Laruelle, Immanence, and Performance: What Does Non-Philosophy Do?




non-philosophy, postcontinental philosophy, Immanence, Laruelle, Bergson,


François Laruelle’s ‘non-philosophical’ practice is connected to its performative language, such that to the question 'what is it to think?, non-philosophy responds that thinking is not “thought”, but performing. Non-philosophy is equally described by Laruelle as ‘transcendental practice’, an ‘immanent pragmatics’, or a ‘universal pragmatics’ that is ‘valid for ordinary language as well as for philosophy:’ He insists that we look at ‘that-which-I-do-in-saying and not just what I say’ – for the latter is simply what happens when thought is ‘taken hold of again by philosophy.’ Resisting this hold, non-philosophy performs re-descriptions of philosophy that, in doing so, produce effects on how philosophical texts are seen. All the same, it is notable that Laruelle objects to the focus on activity within the concept of a speech act, and instead emphasizes the ‘descriptive passivity’ that an immanent pragmatics obliges; statements that manifest ‘by their very existence what they must describe in the last instance – statements identically descriptive and performative.’ What Laruelle calls a ‘Performed-Without-Performation’ would be an action of the Real, or the ‘in-One’ – philosophical language seen as a performed without we using this or any language to perform. In this essay, this complex thought is compared with certain concepts and practices of performance that do not come from philosophy so explicitly (Allan Kaprow’s, Richard Schechner’s and Michael Kirby’s especially), but may well offer a key to understanding this passive action of the Real.

Author Biography

John Ó Maoilearca, Kingston University London

John Ó Maoilearca is Professor of Film and Television Studies at Kingston University, London. He has also taught philosophy and film theory at the University of Sunderland, England and the University of Dundee, Scotland. He has published ten books, including (as author) Bergson and Philosophy (2000), Post-Continental Philosophy: An Outline (2006), Philosophy and the Moving Image: Refractions of Reality (2010), and (as editor) Laruelle and Non-Philosophy (2012) and The Bloomsbury Companion to Continental Philosophy (2013). His latest book is entitled, All Thoughts Are Equal: Laruelle and Nonhuman Philosophy (University of Minnesota Press, 2015).


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How to Cite

Ó Maoilearca, John. 2017. “Laruelle, Immanence, and Performance: What Does Non-Philosophy Do?”. Performance Philosophy 3 (3):718-29.



The Concept of Immanence in Contemporary Philosophy and the Arts