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Laruelle: A Stranger Thought

Laruelle: A Stranger Thought

Anthony P. Smith

ISBN: 978-1-509-50893-8

Feb 2017, Polity

240 pages



François Laruelle’s “non-philosophy” or “non-standard philosophy” represents a bold attempt to rethink how philosophy is practiced in relation to other domains of knowledge. There is a growing interest in Laruelle’s work in the English-speaking world, but his work is often misunderstood as a wholesale critique of philosophy. In this book Anthony Paul Smith dispels this misunderstanding and shows how Laruelle’s critique of philosophy is guided by the positive aim of understanding philosophy’s structure so that it can be creatively recast with other discourses and domains of human knowledge, from politics and ethics to science and religion.

This book provides a synthetic introduction to the whole of Laruelle’s work. It begins by discussing the major concepts and methods that have framed non-philosophy for thirty years. Smith then goes on to show how those concepts and method enter into traditional philosophical domains and disempower the authoritarian framework that philosophy imposes upon them. Instead of offering a philosophy of politics or a philosophy of science, Laruelle aims at fostering a democracy of thought where philosophy is thought together and equal to the object of its inquiry.

This book will be essential reading for students and scholars interested in contemporary French philosophy, and anyone who wants to discover more about one of its foremost practitioners.

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  1. Introduction: What Is to Be Done with Philosophy?
  2. Part One: A Generic Introduction
  3. Chapter 1: Theory of the Philosophical Decision
  4. Chapter 2: The Style of Non-Philosophy
  5. Part Two: Unified Theories and the Waves of Non-Philosophy
  6. Chapter 3: Politics, or a Democracy (of) Thought
  7. Chapter 4: Science, or Philosophy’s Other
  8. Chapter 5: Ethics, or Universalizing the Stranger-Subject
  9. Chapter 6: Aesthetics, or Non-Philosophy as Philo-Fiction
  10. Chapter 7: Religion, or a Rigorous Heresy
  11. Conclusion: The Future of Non-Philosophy