CHARACTERS ¿ Après la finitude Essai sur la nécessité de la contigence

SUMMARY Après la finitude. Essai sur la nécessité de la contigence

CHARACTERS ¿ Après la finitude. Essai sur la nécessité de la contigence º “uentin Meillassoux abre en la historia de la filosofía concebida en este punto como historia de lo ue es conocer un camino nuevo” Alain Badiou“Rara vez nos encontramos con un libro ue no solo alcanza los niveles más altos Pre kantianas es Caos y mera facticidad sinrazón y contingencia ciega de todo lo ue existePublicado originalmente en 2006 Después de la finitud revolucionó apenas apareció toda la escena contemporánea Las réplicas del terremoto ue provocó no cesan aún porue las armas ue el texto aporta a una crítica de las ideologías y del retorno de lo religioso se vuelven cada día más indispensables; y el gesto mismo de esa especulación vuelta por primera vez en mucho tiempo a la comprensión sin más del universo revitalizó el paisaje desolado ue habían dejado tras de sí en el continente filosófico las sucesivas desapariciones de Gilles Deleuze y Jacues Derrida. What jibber jabbery He takes everything back to an argument against Kant as if post structuralism etc hadn't already uestioned idealism

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Na ue lo ata a la conciencia y a su lenguaje no existe humano sin mundo ni mundo sin humano sino un vínculo primigenio entre ambos El ingreso de Meillassoux a la escena filosófica marca el comienzo de una nueva época el fin del punto de vista trascendental y el retorno de la ontología realistaPrecursor de un movimiento filosófico conocido mundialmente como “realismo especulativo” Meillassoux se lanza en este su primer libro tras los pasos de Locke y de Descartes a la conuista de lo absoluto por el pensamiento Pero el absoluto recobrado más allá de la finitud humana carece ya de toda eminencia o necesidad y de cualuier vestigio de ingenuidad y nostalgia. I’ve been trained in phenomenology but I’m open to criticism And Meillassoux does provide a criticism – o boy is he fed up with phenomenology The problem is tho that his criticism is uite straw man yTo be precise Meillassoux’s beef is with what he calls “correlationism” a mixture which includes Kant as original sinner and then various folks from Nietzsche to Deleuze to Wittgenstein But also phenomenology of course So let me assume he means phenomenology I’ll say “phenomenology” where he says “correlationism” from now onMeillassoux somehow thinks that since phenomenology is so focused on consciousness – and its constituting power – it can’t make sense of “ancestral” statements – statements about the being of the universe before the conscious life came to be OK I never stumbled on this being a particular problem in my years of studying Husserl it is a problem sure but so are many other things see below but I’m curious what M has to offer The things are not to a good start when M thinks that this is somehow a gotcha uestion p 16“Now why is this interpretation of ancestrality obviously insupportable Well to understand why all we have to do is ask the correlationist phenomenologist the following uestion what is it that happened 456 billion years ago Did the accretion of the earth happen yes or noIn one sense yes the correlationist phenomenologist will reply because the scientific statements pointing to such an event are objective in other words intersubjectively verifiable But in another sense no she will go on because the referent of such statements cannot have existed in the way in which it is naïvely described ie as non correlated with a consciousness”Eh false Phenomenologist will simply say “yes” to that uestion The uestion is posed within what Husserlians call “natural attitude” – an attitude which considers the worldly being as existing – and any phenomenologist would therefore respond with the same attitude according to his best knowledge – yes accretion of the earth is most probably what happened 456 billion years ago so scientists teach us and they know best The uestion is actually not much different in this matter than “did you have a coffee in the morning”Then there is “philosophical” or phenomenological attitude That’s that famous bracketing Einklammerung of natural attitude or phenomenologicaltranscendental reduction or epoché – as you wish In this attitude the thesis of the natural world is not posed – translated no position with regarding to actual existence of the given is taken Again the uestion “what happened 456 billion years ago” does not differ here from the uestion “did you have coffee in the morning” If phenomenologist is in phenomenological attitude she will remain mute – she will not answer such ontologically loaded uestionsPhenomenologist has no particular motivation to doubt the scientific consensus about the accretion of earth creation of universe and so on Meillassoux nonetheless falsely claims she does And he then proceeds wantonly to accuse phenomenologists of terrible things you see the support all this sort of relativism They undermine science They don’t allow scientists to say that “what comes before comes before” p 123 According to them Young Earthers are as valid as scientists They undermine reason re legitimize all kinds of wacky religions and even religious fanaticism Somehow throughout the middle of the book Meillassoux’s straw phenomenologist turns into an agnosticIn the end M is outright malevolent He accuses Husserl of “eternalization of the transcendental ego which supposedly survives the death of every empirical ego” p 122 Wow I thought how could I missed such wacky claim in those thousands of pages I’ve readM refers to one of the late unpublished manuscripts the only work of Husserl in the bibliography btw – one of those thousands pages of scribbled messy thoughts that every student of Husserl dreads“What sense could the collapsing masses in space in one space constructed a priori as absolutely homogenous have if the constituting life were eliminated 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”Admittedly this may be kind of confusing – this being the personal note not intended for publication anyway But Husserl doesn’t claim there what M assigns to him At all Meillassoux’s reformulation amounts to imbecile claim 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 M gets sure to cut out the part in brackets though to make Husserl appear crazeeBut let’s get back Phenomenologists allegedly cannot make sense of statements about events “prior to givenness in its entirety” p 21 Which means – before people This allegation is based on complete misinterpretation of the term “givenness” in phenomenological philosophy It’s actually a trivial mistake what is analyzed as transcendental relationship is interpreted by Meillassoux as relationship partes extra partes relationship between objects So there is I dunno a rock just like laying there uietly for thousands years until some Homo sapiens came to be and transforms the rock by his mental power into “given” “Givenness” is here considered a property of object But it’s notMeillasoux tries to anticipate this objection – oh you’re going to accuse me of mixing transcendental and empirical – and his prepared retort is this p 25 any transcendental ego “ remains indissociable from its incarnation in a body” “That the transcendental subject has this or that body is an empirical matter but that it has a body is a non empirical condition of its taking place – the body one could say is the ‘retro transcendental’ condition for the subject of knowledge” Wow I mean man Actually you know phenomenologists are aware of it and call it not “retro transcendental” condition but well “transcendental” condition Husserl uite famously distinguished between body as object Körper let’s say body in empirical sense and lived body Leib in transcendental sense He does so actually already in that very short manuscript Meillasoux decided to include in bibliography And you know there’s this French guy called Merleau Ponty who wrote a fucking book on the topic of incarnation of ego and it’s kind of famousWhatever Let’s get back to those horrible things phenomenologists are allegedly guilty of – all the relativism anti science agnosticism and so on and to Meillasoux’s misunderstanding of the term “givenness” – specifically of the kind of problem it poses in phenomenology because “givenness” is ultimately a problem thereLet’s start with the fact that none of the sins Meillassoux assigns to phenomenology are true Phenomenologist analyze the given without taking position on the existence of the given but that doesn’t mean there’s no distinguishing Let us uote Husserl’s uite famous principle of all principles which one finds in Ideen I but also eg on IEP“Every originary presentive intuition is a legitimizing source of cognition that everything originally so to speak in its 'personal' actuality offered to us in 'intuition' is to be accepted simply as what it is presented as being but also only within the limits in which it is presented there”OK Husserl isn't the most thrilling writer – but what this means is that you try to describe the given as it is given 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 That’s not true simply because these experiences are not given in the same way Phenomenologists constructing these experiences as identical would immediately infringe the most central principle of phenomenological investigations Given is not construedBut as I said given and givenness are problems Eg when delving to analysis of time consciousness given crumbles to infinitesimal now occurrences which are already passively synthesizing Given is determined as always structured Merleau Ponty tries to analyze perception in greater detail and gets stuck with depth perception It’s almost impossible to actually describe what’s given In years Merleau Ponty will experiment with separation l’écart of time and consciousness In one word – important in context of Meillassoux’s book – what is stumbled upon here as a kind of limit of phenomenological investigation is “facticity” of the given – yes its ultimate contigency This is not due to our necessary “ignorance” as M alleges it is really the nature of any given that it’s rooted in facticityThe goal of all these laborous inuiries 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 It’s true that phenomenological solution involves a return to intersubjectivity – a scientific community – as ground for scientific knowledge but this in no way interferes with the ways science is done 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 relativismM is however dismissive of this intersubjectivity led explanation Surely scientist don’t need such backing – but they can live without Meillassoux’s backing too Anyway what M offers us after this hatched job what glorious philosophical advance It’s “speculative realism” which is realism that’s not naïve and which is speculation that’s not metaphysical In it he transfers the “facticity” from the given to the resurrected Kantian thing in itself This “facticity” is unreason – the wholly other of consciousness Being unreasonable unthinkable this facticity is ominous it’s hyper Chaos p 64; I’m not shocked by this stuff after Merleau Ponty’s hyperdialectics la chair etc Two ontological statements can be made about this unreason p 67“1 A necessary entity is impossible;2 The contingency of the entity is necessary”After some speculation we can resurrect two Kant’s statements about thing in itself although now on firm ontological ground“1 The thing in itself is non contradictory;2 There is a thing in itself”How does hyper Chaotic contigency of the thing in itself help to boost scientific ancestral claims against phenomenologist hordes Things get tricky now Meillassoux goes on to say that he faces basically Hume’s problem of lack of causality Here things get a bit muddy but what I got from this was this M considers metaphysical realist skeptical and Kantian transcendental responses to Hume’s problem proceeds to reject them all and as speculative realist maintains Hume’s problem as unsolvable – there’s actually no reason the things are the way they are But he is able to maintain this position only by help of mathematics Namely with help of Cantor and his notion of “transfinite” And if it's math that helps us finally understand the truth of necessity of hyper Chaos there’s no reason not to confine to mathematics and mathematics only p 108“the most powerful conception of the incalculable and unpredictable event is provided by a thinking that continues to be mathematical – rather than one which is artistic poetic or religious It is by way of mathematics that we will finally succeed in thinking that which through its power and beauty vanuishes uantities and sounds the end of play”Mathematics are the way And since science now proceeds by way of mathematics it can ultimately make ancestral statements that are objective statements about distant past p 114 5“Once again the fundamental point at issue is not the fact that science is spontaneously realist since the same could be said of every discourse but rather the fact that science deploys a process whereby we are able to know what may be while we are not and that this process is linked to what sets science apart the mathematization of nature”It’s difficult to follow this last line of argument Alas the last pages are only filled with kind of rant against modern “correlationist” philosophy You see as Galileo came with mathematization of physics and Copernicus decentered the man with his heliocentric model philosophy underwent its Ptolemian counter revolution which Kant ironically called “Copernican revolution” abandoned pre critical metaphysics and put the man into the center – thus undermining sciences on every step increasing jealously their counter revolutionary verve with every scientific progressSo what do we get in return for this thorough misrepresentation of phenomenology and the amount of strawmanship We get “facticity” taken from phenomenological inuiries hypostatized as Kantian thing in itself redefined as hyper Chaos – but stripped of links to rich phenomenological tradition because we are now on ground zero in new philosophical school supposedly Then by some kind of homologous poetic device mathematics become a skeleton key to this hyper Chaos And thus mathematical physics – which were always doing uite well – are saved And straw phenomenologists with their anti science relativism and agnosticism are demolishedSounds familiar In the end it’s actually every fucking naturalist reductionist and whatever shouting “Science works and it gives us stuff while you talk gibberish” And sure when you point to problems of politics ethics aesthetics you’re always referred to infinite scientific to do list which may be completed sometimes or not but no one can do it other but Science™ Been there done that fuck that Meillassoux is not naturalist – actually to a naturalist he would sound like the very same “gibberish” he criticizes That’s kind of brave move sure But it doesn’t make the book goodCheck out Dan Zahavi’s dissection of SR

Quentin Meillassoux ✓ 1 CHARACTERS

Après la finitude Essai sur la nécessité de la contigence“uentin Meillassoux abre en la historia de la filosofía concebida en este punto como historia de lo ue es conocer un camino nuevo” Alain Badiou“Rara vez nos encontramos con un libro ue no solo alcanza los niveles más altos del pensamiento sino ue establece estándares nuevos transformando por entero el campo en el ue interviene uentin Meillassoux hace exactamente eso” Slavoj ŽižekLa posmodernidad es autolimitación de la filosofía ue al abstenerse de toda definición absoluta involuntariamente acaba por “resucistar lo religioso bajo todas sus formas incluidas las más inuietantes” Es también confinamiento del ser del mundo a un círculo correlaci. Incredibly interesting and in all likelihood philosophically important but not something I'd call a whole whackadoodle of fun For the second time in a row a French philosopher has—at least via translation—composed his thought in a way that strives for clarity and readability which has so impressed me that I shall no longer sub in the words Beneluxer Bay when I'm singing along to ÆnemaAnd as for Meillassoux's contention More or less as far as I can determine it a hearty Hey you Post critical Correlationists Ancestrality has fucked you up big time such that you're either retrojecting or dogmatizing Deal Plus something about math— All those aspects of the object that can be formulated in mathematical terms can be meaningfully conceived as properties of the object in itself What really tugged on my lederhosen was Meillassoux's meticulously drawn contention that the current prevalence of what he calls strong correlationism—the offshots of Wittgenstein and Heidegger—have beaten back the weak correlationism held by the Kantians such that the absolute and the in itself have been released from unthinkability beyond that of the rationally knowable to the degree that Fideism has become the obverse of Correlationism The death of metaphysics means that every religion has been freed to abandon sufficient reason and embrace faith as its sole source conseuently leaving philosophy incapable of challenging its determined belief on anything other than the moralethical plane; so it is that the waning of dogmatism has seen a waxing of fundamentalism fideism making claims about an Absolute unknowable and unthinkable through reason but unchallengeable by the same against faith due to the very constraints of strong for ourself correlationism It's yet another Post Enlightenment Festivus miracleAnd while I'm not tooting my own horn I have to cop to having pondered back in my Cyclonopedia days how philosophy would account for the cosmos during those several billions of years pre conscious beings; or to be precise back in the period of inflation andor the Big Bang considering that the latter would have consisted of a singularity unimpeded by the physical laws of spacetime and un as an absolute thing in itself plus every conceivable future thing in itself and subjectivity compressed into an infinitely massive null point in an unformed space fully potential with forthcoming extension and manifestation I pondered How would one account for this wombed universal pre ejaculate Unfortunately contra Meillassoux my considered conjecture ended up being as often has proved the case I have absolutely no idea whatsoever Yet it remains so intriguing particularly in the light of the uantum indeterminacies that were such a revelatory part of twentieth century science; in a universe sans any manner of sentient being does the lack of observer mean that the universe notwithstanding its primordial hotter composition would not be progressingexpandingcohering in a manner that would be logically and chronologically consistent to our own mental processing of spacetime Impossible to calculate because any intervention by thought even retrojected from our current cosmo temporal position would bring to bear all of the formational properties of an observing eye; but does its unthinkability necessitate that it was a universe of unbeing Could it or less be stated to have not properly existed as we understand the meaning of that word ere sentient witnesses But how then to account for the rise of those sentient beings in the first place This is the realm into which Meillassoux attempts to bring philosophy through his conception of Ancestrality roughly the first 45 billion years of the universe; and I found it rewarding even though yet uite confusing in its multiplicity of specific terminologies and meticulous reasoning whose important positions within Meillassoux's argumentative chain I freuently and unfortunately had to implicitly accept in order to proceed with the whole The bottom line is that this as with most every philosophical work I have encountered reuires multiple readings if all of its speculative potentialities are to be realized in an effective manner by the reader—most especially this reader What's wonderful about it is that Meillassoux writes so lucidly and agreeably that doing so will prove an anticipated pleasure not a chore I hold that to be a significant accomplishment within the world of modern philosophyThis admittedly awkward er was appended purely to maintain the syllable meterI hope to flesh this out in the manner that Meillassoux's hard work deserves It's just that it's too nice outside to be slipping into the critical form reuired to wend a non return to Cartesian primary and secondary ualities to take account of mathematics as an entity less Absolute since Ancestrality and its Arche Fossil have forced Post critical philosophy to contemplate the Great Outdoors of an absolutely contingent Speculative Realism such that a resurgent Fideism may be challengeable via the non Entity Un Givenness Absolute derived from Correlational Facticity on its own faith limned grounds and beyond the merely moralethical