They undermine reason, re-legitimize all kinds of wacky religions and even religious fanaticism! In the end, M.
After Finitude: An Essay on the Necessity of Contingency by Quentin Meillassoux (Hardback, 2008)
Indeed, does that elimination itself have the sense, if it has any at all, of an elimination of and in the constituting subjectivity? The ego lives and precedes all actual and possible beings [, and anything existent whether in a real or irreal sense. What is there is this: in Husserlian terminology, ego is sense-giving [ Sinngebung ], so without ego it is meaningless to speak of sense [ Sinn ]. Ego precedes beings insofar their sense is concerned. Which means — before people. He does so actually already in that very short manuscript Meillasoux decided to include in bibliography.
Meillassoux will make you think that faith in Holy Trinity is for phenomenologist the same as perception of a coffee mug or conviction about the age of Earth. Phenomenologists constructing these experiences as identical would immediately infringe the most central principle of phenomenological investigations. Given is not construed.
After Finitude: An Essay on the Necessity of Contingency by Quentin Meillassoux (Hardback, 2008)
But as I said, given and givenness are problems. Given is determined as always structured. Merleau-Ponty tries to analyze perception in greater detail and gets stuck with depth-perception. The goal of all these laborous inquiries is not to undermine science, but to provide grounding for the science. And the fact that science provides actual knowledge is never really in doubt — in The Idea of Phenomenology Husserl stresses that we could not do critical philosophy if there were not some scientific knowledge ready-at-hand.
Phenomenology only tries to teach us that similar grounding can be found in ethics, aesthetics, politics, and so on. Its stance is actually completely opposite to agnosticism or relativism. Anyway, what M. Two ontological statements can be made about this unreason p. A necessary entity is impossible; 2. The contingency of the entity is necessary. The thing-in-itself is non-contradictory; 2. There is a thing-in-itself.
Things get tricky now. Here things get a bit muddy, but what I got from this was this: M. It is by way of mathematics that we will finally succeed in thinking that which, through its power and beauty, vanquishes quantities and sounds the end of play. And since science now proceeds by way of mathematics, it can ultimately make ancestral statements that are objective statements about distant past p. So, what do we get in return for this thorough misrepresentation of phenomenology and the amount of strawmanship?
Then, by some kind of metonymical poetic device, mathematics become a skeleton key to this hyper-Chaos. And thus mathematical physics — which were always doing quite well — are saved. And straw-phenomenologists with their anti-science, relativism and agnosticism are demolished. Sounds familiar? Been there, done that, fuck that. Dec 29, Mark Broadhead rated it it was ok Shelves: philosophy. What jibber jabbery. He takes everything back to an argument against Kant as if post-structuralism, etc, hadn't already questioned idealism. Apr 27, Hind rated it really liked it Shelves: non-fiction , unowned , psychology-philosophy , needs-a-re-read.
So interesting. But so incomprehensible. It messes with the brain just a tad bit. Make sure you know your philosophy before you attempt this. This pernicious belief forces the advocate of correlationism to commit to the unthinkability of an objective world outside or separate from the existence of subjects -- The world is held as inconceivable if not a World-for-us. All of which means Ia! The omnipotent idiot Sultan, gyres and gnaws at the heart of reality!
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Dec 04, Clare rated it it was ok Shelves: philosophy. Sep 17, Alex Lee rated it it was amazing Shelves: , philosophy , favorites. I haven't read any clearer reading of the philosophical tradition in a while, and that's saying quite a bit. While Meillassoux is mostly interested in the philosophical tradition, and its constraints extending it somewhat to religion and science he is able to dance within that tight framework and come up with a clear summation of the larger picture.
Many thinkers tend to fight in the nitty-gritty, and that's most likely because in the process of spending so much time learning what the "greats" I haven't read any clearer reading of the philosophical tradition in a while, and that's saying quite a bit. Many thinkers tend to fight in the nitty-gritty, and that's most likely because in the process of spending so much time learning what the "greats" have said, they become invested themselves.
And because academia encourages people to disagree with one another. How else could they jockey for position? I agree with most of the comments around; that Meillassoux has managed to say something different. And how he says is intensely fascinating. He sums up the aesthetic goals of so many familiar names: Kant, Hegel, Descartes, Leibniz in so many terms. He brings us around to Badiou and demonstrates in slightly different terms, Badiou's genius and how that enables us to begin to formulate a new beginning, one that does not rely on Being or totalization in order to guarantee meaning.
He leaves us then with a new project, one in which to find a new totem to anchor as the absolute reference, one that isn't Kant's old hat. While I find his book and direction exhilarating, and agree with his reading especially how he puts many terms I do believe that there are other ways to put the pieces. Here is another conception of philosophy: Philosophy isn't so much about truth as it is about managing complexity. Much of the time you do need to have some way of organizing discourse so as to be able to relate to one another. This much is certainly how people interact with one another or how discourses are able to connect.
Meillassoux ultimately wants us to find an anchor as to how to arrange understanding I suppose math is a safer bet for legitimacy than any of the traditional absolutes to which philosophy has in the past adhered. The last pages of his book is basically an outline of a non-metaphysical but speculative absolute based off facticity should look like.
I'd like to find out how this kind of speculation works too. But I think Meillassoux goes a little too far in his search for Truth and tosses some of the baby out with the bathwater because in a way, he takes too much for granted even though in another way, he takes nothing for granted. I don't believe that consciousness or causation or non-contradiction are necessary even if I find that the connection of the parts is what is most interesting as to what meaning is. In a way, perhaps that still makes me a correlationist in Meillassoux's book Yet if any axiometric is available -- as Meillassoux admits -- then why facticity?
Why science? Certainly not the form of science! Science will not permit the asking of questions it cannot answer, because that is bad science. So he must be talking about the content science produces and in what way this kind of dia-chronicity should be found to be meaningful or not It sounds good to speak by naming "where we are" in this way, but then again, I am not so sure we even yet know where we are now. In this way then, I think I don't really even show up on his radar because he takes the productivity of meaning in its mechanics to be beyond question, at least in this inquiry.
Meillassoux also didn't talk about certain other positions contemporary philosophers have taken either. I'd be interested in hearing him on that regard. All the same this is a highly charged book. It requires a familiarity with the tradition, and a willingness to consider thoughts from another angle, a difficulty many of us have if we are not able to distill this vast amount of information into its more fundamental terms.
As time went on and I continued this philosophical detox, I occasionally lapsed back in but felt a slight lack of the wonderment I once had when studying philosophy. In short, it seemed like philosophy was stuck in two paths and at the time, the analytic-continental split was probably seen as more or less unbridgeable. I continued to find the continental side much more interesting and relevant, but also found that almost every reading I made led me to some variation on the open-ended conclusion that it was in fact art, not philosophy, that should be the way forward, at least for me.
It speaks to me for several reasons. It was a wild ride full of cliffhangers, and I look forward to a re-read now I have reached the end. Meillasoux clearly positions this text as if it is to be a major disruption of all that came before, a reboot of everything post-Kant. This is ambitious and probably ultimately misguided, and I love it.
For the person like me who is interested and conversant in philosophy, but not steeped in academia, it is good to know that people out there are attempting to be the next in the line of giants whose shoulders we are all standing on, and to grapple with the big questions not only in terms of the many piles of text out there, but directly at the questions' roots.
My only real complaint about this book is that the end comes quite abruptly and I am left wanting to know where to go from here. Luckily, I had brushed up on Kant several times in the past decade, and that knowledge was enough to get me through this work with only a few sections seeming excessively difficult. Aug 24, Rein rated it liked it. I have rather mixed feelings about this book. It is undoubtedly important, as it claims to provide a way out of what it identifies as the contemporary crisis of philosophy, and has been hailed to have succeeded by quite a few enthusiasts, not the least among whom is Meillassoux' own teacher, Alain Badiou.
I do agree with some of Meillassoux' conclusions, but I have to say I disagree with some others and particularly with many of the arguments that are getting him to his goal. His preferred way o I have rather mixed feelings about this book. His preferred way of going about any topic is to describe at length what his opponent thinks and then refute it. A venerable tradition, no doubt - the problem is, Meillassoux is imperatively telling me what precisely I have to think if I endorse the basic views by which he identifies his opponents, the so-called "correlationists". These are people who share "the idea according to which we only ever have access to the correlation between thinking and being, and never to either term considered apart from the other" p.
For example, Meillassoux insists that the thinking and the being in question have to take place at the same time, in "givenness" - just because Heidegger happened to construe his Dasein in this way. And so on. It is also difficult to observe the barely contained, almost visceral hatred of Kant that breaks through every now and again.
I should probably not even mention the irritating manner in which the Western manner of conceptualizing the world is again and again posited as the only possible one, because this is what many Western philosophers, uneducated as they are in all other thought traditions, do most of the time. But in the case of Meillassoux, whose entire theory hinges on the absolute contingency of the laws governing the natural world, this is especially disturbing, as he cannot conceive of not just the theoretical possibility, but the empirical diversity of the tools different languages and thought traditions use to carve up the reality they try to explain.
All that said, the book is worth careful reading and merits to be seriously considered. Feb 14, Josh rated it it was amazing Shelves: favorites. The best review I can give a philosophy book is that it ripped a few of my assumptions about the universe to shreds - and I enjoyed every second of it. Even if one doesn't accept every conclusion in Quentin Meillassoux's After Finitude, the beauty of his arguments still stand out as a remarkable achievement in a time when philosophy feels a bit tapped out in the originality department. Meillassoux performs the seemingly impossible task of resurrecting the stance of science and the absolute in ph The best review I can give a philosophy book is that it ripped a few of my assumptions about the universe to shreds - and I enjoyed every second of it.
Meillassoux performs the seemingly impossible task of resurrecting the stance of science and the absolute in philosophy while inaugurating a new brand of "unreason. Like many of the 20th century philosophers Meillassoux confronts in After Finitude, I've tended to side with those who assume absolute knowledge is out of our reach as humans, or at least, that Hume's problem of induction pretty much killed any pretension we had about a "completed" science.
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And while those problems still loom, I have to admit After Finitude did open up a new avenue for thinking those issues. Sure, Meillassoux does pepper his essay with the requisite neologisms, but I found most of them to be useful additions to his argument.
Does it get a bit wild when he replaces god with something called "Hyper-chaos"? Yeah, but that's part of the fun. Who knows, by the end you might just find yourself convinced. May 05, Eric Phetteplace rated it really liked it Shelves: philosophy. An essential work for understanding where contemporary philosophy is--or could be--heading. Meillassoux's style of argumentation is unique and refreshing: far from pitting texts against one another as if trying to win the prize for most citations per page, he pits theorems against one another and thoroughly investigates their underlying presumptions.
It's clear that concepts are what's at stake and not personae. He anticipates counterarguments and, what's more, explicitly uses them as opportunit An essential work for understanding where contemporary philosophy is--or could be--heading. He anticipates counterarguments and, what's more, explicitly uses them as opportunities to better explicate his contentions rather than merely bash on fools for not being rigorous enough. If anything the book is a little too mathematical and jargon-filled in its execution: there are a few definitions and technical terms which could've been left out, and the sections which rely on mathematics are not particularly lucid.
As a math major, I thought I would enjoy such reasoning, but I actually find someone like Deleuze's use of math more interesting than M and Badiou's applications of set theory to philosophy. Actually, the whole style isn't to my liking only the section on Fideism in Chapter 2 was really enjoyable but After Finitude is well-written and important nonetheless. Feb 07, Brian Doering rated it really liked it. I struggled to really buckle down on some of the complex passages here - indicating that this was a labor to read, which was to be expected.
However, I'm endlessly intrigued by the prospects of humanity and thought with regard to dia-chronicity and what it says about speculative realism, or materialism as Meillassoux denotes it. Jun 09, Itai Farhi rated it it was amazing Shelves: theoretical-formation , favorites. The first two chapters of this are fantastic, but after he introduces the principle of non-contradiction by fiat, the book takes a sharp turn downhill. Meillassoux's orientation towards chaos is symptomatic of what's wrong with the text.
Aug 14, Eviatar rated it really liked it Shelves: non-fiction , philosophy , philosophy-of-science. A fascinating, ambitious little book. Perhaps too ambitious: I was not satisfied with many of the proofs Meillassoux provides. However, his approach of rejecting all necessity except that of contingency itself seems to me to be the correct one, if only aesthetically, or even politically.
Dec 27, Phillip rated it liked it Shelves: philosophy. I fully agree as with many who have contrinbuted reviews that the book is very well written, clearly argued, and an engaging read. Having said that, there were a number of arguments with which I didn't really agree. Probably the first question arose in relation to the principle claim of the first chapter around the supposed novelty of the problem which the ancestral fossil poses to the perspective which Meillasoux labels correlationism.
The ancestral fossil is one which predates the existence of I fully agree as with many who have contrinbuted reviews that the book is very well written, clearly argued, and an engaging read. The ancestral fossil is one which predates the existence of the given of human consciousness, as such it acts as a profound threat to a position founded in the necessity of this consciousness.
And this is because rather than simply being an absence in the given the given, given by consciousness the ancestral fossil presupposes an absence of the given. This difference which characterizes the fundamental novelty of the threat to correlationism by the ancestral fossil however is arguably based in a mischaracterization of correlationism.
The difference between an absence of the given and an absence in the given could only be determined, on the basis of those lacuna which constitute the condition of finitude for correlationism, on the basis of any absence in the given already having been reified by the given such that these lacuna would not be understood as an absence of the given. True the given may be present at some point or place in the manifest, but this is not to say that it would be present at those points where it is not correlated with the manifest.
To argue otherwise would be precisely not what correlationism should be, that is that it is predicated on a relation inherently finite in nature. To say that there is a difference between an absence of the given and an absence in the given is to say that in the case of the absence in the given the given is presupposed as being where it is not, such that an absence in the given could not be an absence of the given, such that it correlates the manifest even in those places where it does not give it.
Or to put it more simply I don't buy Meillasoux's argument that these lacuna are not an instance of an absence of the given.
After Finitude: An Essay on the Necessity of Contingency | Immanuel Kant | Substance Theory
A self consistent correlationist could not commit themselves to such a proposition and remain a correlationist given that this would necessitate contravening precisely that quality of the correlation which is characteristic of it, that is its inherent finitude. The finitude of the correlation would always presuppose at least its absence which its finitude would necessarily condition.
For me this seems to be a semantic difference at best and I find it hard from the outset to accept this distinction which Meillasoux wants to argue for. Secondly is a certain equivocation which Meillasoux seems to engage in, in respect to the categories of necessity and reason. Putting it in a nutshell we can say that everywhere owing to the necessary finitude of our perspective we see things the reason for which we have no idea, this is not to say however that there is no necessity in the manner of the appearance of that which appears, it is just that the reason is internal to the auto consistency of being, to which our finite perspective will never give us access.
However, and as we have argued, the absence of reason in the apparent is precisely the product of the necessary finitude of finite perspectives. A good example of this is an interesting one used by Bergson, that is, to see the colour red as such, to register it as the flowing of a series of light waves, would require 25, years, I'm not sure what to time frame of the initial exposure was but if we saw red as a series of light waves, then we would cease to see red as the colour red, but additionally, we would subsequently be presented with the question of what these light waves are finally.
Therefore, light waves could be taken as the reason behind the appearance of red, and red appears precisely to the extent that perception is insensible to the reason for its appearance. Meillasoux argues that because we cannot calculate the totality of possible outcomes which could be derived by taking the billiard table as the initial state from which we calculate probabilities, we are unable to argue that we would have already noticed the contingency of the law's of nature because, quite simply, if it is impossible to calculate the total number of possible outcomes then it is also impossible to say that it simply hasn't happened yet.
We haven't noticed because nature has never demonstrated its truly contingent nature to us yet. Probability however does not necessarily require the presupposition of the absence of ontological consistency behind that which is being calculated probabilistically. To the contrary, probabilistic calculation only has value to the extent that the known factors located within a given system can be pinned onto an ontologically consistent context which facilitates the appearance of that particular system.
If there were no such consistency then the value of calculating probabilistically from a set of given factors would be nonexistent because we would have to admit that any possible outcome was equally as likely as any other. We would never think to calculate in that manner. Internal ontological necessity could be said to be at least an implicit metaphysical presumption of probabilism.
If we calculated the probability of the outcome of a horse race this would be done on the basis of the totality of the known factors. Of course unknown factors, or strange atrractors could determine the outcome, but there is no reason to think that these unknown factors would take the form of ontologically unprecedented events which would radically break with the consistency of that which appears, and that which furnishes the conditions of possibility for the appearance of the system in question.
Meillasoux having freed appearance from any such claims of consistency by having first extrapolated from the necessary absence of the reason in the apparent itself, but then the reason for the apparent as we have argued precisely cannot appear within the apparent owing to its being the product of finite perspective is able to argue that we should accept that literally any possibility is equally feasible because we cannot finitely ascertain a reason.
The problem for me is that at several points along the way of this chain of reasoning Meillasoux engages in some conceptual conflations which are difficult to accept. Meillasoux does say at one point that philosophy is a strange discourse which by its very nature will rely on quasi sophistical arguments, it feels like some of these arguments are genuinely sophistical. But this really leaves us with a profound problem which would be, how do we determine the relationship between this foundational hyper chaos and appearance. Meillasoux would be committed to arguing that there is no determinate relationship between the two fields but that somehow they do relate in some way.
Another problem I have with this is the idea that this is all new. Lyotard was probably the most radical materialist of his generation and this was well before After Finitude. Already in The Inhuman, Lyotard was considering precisely these question of the radical contingency not only of all anthropological perspective in a manner equally as radical as what Meillasoux does here. Probably because Lyotard framed his ideas in the context of occasional essays which do not seem to have the same level of argumentational development they were not received or have not had the same impact as a book like After Finitude, even if their conceptual implications are equally as far reaching.
Lyotard didn't create systems of thought which had an outwardly imposing appearance but rather lose reflections which belied their real scope. May 16, Daniel rated it it was amazing. In possibly the most important philosophical text of the 21st century thus far, Meillassoux sets his sights to refute numerous sacred tropes in traditional philosophy from Kantian transcendentalism to even Heideggerian existentialism Being no longer requires Thinking.
The only thing that is absolutely necessary is the "capacity-to-be-otherwise", for everything that can exist must also be negatable. We cannot say that "everything is contingent" for that statement is itself absolute , but what In possibly the most important philosophical text of the 21st century thus far, Meillassoux sets his sights to refute numerous sacred tropes in traditional philosophy from Kantian transcendentalism to even Heideggerian existentialism Being no longer requires Thinking.
We cannot say that "everything is contingent" for that statement is itself absolute , but what we can say is that there is no fact of the matter as to whether what is will continue to remain as it is. Even the physical laws of the universe, the harmonious nature of reality as Leibniz sought to protect and a co-extensive God that pre-selects the best of all possible worlds , are not necessary.
One begins to understand the audacity of these claims insofar as they posit a time radically different from that of consciousness, a time that, due to its indifference, would seem to resist the modern tenets of the inseparability of the act of thinking from its content, thus enabling us to conceive the realms of phenomena and of the in-itself each apart from the other. Meillassoux's postulates, therefore, aim to break with those of what he refers to as correlationism: the dominant philosophical position that following Kant postulates that our knowledge can engage only with what is given to thought and never with an entity subsisting by itself, and that reaches its exhaustion with Heidegger and Wittgenstein.
This book breaks with modern philosophy in showing that it is science that compels the thinker to discover the source of its own absoluteness. The book therefore deals with two issues -- the arche-fossil and Hume's problem regarding the necessity of the causal connection -- that are linked to the question of the absolute scope of mathematics. The rehabilitation of the mathematical absolute contests three prevalent positions for which the de-absolutization of thought also implies its de-universalization: first, all forms of neo-Kantianism and the different varieties of the contemporary "return to Kant", for whom it is only possible to uncover the universal conditions for an entity's perceptibility; second, the philosophy of "radical finitude" that thinks the facticity of our relation to the world in terms of a situation that is itself finite; and finally, all forms of postmodernism that dismiss any claim to universality as a mystifying relic of old times.
How then can one conceive the absolute today without falling back into a dogmatic, metaphysical position, or ending up in a skeptical one? It is clear that the absolute in question is a deflated one, an a-significant and reasonless absolute devoid of any mystery, unable to elicit an enigma, one which recalls Angelus Silesius's dictum according to which "the rose is without why. The wager, therefore, consists in discovering a form of "absolute necessity that does not reinstate any form of absolutely necessary entity" What is at issue throughout the book is to separate the absoluteness of metaphysical discourse from the broadly accepted claim that any conception of the absolute must necessarily be metaphysical.
It is a question of thinking an absolute without thought, an absolute both independent from thought, and able to be conceived by thought in the eventuality of thought's own absence or disappearance. Chapter 2, "Fideism, Metaphysics, Speculation," not only maps the different positions that have determined and still determine different conceptions of the absolute, but also exposes the necessary conditions to de-absolutize correlationism and thus clear the way toward a truly speculative materialist form of the absolute.
This is the goal of chapter 3, "The Principle of Factiality. Moreover, modernity did not result in the oft-repeated process of secularization, but rather in a religionizing [ enreligement ] through de-Christianization. Against this current situation, the goal is to find access to an absolute "capable of founding science's ancestral discourse. Facticity is the point of departure for gaining access to this absolute: Meillassoux shows that it is not the correlation, but rather the facticity of the correlation, that constitutes the absolute.
This entails changing the function facticity has had for correlationism, insofar as it has to be understood not as limiting our knowledge of the absolute, but instead as granting us knowledge of it. In the end, facticity amounts to unveiling the in-itself.
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The proof of this follows from Meillassoux's demanding argument designed to exhibit correlationism's blind spot and open a path out of the "correlationist circle. Furthermore, facticity is finally transformed into the real property of everything that is capable of "actually becoming otherwise and without reason. The consequence of facticity consists in asserting the actual contingency of the laws of nature, a seemingly odd consequence if one keeps in mind that one of the book's goals is to provide a foundation for scientific knowledge.
The absolutization of facticity -- the idea according to which Meillassoux posits the absolute impossibility of a necessary being -- entails a shifting away from the principle of sufficient reason into an anhypothetical and absolute principle of unreason. Nevertheless, if facticity allows for a way out of correlationism, the primary absolute that results from its absolutization cannot function as a foundation of scientific knowledge. This is because this absolute appears as an extreme form of chaos "hyper-chaos" , as a time that is "the eternal and lawless possible becoming of every law.
Furthermore, two propositions are derived from this principle -- the principle of non-contradiction, and the necessity of the "there is". These propositions, in turn, enable the author to defend Kant's thesis concerning the existence of the thing-in-itself. By claiming that physical laws are contingent, Meillassoux proposes in chapter 4 a speculative solution to Hume's problem of primary and secondary qualities.
The author's treatment of what at first could have passed for an innocuous metaphysical non-problem is implemented in order to transform our outlook on unreason. A truly speculative solution to Hume's problem must conceive a world devoid of any physical necessity that, nevertheless, would still be compatible with the stability of its physical laws.
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