Tangent 4.12: Resonse to Mr. Adkins comment.

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[This is an updated copy of my reply to Taylor Adkins comment on my previous post, Direction 4.10. Taylor Adkins has a WordPress site called “Fractal Ontology”‘ if anyone wants to check it out. There he has translated three or four of Laruelle’s essays on Non-Philosophy.]

Right off, I am not totally up on how all this interactive media intertwines, so far a commenting and answering and/ or knowing if the commenter gets the reply or what. So I will begin with doing it this way (actually replying and then also making the reply a new post) and then I will see what happens and then go from there.

Mr Adkins thank you. And, I was rude first so if you were rude that’s fine. I welcome critique in any form. Also, to what you pointed out, as to my “working through”, I will respond with Socrates, from ‘Protagoras’, in as much as I propose, that I do question:

“Do not imagine…that I have any other interest in asking questions…but that of clearing up my own difficulties.”

I appreciate how you rounded out your comment – but I do not think I have missed the point, and, at the end you add that you are not clear of my point.

You have brought up many valid, pertinent and correct observations. Indeed, I will endeavor to have a closer read of Laruelle. Perhaps I can suggest you read my earlier posts, since I am In the process of unfolding argument. In subsequent posts, I will address your points, and Laruelle’s, in more particular fashion.

I did not realize that You translated his work; I absolutely respect your ability and perspective. So I must assume that the discursive manifestation of your translation is a ‘best possible’ version; that is, that you did you best to remain true to not only what he is saying but also where possible his actual wording for English.

My position, as to Laruelle, and philosophers in general, is exactly this: is the wording – the high-speak jargon – necessary for what he is proposing? And, what, exactly, is he proposing?
And I say it is not; or, at least, it was necessary in so much as he had no other way to say it for his ability and situation, but also necessary so much as it has been presented to me to critique. So my blog, “Constructive Undoing” is an exploration of the possibilities of why it has been presented in the way is has been, as well, a rebuttal to what appears to be his meaning. In particular, I suggest that while he indeed marks a significant issue (the repetition involved in a discussion that sees itself making progress ), I am involved in the process of explicating the necessary results of his position: If his project contradicts these necessary ends, what does this (also) mean? It is not difficult given his premises, to derive the end run.

Also, if I have misconstrued what Laruelle is saying, it only goes to further my point: if what he is saying is significant, then why do I have to decipher it? What of Ocham’s Razor ((spelling?) if I can evoke this idea)? I submit that I can say as much with less jargon and be consistent with his premises, and if this be the case, then his jargonized presentation can be seen to uphold a type of privilege – despite himself – but not only that, a conventionally religious privilege, as if – as I have said – humanity is in a common effort toward the absolute truth of the universe, an effort that is subject to the economy of a division of labor, an ideologized religious structure of knowledge.

I also will take a better look at your essays; and please, if I comment and come off as rude, do not take it personal, for I do not; it is only in the spirit of truth, of learning, that I proceed.


4 responses to “Tangent 4.12: Resonse to Mr. Adkins comment.”

  1. Taylor Adkins Avatar

    I would agree with you definitely on that last point. You’re right that there should be venues to work on the elaboration of an ‘ordinary’ non-philosophy…or an ordinary non-. I believe that Laruelle is fully in favor of this approach, especially insofar as he conceives non-philosophy to proceed vis-a-vis philosophy as material in order to take the maximum resistance possible as object to be reworked, etc. etc.

    The point being, I think, is that philosophy is chosen as the object for non-philosophy strictly because if philosophy, in its sufficiency and auto-position, can be submitted to a regulated rehandling and treated as an object of a heteronomous science, then the coordination of the non- in its suspensive and axiomatic aspects can be elaborated in conjunction with other phenomena. In other words, if it works for philosophy, it can work outside…Nevertheless, I would still say that for your project to take root, it would need to be grounded in such a way as not to promote a simple valorization of ‘natural language’…I do not think you are attempting that, but it is something to be on guard against. This is what is at stake in my work as a translator….because I do not want the fact that Laruelle uses ‘jargon’…or ‘traditional’ materials…to be an obstruction to readers. I try to present his thought as faithfully, but also as clearly and simply, as I possibly can. I think that this, too, is at stake when he is taken up either as a thinker, or more generally when his writings are being considered. He has a way of resonating throughout the history of philosophy without giving the sources directly…there is a kind of echo chamber that he formalizes and exposes to a sterilization for the preparation of the regulated reworking I spoke of…

    I think there can be a de facto promotion of diverse non-philosophies…I for one would love to help you in your project. I try to be a great devil’s advocate for Laruelle, while not promoting any kind of dogmatic relation to his work. The task of undertaking heresy always involves a fine line…I don’t mean that to sound flashy…I just mean that investing in a line of thought without overdetermining it or being overdetermined by it is a kind of…perpetual suspension of disbelief that never gives in on the need to make a decision pro or contra…that can be frustrating with Laruelle, insofar as he aligns his thought with the Undecided rather than the Undecidable…but, I’m introducing jargon here!!! 🙂


    1. landzek Avatar

      Again thank you.

      “…it would need to be grounded in such a way as not to promote a simple valorization of ‘natural language’.”

      Interesting. I read this to mean ‘assign a platitudinous value’: I should not promote a particular lumping together of all language into a category that equivocalizes it into something ‘of one quality’ or ‘natural’. Is this what you mean ?

      I am appreciating our new and infant exchange, or rather, your input upon my pieces. Please never take my abrupt, frictionous and possibly rude comments as a signification that I wish what communication we may have to stop.

      I look forward to what dynamic may arise between us.


  2. Taylor Adkins Avatar

    Thank you for your response! I would suggest that the fractal translations of Laruelle (especially from the dictionary) are quite old, so I apologize for that. The other blog I contribute to is Speculative Heresy, and I have included many of Laruelle’s pieces on there. I hope that you find some interest in them!

    I will keep my comment at this point short since you addressed a particular issue, and that is the jargon of Laruelle (and also, of course, of philosophy). I feel like Philosophy and Non-Philosophy addresses the particular concern of language. There language is taken up consistently throughout the book, and one of those issues involves the fact that Laruelle is taking philosophy (and its language) as material to be reworked according to new non-philosophical rules (that he formulates there). This also happens to language/terms in his Dictionary of Non-philosophy, and it’s clear there as well that he is choosing to take up the traditional language of philosophy and specific philosophies/philosophers. So I would agree to a certain extent that Laruelle can be stated otherwise. However, my assertion that you were missing the point involves this issue specifically. And what I mean by that is that you have not yet grasped that Laruelle is taking up philosophy’s language strategically….in order to produce, so to speak, an ‘analysis’ of its resistances and its ‘material’ (psychoanalytic language is reworked by Laruelle, too, in this vein). In that case, I wouldn’t say you’re missing a general point, but particularly this one concerning language…

    Without this tie and support of philosophical language, along with the regulated reworking and rehandling of that language, Laruelle would indeed be pursuing intellectual masturbation without substance! So, I wanted to try to correct that imbalance :).


    1. landzek Avatar

      “We should see that Laruelle is being strategic in his presentation; he is applying discursive tactics by focusing his attack on philosophy: the analysis and construction of the basic methodological approach for conventional thinking upon being human and existence (ontology and epistemology).” – Direct Tangent 4.5

      Yes. I have not missed the point; and neither have you. Laruelle is in effect -in the words of Kierkegaard, I quote the operative mode from ‘The Concept of Irony’, Hong and Hong, 1989, pg. 9:

      “Therefore, even if the observer does being the concept along with him, it is still of great importance that the phenomenon remain inviolate and that the concept be seen as coming into existence through the phenomenon.”

      The phenomenon here is the defined thing, the ‘term’, and the concept is that which comes into existence. Laruelle is commandeering the scheme of terms, his ‘philosophy’, by which to allow the concept, generally ‘non-philosophy’, to come into existence. But because such a motion is not to be reduced to the things-in-themselves – the transcendental ‘thing’ philosophy does not see or misses in its incessant posturing – Laruelle asserts a ‘project’ of non-philosophy.

      My ‘project’ here thus compliments Laruelle’s by taking up a dialectic with the contradiction inherent in the presented material of non-philosophy: the problem of the phenomenon still being viable while the concept is coming into existence upon the phenomenon’s “remaining inviolate”. For if such a project as non-philosophy is indeed viable, it must be able to be communicated to those of the phenomenon who do not understand the concept.

      Thank you again for your involvement. I hope our line of communication will remain open.


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