• This article examines the conflicting representations of plasticity and epigenetics in the work of philosopher Catherine Malabou and evolutionary theorists Mary Jane West-Eberhard and Eva Jablonka. Malabou effaces the unsettled debates within the life sciences in order to speak of a new biological ‘paradigm’ and to attribute values of novelty or inventiveness to life itself. The aporias of evolutionary narrative and causality reveal a necessary differentiality and textuality that belongs neither to life nor science itself, but leaves a haunting remanence within every corpus. New materialism resists this necessity of life-science, which calls for a deconstructive reading.