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Alien theory : the decline of materialism in the name of matter

By Ray Brassier


The thesis tries to define and explain the rudiments of a 'nonphilosophical'\ud or 'non-decisional' theory of materialism on the basis of a\ud theoretical framework provided by the 'non-philosophy' of Francois\ud Laruelle. Neither anti-philosophical nor anti-materialist in character, non-materialism\ud tries to construct a rigorously transcendental theory of matter by\ud using certain instances of philosophical materialism as its source material.\ud The materialist decision to identify the real with matter is seen to retain a\ud structural isomorphy with the phenomenological decision to identify the real\ud with the phenomenon. Both decisions are shown to operate on the basis of a\ud methodological idealism; materialism on account of its confusion of matter\ud and concept; phenomenology by virtue of its confusion of phenomenon and\ud logos. By dissolving the respectively 'materiological' and\ud 'phenomenological' amlphibolies which are the result of the failure to effect a\ud rigorously transcendental separation between matter and concept on the one\ud hand; and between phenomenon and logos on the other, non-materialist\ud theory proposes to mobilise the non-hybrid or non-decisional concepts of a\ud 'matter-without-concept' and of a 'phenomenon-without-logos' in order to\ud effect a unified but non-unitary theory of phenomenology and materialism.\ud The result is a materialisation of thinking that operates according to matter's\ud foreclosure to decision. That is to say, a transcendental theory of the\ud phenomenon that licenses limitless phenomenological plasticity,\ud unconstrained by the apparatus of eidetic intuition or any horizon of\ud apophantic disclosure; yet one which is simultaneously a transcendental\ud theory of matter, uncontaminated by the bounds of empirical perception and\ud free of all phenomenological circumscription

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