glossary of philosophie non-standard, some thoughts on translation and np

Edit 6.10.14: The link to the translated page was broken thats now fixed. I’ll consider getting it into a format that can be viewed online. Smoothed out some translation. Added some commentary in the post on interesting entries.

In the name of something like rigor, I have transcribed and translated the glossary of Philosophie Non-Standard for ya’lls viewing pleasure. I attempted a word for word translation in the glossary and one that approached Laruelle’s more conversational tone in the introductory paragraph. I’m not familiar with some of the stuff on quantum mechanics. I found the Stanford Encyclopedia entry on Bohr’s theory of correspondence to be particularly useful. I’m planning to translate Laruelle’s section on philo-fiction since that will probably clear some things up for me. Laruelle’s book Introduction to Non-Marxism was released on the first so buy it, shoplift it, whatever–I saw Terence Blake argue recently that we mustn’t forget that non-Marxism is an integral adjunct to the quantum scientific side of non-philosophy and is perhaps an important counter tendency to the proliferation of religious-fictions or non-standard religions popping up.

[Here are some notable entries and a few I had difficulty with or have encountered in other non-philosophical texts without context.

Imaginary or complex number. Represented geometrically by the quarter turn or circle, it is written as the square root of -1. Non real as arithmetic numbers, there is an added sense of direction and transformation. It is equivalent phenomenally and not physically to the 1/4th spin or immanent to the Last Instance which is the imaginary component. Immanent principle or pre-undulatory of the a priori wave.

Mediated-without-mediation. In the language of causality, the effect such that it determines or under-determines in-the-last-instance its cause, thus it proceeds by a simple inversion of the causal order. Effect of a mediation where the cause or the act was under-determined by its effect thereby acting as a “Last Instance.” Status of what is real, immanent or phenomenal and whose act or mediation or given is dismissed as particulate transcendence. Immanence but indirect, immediacy but without transparency, indirect but immediate action at a distance but by the same distance. As the “non,” the “without” is not absolute but only radical, it is the unilateral fold of a generic plan or of an immanence which transcends even without reaching the state of particular transcendence (simple) which implies that it is fallen-in-immanence or may become perceptible as bifacial. Rather that the individual or the singularity opposed to the universal or mediated by this, it is indivi-duality or uni-laterality, being the generality sub-universal or the immanence which engenders of itself a simple transcendence and non double like the philosophical universal. The mediate-without-mediation is the radical immanence by superposition of reciprocal mediations or of mutual interpretations of the quantum and philosophical variables of the matrix.  It is not absolutely “without” mediation but it is without it radically or unilaterally. It is a space no longer divided between two bounds but which has become consistent or autonomous by immanence and no longer by transcendence. The mediated-without-mediation is undulatorily a mi-lieu but by its relationship to the philosophical circle it should be called a “fourth-place.”

Oraxiom. Portmanteau (axiom and oracle) which indicates, under the form of a unique conceptual particle, the superposition of the mathematical axiom and the philosophical decision. The “axioms” of non-philosophy or those who “declare” the SG [the French abbreviation for “Generic Science”] and especially the DI [abbreviation for “Last Instance”] conjugate two types of decision, one mathematical for the opening of a formal field structure, the other philosophical and arbitrary but set or the undecidable decision. The oraxiom is said of radical immanence and is underdetermined by it. Other nuances of the term, the cryptic, enigmatic, the abyssal or without-ground, the delirious, belong to philo-fiction and ought to be transformed according to the same rules. Futurality is par excellence that which is declared or performed by oraxioms.

Quarter turn (quartiel). Geometrical representation of imaginary or complex numbers denoted by the square root of -1. Membership in the before-the-first under the vectorial form of immanence and transcendence (of simple transcending), it constitutes the pre-ondulatory substance of the Last Instance, at least its material if not its material implementation. It is the genetic or pre-quantum element of undulation. Quantum physics without delay superposing the undulation completed with itself. The generic superposing of the quarter with itself in superposition with the wave. It goes back to the pre-original root and algebra capable of generically founding a quantum on only the imaginary or the complex. The quarter turn is distinct from the “quadripartite” which is a theory of the quarter as four and therefore wholly under the corpuscular horizon.

This notion of the quarter turn will require some more mathematical knowledge. A quick inquiry rendered results for the notion of a radian. But this is hardly the full picture since it also has to do with Laruelle’s somewhat Heideggerian notion of the “vectorial.” “Pre-ondulatory substance of the Last Instance” seems to indicate that it is material that retains its unilateral or unidirectional causality. “Pre-quantum element of undulation” implies that it is partially reduced material that is still subject to non-philosophical usages and procedures will still remaining philosophically potent or activated. It is not yet quantum since it has not attained the level of Laruelle’s notion of “spin” which is another component of Laruelle’s quantum philosophy I need to investigate. Whatever the case, this notion disrupts the “corpuscular horizon” which to me implies an anti-ontological usage meant to disrupt any easy materiality or correspondence implied in philosophical or mathematical language, perhaps in a manner similar to the fictionalist school of mathematics. Although, I don’t think this is reducible to an anti-platonic notion.

Vector (vectorial). Geometric modeling of specifically vectorial and not vectorielle action. Stripped of its geometrical and philosophical transcendence, the invariant vectorial change of action. The non-action of the quarter vectorial is an action not at a distance, in accordance to its term or bifacial like “phenomenological distance” of philosophy, but semi-ecstatic or by distance itself, inseparable from its phase and invested in the same object. The vector’s change of usage, subject to a regime of quantum immanence which it helps to produce, is not molecularised and/or totalized in transcendence. It is 1. a module-phase (or immanence-transcendence) machine of an other inseparability, unilateral and non bilinear, that of cut-flows (Deleuze), 2. consisting of minimal or past material of the quarter turn as an amplitude of the experience of thought and not of desiring machines, 3. it is produced by the superposition of the unifacial or non-commutable Last Instance rather than the body without organs. Vectorial machines are not perceived as being two sided in a state of belonging in general or in a “passive synthesis” module phase when they cease to be animated generically as unifacial or radically immanent machines.

I had a lot of difficulty with the last sentence. I’m going to pass this translation on to some of my Deleuze reading chums studying French to see if they can make any sense of it. This notion becomes important especially in Laruelle’s notion of photo-fiction and non-standard aesthetics. One of the reasons I like Laruelle is that, similarly but more extensively than Lacan, he expands the philosophical imaginary to more technical domains. The notion of module shift and this much more technical vocabulary regarding machines than even Deleuze offer a lot for the reader to investigate. Meanwhile, action at a distance harkens back to early theories of physics while Laruelle also preserves some Husserlian phenomenological overtones. One possible “strategy” for approaching Laruelle that would be in line with his anti-hermeneutic stance–although this seems to naturally flow from reading NP–would be to simply pause, investigate these theories and return after one understands the concept in its technical usage so they can attempt to follow Laruelle’s conceptual transformations. However, much of Laruelle’s terminology can be taken demotically, technically, and philosophically (an example of this would be a term like “archeology” in Foucault). Besides the usual problems of philosophical interpretation, this manages to both infinitize the process of reading Laruelle while giving several possible courses of action or “lines of flight” for understanding.]

But my God, translation, what an occasion for philosophy! This somewhat absurd procedure reminds me of Lacan’s question “am I qualified?” (spoiler: he’s not and I’m not, and I’m definitely cray), but I’ve hashed that out elsewhere. However, it also reminded me of an essay in The Non-Philosophy Project which if I recall plays off of the statement “I the philosopher am lying.” Authority is in short supply these days, I don’t think I’m the right man for the job, so I won’t stake my claim on being some sort of non-philosophy genius or master of French. I suppose this blog is for people who are interested in either my writing or non-philosophy or mysterious third thing, so this is for them. However, it begs the question “am I, the (non-)philosophy student, lying?” I don’t think non-philosophy should be replaced with the study and translation of non-philosophy, but at the same time I don’t think non-philosophy should be directed by a steering committee or coterie of approved academics. This blog was originally intended as a poke into cyberspace, the response has been mixed (mostly my fault), but my hope is that I can contribute some material to non-philosophy.

Originally I thought of non-philosophy as the taking the precarious position of a not-philosopher which expertly avoids stumbling over the claim “but you are still philosophizing” when it makes an argument; this would be non-philosophy where it concerns the One and the Real. I still think this is true, although obviously, hardly the full picture. Its other operation–which is dually a performance and a form of work (organization building and transmission more than writing)–is an act of “jamming” philosophy, de-conceptualizing, and shutting down the authority and sufficiency of any field to make decisions–here it is radically libertarian. In terms of its appeal and critical force non-philosophy is also radically anti-pretentious, this is perhaps its most inviting aspect since it also manages to carry a strange legitimacy on its own and without citation or reference to any tradition or even its creator; it is thus perhaps even more proletarian than Marxism (I’ll have to elaborate this further later, suffice it to say, to Laruelle’s point, it is liberated from Marxism’s unilateral causality and planifying tendencies–Anti-Badiou touches on this). (As an aside, in terms of bullshit, it is anti-bullshit while it fairly well uses what is considered in the analytic tradition to be bullshit–non-philosophy’s occasional drunken grandiosity is maybe a product of the post-structuralist fires it was forged in, I am simply in love with the fact that it can do both). Pushing into the the other Gnostic end of non-philosophy I’m reminded (and maybe precariously satisfied) that it is about unlearning. I dunno, its neat.

fragment on non-Marxism, the non-philosophical use of philosophical terminology

[Laruelle’s book on Non-Marxism has not yet been published, however, Katerina Kolozova in essay “The Project of Non-Marxism: Arguing for ‘Monstrously’ Radical Concepts” is a fairly comprehensive overview of Laruelle’s project and contains several key insights into his overall argument. One aspect of the project of non-Marxism is the “underdetermination” which in science and the philosophy of science (Quine) is a somewhat more complicated manner but here I take to be the reverse of Althusser’s “overdetermination” which non-philosophically can be defined as a term according to its “determination-in-the-last-instance” (DLI). The non-philosophical usage of the DLI is difficult to summarize. However, in the Principles of Non-Philosophy it is defined as a reduction of the fractional matrix representing the philosophical decision which is comprised of three terms:

[The matrix of the philosophical decision] seems to contain three terms: a real or indivisible identity—the Real one; a term = X, strictly speaking, received from transcendence and which is thus not immanent; and thirdly a term called “Transcendental Identity”, a true clone of the One which the term X extracts from the Real. In reality, the One is not a “term”, not being identifiable in transcendence and being nothing but an identity-without-synthesis; the term X, “added” to the Real, does not form a dyad and fails to form a dyad with the One which refuses to be counted in the structure. On the other hand, it resolves its desire in extracting from the One an image-(of)-the One where the One does not alienate itself; thus a purely transcendental image, but with which it forms a duality or a dual wherein the transcendental is only counted from the point of view of X: a duality called “unilateral” for this reason. This transcendental cloning of the Real represents a simplification and a radical minimalization to the “naturals” of the matrix of Philosophical Decision. (p. 6)

Laruelle continues:

This syntax has received a name in the history of philosophy; a surprising name but of which we believe—though this is not important—that it is indeed this very logic that it designates; logic that is not philosophical, but is nonetheless still interior to philosophy. This name is that of “Determination-in-the-Last-Instance” whose sense the philosophers have barely been able to grasp as a result of their desire to re-dialecticize this form of causality. (ibid.)

Thus, the determination-in-the-last-instance is a decomposed philosophical decision which indicates the immanent causality of the Real, i.e., a philosophical decision in the mode of a “letting” rather than a “forcing” which implies an occasional causality deprived of any philosophical authority. The determination-in-the-last-instance, then, cannot really be defined except in an extremely provisional or contextual sense: it is a syntax, which we can take by its dictionary definition as a “well formed language” of the Real or “degree zero” writing, that concretizes the causality of the real-One as a “transcendental organon,” a kind of (non-)philosophical prosthetic that accords, abides, or adequates-without-correspondence to the Real. More specifically, the “organon” that Laruelle mentions which both comprises the DLI and is its essential  function is “force-(of)-thought,” the noetic or transcendental component of the DLI which, “accords radical primacy of the Real over thought with the relative autonomy of thought” (p. 22). Thus, the DLI indicates an instance of the essence of the One (its force-(of)-thought, its minimally transcendental or aproiristic properties) in a manner which, according to the entry in the Dictionary of Non-Philosophy, does not add or subtract anything to the Real itself yet can “enact or possess a causality without being alienated in the material of its action.” The example provided is the Marxist concept of “labor power” or “labor force” (force du travail):

This is an energetic concept of human energy which only exists in the personality of the worker and which is irreducible to his functions or operations, to work output or expended. This concept is necessary so as to transform the object of work into exchange value and is thus creative of value. According to the plan of the Marxist systematic, it articulates the Marxian ontology of the individual and the theory of capitalism. Nietzsche and Deleuze propose an idea of thought as a symptom of forces, establishing its cause in a differential play of multiple forces rather than in a Real-of-the-last-instance. (Dictionary of Non-Philosophy, p. 19)

Philosophically speaking, a concept like labor force allows for certain generalizations, what we will call a signifying infrastructure, which adequates-without-correspondence to the Real. One can certainly apply scientific metrics to the term, e.g. as a term that more comprehensively describes multifactor productivity: the exhaustion of calories as a measurement of the “force” exerted in the act of production relative to the average cost of food per calorie (energy per unit of production) or the usual measurement of worker productivity as the speed and quantity of their economic output (the number of commodities they produce per hour) relative to the price of the commodity they are producing and the firm’s profit, etc.) and, as Kolozova will argue, it describes an element of the “lived experience” of the worker. However, Marxism, I’m sure Laruelle will argue, has both misunderstood and exploited this aspect of their theory (it has certainly been used more for the sake of political persuasion than science and Marxists have gained an unfair amount of mileage with the term even though it was never rigorously defined by Marx). Laruelle says explicitly in Principles that Marxist theorists kept integrating the term into their dialectics of contradiction to the overall detriment of the field, a degenerative tendency of the otherwise relatively scientific field which resulted from its philosophical hangover with Hegel. “Labor force,” defined by Kolozova, however, is much more potent than all that:]

[It] is already a concept, but a radical one, correlating with the Real of the condition of the “Proletariat” as labor force that is non-reflected, lived, experienced. Even the linguistic construct itself, the concept of “labor force,” is merely descriptive of a real condition, consisting of a minimum of transcendence. And it is precisely the method or style of descriptiveness that Laruelle invokes as the non-Marxist and non-philosophical approach par excellence. The minimally descriptive concept, the radical concept, the one in which the Real has “cloned itself,” is the causality in the last instance of a certain theory—it’s Determination-in-the-last-instance (DDI). (“The Project of Non-Marxism,” p. 10)

[Thus, if Kolozova’s article and analysis is to be followed], non-Marxism is a conceptual contraction of Marxism’s terms using non-philosophical methods: it dually exploits the différance implicit in all theoretical terms (that is to say, their explosive syntagmatic and diachronic movement) and their ability to become algebraic constants or “bound variables” that specify their meaning to the extent that this differential movement is confined to the conceptual boundary conditions implied by its referent. In other words, theoretical terms conceptually knot “mixtures” of thetic (transcendent) and empirical (immanent) content. However, the term itself is subject to movement (slippage) on both sides which thereby produces a dynamically expanding but finite index or topologically localized neighborhood of meaning—a “signifying infrastructure” relative either to the “One” (the thetic-linguistic content of the term) or the “Real” (the referent or the thing the term describes—the immanent content of the term).

[It is important, however, to recall that the One and the Real remain sufficient and co-determinate in non-philosophy without being equivalent: the One appears to us from its philosophical description as that which eludes every philosophical while still determining them. However, we must recall that the One is not the result of a process of philosophical “scission” or in any way an “indivisible remainder” of a symbolic process (description). These semiotic and psychoanalytic descriptions (can easily) imply that language is in someway constitutive of the Real. This division between the Real and the One is meant to imply the directionality of their determination-in-the-last-instance. The One “strikes” from the side of language since, for Laruelle, it is indicated and eluded by its philosophical description. The Real strikes not as a result of language’s “ontological capture” of the Real via a referent but by its radical foreclosure to language and thought. The way in which philosophical terminology presents itself as material to non-philosophy is as Real in itself and as an element of the One in itself.

None of this is meant to imply that language or philosophy provides “assistance” to the One or that terminology “Distances” itself from the One by its description of it. The “composition of the sign” traditionally provided an entry way for a kind of semiotic idealism which separated ideas or concepts from signifiers while recognizing the “empirical” fact that the two were co-determined (the structuralist claim that you cannot have thought without language). Non-philosophy treats the conclusion that the sign is arbitrary as arbitrary in itself and sufficiently expresses the property of a philosophical decision (despite its anti-philosophical insinuations) to offer itself as material. Laruelle, however, exploits this philosophical material at an aesthetic level: as that which produces “a/effectuations” in a generalized sense, i.e., insofar as their significations, their effectuations, and so forth are determined-in-the-last-instance by the One or are accomplished according-to-the-One. In this sense, any thetic, transcendental or conceptual content, any philosophical term is already radically autonomous and radically immanent, i.e., in-One, Seen-in-One, or Real. Non-philosophy arrives on the scene to announce this and inoperatize or disactivate their philosophical function so that they might “accord” to their immanent or demotic signification by the One.]

For example, when I write the phrase “eco-Marxianism” or “Marxist radicalism,” even though these are not well-established or meaningfully—in the sense of actually—occupied political positions we can still imagine what a corpus of eco-Marxian texts might look like and that “Marxist radicalism” would likely be a “Left” tendency relative to orthodox Marxism, if we agglutinate the terms and produce “eco-Marxian radicalism” than we actually manage to produce more sense and specificity even as it loses any and all correspondence to reality and fails to describe anything “real.” However, this term gains significance in and according-to-the-One.[1]

This kind of non-philosophical “disinterpretation” and “underdetermination” of a term like “labor force” is an anti-hermeneutic procedure which aims at efficiency and impact at the level of the One (rather than persuasive efficacy at the level of the “thought-world”) and immanence to the Real by exploiting a term’s “unilateral duality” or “determination-in-the-last-instance.” This non-philosophical usage of philosophical material “frees up” a term’s (philosophically) imputed univocal correspondence to the One so that it accords to its manifest or contextual signification (its determination in this—from the immanent position of the reader, the last—instance) rather than the arbitrary or decisional definition of the term.

Philosophy is aware of this movement or the “play of the signifier,” however, it exploits this ambiguity by both controlling the context and means of its play by assigning multiple definitions to a term in the form of its continual explanation. This embroils the reader in endless hermeneutics and leaves them in the precarious care of the philosopher to provide definitions and explanations of the term, i.e., control the conceptual stricture and limit the general sense of a term, as they purposefully complicate and multiply the significations of a term to suite their argument. The classic example of this in Marxism—which G. A. Cohen tries to fix in Marx’s Theory of History and is shamelessly exploited by Althusser—is the ambiguous and even downright manipulative usage of the terms like “forces of production,” “relations of production,” and even “capitalism” in general for the sake of persuasive argument. Suffice it to say, such a usage of philosophical terminology invariably decides the One according to a contingent (in this case ideological) Vision-in-One rather than the One itself.

The non-philosophical reclamation of philosophical terminology, its reduction to material through dualysis and cloning finds philosophical terms that are in the form of a “axiomized abstractions.” Laruelle states in the glossary of Future Christ.

[Axiomized abstraction] proceeds by way of operators from names (like One, Identity or Man), from adjectives like radical (radical identity, etc.), from prepositions like in- (One-in-One, etc.), without (without-consistency, without-world, etc.), non- (non-conceptual, non-definitional, etc.), in person (Man-in-person, One-in-Person, etc.) These operators are the expression and effects of the Real, which are inseparable from its radical immanence. (Future Christ, p. xxvi)

[1] The examples could go on: micro-Marxism, Marxist individualism, Marxo-Levinasianism, Marxist Sikhism, Afro-Caribbean Marxism, Marxism with indigenous characteristics, neuro-Marxism. They could even border on the absurd and contradictory (e.g. Marxist-Capitalism, Marxist anti-workerism) or redundancy (e.g. Marxist historical dialecticism, neo-Marxian materialism). The effects vary from producing unlikely but viable “Marxisms” to sounding like one has never studied Marx but seems to sort of know what they are talking about. (Neologisms are also a possibility: Marxiarity, Marxineity, Marxisminism.) The reason this “works” is because these terms have a generic or reduced signification that implies some sort of thetic content that is conjugated or reciprocally redefined by the previous or next term. Within the conceptual framework provided by non-philosophy, these terms are dualyized or cloned so that they produce meaning “according-to” the Real or the One respectively. However, if we frame this in terms of an “aesthetics” of non-philosophy, we have an instance of the production of “rigorous” fictions that poetically exploit the thetic or transcendental content implicit in these terms that produce aesthesis, a “real” effect or sensation at the level of or in the form of thought. Consider also Laruelle’s use of mixing proper names in Philosophy and Non-Philosophy, an amusing habit he has unfortunately abandoned in his recent works: by this procedure he imagines fake philosophers like “Laceuze” and “Derritard”—again, it is not impossible to imagine the books these figures might write and their specific politics. Lyotard deploys this strategy when he imagines in Libidinal Economy a “little girl Marx” a “big fat Marx,” an “old man Marx,” and a “beardless Marx.” See, Lyotard, Jean-François. Libidinal Economy. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1993, pp. 94-154.

fragment on marxism-as-a-science (scary marxism), queer marxism, historicism

What Marxism has needed is the tripartite position offered by Maoism, the analytic Marxists (AM), and Lyotard’s Libidinal Economy: it must be suspicious of any and all “book worship” (Maoism), it must inoperatize all theoretical, ontological, or metaphorical language for the sake of arriving at “analytically” deduced and falsifiable truth claims from Marxism (AM), and it must recognize the “desire of Marx” as a productive impetus to be realized not in a complete corpus but through effectuations (Lyotard). What Marxism as a science and non-philosophy propose is the recognition of the complementarity between these positions that would abandon any “garden pathing” or anticipatory dialectical “consequentialism” which proposes necessary logical consequences for adopting them. In other words, Marxism as a science must resist all philosophical decisions about its research to posit itself as an anti-heroic, anti-humanist program of research that offers forth material rather than a field of knowledge that produces discrete and univocal laws and “facts.”

Marxism as a science, again, must be a unified and pluralist field; it must reject all Althusserian and Badiouan pretentions towards being a consistent “planified” philosophy and a “theory of everything,” it must abandon its largely arbitrary (philosophical) definitions (idealism vs. materialism), distinctions and distancings (bourgeoisie vs. proletarian science) and theoretical reifications of science (e.g. its numerous “critiques” of science through the hermeneutic interpretation and criticism of scientific writing or the philosophy of science). But these requirements are relatively simplistic and even naïve from the perspective of non-philosophy which already anticipated Marxism’s symptomatic “injection” into the social sciences, its rebranding or being brought “up to date” with the aid of this or that scientific supplement as a kind of haphazard Hollywood and maybe even stereotypically “Boomerish” misunderstanding of (theoretical) marketing analytics for the sake of “youth branding.” All of this amounts to Marxism’s dumpy theoretical hipsterism and yet another attempt to make itself “meaningful” and “relevant” by vampirically lapping up whatever remains of the dried blood on the once “bleeding edge” of contemporary theory (in the style of Warhol’s “Blood for Dracula”). It is a testament to its failure, the recognition of which is unavoidable and necessary in order to move on from the site of its disastrous end and its traumatic history and to remain unaffected by the mystifications of the post-Marxist intellectual “disorderly retreat” (which primarily and symptomatically manifests as the search for a single cause of Marxism’s failure which invariably mixes science and philosophy in an impotent search for a “first cause” and its assignment of a thetic or transcendental significance).

We must strive to imagine a more “unified” (rather than unitary) Marxism as a practical political worldview and pluralism that proffers an inferential logic akin to Bayesian or frequentist inference, i.e., a form of generalized (theoretical) suspicion, a motivated anti-messianism and “subjective spirit” (Kierkegaard) that inoperatizes and disinterprets all dialectics and instead opts for quantitative “multi-variate” or “meta-“ (statistically speaking) analysis, a hypothesis testing that can measure “confidence intervals” and data on the fly and that is possessed of a healthy amount of philosophical doubt or anxiety but which always non-paranoically seeks “yet more” information before arriving at a decision—which is always provisional and yet always ideally synonymous with the undertaking of a course of action—based on the “facts” or “situation at hand,” e.g. what is presented by experience or the media, while remaining decisive and always strategic. This would be to “quantic-quantitatively” account for historicism and to provide a “(re)thinking” of historical materialism as a useful field of testimony and priors (material) that comprises and informs a unified field of inference theories. Each of these theories has an express complementarity and uni-laterality which model “according to-the-One” or according to a non-decisional “determination in-the-last-instance.”[1] Further, it will propose a “queer” Marxism as a genre of non-standard Marxism. Queer Marxism provides a much needed paganism and hereticism to the typical orthodoxy of Marxist thought: it represents the pluralist and inclusive spirit of the International and one of the most generative/scientific Marxist tendencies.[2] Further, it is possessed of an anti-theoreticism and productive fervor (perhaps from its dually marginalized status; both from mainstream politics/theory and Marxism itself): it shuts down the orthodox Marxist’s tendency to “mansplain” (which is always an attempt at cuckolding and disciple-making, a performance that almost consistently borders on ridiculous) and rejects all institutional knotting; it is the most potent countervailing tendency to media-Marxism and materialism’s “planifying” and homogenizing project of “theoretical formation,” that is, to impart a “well formed” and homogenized Marxism to the masses.

[1] If “scary Marxism” (i.e., politically engaged Marxism) is to truly appropriate and benefit from its long history of revolution making and turn the experience of its partisans into “scientific” knowledge it must opt for the grim practicality and conceptual politico-ethical elasticity of the partisan, guerilla, activist, or even the media-terrorist rather than the dogmatic militant. Between the “hard truths” gained by the exigencies faced by the guerilla versus the “absolute” or “ecstatic” universalized truths of the optimally “theoretically formed” militant, the choice should be clear. This is not a choice between theoretical Marxism (Althusserianism, Badiouism, Zizekianism) and so-called “revolutionary” Marxism (Maoism, radical or militant unionism, anarcho-communism, workism, etc.) since everyone under the term “revolutionary,” Marxist or not and guerillas included, is  guilty of theoreticism; it is the dualysis and philo-fictive elaboration of a “stance” taken by the guerilla who must always operate “in-accordance-with-the-One” and whose thought, action, and goals are “determined by the Real-in-the-last-instance”: theory for the guerilla is either immediately useful as information (military intelligence), a form of therapy (identitarian or politically affirming liturgy), or has the practical purpose of being propaganda—the Marxist “intellectual” should thus treat their work and wage their battles accordingly.

[2] Judith Butler: “When it [the queer movement] emerged it was really suspending the question of identity. Some people say it is modern play, playing of the sexes and this kind of stuff. I don’t think that’s true. I think politically it is the bankruptcy of the politics of identity and the showing that we have to think coalitionally to get things done. That it doesn’t matter with whom we sleep with. The queer movement was anti institutional with a critique to normalization: that you don’t have to get normal to become legitimate. My understanding of queer is a term that desires that you don’t have to present an identity card before entering a meeting. Heterosexuals can join the queer movement. Bisexuals can join the queer movement. Queer is not being lesbian. Queer is not being gay. It is an argument against lesbian specificity: that if I am a lesbian I have to desire in a certain way. Or if I am a gay I have to desire in a certain way. Queer is an argument against certain normativity, what a proper lesbian or gay identity is.”

struggle and utopia, (null-)politics, the Spaßguerilla

The purpose of these posts is to reclaim and restart the discourse I was developing around a series of topics that bear on the question of Marxism’s status as a science, its usefulness and competence as a social and economic theory, and how one practically goes about living as a Marxist so that they can actually achieve a victory here and there for the proletariat. I just finished Laruelle’s Struggle and Utopia at the End of Philosophy. To be frank, the closing sections on rebellion and gnosticism are shocking since they seem to adopt some of the vocabulary of the label of the back of a bottle of Dr. Bronner’s magic soaps. Case in point is his discussion of Angel’s, heretics, transcendent rebels, the “all-crime,” and his usual discourse on the One in the context of an elaborate gnostic philo-fiction. I loaned the book to a friend who has some knowledge of Gnosticism and listened to Anthony Paul Smith’s discourse on this book and Future Christ: a lesson in heresyAs always, Writing Capital’s notes were useful, however, I have found that there is an uncharacteristic lack of Laruelle’s clarity (which for me just comes from his repetitive treatment of the same concepts); his conceptions of positive and negative utopia, mastery, overmastery, struggle, and victory and how he characterizes the role of his various philosophical personalities of his Angels, Rebels, and Heretics are obscured by typically French coked out theory writing (what I called at one point going “full-Baudrillard”). There is a dialogue taking place and a series of references that I am not familiar with although Anthony Paul Smith does disclose some important links to Meister Eckhardt and Hesychasm. Much of the proletarian and Marxist themes make sense (rebellion and struggle) but the themes of Gnosis, inspiration, and affectation simply seem to get in the way. I want to write something about how these terms interface and are defined but it will be necessarily hermeneutic. Finding an appropriate way of confronting them non-philosophically is certainly a question, considering the field’s prejudice against citation.

The “take away” for me–to use some unfortunate corporate vocabulary–was that the non-philosophical political imaginary, relative to concepts of extreme social transformation and resistance or revolution, needs to be divorced from the usual Marxist philosophical themes of necessity, possibility, and impossibility. Rather, if I am not abusing the text, non-philosophical political philo-fiction ought to be rephrased in terms of struggle and victory in a sort of non-neurotic “undulatory” or provisional acceptance of the positions offered by Nietzsche and Marx which allows for mastery without fetishizing it and allows for struggle without romanticizing it. This is not necessarily the creation of “reasonable” political goals for small scale social transformation but a matter of humanistically or “humaneistically” outlining and perspectivising political goals in a way that divorces them from (neurotic) philosophical categories such as contingency or necessity. This is to say, it deconceptualizes and deontologizes them so that one can engage them “futurally” as a matter of practical struggle or simple work for a concrete victory in the form of a positive utopia. The foremost example of this might be the ONPHI, which Laruelle cites as a possible positive utopia in the middle section of the book.

Positive Utopia could possible be the “actual” or “in-Real” creation of an institution such as the ONPHI. There are obvious allusions to the creation of the original psychoanalytic circles and communist parties. These allusions suggest that the “practical exigencies” of building an organization are an conditioning supplement to utopian thought (since it becomes “thought-according-to-the Real” of the immanent requirements of the institution or organization you are trying to build). I think the term “mission” adequately communicates the interface between a negative and positive utopia with an organization functioning as the superposition between the two terms. Note the surprisingly barren statutes of the ONPHI, which are mostly concerned with paying dues and governance as if it were a militant union; the non-philosophers have built from nothing an organization which reflects, enacts, and disseminates their ideals whereas Marxist theorists must always hunt for a party or politician (with which they will always be dissatisfied) that partially represents them to furnish them with their philosophical material (note Žižek’s ambiguous simultaneous support and criticism of political strongmen like Hugo Chavez and Alexis Tsipras).

There are obvious differences between an organization like the ONPHI, unions and left-wing political parties that make the success of the ONPHI seem less grand but I think a similar pluralist organization of left-wing intellectuals is necessary state-side, especially in light of their recent persecution regarding issues like the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Further, the ambiguous official (non-)position of the non-philosophers towards “capitalism” (although, I cringe to use the term so generally) makes them an unlikely target for institutional repression. Non-philosophy remains very much a university discourse despite its proletarian sympathies and admiration for the defunct project of the New-Left.

This middle section is fascinating because it tows the line between asserting disciplinary standards for (non-philosophical) rigor without attempting to create any sort of orthodoxy. It is a difficult balancing act since it is clear that Laruelle wants to retain the pluralism of non-philosophy while ratifying “progressive” tendencies and defending it from becoming “non-religious” influences. He dedicates a fair amount of time chasing away the specter of Deleuze.

In context, the final section seems to be in violation of all of Laruelle’s rules for rigorous philo-fiction (since it is fairly unrestrained in its use of synthetic, literary and otherwise “enabling” philosophical vocabulary rather than the typical non-philosophical procedure of disabling “disoperationalizing” or “deconceptualizing” philosophical thought). I don’t know what to make of this except that I can recall some sections from Future Christ which create provisos for this type of “unrestrained” style. I still haven’t finished Future Christ so perhaps my vision of the “triptych” he is constructing is incomplete while the “boundaries” remain undefined.

A second issue concerning Realpolitiks or what Writing Capital calls “null-politics“–I’ve taken to sometimes writing it “(null-)politics” to indicate that the null or Real dimension of politics is always comprised in politics–comes to mind. I define this as “politics-according-to-the-Real” that is best “rationalized” or “processed” theoretically as “politics-according-to-the-model” particularly an econometric, game theoretical or rational choice theory model evaluated by axiomatized but non-decisional or provisional ethical “principles” i.e., a preference “determined-in-the-last-instance” by the minimal requirements human life (humaneity-in-the-last-insance) or for “bioethical” equilibrium or optimal conditions for social reproduction and utility maximizing outcomes. Scanning his tumblr, I came across the term “psychometrics” which I want to integrate into the philo-fiction I’m developing on null-politics. Combined with biometrics (not in the sense of surveillance but the study of human traits) it might create a kind of “good” anthropocentrism which would offer an alternative to the somewhat unfortunate vocabulary of care for “the poor” in non-philosophy (which is perhaps, as Ranciere notes in his book The Philosopher and his Poor, both a specific tendency of French theory but a larger trend in philosophy in general, for a good example, see Jacques Fradin’s theory of non-economics or Writing Capital’s English translation of his lexicon and the end of Katerina Kolozova’s article on non-Marxism.

This second issue concerns the figure of the Rebel who resembles the idea of a theoretical “Spaßguerilla” I created in my hectic essay on (null-)politics. The ludic and daemoniacal aspects of the Angel (who Laruelle attributes a kind of Platonic mania to) are preserved in the “fun guerilla’s” irreverent and deconstructive play while they undertake a rather dire political struggle with brutal practicality. The negative, “transcendent” and performative dimensions of this concept, its force-(of)-thought, are conjugated relative to positive political goals and practices while admitting to a kind of absurdity and insufficiency through (effective guerrilla) political action staged as performance art. I think the idea of the Spaßguerilla and the 2nd of June Movement (2JM) represent the most progressive tendencies of the extreme left at that time in the sense that they perfectly embodied the ludic ideology of the Situationalist International and the revolutionary commitment of the Red Army Faction. In their statement announcing their disbandment, we can see a kind of humorless submission to the “long march.” The military defeat of the group by the West German government coupled with their absorption into an orthodox tendency (the R.A.F.) counts as a two fold defeat since it collapses the political imaginary of the Marxist “negative utopia” into interminable struggle (really, how viable was the military defeat of West Germany by a small guerrilla group?) while it destroys an “actually existing” positive and, by all accounts, sufficiently heretical organization. Simply put, the group could have had a different future and their disbandment foreclosed a realm of political possibilities.

The anarchic manifesto of 2JM promised an alternative anti-authoritarian way of life of which they provided brief glimpses via their amusing and artistic guerrilla actions (such as their distributing muffins during a bank robbery). At least here there are possibilities for little victories since one of their “effectuations” was to advertise the freedom of the sponti scene and lifestyle as a real alternative to capitalism, as untenable as it was, it provided an attractive alternative to a rather monotonous [capitalist] reality of endless work and delegated leisure. Imaging possibilities for functional positive utopias, non-consumerist alternative lifestyles, a viable popular political movement, a viable political party that expresses these ideals, and then intersections between all these elements so that resistance can become social transformation should be preserved for anyone mildly sympathetic to the original project of the Left, new and old. The discovery of an effective and terminable form of struggle, i.e., that accomplishes the desired transformations with discrete “little” victories and terminates in mastery, which does not lead to directionless political violence or suicide (which somewhat coincide) should be the goal of the non-philosophical Rebel.

Between left-wing nostalgia and Gnostic mysticism, I don’t know which is worse. However, in the final analysis, both effectuate the same expansion of the political imaginary by furnishing the reader with some non-standard figures, symbols and identifications to play around with. In my opinion, this sort of queering of the usual conceptual/theoretical infrastructure for the sake of providing the reader of non-philosophy with a utopian political imaginary is a bonne action since non-philosophy otherwise considers capitalism “idempotent” and there is a sort of dirth of originality, anti-utopianism, and even nihilism among non-philosophers (although for the sake of rigor it is apparent why this is preferable). I think non-utopian socialism (especially if that “non-” is conjugated according to non-philosophical precepts) could also serve to assist non-philosophy in this regard as a form of humaneistic “policy writing.”

More on this later… I found an essay by Badiou on the Cultural Revolution and a critique of his communist hypothesis that I want to read next to Laruelle’s Struggle and Utopia. However, for now I am mulling over all of Writing Capital’s posts on econometrics.

non-marxism and marxism-as-a-science

Before I left I was in the process of writing a series of essays on “Marxism as a Science.” The early essays are “infra-philosophical” in the sense that they deal with mixed philosophical material: the material exigencies of sustaining a school of thought combined with the conceptual “fitness” of Marxist ideas. Initially, the idea of “window dressing” and retconning Marxist theory to look scientific, which I took to be represented by Michael Burawoy’s work, I found repulsive because of an ingrained philosophical tendency to reject “respectability politics.” However, the severe problems of the social sciences and Marxism were very quickly revealed to me. In short, 3 essays later (and I was in the process of writing a 5th) I now see Analytic Marxism (AM) and Rational Choice Theory Marxism to, in many ways, be the best thing that ever happened to Marxist theory.

Its well documented failure is often attributed to its hermeticism, theoreticism, and separation from actual politics. While these factors certainly played a role, I see AM’s failure as being more to do with its failure to build an institution like the ONPHI. AM was a pre-internet phenomenon that was thoroughly caught up in the university and made no pretense to build an institution outside of the usual channels of knowledge dissemination (university publications, academic journals, lectures, etc.). I won’t speculate further on the cause for AM’s failure except that I find Andrew Levine’s argument in A Future for Marxism? Althusser, the Analytical Turn and the Revival of Socialist Theory that “it was philosophy, more than anything else, that did Marxism in” very compelling.

This is what brings me to the notion that non-Marxism is a potent “assistant” to Marxism insofar as it strives to be a science. I wrote a while back:

At least a few courses of action present themselves, some of which we have already discussed: 1) academic Marxists henceforth become “data-driven” economists practiced in the intricacies of policy writing, 2) Marxists rebrand by either totally disappearing and shedding the proper name “Marxist” or “Marxian,” or 3) Marxists reimagine their discipline as a unified field and begin to aggregate and assimilate non-Marxist knowledge (the specter of dialectics) for the sake of making Marxist arguments. However, while we have already been acquainted with the non-philosophical field, Laruelle’s proposal for a “non-Marxism” or “non-standard” Marxism has not been addressed. The wager here, which is an occasion for a “report” on non-Marxism, is that these courses of action are best “in-formed” by the study of non-Marxism, that the pursuit of science by the Marxist is inevitably still too enthusiastic, still too concerned with theoretical “correctness,” and undertaken as a matter of duty or obligation which would imply a symptomatic and self-aggrandizing “suicidal narcissism” which, simply put, is unsustainable. This is what Laruelle derogatorily calls the Maoist “long march.”

This “work” must not be undertaken to effectuate the equation Marxism=Science with the knowledge that Marxism has scientific pretenses and aspirations which it deserves to achieve for its own sake so that it may reestablish its authority and sufficiency: this would be the Marxist “conquest” of science which would just be a dangerous and reified variation on philosophy’s confusion of materialism with science, i.e., materialism=(the) (essence) (of) science so that sciencem > sciencei (where “m” and “i” represent “materialist” and “idealist”). There can be no “subordination” of science to any particular conceptualizing philosophical or political stricture. What is meant by this is not the idealism that it “knows best” or will “find a way” (à la Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park’s statement “nature always finds a way” presumably out of this or that limitation by its adaptability and innate drive to “be free”), but rather that science will always continue since actual scientific research is a differential procedure and always conducted (and succeeds or fails, advances or stagnates) according to its immanent exigencies. Which is to say, according-to-the-Real of whatever it is trying to model and according-to-the-One of its political, technological, political exigencies (—if this is odd, consider how “science” was undertaken in the 1600’s and how it was considered science in accordance to its own principles). What this means is that the enthusiasm and enlightenment of the dialectically thinking Marxist scientist really amounts to a set of subjective priors used for inferential reasoning that provide no significant cognitive advantage in scientific research and may even be disadvantageous. Meanwhile, when it comes to the conceptualization of scientific research, Marxist or dialectical thinking usually amounts to the felicitous narrativization of scientific discovery as an advertisement for Marxist theoreticism or an occasion for tired polemics.

This is to say, it must not evaluate non-Marxism (or any field for that matter) and then take what is assimilable or amenable to it—this would be the erection of a specular ideal-ego mirror which would simulate science while still reducing theory to matters of orthodoxy, taste, and political jouissance. Rather, Marxism must strive to become non-Marxism or realize itself as having always already been non-Marxism, which is to say, it must abandon its integral/integrating tendencies and end its dialectical conjugations and translations of non-Marxist or “not-Marxist” (non-)knowledge and adopt a quantum or algebraic approach to knowledge(s). It must think in terms of superposition and complementarity rather than the (previously established) philosophical “arrangement” and “total” presentation of knowledge according to quasi-hermeneutically defined “limits,” “gaps,” and “contradictions” which are historically-philosophically narrativized. It is true, all knowledge “belongs” to Marxism insofar as it is the “science of the proletariat,” or a form of non-philosophical “gnosis,” but knowledge cannot be subordinated to its authority or the authority of its exponent theorists and their univocal interpretations (knowledge policing): its authority must be effectuated or effectuational and established legislatively and consensually as democratic and pluralist.

It was already clear to the analytic Marxists that updating their field would require abandoning much of its identifying traits; however, to undertake Marxism becoming non-Marxist is to yet further purify Marxism of itself and to render it almost generic, algebraic and variable, such that (non-)Marxism=X, while at the same time “killing ones darlings” in an unprecedented manner (e.g. the painful and so far incomplete abandonment of the LTV or the disproving and final relinquishment of Marx’s transformation problem). The shift to quantitative knowledge production has already been made by [some elements of] Marxism and is being made by the broad Left in general—this is inevitable. However, if the theoretical and political elements of Marxism are to become scientific according to an un- or non-reified notion of science, that is to say, non-philosophical (rather than just anti-philosophical, which is always still philosophical), they must engage science, non-philosophy, and non-Marxism in accordance with their own standards of rigor.

If I remember where I was going with this, I was addressing the recent interest in data-journalism by publications like The Jacobin, Salon, and Mother Jones’s new “wonkish” statistical approach to some of their reporting following the trend set by Nate Silver’s (now somewhat crappy and frivolous) 538 blog. I now regret spending time on Silver’s book in my large neurotic 4th essay on Marxism and Science. I found a pool of very interesting french websites on data-journalism where the discussion is more lucid. When I have the heart I might revamp that section of my 4th essay with those sources.

Anyways, I don’t know if Mother Jones counts as a “the broad Left in general” but I’m sure I was getting at Picketty’s data-driven “intervention” into the contemporary political discourse on equality (taken up by my state senator, Liz Warren). Progressive does not equal “broad Left,” from my scan of a massive amount of Marxist blogs last year in my bizarre essay on Žižek and SYRIZA the arguments remain embarrassingly “dialectical.” Maybe this is wishful thinking. However, an example of “not-Marxism” being used in the service of Marxism is the AM group’s use of methodological individualism, rational choice theory, and neo-classical economics. However, these “cutting edge” practices were considered the standard for what passed as contemporary conventional science, which is a bizarre evaluation. The “enthusiasm” of the shift cannot be discounted. We can see this in the two definitions but forth by the AM and RCT Marxists (citations below are from “Review Essay: A Future for (Analytical) Marxism?” by Roberto Veneziani):

Definition 1. Analytical Marxism (AM) is defined by an analysis of Marxist concerns that is focused through
C1. ‘A commitment to conventional scientific norms in the elaboration of theory and the conduct of research’.
C2. ‘An emphasis on the importance of systematic conceptualisation [ . . . ]. This involves careful attention to both definitions of concepts and the logical coherence of interconnected concepts’.
C3. ‘A concern with a relatively fine-grained specification of the steps in the theoretical arguments linking concepts’.
C4. ‘The importance accorded to the intentional action of individuals’.

Definition 2. Rational Choice Marxism (RCM) is defined by an analysis of Marxist concerns that is focused through C2, C3 and
C1’: The use of ‘state of the arts methods of analytical philosophy and “positivist” social science’
(Roemer, 1986c, pp. 3–4);
C4’(i): MI, ‘the doctrine that all social phenomena – their structure and their change – are in
principle explicable in ways that only involve individuals – their properties, their goals, their beliefs and their actions’ (Elster, 1985, p. 5);
C4’(ii): Rational choice explanations. This ‘involves showing that the action was rational and that it was performed because it was rational. That the action was rational means that given the beliefs of the agent, the action was the best way for him to realize his plans or desires. Hence, rationality goes along with some form of maximizing behaviour’ (Elster, 1985, p. 9).

The drive towards “coherence” ought to be celebrated. I feel that non-philosophy is somewhat weak here in its propensity to engage in typically French rambling that can bury the thread of the argument for anglophones (its evident that French loses a lot of its specificity when it is translated into English since it is deprived of its celebrated “accord” between gender and number which adds a lot of clarity). However, this seems way too keen to drink the rational choice theory kool-aid for the sake of hysterical conservatism rather than practicality and when the critiques of RCT and MI were even in 1989 well known, especially in left-wing circles. Inventing new methods or harnessing RCT and MI without adhering to any of their assumptions would have probably been preferable. Imagining a RCT without rationality is something I have considered elsewhere. The choice between hysterical conservatism or “indulgence” and domestication of opponent theories seems too limited, non-philosophy and non-Marxism can easily bypass this conceptual deadlock through their “non-standard” or even “queer” conceptualizations of apparently conceptually homogeneous fields of study and their attendant practices (e.g. psychoanalysis and non-psychoanalysis).

Thus we must reverse a major thesis of the previous essay which was still too Badiouan, still too philosophically committed and encumbered, and still too infatuated with the brand “Marxism” and the proper name “Marx” to effectuate a “Gestalt shift” away from dialectical materialism: Marxist thought should not strive to “compossibilize” knowledge so that it presents potentially contradictory and controversial knowledge as a way of outmaneuvering it and domesticating it through the policing of its dissemination via its usual pedagogical procedure (“Marxifying” this or that knowledge for the sake of the always infantilized proletarians). Further, the bioethical and ecological prerogatives of Marxism (previously “conjugated” or “transposed” with this bioethical emphasis), while they are useful as a way of producing a provisional “One” (Vision-in-One) with which Marxism can “scientifically” work “in accordance to” or be “determined” by as a regulative ideal, can only provide a limited conceptual framework or metaphorical/descriptive infrastructure. This rather than a fully blown epistemology with all their usual pretenses for a foundation of knowledge and truth let alone a substantive scientific practice.

In quasi-Deleuzian or Baudrillardian terms, insofar as capitalism remains thought within the confines of philosophy and capitalism and political economy are fraught, confused with, integrated with, etc. their own (mis)representations and conceptualizations, the reality of capitalism will always be a foil to its Marxist conceptualization via its simulacral and drive-like inertial desire to model itself and anticipate its own movements; this is a simple impossibility since it’s complete integral modeling would just reproduce the complexity and mystery of capitalism’s aggregated causes and effects (i.e., its uncertainty principle). Capitalism is always-already compromised yet reproduced by its predictive self-modeling and self-simulating activity and (i.e., its complementarity or quantum indeterminacy). In more simple non-philosophical terms: capitalism, the economy, the market, and so forth are all foreclosed to thought while remaining eminently conceptualizable and philosophizable: this non-relationship makes possible  the very theoretical impetus that enacts and discovers this impossibility in the same way that for Lacan the non-relationship between man and woman produces the (im)possibilizing fantasy of the sexual relationship. Insofar as Marxism is inevitably drawn into and apart of this quagmire, it would seem that the proper metaphor and conceptual neutralization/expansion of Marx’s original scientific naturalism and materialist dialectics is that of a network comprised of reciprocally determined actors (Latour): hence our major thesis is that actor-network theory must replace dialectics.

I prepared notes on a presentation by Latour on actor-network theory but they are too unorganized to present here and never made it into my essay. Apparently this idea has already been proposed by Speculative Heresy and mulled over by this fellow shiviro. I’ll follow this path and pick up Prince of Networks by Graham Harman at some point.

What later follows is my definition of “Marxism-as-a-Science” which deflates (or inoperatizes) truth claims by reconjugating them as propositions that must be statistically testable not just analytically valid. This follows from the discourse I was having on econometrics with Graham Joncas. I want to stick with econometrics and statistics a lot more before venturing down the network actor theory path for “strategic” reasons. Econometrics remains a much more potent (read: respectable) and delineated practice with a field of well understood problems. Actor-network theory (ANT) and scientometrics remain somewhat caught up in epistemological and typically post-structuralist theoretical concerns. There is a certain rigor and practicality to econometrics and statistics that I appreciate. I highly recommend Writing Capital’s essay “there is no economic world.” and his piece on non-knowledge on this subject.

Marxism as a science is a decisive formulation since it demands that Marxism be thought according-to-science or determined in-the-last-instance by science, hereby Marxism-as-a-science gains its positive characteristics separately from Marxism and only insofar-as-it-is-a-science. Marxism-as-a-science must be rigorously differentiated from Marxism and, at least in this instance, from non-Marxism since the “non-” of non-Marxism is indicative of its heretical universalization/generalization according to its non-philosophical DLI. Marxism-as-a-science cannot be generalized and is non-generalizable although it produces material that is generic and which can be treated by non-philosophical procedures (e.g. forces of production, labor power). Marxism-as-a-science, since it is already purged of its pretention to be a semblance or mirror of science insofar as it is conceptualized, already establishes itself as a non-standard and non-philosophical Marxism. It uses the same material as non-Marxism and undertakes some of its same procedures, however, non-Marxism is algebraic and generic, it uses dualysis and cloning as its procedures (such that Marxism=X) so that it may analytically parse Marxism’s philosophical and transcendental material according-to-the-One or its DLI.

Marxism-as-a-science, however, has a more obvious affinity with the social sciences and is characteristically statistical rather than algebraic: it attempts to think quantitatively and according to the immanent exigencies of statistical science, i.e., according to statistical models which it takes provisionally as instances of structured data which have the totally variable status of “the Real-according-to-data” and the dilemmas produced by statistical inference. It aspires to adequation-without-correspondence and attempts to non-decisionally gauge “effect size” and “impact” or (statistical) “significance” in accordance to given instances of structured data. Its work of interpretation is inferential and probabilistic rather than non-philosophical, i.e., quasi-hermeneutic or anti-hermeneutic (cloning, dualysis). It does not take a specific science as its “inspiration,” supplement, or conceptual infrastructure, which is to say, a readymade field of terms that can be “deployed” for non-philosophical usage (e.g. Laruelle’s use of quantum physics); rather it takes material from the fields that most immanently confront it (sociology, economics, political science) with no pretense to fictionalize them in a philo-fiction, operationalize them, or turn them into material for non-philosophy though it readily makes use of non-philosophy and non-philosophical material (its methods, language, and “force-(of)-thought”) itself: the “writing” of Marxism-as-a-science is never Marxism-as-a-science at work, it is only the non-philosophical (in the sense of not-philosophy) and inevitably insufficient conceptualization of Marxism-as-a-science. Marxism-as-a-science has little anxiety about philosophizing, its philosophizability, or its being philosophized about insofar as it is “just,” which is to say, non-decisional and done according to or insofar as Marxism-(i/as)-(a)-science, which is to say, that it relies on philosophy in the same way that science does, i.e., as a translation, preservation, and historicization of its work in the form of conceptual knowledge so that it can (re)discover its gaps, its priorities, direction, and long term trends as an evening thought that might in-form its practice.

There is no outmaneuvering Laruelle in the following regard, we have already comprehended that Marxism can no longer be “intensified” or “supplemented” by anything–that to hold on to the Marxist corpus is to board a sinking ship, that any future Marxism must be radicalizing and irreverent, which is to say, heretical. The Marxist corpus must become a “corpora” for a kind of non-Marxist/Bayesian “machine learning” procedure that reduces philosophical Marxist phrases into material to be dualyized and philosophically deactivated, i.e., generalized, and underdetermined (much in the manner of the semantic procedures of the analytic Marxists: transforming Marx’s work into valid propositional statements). Meanwhile, Marxist economic statements must be turned into “incidences” that can assist Marxist philosophical claims. In other words, Marxism-as-a-science must produce the meta-analyses and interdisciplinary non-experimental longitudinal (historical) studies of capitalism that it already does but as an “econo-fiction.” The division of labor is thus: the former philosophical material (its philosophical uttrances) functions as a scientific provocation that must guide a kind of translation into a parametric statistical sociological or econometric model, the latter economic statements function as “disinterpretations” and “de-conceptualizations” of all philosophical statements about the economy or society: they are political neutral and regionally factual–in aggregate they produce the policy writing of the Marxist analysis and political perspective.

The scientific “force-(of)-thought” here would be to reduce the number of assumptions in the statistical models by establishing generalizable inferences as provisional axioms (e.g. TFRP); the analysis would aim to be non-parametric for the sake of lowering the “risk” of making Marxist claims in simple models while increasing the statistical power of more “risky” complex models (this is assuming the axioms are, in a mathematical sense, true). By this procedure the DLI becomes both more generalized and more robust in its capacity to “differentially” or “syzygistically” account for exogenous and endogenous variables (Joncas), however, in revenge the DLI loses its conceptual descriptive capacity to (philosophically) determine an efficient or final cause since cause and effect since, from the standpoint of statistics, all this disappears into noise, i.e., “effect sizes” (ES) and “statistical significance” and the ambiguity of p values. Insofar as the causality of traditional philosophical statements (which invariably take an if/then form) can be quantitatively modeled, they can only be accounted for according to conditional scenarioizations that are accounted for if certain “experimentally” defined (that is to say “knowledge based”) threshold conditions are satisfied (the “if”). The advantage is that this allows the model to account for “dynamism” or “complexity” via transitions to other “state spaces” or different “discrete-states” (the “then” might be accounted for by a DTMC, although there are other ways of modeling dynamic or complex systems) but at the expense of divining a specific cause since it disappears into a variable which represents a range of causes and conditions. In other words, the DLI loses the ability originally granted to it in historical materialism to transpose a conceptualization (explanation, description, and identification) of a cause, usually economic, into thought so that it functions as a rule or an axiom which can be used in a kind of mixed procedure of analytic deduction and forensics. This is to say, Marxism-as-a-science typically undoes the PST which supposes that thought can divine cause since it models reality statistically axiomatically treats it as quantitative in nature; it admits to the impossibility of making the simplifying assumption of the historical materialist DLI; it refuses to leave excess and captures unknown causes as “factors” accounted for in an exogenous variable; it refuses to conceptualize the totality or even ­n-number of specific efficient causes so that any “causal power” ocan be attached to a “term” as a property; it refuses any causality that is not relative to the One-Real. Rather, Marxism-as-a-Science quantizes the DLI so that it accords or abides to the Real quantitatively. The DLI is thereby sutured to a statistical model and arises “according-to-the-Real qua data,” i.e., a provisional and non-decided Real. To “determine,” hence forth, means to non-decisionally and non-philosophically determine according to the exigencies of the experimental data; hereby the philosophical “if/then” becomes a matter of establishing the correct procedure of statistical inference. The arbitrariness of the DLI is thereby expunged since any philosophical causality immanent to “terms” is removed and becomes a procedure of statistical inference and modeling. Though such terms are not necessarily illegal, they are given stringent criteria for adequately representing statistical models, are turned into probabilistic inferences, and are translated into “productions” in a dynamic/stochastic/knowledge-based logic model.

The immediate result of this is the disruption of hasty Marxist truth claims and the historical materialist DLI; however, surpassing the initial frustration of this disruption optimally leads one to the task of scientific work which, for a (non-)Marxist, aspires to a comprehensive meta-analysis. The necessarily mathematical and computational aspect of this work allows the Marxist researcher to finally benefit from the cooperative or collaborative, non-discursive, and democratic aspects of true scientific research: he or she is solving a problem, building a model, and proving a hypothesis–not trying to “phrase” evidence in such a way to support a claim. They have transformed from a scavenger of “stylized facts” which are then aggregated into a persuasive argument into a producer, which is to say, a worker. Finally, they are given immanent requirements for scientific rigor in the capacity of the proof of their hypothesis and maximization of the predictive capacities and “correctness” of their model and data structure.

Here the predictive power of the model is commensurate with its “truthiness.” Call this capitalist “truth” or a bankrupt form of bourgeoisie or utilitarian notion of “truth as what is useful” but should the model do what it claims it can do than it stands (the reverse of Marxist “theoretical” models “which always say what they do” and “never do what they say”). Meanwhile, any model can be expanded and complexified (albeit not without notable risks). The majority of the theoretical “hiccups” (that is to say, the kind that might bother Feyerabend and that obsessively want to be resolved by theorists like Campbell) that occur around model making are, as we identified in the last essay, around their description, their explanatory capacity, their ability to be translated into economic or social policy, and their instrumental or proprietary (non-scientific/biopolitical) use—they are otherwise fairly adequate in themselves as long as they have no pretense to model the “world” or become “worlds” in themselves. The difficulties provided by the problem of “incommensurability” at the level of the model are largely philosophical/ontological, i.e., a problem that is “solved” by the notion of “adequation-without-correspondence” while the most severe difficulties occur when natural language is introduced, in which case the most red-blooded scientist can become a sincere correlationist, an irresponsible post-modernist, or a confused and potentially non-committal realist or pragmatist—with little in-between but paradoxically a lot of entry room for spontaneous “transcendent” or “philo-scientific” ecstatic ideologies by virtue of science’s dual foreclosure to philosophy and philosophizability (the same goes for the economy). The solution to this seems stupidly disciplinarian: the fostering of a “relative competency” for the interpretation of statistical data (statistical cognition) and attitude of disruptive pan-critical rationalism about any and all interpretations: the inoperatization and censorship of non-rigorous interpretations, conceptualizations, generalizations, politicizations, or overall motivated and untactful “skewing” of statistical data.

Its going to take a bit to reboot this project. The major gaps are obvious: an analysis of Latour’s actor network theory, an analysis of the “progressive tendencies” of AM and the awaited publication of the translation of Laruelle’s book on Non-Marxism (although my French should be up to snuff to read it in the original language). A decent practical grasp of statistics and matrix algebra would be necessary for me to authoritatively continue down this line of reasoning (although I’ve been in dialogue with some people who do know and they say I’m not totally insane). This project might have to be abandoned or split into shorter summaries. My original plan was to include an section on Lyotard’s Libidinal Economy. I’ll have to see if this project sparks any interest.