Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Without Religion: Non-Philosophy and Messianism

Michael Saunders, The University of Western Ontario


This thesis explores how messianism operates in François Laruelle’s non-philosophy. Our first chapter examines some of the central concerns of non-philosophy, elaborating on how Laruelle’s critique of philosophical sufficiency is informed by his thoroughgoing commitment to radical immanence. Our second chapter works through Laruelle’s understanding of non-philosophy as a “defence of humans,” addressing his claims that the human is non-relational and “without-essence.” We then compare the non-philosophical understanding of the human with Giorgio Agamben’s ­homo sacer. Finally, we situate Laruelle’s messianism within a larger tradition, suggesting that the heterodox or ultra-leftist use of theological materials acts as a connective tissue between Walter Benjamin, Jacques Derrida, Agamben, and Laruelle. We conclude by putting Agamben’s “political mysticism” and Benjamin’s twin theories of divine violence and the proletarian general strike into conversation with Laruelle’s heretical “messianity.”