The One: Plotinus, Laruelle and Deleuze

23Feb09

The following in a brief summation of Plotinus’ One:

The One is a non-concept which is known through its effect as power, foundation and location.  The One, as all that is and what is potential, emanates all existents.  The One is pure possibility.

The One generates intelligence which is the source of being yet this is the Intelligence (nous).  The nous, as the container of being, seems to avoid the limitations of the Fichtean Ich as Plotinus states that thinking and being are the same (here we could follow Schelling).

Compare to Laruelle – “It occurs to the thinking that is associated or convertible with Being, without being thought in its essence and origin.”  Furthermore the nous can be taken as the vision-in-one of thinking according to the one, the given without givenness.

Following the Nous, intelligences are generated which both unify and divide the objects of thought (of the thinkable objects) and here we can speak to Laruelle’s relation of transcendence and immanence.  The Intelligence (nous) grasps objects in their essence (in a Platonist fashion) whereas intelligences (the thinking of beings) or discursive knowledges – only knows objects through difference – through their differences from each other.

In regards to Deleuze – Plotinus’ One is not the One-All since the emanation of the Intelligence (Nous) contemplates the intelligences which Deleuze trasmutes into sensations – the thought of objects within the plane of immanence (What is Philosophy, p. 212).  For Deleuze, immanence as immanence to the One formulates a transcendent One in line with Neo-Platonism.

Laruelle’s counter is that the One is immanence – that Deleuze’s plane of immanence collapses transcendence and immanence – Laruelle’s One is radical and not absolute – the One is indifferent and not transcendent as per Deleuze’s critique.  But what is the status of Plotinus’ One?

The specter of divinity haunts Plotinus (as it does Whitehead and many others) and obfuscates the origin of the Nous as well as the receptivity of matter.  The One of Plotinus would seem to give birth to an Okenian zero as the repeatability of the intelligences.  The Nous (as an emanation of the One) can be seen as the knowability of change – the possibility of discursivity.

The primacy of the Nous notes the problematic of the correlationist cage that are thinking of being begins with difference that is knowable yet Reason surpasses such limitations, Reason even exceeds the divinity of the Soul.  The Nous as the Sun is beneath the One as light itself and the soul as only a moon.

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One Response to “The One: Plotinus, Laruelle and Deleuze”


  1. 1 Parmenides « armchair philosophy

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