Ten Definitions from Laruelle’s Dictionnaire de la Non-Philosophie

Transcendental Axiomatic

The nature and procedure of the formation of the primary terms of non-philosophy, of its non-conceptual symbols, starting from philosophical concepts concerned with philosophical intuitiveness and naïveté.

Axiomatics is initially a scientific object. It is the organization of a theory or a fragment of a theory in order to empty the terms of their empirical or regional contents and to explicitly reveal the logical apparatus which connects them and becomes through this their only contents. There is a philosophical reflection on the axiomatic (Aristotle), but there are few examples of axiomatization in philosophy itself, if not perhaps in Descartes’ Responses, Spinoza’s Ethics and Fichte’s Science of Knowledge. In all these cases it is a matter of an ontological axiomatization, still largely intuitive. In the sciences, more or less complete attempts at axiomatization were made in particular by Hilbert in geometry, by Jean-Louis Destouches in quantum physics—i.e. above all in fields where unexpected innovations (non-Euclidean geometries, Heisenberg’s ‘uncertainty’ principle) required theoretical reorganization to legitimate their rigor. The epistemology of Mario Bunge draws conclusions from the postulate that it is in theory possible to axiomatize any scientific discipline. But axiomatization is an effort of reorganization which comes with the aftermath—even after a crisis—in the goal of examining the validity of a theory and the formalization of its relations to other theories which, in any event, has known limits (Godel). It is more a theoretical instrument than a theoretical project of the foundation of science.

In opposition to a formal axiomatic, applied to a body of scientific knowledge, and an ontological and intellectualist axiomatic that is still intuitive (for example, I think, therefore I am of Descartes or I am—the World is, of Husserl), the pure transcendental axiomatic forms the terms or primary names, the non-conceptual symbols, starting from the intuitive and naïve concepts of philosophy. It explicitly inscribes in the writing of these names the first suspension of their philosophical sense (e.g. One-without-being, living-without-life, given-without-givenness, One-beyond-being, etc.), of its worldly and/or ontological intuitiveness. It gives them a radical, indivisible theoretical universality in “generality” and “totality” and a transcendental, or univocal, universality applying to any philosophy. This decision of nomination, non-philosophical decision itself, given-in-the-last-instance by the vision-in-One, is the primary transcendental act of the force (of) thought. This is to say that far from being subservient to a philosophical project of foundation, even of the auto-foundation of science, it is only a transcendental instrument given-in-the-last-instance by Reality, thought (thought according to the One) thus using science as much as philosophy.

It is no longer a question of a logico-formal, scientific axiomatization of philosophy—an absurd project that misunderstands its irreducibly transcendental style. Non-philosophy does not claim to reorganize the system of philosophy after its crisis. To axiomatize is its primary ordinary practice of philosophy, according to the” abstraction” or the being-separate-without-separation of the Reality-of-the-last-instance. Thought is condemned to resort to philosophy and its language while rendering it adequate to the non-philosophical essence of this thought, which wants to be the measurement of Reality.

Generalized Fractality

One of the other possible names of the unilateral structure of non-philosophical representations. It attests to the practice of theoretical and experimental generalization—a radical uni-versalization—of a particular physico-geometrical theory: the fractals of Mandelbrot, from which it releases a fractal identity being able to call itself from philosophy and then constitute an `artificial philosophy’.

The philosophico-spontaneous treatment of the Mandelbrotian concept of fractals—which is the quantification of the degree of irregularity and fragmentation of a physico-geometrical object—is revealed from a decisional gesture of philosophy in regard to the sciences. The mechanism of philosophical universalization, illegitimate or “delirious” (cf. Kant) but inevitable, of a local scientific theory, is the following: knowledges are isolated from their practico-experimental and auto-positional processes as transcendent “facts,” only in so much as they ideologically sustain the representation of Being. The result of this universalization, indispensable to the survival of philosophy, is a mixed, empirico-transcendental concept of fractality. That is to say scientific modeling (dimension D) is confused with reality or being: it is reality itself which “fractalizes itself” (Serres). Suppose that this is re-appropriated “schizo-analytically” to become a unitarily split representation of being: the “fractal” model describes “the smooth space” of the non-metric, nomadic multiplicities (Deleuze). It is then supposed that the thought of being or the being of thought acts under the pretext of the `reconciliation of science and philosophy’, of the claim of the `transcendental’ right of philosophy over the sciences.

Generalized or uni-versalized fractality is a specific experimentation which gives up its destiny as the desire of philosophy to be science. Instead of being a simple analogical transfer of the scientific knowledge for the representation of Being, it is the experimental non-philosophical work of scientific concepts: I) let this be such a particular scientific theory in its own legitimacy without intervening there as it wants to do philosophy 2) do not “apply” or do not generalize imprudently this particular theory for the benefit of philosophical authority. The universalization of fractality is rather a modeling, similar to the theoretico-experimental work of Mandelbrot, but under other conditions of experimentaiton—the universal of the vision-in-One—and with a broad object consequently “larger” than geometrico-physics, the philosophical object itself.

These conditions are those of first Science rather than philosophy: 1) the One or the condition of identity-of-the-last-instance replaces the internal principle of homothety or constancy in Mandelbrot; 2) the Unilateral as the very structure of thought according to-the-One replacing the condition of irregularity or fragmentation; 3) the object of fractalization, maintaining the natural language in its various philosophical, poetic, literary uses….replaces the geometrico-physical object. These conditions given, the fractalization of philosophy is possible, as a potential example of non-philosophical work, effectuated under the condition of the last-instance of the One and the force (of) thought. This work produces an opened ensemble, a universe of really universal fractal knowledges that `reflect’ the One adequately. Such a practice is distinguished from the task of the wise-philosopher who, believed to hold the authority of transcendental approval, repeats the mixed epistemo-philosophical gesture of’ expropriation and re-appropriation, instead of using the sciences themselves only under the conditions of a transcendental axiomatic.


Ensemble of discourses of a philosophical type that finds its origin in the object of science, the elucidation and foundation of its essence, but which in their turn are treated as the object or the phenomena of first Science.

This concept does not have a special use in philosophy since it, spontaneously, recognizes the right to legislate over science, and that it is thus by definition `meta-science’, sometimes the absolute science or science of sciences, sometimes the discourse of elucidation or commentary, interpretation, criticism, and foundation of the sciences.

Non-philosophy defines a precise content and statute of metascience. Content: the whole of the nonscientific discourses that aim at the essence of science; that is to say directly: epistemologies, philosophies-of-sciences and philosophies-to-science (which are based explicitly on a given empirical theory); that is to say indirectly, philosophy in general as it is implicitly determined by scientific ruptures. A statute: `metascience’ conjoins with `science’, and this generalized couple is that of `mathematics’ and `metamathematics’ posed by Hilbert in his theory of the demonstration of the absolute consistency of formal systems. This concept thus has sense only within and according to science and of its priority over metascience.

This generalization answers a precise objective:

  1. To show the similarity between the programs of formal (Hilbert) and logical (Frege, Russell) foundation of arithmetic, and the programs of foundation of science in general which are implicitly all philosophies and explicitly the `theories of science’ (Aristotle; Fichte; philosophy as `science of science in general’; Husserl: philosophy as rigorous science or `science with absolute foundation’, etc).
  2. To make metascientific discourses a type of similar operation to that which Godel did to metamathematics: instead of supposing, without evidence other than philosophical faith, that philosophies are really able to found and anticipate sciences and that this objective has some sense that it is, reversing the situation and giving itself the means of a science of metascience or philosophy. It is `first science’, still known as `non-philosophy’ (or `science of philosophy’, but this is only one aspect of its activity). Philosophy corresponds indeed to the area of the phenomena of which this new or “unified” science uses in order to determine not the traditional “essence of the science”, but the knowledge of the essence (of) science.
  3. To show through this new discipline in the character of “unified theory” that if metascience aims at the essence of science, it aims at it in the illusion or repression, seeing the foreclosure, and that it is for these two reasons that philosophy functioned through materiality.

The concept of `metascience’ makes it possible to renew the parallel problem of `metalanguage’ and to draw a possible treatment of this question. First Science poses the following statements which are also applicable to metalanguage: 1. there is, in any event, metascience, that is to say a discourse which is posed or is presented in the form as such (resp. metalanguage); 2. The statements: `there is no metascience’ (…)’, or; “there is a metascience, and it is valid”, are excluded as an expression of the sufficiency of philosophy; in the same way, though to a lesser degree: “there are effects of metascience (…)”, effects of a play of `textual forces’ or of a `play of language’ in the immanence through which metascience plunges. First Science is a transcendental science of metascience, it reintroduces it into the immanence-of-the-last-instance of the One-real; it is not a philosophy which would reintroduce it into the immanence of a (philosophical) decision.


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

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

This “advent” of epistemology is explained, according to non-philosophy, by the fact that it treats (and only treats) local problems in a spontaneous way beginning with the reduction of science to isolated knowledges and theories, consequently to the detriment of the nature of its extreme poles of constitution which are supposed in advance and without examining the fundamental supports which are decided upon. Therefore, it supposes the general rule of an implicit continuity between scientific and philosophical concepts, the possibility of an amphibological recovery of the ones through the others. It simultaneously acts as though one could produce statements on science—which is already in itself problematic—and as though philosophy were on the contrary a simple passage to the limit of an object defined or definable by a universal correspondent, a passage which makes it impossible to speak specifically about this uniting (englobant) which is philosophy. Instead, non-philosophy admits that we cannot take science for an object in the manner in which epistemology has done by imposing a philosophical objectification and reduction on it, but that we can describe an “invariant” of philosophy, which, far from being reified in a model, enriches and multiplies the effects and in particular makes their experimentation possible. For its own account, it will use the material of epistemology; it will relate its amphibologies, justifiably that which functions as “continuity” and “recovery,” to an identity which determines them in-the-last-instance, but by conserving the terms and the words of epistemology which, in a certain way, it will axiomatize according to a transcendental, but not logical, mode. This labor will make it possible not to give this discipline up to its mechanically foreseeable advent and to liberate the sciences and philosophy from an overly narrow and historical image. It will then have to shed light on new problems which are embarrassing and poorly thought: the impoverishment of the notion of “domain,” the formation of disciplines whose interest is not simply theoretical, taking into account the conjunctions around analogies in the formation of a scientific problem, the status of applied sciences, the signification of ethical discourses accompanying scientific and technological developments, etc…The latter only appear for an instant and in this epistemological framework in a symptomatic form, because the inexplicitness of its concepts and an overly narrow, not quite universal comprehension of philosophy insist that it always proceeds under the same hypotheses, occasionally reversed and intensified, not recognized as such, but always given up to philosophical sufficiency. Hence some of the very narrow and consequently moral descriptions (it’s necessary to “get your hands dirty” in order to comprehend science, etc.).

The dualysation of epistemology in accordance with its two sources permits the liberation of the latter as transcendental orders, their unification without hierarchy or non-unitary unification. But, as a result, the object of epistemological discourses seems as though it never had anything to do with science since these discourses essentially suppose a continuity between their object and the knowledge of this object. Epistemology effectively yet confusedly makes use of philosophy on behalf of the sciences. By transforming it into material, non-philosophy will be able to utilize these discourses as a source of new scientific and philosophical problems and knowledges in the occasion from which philosophy and science work on an equal footing. For example, the geometrical concept of fractality can find a scientific usage without being geometrical for all that; it can also be formulated in natural language without becoming a philosophical or epistemological mixture through a non-philosophical process of universalization. Hence the new non-epistemological conceptions of induction, deduction, axiomatization, hypotheses, definitions, and other notions of traditional epistemology.

Formal ontology (Uni-versalized transcendental Logic)

Equivalent of transcendental Logic (under its “analytic” aspect) generalized under the uni-versal conditions of the vision-in-One. It contains the a priori non-autopositional moments which are equal to Position as dimension of the philosophical Decision. Counterpart of material ontology as generalized transcendental Aesthetic, the former would also be under the same uni-versal conditions and would correspond to Givenness.

A formal ontology does not exist as such in philosophy, but it does find its restrained forms here, for example in Kant’s “transcendental Analytic” (ontology or “transcendental” philosophy” “considers the understanding and reason even in the system of all the concepts and principles which are related to objects in general without admitting the objects which would be given,” Critique of Pure Reason, version B, part II, chapter III); and in Husserl’s “formal ontology” (the a prioritic doctrine of the object but taken on the modes of something in general).

Non-philosophy contains a “material ontology” or a “generalized transcendental Aesthetic,” uni-versalized in-the-last-instance, which is a theory of “something in general” insofar as it is given. It results from the work of the force (of) thought on the aspects of Givenness which are those of the philosophical Decision and in particular of this givenness par excellence which is that of the regional. It also contains its counterpart from the perspective of the Position which belongs to Decision. To the a priori of position correspond the non-autopositional a prioris of Transcendence, Position, and Unity. Why are these formal?

These a priori are all generalized and simplified in a non-autopositional mode in the sense that each of them, as cloned identity, in-the-last-instance escapes from or leaps beyond the contrasted couple which it forms with another or with itself in its being-doubled: they are all expressed in an equal way from philosophy in accordance with the One-real.

In particular, transcendental logic is generalized because it leaps beyond the disjunction of forms as intellectual or sensible: it also contains the clones of the sensible or intuitive forms (“Transcendence” and “Position” insofar as they are simultaneously intellectual and intuitive, ideal and sensible—topological), provided that they form, posit, or objectify something in general. The givenness/position couple (the leading thread in the research of the a priori) must be distinguished from the intellectual/sensible couple (which completely remains internal to philosophy, its frontiers being indeterminate and porous). The terms “formal” and “material” intend to surpass the formal/material philosophical couple and its internal folding, the Kantian projection of the intellectual form and the sensible intuitive form. These couples are restrained, even when they are no longer understood “metaphysically” but “transcendentally” (neo-Kantianism) and when form conditions matter a priori. This transcendental direction, still understood as circle or empirico-transcendental doublet, does not succeed in generalizing form (the formal) or matter (the material), i.e. in breaking the circle of their correlation or reciprocal determination and in positing relatively autonomous orders (in regard to the force (of) thought) of a generalized transcendental logic and aesthetic. This generalization is only acquired when the “transcendental subject” and its circle yields to the force (of) thought which alone is uni-versal and which alone can determine the a prioris of form and matter, of position and givenness, in their universal and equal validity for philosophical material.

Two complementary points follow:

  1. Being given the uni-versal generality of non-philosophy, it is less a question in this universal transcendental logic of “categories” than transcendentals (the Other, Being, Unity, the Multiple, etc. and the One equally as objects of a theory); consequently, it is a question of transcendentals in their non-autopositional usage.
  2. When non-philosophy breaks away from theories of something in general (object in general + given or matter in general), in the theory of some object X (the Event, the Subject, the Multiple, the Affect or something still more concrete) it must establish that which we will call the transcendental equation of this object X, i.e. to preliminarily define the type, order, nature and syntax of the non-autopositional transcendentals which in some sense establish the proper formula or “algorithm” for this object. The syntax of this system of transcendentals is always a mode of the determination-in-the-last-instance or envelops the latter.

Material ontology (Chôra, uni-versalized transcendental Aesthetic)

That which philosophy becomes or the function which it fulfills in relation with experience when its sufficiency is suspended by the force (of) thought and when it is reduced to its sense (of) identity. It then becomes the material a priori through which all phenomena are necessarily given; equal to the term of chôra in its non-philosophical usage.

Philosophy claims to give regional or singular phenomena through its form and submits them to its legislation. Consequently, it posits them according to the very diverse modes in its interior and from its relation to the experience of universal and necessary structures of the “a priori” type, which are all generally copied from the sciences. It therefore supposes: 1) a certain contingency or autonomy, indeed alterity, of experience in relation to these a priori; 2) a certain superiority, which is proper to it, over experience through the means of the a priori itself—to which it is however not reduced—through which it is the superior form still called “transcendental”: the principle of reason for example must be “grounded” in turn or “ungrounded” accordingly. Philosophy presents itself as both the ultimate legislator of experience as well as its a priori organon. As a whole, philosophy wills or desires its unity with experience, but this unity remains contingent, menaced, aleatory: reassuring it is the motor of the creation of new philosophies supposedly more in control of the real than preceding philosophies.

The suspension of the Principle of sufficient philosophy in its different stages (real, transcendental, a priori) liberates the identity (of) philosophy and transforms the latter in a general way into a noematic a priori of the World or all possible experience, but into an a priori itself of the non-philosophical type. Thesis: “everything, from experience, is philosophizable” never ceases being a new philosophical and antinomical decision, while philosophy is necessarily and universally equal to all phenomena without exception, if the diverse dimensions of the mixture of philosophy insofar as it is givenness—and from the latter with experience—are lived in their sense (of) identity through the force (of) thought. Philosophy ceases being the legislator of the event in order to become the a priori donator: mixture itself is given as identity.

The contingent relations of experience and philosophy are then intrinsically indissoluble or thought beyond all hierarchies. Hence an equivalence (without exchange or reciprocity) of identities (non-mixtures) which introduces democracy into the heart of the given or new experience. Every ontic or ontological and philosophical term of object or action, every statement, etc. is henceforth treatable as such an identity in which experience is immediately inscribed philosophically and philosophy immediately incarnated ontically in the same movement. This radical diversity of “material” identities forms a chôra to which philosophy and its necessary relation to experience are reduced. Philosophy is reduced to the state of simple “material” a priori, or “material” rather and thus itself becomes, under this form, the basic material of non-philosophy. This is the “uniformal” form of the material givenness of phenomena. It fulfills a function, but only from a simple a priori organon of experience. It corresponds to a “transcendental aesthetic” of the World or to whichever experience possible beginning from transcendence. “Aesthetic,” but which substitutes philosophy itself (its identity) and thus its relation to whichever experience for regional and limited models of givenness which are scientific, perceptual, artistic, etc. which would be grasped so as to be assured of givenness and its mastery over phenomena. “Transcendental,” but only because of the origin of this reduction in the force (of) thought. Its principle being the identity—but exercised in its real origin, not posited dogmatically—of Being and the Existent, it thus generalizes the fundamental axiom of a recent materialist ontology: mathematics=ontology (Badiou) by intending it for all experience possible beyond mathematics and by transcendentally determining this equation instead of passing over to a dogmatic thesis lacking any legitimacy other than being one decision among others. Philosophy as simple material ontology is a way of cutting materialism short as a hidden philosophical decision. Furthermore, by limiting philosophy to a simple aprioritic ontology of experience, non-philosophy legitimates it or validates it—in certain limits which precisely returns to the extrication of the violent and arbitrary act of auto-legitimation (including its Kantian auto-limitation or its deconstructive hetero-limitation) but which better assures it a necessary and positive function.

Philosophical Decision

Principal and formalized invariant or structure of philosophy, according to philosophy which does not indicate it without however simultaneously auto-affecting and affecting its own identity; according to non-philosophy which gives it a radical identity this time (of) structure or which determines it in-the-last-instance. Its synonyms: dyad and unity, ambiguity, unity-of-opposites, mixture, mélange—are likely even to have a double use, intra-philosophical and non-philosophical, which change their sense. The philosophical Decision is a mixture of indecision and decision, never pure decision.

(1) The decision in the traditional rational sense is the act; determined by reasons of a structural nature, of the economic situation or individual (choice), by which the individual puts an end to a deliberation. The economist and specialist in artificial science, H.A. Simon, defines it: `the process at the end of which one chooses at each time one of these alternatives. The series of decisions which determine behavior during a given amount of time can be called a strategy’. (2) The philosophical, variable Decision according to the philosophers, corresponds to a certain invariant, explicit or repressed distribution, of transcendental and empirical functions. Compared to an ensemble of facts known as `empirical’, or a ‘technico-experimental’ work, etc., the philosopher reactivates the decision of the question, which he considers fundamental, of the essence of phenomena. He makes a double distinction, that of the empirical and the a priori, whatever it is; then that of the a priori and the transcendental, which is an increase so that he calls it beginning, origin, substance, Being, etc, but which is always presumably authentic reality, equipped with transcendental functions (in a broad sense). (3) These concepts were obviously generalized and criticized in Deconstruction and the philosophies of Difference, by the interrelated concepts of play, effects and strategies. But the empirical, a priori, transcendental levels and reality are structural invariants and do not apply only to Kant and Husserl, with the provision of understanding them as invariants and not as entities or essences.

The philosophical Decision is an operation of transcendence which believes (in a naïve and hallucinatory way) in the possibility of a unitary discourse on Reality. This authoritative claim is expressed through autoposition, an operation made possible by its being mixed or ambiguous. The philosophical Decision thus has as a structure the coupling of the Unity of opposites and as a function to hallucinate the One-real and thus to foreclose. To philosophize is to decide Reality and the thoughts that result from this, i.e. to believe to be able to order them with the universal order of the Principle of Reason (Logos), but also more generally in accordance with the “total” or unitary order of the the Principle of sufficient philosophy. Hence the ambiguities that relate to Reality (as Being…) and to thought (as philosophy), and which are at the same time the element and the result of the auto-decisional process. This comprises various operations which are the fundamental moments of any philosophical Decision, and to which corresponds, under a non-auto-decisional form, the transcendental and a priori identity of the subject of non-philosophy, the force (of) thought. Broadly, the philosophical Decision, as the philosophical formalization of philosophy itself, is used as a symptomatic indication and occasion for the development of the force (of) thought which, in addition, has for its “correlate” the identity, the sense (of) identity of the philosophical Decision, which is to apply to a foreclosure of Reality or the One.


Object (occasion, material, symptom) of non-philosophy.

When it tries to be thought rather than to be practiced spontaneously and naively, philosophy is for itself the object mid-speech, of a semi-definition, a set of speeches and silences. It is embarrassing to say “the” philosophy is the true philosophy. Philosophical systems are a fallen or menaced effort to say what they are, to dissimulate the impossibility of saying it, to avoid having to keep silent itself.

Philosophy is an a priori discourse on the one hand, with a systematic goal on the other hand. It poses the world of which being is preformed in the logos with a predicative structure. This predicative structure of philosophical discourse is organized in a speculative reflection, as the last absolute philosophy shows (Hegel). The essence of the speculative reflection is specularity, or the dyad. The suture of being and thinking forms, since Parmenides, the unsurpassable mirror stage of philosophy. Since Heidegger, certainly, the deconstructive philosophers try to break the mirror in substituting it with the specularity of Being and its residue dispersed or disseminated by the Other. However, this Other of the logos has efficacy only in an ultimate reference obligated to the logos that is presumably relevant for Reality. The philosophical Decision has become a forcing. Since Plato at least, it homogenizes, idealizes, quantifies and qualifies Reality and the foreclosed. To philosophize means to decide on a strategy of posing the world. It is not to know, but to form a priori decisional speech acts in an action of culture. Always (re)stated in a diversity of styles of writing, form-philosophy, following the example of myth and its primordial metaphors, expresses the repetition of itself and the inertia of its auto-reproduction. Nietzsche shows extremely well that philosophy is brought, to think itself, by thematizing the absolute and primordial metaphor of the Eternal Return of the Same. Form-philosophy is then a metaphorical discourse (supported by the logos, being, etc. and basically anointed by primordial Greece). In general and non-Nietzschean terms, philosophy is finally a priest, conveying to the Occident the sacred Greeks overdetermined by the holy Judeo-Christian.

Through its principal process—to transcend it as it overrides the transcendent–, it is a faith, with the sufficiency of faith, intended by necessity to remain empty but which necessarily evades this void by its repopulation with objects and foreign goals provided by experience, culture, history, language, etc Through its style of communication and `knowing’ it is a rumor—the occidental rumor—which is transmitted by hearsay, imitation, specularity and repetition. Through its internal structure, or `philosophical Decision’, it is the articulation of a Dyad of contrasted terms and a divided Unity, immanent and transcendent to the Dyad; or the articulation of a universal market where the concepts are exchanged according to specific rules to each system, and from an authority with two sides: one of the philosophical division of work, the other of the appropriation of part of what the market of the concepts produces. The philosopher is thus the capital or a quasi-capital in the order of the thought. Or the shape of the World understood in its more inclusive sense.

The preceding descriptions of philosophy find their occasion in philosophical descriptions, but they actually already suppose the non-philosophical ground. If it is embarrassing to say that philosophy is the criterion of the philosopher, the transformation of this aporia into a problem and its solution is the criterion of the non-philosopher who substitutes, in connection with philosophy, i.e. its identity, knowledge of the sufficiency of its faith. He or she does it using radically unknown means of philosophy (vision-in-One as `’presupposed reality’), or foreign to it (cloning and the determination-in-the-last-instance of the force (of) thought; the reduction of philosophy to the state of symptom and occasion). Non-philosophy breaks with auto-hetero-critical philosophy, typical of modernity and post-modernity. With its manner it develops philosophy by releasing it from its authority over itself and by releasing its identity or its sense for the force (of) thought, which is the authentic subject of (for) philosophy. It gives philosophy even a widened relevance by which it seems like the span or the dimension of the World, i.e. like the identity (of) its Greek, cosmopolitan determination; like the thought-world that only the vision-in-One can take for an object.


Autonomous and specific discipline of an identically scientific and philosophical type, which describes in-the-last-instance according to the One-real and by means of philosophy and science considered as material, on the one hand the force (of) thought or the existing-subject-Stranger, on the other hand the object of non-philosophy, the identity (of) the thought-world.

Non-philosophy is regarded by philosophy either as the state of immediacy of naive and sensible opinions (the judgments of common sense), or as its other which it remains to think (sciences, technologies, politics, the arts…) that is to say as the presuppositions of philosophy itself (the innumerable “non-thoughts” [impensés]) which are in their turn philosophables. Merleau-Ponty’s report, in connection with post-Hegelian thinkers (Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Marx…) is very revealing when he wonders whether our century `does not enter the age of nonphilosophy’. But the expression initially has a negative content, even depreciated, which can become positive like it has among contemporary thinkers of difference, such as Derrida (cf. Positions), and especially Deleuze (cf. What Is Philosophy?) who still synthesizes to the extreme this very ‘negative’ vagueness which is at bottom the thought of the Other, in writing: ‘the philosopher must become non-philosopher, so that non-philosophy becomes the ground and the people of philosophy’.

Distinct from this becoming which intertwines Being and Difference, the vision-in-One (as immanent and manifest Real) is the transcendental `thread’ of a non-philosophical thought consisting and positively distinct from this non-philosophical current flowing in the recesses of philosophy.

Non-philosophy is an autonomous and specific discipline which has its own concepts (One-real, vision-in-One, first science, cloning…) ; its theoretical operations which are transcendental by their real or in-One cause (induction and deduction); its non-autopositional pragmatic rules; its philosophically undecidable objects such as; the One, Being [l’Être], the Other, Being [l’Étant] and which, non-philosophically transformed, gives: the One-real; the a priori structure of Representation; the philosophical as the Principle of resistance of the thought-world; the chaotic universe (of) multiple representations obtained by acting it from the One-cause over the philosophical material as forms of the World. Autonomy means the epistemic cut (foreclosed-being, determination-in-the-last-instance, unilaterality, the dual…) between the non-philosophical posture and the philosophical Decision. The specificity of non-philosophy wants to speak a practice (pragmatic and theoretical) strictly immanent for philosophy but also sciences, art…, with determined rules, as for example the rule of the chora, the suspense of philosophical Authority and the staging of philosophy’s material.

Non-philosophy is initially a theory by or according to the One, therefore a unified theory of science and philosophy. It is over time a theoretical, practical and critical discourse, distinct from philosophy without being a meta-philosophy. It is specified according to the regional material inserted into the structure of the philosophical Decision (non-aesthetics, non-ethics, etc).

Vision-in-One (One, One-in-One, Real)

[Original translation by Sid Littlefield, 10/31/07.]

Primary concept of non-philosophy, equivalent with “One-in-One” or the “Real.” What determines the theory of in-the-last-instance and the pragmatics of the Thought-World (“philosophy”). The vision-in-one is radically immanent and universal; it is the given-without-givenness of the givenness of the Thought-World.

Philosophy is the desire and oppression of the One, divisible or associated with division. The problematization of Being (Heidegger included) supposes this barred One without really thematizing it. Philosophies of the One (Plato, neo-Platonism, Lacan) suppose a final convertibility with Being based on the fact that Being is given a final objectivity, that is ordered by the criteria of Being or abstracted from them. All ‘thoughts of the One’ are still structured like that of metaphysics: They hold an ultimate bound between the metaphysics of the science of Being and the science of the One. Hence the necessary disqualification of the One of the Greek from its empirical component, the one of the count or counting (Badiou), a point of extreme conflict between Being and the One and the ‘death’ of the former. The philosophy that wishes to be post-metaphysical oscillates, in the best cases, between the end of Being and the end of the One, while never ceasing to honor metaphysics.

Non-philosophy enunciates a series of axioms on the One understood as vision-in-One and no longer as the desire of the One:

  1. The One is radical immanence, identity-without-transcendence, not associated with transcendence or division.
  2. The One is in-One or vision-in-One and not in-Being or in-Difference.
  3. The One is the Real in so far as it forecloses all symbolization (thought, knowledge, etc).
  4. The One is the given-without-givenness and separation-without-separation—of the given.
  5. The One is that which determines in-the-last-instance the Thought-World as given (the object of givenness).

Non-philosophy renounces the thought-of-the-One or the desire-of-the-One, but this renunciation has a higher purpose than the renunciation of desire: the One-in-One is the unknown of philosophy, that which is correctly foreclosed but, by confusing the transcendental One with the transcendent One, philosophy believes the former is within its power to think, sometimes close to repression. Philosophy represses its own ‘One’ but forecluses the being-foreclosed of the One-in-One in its own way. This confusion is the faith and sufficiency of philosophy which starts by raising the vision-in-One. Non-philosophy is installed on a different terrain than philosophy or, better still, on “the absurd” that is the Real. Philosophy occurs upon a ground which it delusionally takes as the Real but which is ‘real’ only for experience, while non-philosophy takes its departure from the utopia of the Real. This is not a ‘utopia’ ‘in the vulgar philosophical sense, but a thought-according-to-utopia. Utopia determines-in-the-last-instance thought which takes the Thought-World for its object. Rather than the interminable end of metaphysics, it is a question of its identity, such that this identity (of) metaphysics invalidates or unilateralizes its sufficiency and its authority. With this substitution of the thought-according-to-the-One for the thought of the science of the One, the triumph or victory over the Greek One, over the desired One, whether it is conveyed or spoiled by the Multiple (Deleuze/Badiou), is of little importance: the philosophical adventures of the One are property of the objects of non-philosophy as vision-in-One, and nothing more.

In any case, the vision-in-One ‘gives’ the One and it alone; it is “the” given entirely, the given as the identity of the given, as the given-without-givenness, unfolding or doublet of the given and givenness. It is thus radical phenomenon, without the background phenomenological world in its vastest sense: without Being behind the phenomenon or related to it. But if it does not give the One and if it neither exceeds it nor is alien to it, it also gives the Thought-World, but it still gives it in-One or in the form of the given-without-givenness. The givenness-of –the-given (Thought-World) is the object of a non-philosophical givenness by force (of) thought, the latter itself given-without-givenness or given-in-the-last-instance. The vision-in-One is thus universal-in-immanence instead of universal by transcendence, extension, generality, etc. It is necessary to write uni-versal: with the sense of the One, while remaining in an immanence foreclosed as the Thought-World, receiving it without being effected by it, or offered and opened to it as an openness-without-horizon, from a completely immanent in-stasis [instase].

In a sense the One is ‘for the World’, understanding that ‘for’ does not signify any end, internally or externally, but is available through indifference (and not an indifference through abstraction as this abstraction is generally understood).

1 thought on “Ten Definitions from Laruelle’s Dictionnaire de la Non-Philosophie

  1. Pingback: With the Real on Our Side (UPDATED) « Planomenology

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