Abstract

Although it is sometimes construed as a mere negation of philosophical discourse, François Laruelle maintains that there is a positive side to his project of “nonphilosophy.” Often this takes the form of a defense of the “ordinary man,” a faceless individual, without qualities, defined by absolute finitude. Laruelle claims to articulate a rigorous science of man, capable of thinking human individuals in their essence, outside the philosophical interpellation to which they are usually submitted. This science intends to finally break apart the post-Kantian empirico-transcendental doublet, which is, for Laruelle, emblematic of the divided, fragmented, and alienated figure with which philosophy has always (mis)represented man. It does this by relinquishing all empirical and figural content in the name of an uncompromising formalism—a purely transcendental method. Yet, despite this intention, a preoccupation with subjective finitude, and the pathos derived from it, is both retained and amplified, describing an invariably fraught relationship between the ordinary man and the extraordinary world furnished by philosophy. Ultimately, nonphilosophy offers less a science of ordinary individuals and more an ethos for academic philosophers, guiding its readers toward a specific subject position, achieved through an ongoing labor of abstraction.

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