Laruelle: Against the Digital (Posthumanities)
Alexander R. Galloway
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Laruelle is one of the first books in English to undertake in an extended critical survey of the work of the idiosyncratic French thinker François Laruelle, the promulgator of non-standard philosophy. Laruelle, who was born in 1937, has recently gained widespread recognition, and Alexander R. Galloway suggests that readers may benefit from colliding Laruelle’s concept of the One with its binary counterpart, the Zero, to explore more fully the relationship between philosophy and the digital.
In Laruelle, Galloway argues that the digital is a philosophical concept and not simply a technical one, employing a detailed analysis of Laruelle to build this case while referencing other thinkers in the French and Continental traditions, including Alain Badiou, Gilles Deleuze, Martin Heidegger, and Immanuel Kant. In order to explain clearly Laruelle’s concepts such as the philosophical decision and the principle of sufficient philosophy, Galloway lays a broad foundation with his discussions of “the One” as it has developed in continental philosophy, the standard model of philosophy, and how philosophers view “the digital.”
Digital machines dominate today’s world, while so-called digital thinking—that is, binary thinking such as presence and absence or self and world—is often synonymous with what it means to think at all. In examining Laruelle and digitality together, Galloway shows how Laruelle remains a profoundly non-digital thinker—perhaps the only non-digital thinker today—and engages in an extensive discussion on the interconnections between media, philosophy, and technology.
predicate, and thus does not participate in the system of predication. This means that, in withdrawing from the system of additive predication, an epithet is neither “analytic” nor “synthetic,” to use the Kantian vocabulary. Following Spinoza instead, one might call it “attributive.” In the language of Marx, an epithet is called a “form of appearance.” Appearing as one epithet Galloway.indd 28 26/08/2014 5:06:10 PM The Standard Model 29 rather than another represents attributes of the
promote new “health mandates” or “medical interventions,” but rather to demilitarize this life, to stand down, to de-organize and un- manage it into a condition of indifference rooted in indecision. Some will label this a kind of milksop quietism. Some will view Laruelle as nothing more than a license to do nothing. But to view Laruelle in this way is to misunderstand the full force of insufficiency and indecision. Galloway.indd 85 26/08/2014 5:06:13 PM 86 Events The withdrawal from the
Heidegger. Hermes is the patron saint of mediatic being, a scenario in which something far away must be given over to something close at hand that becomes attentive to it. Hermes is the chaperone of travelers in foreign lands; the god of markets and merchants too, for they and their goods travel abroad just like the traveler. Hermes sits at the door hinge, for he is the god of thresholds. He gives his name to the art of literary interpretation, hermeneutics, for he is the god of translating what
miss the point for Laruelle, it would undo the entire Marxist project. If Galloway.indd 123 26/08/2014 5:06:15 PM 124 Capitalism Marxism has any force at all, it gains such force by virtue of an immanent material base, synthetic to nothing but determinate in all. Not simply labor power or “force of labor” but force of infrastructure—the French term force de travail being so similar to the important Laruellean term force (de) pensée [“force (of) thought”]).20 If this brief discussion of
those stalwart idealist conceptions of infinity, abstraction, essence, or universal spirit. In fact Laruelle and his friend Michel Henry form a perfect mirror: both being theorists of radical immanence, Henry finds the ultimate condition of immanence in spirit, mind, and self, while Laruelle finds it in the real, the material, and the generic experience of human life. The digital and the analog; analysis and synthesis. Since the remainder of this book freely employs the twin concepts of digital