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Abstract

A singular figure among contemporary theorists whose work poses a direct challenge to many of the practices and presuppositions of Western philosophy, François Laruelle has been referred to as “the most important unknown philosopher working in Europe today. ” Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari called his philosophical project, which involves a ceaseless attempt to unfold new ways of making use of philosophical material, “one of the most interesting undertakings of contemporary philosophy.” Although it is only recently that Laruelle has entered the consciousness of theorists in the English-speaking world, his impact has been profound, influencing such thinkers as Ray Brassier, Eugene Thacker, Alexander Galloway, John Mullarkey, Anthony Paul Smith, Katerina Kolozova and others associated with the new philosophical movements that have been called Speculative Realism. Undeniably forbidding in its terminology, Laruelle’s writings are prohibitively difficult, verging on obscurity. The following introduction attempts to clarify, frame, and condense some of the main strands of Laruelle’s Non-philosophy in order to set the stage for the encounter that takes place between it and the thought of Derrida in “Deconstruction and Non-Philosophy,” the essay here translated by Nicholas Hauck. This introduction further endeavors to prepare the ground for the consideration of non-philosophical practice and pedagogy that is taken up in depth in “On Dismantling the Master’s House,” an essay by Roshaya Rodness. The intention of this project is not to adjudicate between Laruelle and Derrida—it is not our goal to displace deconstruction or supplant it with non-philosophy, as if such an operatic gesture of overcoming were even possible, much less desirable. On the contrary, our aim is to read non-philosophy as an undertaking that emerges out of the same impulse that activates deconstruction: the desire to practice a form of thought that is uncompromising in its pursuit of justice and productive of new possibilities for reading and learning.


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