Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Completely original and meticulously argued philosophical manifesto

After finitude: an essay on the necessity of contingency  Quentin Meillassoux, Alain Badiou, Ray Brassier - 2008 - 148 pages
simply says the same thing as science: had there been a witness to the fall of the vase, he or she would have seen it fall according to the laws of gravity; ... Reviews
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Well, I sat up all evening reading this- I had to read various sections twice to make all the connections that the text supplies. I have to say that it is, beyond being a startlingly *original* text ...
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Meillassoux's first book is nothing less than a completely original and meticulously argued philosophical manifesto. Drawing upon the ontology of his teacher, Alain Badiou, Meillassoux aims to prove ... Write review
This is the most rigorous attempt yet to initiate the 'Death of God', breaking with the disavowed fideism/pietism of post-structuralism. I can't help but feel that meillasoux takes especial issue with the haphazard bricolage of Bataille, Levinas and Kierkegaard that constitutes 'deconstructive' religiosity today, and this can be read alongside Zizek's 'The Puppet and the Dwarf' as an attempt to salvage a (militant) thought of universality and the absolute from mystical obscurantism. 
It should be said that Meillasoux is unequivocal on this point: he is a hyper-rationalist who is attempting to free philosophy from its own affectations of modesty, a legacy of self-deprecation that has only served to dissimulate its ressentiment and will to power. In consigning thought to the iron cage of the all-too-human, 'correlationism' is nothing other than the name of thought's prostration, connoting the surrender of its own indomitable sovereignty. By inserting the (thinking/linguistic/intentional/historical/conscious) being-in-the-world into every thought, correlationism effectively forecloses thought's access to the alterity of the world, the 'great outdoors' of non-human/ahistorical reality. Even in its most radical variants (nietzsche, heidegger, foucault), correlationism scarcely breaks with this imperative of mediation and 'co-propriation'. 

I don’t find the correlationist argument very convincing– it’s a bit like undergrad arguments that everything is perception –but I do believe that sticky networks exist. We often find ourselves trapped in life or spider webs of our own making. Sticky networks are like correlationism in this respect, with the added caveat that they are accurate representations of what life is actually like rather than phantoms of tired philosophers. In trying to escape them you unwittingly reproduce them. The question then becomes that of how it’s possible to nullify the adhesive of these sorts of networks. At what point does the network become something entirely other?

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