A Biography of Ordinary ManOn Authorities and Minorities
A Biography of Ordinary Man
On Authorities and Minorities
Translated by Jessie Hock, Alex Dubilet

This book is a foundational text for our understanding of François Laruelle, one of France’s leading thinkers, whose ideas have emerged as an important touchstone for contemporary theoretical discussions across multiple disciplines.

One of Laruelle’s first systematic elaborations of his ethical and “non-philosophical” thought, this critical dialogue with some of the dominant voices of continental philosophy offers a rigorous science of individuals as minorities or as separated from the World, History, and Philosophy. Through novel theorizations of finitude and determination in the last instance, Laruelle develops a thought “of the One” as a “minoritarian” paradigm that resists those paradigms that foreground difference as the conceptual matrix for understanding the status of the minority. The critique of the “unitary illusion” of philosophy developed here stands at the foundation of Laruelle’s approach to “uni-lateralizing” the power of philosophy and the universals with which it has always thought, and thereby acts as a basis for his subsequent investigations of victims, mysticism, and Gnosticism.

This book will appeal to students and scholars of continental philosophy, philosophy of religion, ethics, aesthetics, and cultural theory.

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  • December 2017 (pb)
    December 2017 (hb)
  • 272 pages
  • 152 x 229 mm / 6 x 9 in
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Table of Contents

Translators’ Introduction


Introduction: A Rigorous Science of Man

1) From the Sciences of Man to the Science of Men

2) Man as Finite or Ordinary Individual

3) From Philosophy to Theory: the Science of Ordinary Man

4) The Scientific and Positive Meaning of Transcendental Naiveté

5) Towards a Critique of (Political, etc.) Reason

CHAPTER I: Who Are Minorities?

6) The Two Sources of Minoritarian Thought

7) How to Think Individuals?

8) Theory of Uni-laterality

9) The Essence of the One or of the Finite Subject

10) Minorities and Authorities

CHAPTER II: Who Are Authorities?

11) Individuals and the World

12) The Absolute Science of the World and of Authorities

13) On Authority as Individuel Causality

CHAPTER III: Ordinary Mysticism

SECTION I: The Unitary Illusion

14) The Possibility of a Unitary Illusion

15) The Transcendental Nature of the Unitary Illusion

16) On Illusion as Hallucination

SECTION II: Finite Topics

17) The Finite Subject and the Critique of the Copernican Revolution

18) The “Chora” In the Transcendental Sense

19) Critique of Topology (Logic of Places and Logic of Forces)

20) The Phenomenal Content of Uni-laterality

SECTION III: Determination in the Last Instance and the (Non-)One

21) Thinking the (non-)One

22) The Causality of the “Last Instance” or of Finitude

23) Transcendental Deduction of the (Non-)One or of the “Chora”

SECTION IV: Real Critique and Philosophical Critique

24) The Affect of Real Critique

25) The Positivity of Real Critique

SECTION V: The Science of the World and of Authorities

26) The Reality of an Absolutely Subjective Science of the World

27) The Absolute Science of Mixtures or of “Postdicates”

28) Critique of the Unitary Transcendental Deduction

CHAPTER IV: Ordinary Pragmatics

SECTION I: Critique of Pragmatic Reason

29) Pragmatics as Real Critique of Philosophy

30) Use as A Priori of Pragmatics

31) Philosophical Pragmatics and Real Pragmatics

SECTION II: The Essence of Pragmatic Causality

32) From the Mystical to the Pragmatic

33) The Finitude of Pragmatics

34) The Essence of Pragmatics: 1)

35) The Essence of Pragmatics: 2)

36) The Essence of Pragmatics: 3) The Other, The Signal, and The Pragmatic Foundation of Communication

37) Meaning and the Rigorous Science of the Unitary Structures of the World



About the Author
François Laruelle is Professor Emeritus at the University of Paris X (Nanterre).
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“What would it mean to craft a rigorous science of humanity based on minority rather than authority? In one of his earliest complete expressions of non-philosophy, Laruelle offers a compelling formula for generic humanity – dubbed here ordinary man – rooted not in philosophical or social difference but in real, ordinary identity, the identity of minority. The result is a form of life without authority, without state, without world, in other words, truly glorious.”
Alexander R. Galloway, New York University

A Biography of Ordinary Man shows how non-philosophy can be understood as the ongoing discovery of the human, of the ordinary, and of the lived, without recourse to the ‘totalitarian spirit’ of authoritarian thought. This is a science of the ordinary life that undoes what we think we know about the human.”
John Ó Maoilearca, Kingston University, London

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