François Laruelle was born on 22 August 1937 in Chavelot, a village in the Northeast of France. Born to a Calvinist family, Laruelle found himself part of a minority in Catholic France, though a minority that historically has been seen as heretical rather than as other in the way that Jews or Muslims have historically been cast. Though he has described his family as religious (“they were very strong believers”; his brother is a Protestant pastor) and he received “a rather strict religious education,” there does not appear to be an explicit influence of Calvinism on his work, even as he goes on to claim that this religious education was “a Kantian education!—there the sensible world and the intelligible world, invisible things … doubtless I retained something from that” (Laruelle 2013a, 3). While this generally dualist position can be seen throughout his work, it was also his family’s position as a heretical minority within a broader culture that is taken up by Laruelle and generalized. While he has jokingly declared that, of the European philosophers, only he and Fichte have shepherded cows—Laruelle doing so for his grandparents and as part of a family very different from the stereotypical image of the cultured French bourgeoisie—he eventually moved to Paris to attend the prestigious Lycée Henri-IV, a preparatory sixth-form college, from the ages of sixteen to nineteen. He has remarked that during this time he did not always take his studies seriously, but excelled in literature and philosophy, oscillating between which attracted him the most. He came to choose philosophy and studied at the Sorbonne and the École Normale Supérieure at Saint-Cloud. He began his professional career teaching at Nanterre (University of Paris X, now called Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense) in 1967 and completed a doctoral dissertation under the guidance of Paul Ricoeur on the general economy of hermeneutics and a minor thesis on Félix Ravaisson. Along with Paul Ricoeur, among those on his thesis committee familiar to Anglophone readers of French philosophy was the Catholic phenomenologist Michel Henry. Despite his seemingly conventional path through the French phenomenological tradition dominant at the time, he quickly moved to the avant-garde wing of French philosophy with works of political philosophy (Nietzsche Contra Heidegger [1977] and Au-delà de Principe de Pouvoir [1978]) and deconstruction (Machines Textuelles. Déconstruction et Libido D’écriture [1976] and Le Declin D’ecriture [1977]).