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.
for “doing” philosophy (online or otherwise)—not so much these things as an exploration in which digitality and philosophy are addressed together, as two modal conditions, both in parallel as they diverge and differentiate, and also in series as they merge and intermediate. This exploration will, if it is successful, pay attention to the conceptual requirements of the digital and the analog, and the strictures and affordances they grant philosophy, without trying to reduce one to the other.
his withdrawal from digitality, Laruelle is charting an exodus out of representation more generally. Thus, the true withdrawal from digitality will lead to immanence, not analogy. The ultimate withdrawal from digitality will lead to the generic. Galloway.indd 89 26/08/2014 5:06:13 PM This page intentionally left blank Pa r t I I Withdrawing from the Standard Model Galloway.indd 91 26/08/2014 5:06:13 PM Neil Spiller, Geo-Genesis-Mapping, 2008. Reproduced courtesy of the artist.
between the material base and the relative autonomy of the superstructural realm. But for Laruelle the “last instance” means precisely the opposite. It is not a bone tossed to the sociocultural sphere, but a trump card slammed down with definitive force. “In the last instance” does not mean that the one must pander to the world, including it in all its many deliberations. On the contrary, it means that the one remains ultimately “last,” oblivious in its position of causal determinacy. DLI,
measurement in common, are absolutely incommensurable with each other. In this way, use-value in Marx reveals a rudimentary theory of immanence, because objects are defined strictly by way of an identity with themselves, never forced to go outside themselves into the form of something else. The consummation of a use-value, in, for example, the eating of an apple, constitutes a “relation without relation”: I may eat the apple and have a “relation” to it as I chew it up and digest it, but its
dioptrics is on the side of the subject. Dioptrics is always a question of crafting a clear or real subjective experience. This is why the concept of dioptric illumination is so closely associated with the modern period, why we refer to “the Enlightenment”—which the French render with even less subtlety as les Lumières. But it is also why this same Galloway.indd 141 26/08/2014 5:06:17 PM 142 The Black Universe modern trajectory ends up at Kantianism, at romanticism, and eventually at