: difference differencing. For echoes of Deleuze and Guattari, see p. 125: “the structure of the et(c)”; p. 128: “the and . . . and . . . etc.; and p. 135: “the law of the et(cetera).” Of this law, Laruelle writes: the law of the and is a “yoke, an active synthetic or associative power of the effects of differance”—Derrida’s technical term and absolutely purified transcendental signified—”the inclusive disjunction,” the “Same or repetition, re-inscription, etc., the power of the etc.” (128.) With his prefatory statement in 2014, looking back on the 1992 text of Theory of Identities, Laruelle seems to be highlighting (if not necessarily consciously) a similarity between his project and that of Deleuze and Guattari in A Thousand Plateaus

  7. Though we should recognize that the arc toward quantum indivisibility is where Laruelle will take this work (and we recognize the contingency of any such work). 

  8. So as to move beyond the postmodern emphasis on texts

  9. This real/syntax, empirical/philosophical scission Laruelle struggles against in Philosophies of Difference

  10. As noted in my commentary on Philosophies of Difference, notes 20 and 136, the sinking of philosophy and its syntax (philosophy as syntax) into empirical knowings, adjacent to them, in the same neighbourhood, is a similar move to that which Umberto Eco undertakes in Semiotics and the Philosophy of Language. However, Eco still relies on a distinction between signs and matter that may lead one to reinstate the philosophical dehiscence of the contingent real. Though, from a non-philosophical vantage, perhaps this merely allows us to recognize signs and matter in their autonomy, equal actants in a flat (n)ontology… 

  11. Philosophy is auto-position, the self-positing, self=self: the transcendental eye of surveillance and metaphysics. Thus, any posture, posture as such. The move Laruelle makes here is to see science, art, religion, and philosophy as immanent indicators of this “object = X” (which I presume, at this early point in reading, to be the One). All are studies in the contingent real

  12. Science and philosophy are doing the same work. 

  13. This “humanity of the last-instance” is unfamiliar. Determination in the last instance I encountered in Philosophies of Difference, but the link between these concepts is not yet clear. “Determination in the last instance” is the dualism whereby the difference (absolutely contingent plurality) of being is unilaterally determined by the One. It is in the last instance because there is no reversibility to this procedure, and so no interminable working through of difference on the way to a terminus always to come. The procession of this determination is, for Laruelle, an “abyss”—which presents us with opportunities for interreading with Badiou on the void. 

  14. Brute spontaneity, i.e., the auto-positing/auto-positional quality of the real and its syntax from a philosophical posture: the world worlds, difference differences. The two opponents, i.e., science and philosophy, empirical and ideal. These are transformed into forces (might we say intensities, but especially in the manner of DeLanda and his linked of intensities with dynamic systems theory?) See Delanda, Intensive Science and Virtual History

  15. By “nonbrute” it seems Laruelle means to resist the idea of a brute point or variable, i.e., a commonsensical or vulgar conception of objectivity. The nonbrute as quantum introduces duality (wave-particle and non-philosophical) to the object = X, while the non-philosophical perspective ensures the unary dejection (as opposed to unitary projection) of the philosophizing subject. Where projection is fore-thrownness, Laruellian dejection is down-thrownness, the unilateral leveling of the contingent real by the One. 

  16. Particles and waves, empirical and ideal—but not due to a synthesis in some higher unity, but a unary conception of the real that affords the actualization of real multiplicities and incommensurable connectivities (I hesitate to use “relation” here, given Laruelle’s critique of relation in Philosophies of Difference, insofar as its radicality was coopted and halted by the purifications of Difference. Connectivities, at least, may lead to some fruitful connections with the schools of systems theory and cybernetics). 

  17. But, so importantly, not indetermination in the interminable sense, but indetermination in the sense of not requiring a decision

  18. Laruelle is getting fancy here. The symmetrical instant is the (wave-particle) duality. Both hold. The truth of the state is indeterminate. But that a particle and a wave (or field) are symmetrical but inverted, for Laruelle, implies his conception of them in the reciprocal or multiplicative inverse way: 5 and 1/5, or 4^-3 and 1/(4^3). My math skills are shaky, but this feels are visuo-spatial conception of the inverse—though now I do think I understand his point. Symmetrical but inverse. Noncommutativity, on the other hand, drags us into even more perplexing terrain, relying on (I think) the idea of noncommutative quantum field theory, wherein the basic possibility of a noncommutative algebra—that xy does not always equal yx—holds for the quantum field itself. See “Noncommutative quantum field theory,”” Wikipedia, and “Noncommutative geometry,” Wikipedia,

  19. Again, it seems Laruelle is performing some spooky action with physics terms: “symmetry breaking is a phenomenon in which (infinitesimally) small fluctuations acting on a system crossing a critical point decide the system’s fate, by determining which branch of a bifurcation is taken. To an outside observer unaware of the fluctuations (or “noise”), the choice will appear arbitrary. This process is called symmetry “breaking”, because such transitions usually bring the system from a symmetric but disorderly state into one or more definite states.” See “Symmetry breaking,” Wikipedia,

  20. Generic decision is a subtraction by the real. That is, the resolution of indeterminacy (quantum noncommutativity) will be a subtraction from the indeterminate state, because one possible state will be done away with. 

  21. Laruelle seems to be hinting at, in the first instance, the interminable work of difference, the circling of the relative-absolute synthesis, and in the second instance, the determination in the last instance of the contingent real (by the One, the nonquantum origin?) 

  22. The products (noncommutative as they are) must be ordered. Otherwise, they remain pure formalism (philosophy). So the wave-particle duality, understood by Laruelle as two factors multiplied to reach an indeterminate (non-)whole, must be arranged in an xy or yx order: that is, an irreversibility. I don’t really think Laruelle is using any of these terms (inverse, noncommutative, symmetry, product) in all correct a way. But in a generic way, his logic actually makes sense. If we let x equal “wave” and y equal particle, then either, in Laruelle’s noncommutative presentation, wave unilaterally, irreversibly determines particle (xy), or particle unilaterally, irreversibly determines wave (yx). I think this is what he is saying. 

  23. Alright, totally uncharted territory now… For due diligence (recalling my high school math…) the imaginary unit is noted with the symbol i. The imaginary unit “is a solution to the quadratic equation x^2 + 1 = 0.” The imaginary unit “is defined solely by the property that its square is -1: i^2 = -1. With i defined this way, it follows directly from algebra that i and -i are both square roots of -1.” Peculiarly, the result of the “defining equation x^2 = -1 has two distinct solutions, which are equally valid and which happen to be additive and multiplicative inverses of each other … although -i and i are not quantitatively equivalent (they are negatives of each other), there is no algebraic difference between i and -i. Both imaginary numbers have equal claim to being the number whose square is -1 … The distinction between the two roots x of x^2 + 1 = 0 with one of them labelled with a minus sign is purely a notational relic; neither root can be said to be more primary or fundamental than the other, and neither of them is ‘positive’ or ‘negative.’” And I’ll stop there. For this, see “Imaginary unit,” Wikipedia,

  24. This feels important, but is unintelligible (likely given that I have only read Laruelle from 1989, and not Laruelle of 2014 and adjacent). key terms to remember: One-of-One, idemptoence, productive force, generic One. Earlier, Laruelle says: “We began by practicing the care of the One against the care of Being, but we have also cut and recut a great deal in the classical concepts. The One has become the One-in-One, then the under-One, then Idempotence” (x-xi). He is quite obviously referring to work later than Theory of Identities so as to link its milieu with the idempotence of his later (more nuanced?) One. 

  25. The observer in the quantum experiment. 

  26. Humans insofar as they function nonthetically (can we say as much?) in the quantum experiment of the real. Not the human as the one who receives being (Heidegger in Discourse on Thinking) but simply the contingent, generic one (it could be any one, any “whatever” [p. xiv]) that is a “third instance, a third term, … needed to materially break or realize this symmetry” of the duality/complementarity (p. xiv). If we refer back to symmetry breaking, this contingent, generic one introduced to the system (which has always been in the system in some fashion) is the infinitesimally small fluctuation that, in acting on a system, causes it to cross a critical point and thereby decide the system’s fate. Conceived in this way, the human is a kind of noise, which, Laruelle says, as a third term “is still entirely formal” (xiv), and yet, this noise is the very productive force of “the generic humanity of the last-instance” (xv). This is actually pretty wild. 

  27. Indeed, Laruelle recalls the woven and flexible cybernetic mass of de Certeau’s The Practice of Everyday Life

  28. No shit. 

  29. The conjugation of two objects or postures, because recall: flat ontology. Photography, for instance, is not specifically philosophical, but the nonphilosophical engagement with it lends it the (non-)gravity of the One (the philosophy of which is now a simple empirical theory). 

  30. Great. 

  31. Purification beyond the great purge of deconstruction. This is a tenuous terminology. Realizing subtraction is better, but to balance it with purifying idealization so as to situate the whole work in the sway of the boat at sea—that is a nice move. 

  32. Ah, Laruelle, you’ve hooked me in. These words resonate like Moten’s. I dream of a meeting… 

  33. pp. xvii-xxiv 

  34. This is the relative-absolute synthesis of Difference that unites same and other in a greater Same, a unity. 

  35. This echoes the ontic/ontological distinction in Heidegger, but we should be careful, following Laruelle in Philosophies of Difference, not to fall into this sort of scission (though Laruelle is himself relying on a scission here). 

  36. Non-reflexive identity. Autonomous (absolute) without appropriative tautology (self=self). 

  37. I have used Mandelbrot figures in previous work, though I cannot recall where at the moment. As usual, Laruelle is self-inflating of his own originality, but I understand his point. 

  38. A type of value but not value as such. See p. xiv and note 14 above. The quantum operation of gnostic knowledge deprives empiricism/idealism (particles/waves) of every principial and dominant value, i.e., every metaphysical valuation or overdetermination of the real and/or its syntax. This synthetic imagination (an artificial intelligence) will accomplish this thought in an epistemic way—but this way is yet to be elaborated. 

  39. Non-philosophy is thus post-continental and post-analytic. 

  40. The unitary theory of philosophy (epistemological) is the unitary duel. The unified theory of science (epistemic) is the unary dual. Laruelle seems to have moved from unary in Philosophies of Difference to unified here, which seems to point our attention to the idea of a “Grand Unified Theory,” a “model in particle physics in which, at high energies, the three gauge interactions of the Standard Model that define the electromagnetic, weak, and strong interactions, or forces, are merged into a single force.” See “Grand Unified Theory,” Wikipedia, It is not impossible for Laruelle to have known this term. It had been coined in 1978 by John Ellis, Andrzej Burras, Mary K. Gaillard, and Dimitri Nanopoulos, at CERN. See Ellis, “Physics gets physical,” Nature 415 (2002): 957, for a brief history of the term. Ellis reports that Nanopoulos used it first in 1978. See Nanopoulos, “Protons Are Not Forever,” Harvard University,

  41. pp. 1-30 

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