Five More Defs from the Non-Philosophy Dictionary (Including Determination-in-the-last-instance)

Determination-in-the-last-instance (DLI)

Central concept, along with the One-in-One, of non-philosophy that distinguishes it from all philosophies. It is said of the causality proper to the One as such or vision-in-One, of the Real in virtue of its primacy over thought and its object (like Being). This causality exerts itself upon what is given as non(-One) and serves as experience or data for thought-according-to-the-One: philosophy itself as form-experience of the World; and upon the universal noematic structures or theoretical knowledge that is extracted by it from this material. It is therefore also the specific causality of non-philosophy in general. This concept has a Marxist origin and is here extracted from historical Materialism, transferred and radicalized in first Science or according to the One which gives it its radical sense and enables its full employment (it should rigorously be called: givenness-in-the-last-instance).

The DLI only has stifled attempts in philosophy whose most complete concept of causality is the category of reciprocal Determination, decisive for philosophical systems with its immediate modes (reciprocity, convertibility, reversibility, systematicity) and its more remote mediate modes, the four forms of causality distinguished by Aristotle, which themselves instead arise from the causality of Being (efficient, final, formal, material) than from the One. The Real which is not Being thus has its original mode of efficacy, whereas thought-according-to-the-One or non-philosophy distinguishes itself from the DLI of every ontology and simultaneously excludes, at least in its essence, finality, formalism, materialism, and technologism.

The DLI is not simply an immanent causality but radical immanence itself—which distinguishes it from every “Spinozistic” immanence or every immanence derived from Spinozism. Reciprocal determination and the DLI are distinguished in many ways. 1) In the first case, causality is divided between two terms (cause and effect) which belong to a set or an ontological or ontico-ontological couple; in the second case it is attributed to one of these alone: the effect then supposes an objective or passive, merely occasional “receptacle” of this causality. 2) This occasion is already reduced to the moment when it manifests itself, in return deprived of determining or real action. The DLI thus supposes a unilateral, non-reciprocal duality of causes. 3) In the first case, causality goes in two opposed yet circular or infinitely convergent directions (action/reaction; real opposition; dialectical contradiction; differential relations of two terms, etc.); and, in the second case, causality goes in a single direction (from the Real towards the effectivity of the thought-world; from immanence towards transcendence). 4) In the first case, it supposes an alienating continuity and an identification of the cause in a supposedly given other term; in the second, cause is not alienated in its effect but supposes, being nothing but a universal negative condition, a functional transcendental instance which is that through which the Real can be said to act.

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Chapter 3 of Laruelle’s Introduction to Non-Marxism: Determination-in-the-Last-Instance (DLI)

Laruelle, Francois. Introduction au non-marxism. PUF: Paris, 2000. 39-55.

Chapter III: Determination-in-the-Last-Instance

First Elucidation of the Determination-in-the-Last-Instance (DLI)

The determination-in-the-last-instance, invented by Marx-Engels for historical Materialism, never received from them a concept adequate enough to simultaneously produce all the theoretical and critical effects within its capacity. It has been understood in a far too empirical manner, applied on models of ontico-regional, physical and chemical causality (theory of gases, composition of forces) completely inadequate for the foundation of a new science of history and society, let alone the thought-world. It has thus been fashionable to dialectize and re-philosophize it, to fold it with what should justifiably replace and suspend it, the dialectic as essence of philosophy under its most theoretical and idealist form across its materialist reversal apparently more capable of giving it its fecundity (confusion of the Real of immanence with matter). Marx’s great discovery—uni-lateral causality against all philosophical phantasms of reciprocity and convertibility—has remained fallow without having been exploited in its non-philosophical power (puissance), more heretical than philosophically “revolutionary.” So as to elucidate it in our style, i.e. make its Marxist forms appear as simple symptoms and models of a more radical concept of causality, the method follows three periods, the third being the most important for our purposes. The first reassembles its Marxist statements and usages—these are known. The second consists in “listening to” the first immediate, quasi-phenomenological suggestions which contain the same formula of “DLI” and in treating them as a prioris which give the DLI and which must be transformed. The third, which we will particularly develop, endeavors to “ground” in a real-transcendental way, i.e. here and better still, to determine these a priori traits as belonging to the same Real or to the immanent infrastructure as its innermost causality (causalité la plus propre).
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