On truth and gossip: The position of ‘communication’ in Laruelle’s non-philosophy

Sutherland, Thomas (2019) On truth and gossip: The position of ‘communication’ in Laruelle’s non-philosophy. In: Society for European Philosophy/Forum for European Philosophy Joint Annual Conference, 27th-29th August, Royal Holloway, University of London.

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Paper)
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In an essay from the early 1990s, François Laruelle characterizes philosophy as ‘that rumour which, speaking with itself and speaking only of itself, extends itself across the entire boundaries of the West’, a discourse which ‘propagates itself on the basis of its menacing vacuity and impending ruination’ (‘La rumeur et le savoir’), counterposing it against a more rigorous science or knowledge of the One. And although he would soon abandon such recourse to scientificity, his derisive description of philosophy as a constantly circulating form of rumour, gossip, or hearsay remains consistent.

Accordingly, in this paper, I argue that Laruelle’s critique of ‘mediatic communication’, which he views as having supplanted sophism as the nihilistic abyss into which philosophy leads us, representing a total unification of worldly experience under the aegis of a universal exchangeability, as well as his broader characterization of philosophy as a kind of gossip, maintains a rather common philosophical presupposition: namely, the inadequacy of both everyday speech and technologically-mediated communication in accounting for the real.

Of course, Laruelle does not claim to wholly reject such communication – instead, at various times across his oeuvre, he makes gestures toward a uni-lateralization of the ligature between philosophizability and communication, which would treat the latter term as a philosophical material from which a non-philosophical practice might be realized – and yet, ultimately, he stills appeals to a pre-communicative experience that claims to determine all communication in the last instance, and a pre-worldly subject unsullied by any logos that would situate them as a Being-in-the-world.

By considering this attempt to both disrupt and reappropriate the communicative, dialogic function of philosophy in relation to the Heideggerian notion of ‘idle talk’, I propose that Laruelle’s non-philosophy is beholden to a markedly philosophical distinction between truth and doxa that ultimately comes to regard all communication and exchange as a transcendence that alienates us from the radical immanence of our lived existence.

Keywords:philosophy, non-philosophy, communication, François Laruelle
Subjects:V Historical and Philosophical studies > V500 Philosophy
Divisions:College of Arts > Lincoln School of Film & Media > Lincoln School of Film & Media (Media)
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ID Code:36802
Deposited On:05 Sep 2019 08:31

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