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).