Correlationism and Non-Philosophy

Two absolutely amazing posts that deserve a lot of attention:

Tom, at Grundlegung, gives the best examination of Meillassoux’s argument from ancestrality I’ve seen. My contention (and something I really need to flesh out at some point) is that the argument from ancestrality is only one of Meillassoux’s arguments against correlationism. The second is what I call the last-man standing argument – which involves a number of different philosophical interlocutors facing off against each other (skepticism, weak correlationism, strong correlationism, dogmatism, etc.), with Meillassoux’s non-correlationist result emerging as the victor. The importance of this argument, I believe, can be seen in the fact that it is only in the 3rd chapter that Meillassoux makes his argument for us having knowledge of the absolute. That is to say, it is not the 1st chapter on ancestrality that secures the argument against correlationism. (Although I’m open to the idea that the argument from ancestrality does provide another piece of evidence against correlationism.)

And secondly, Reid, at Planomenology, provides the clearest and most comprehensive exposition of non-philosophy I’ve seen to date. The only thing I have to add to Reid’s stellar post is the question of where does non-philosophy leave us? It appears as though non-philosophy relativizes all philosophies as equally separate from the Real, thereby making any philosophy as good as another. My sense is that in some way, this is right, but it also needs to be tied into something like Deleuze’s perspectivism – where “It is not a variation of truth according to the subject, but the condition in which the truth of a variation appears to the subject.” (The Fold, 20) Alternatively, we might think of the proliferation of methods within Latour, where the product of experiments in various artificial conditions is still nevertheless a fact. There is a truth (not the Truth) produced in each experiment, yet it is possible only within the specific conditions of the experiment. A perspectivism of experiments. In these senses, we can see that each philosophy would provide a different methodology – a different decision – that produces a true but necessarily partial and non-summative picture of the Real.


And finally, most readers likely already know about this event – but Perverse Egalitarianism and Jon Cogburn are hosting a reading group of Lee Braver’s A Thing of This World: A History of Continental Anti-Realism. For those who haven’t read it, Braver’s work is an exceptional piece of both analysis and synthesis. Taking the main figures from continental philosophy and analyzing them in terms of their complex relations to realism, Braver provides not only an eminently readable history of continental philosophy, but also a provocative and important argument about continental philosophy’s path and future. Read in conjunction with After Finitude, these two books should provoke anxiety and self-reflection within all the dominant continental philosophies.

7 thoughts on “Correlationism and Non-Philosophy

  1. Nick –

    I agree with your point about perspectivism, and I’m working toward such a conclusion. This post was just meant as an introduction. For me, it comes down to the point of relativity in use, which means ultimately to what end is our use directed. Non-philosophy is an excellent research program for developing philosophical technologies, but the developments that are made will be relative to specificity of the ends. The same obviously goes with science, which though a neutral research method, is nonetheless employed for the purposes of whoever can afford to fund it.

    For me, non-philosophy must give way to something like the schizoanalysis I’ve been working on, in which the goal is the cultivation of perspectives and their implicated ends that go beyond the accepted forms of the individual and the family.

    More on this later though, this was only the first post in the series. Thanks for your kind words Nick, I really appreciate it.

    • I’m hesitant about this idea of ends, just because it seems to reintroduce some sort of transcendence into immanence. But I’m curious to see how you try and fit it in with non-phi, so I’ll wait till you write more about it!

    • I don’t have time at the moment (hence the short post), but part of the reason for me posting it is to remind myself to go back and write something more substantial on it. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’m going to have much free time for the next little while, so it’ll have to wait a bit!

  2. Nick, when I saw Meillassoux lecture in Maastricht (October 2007) he was saying that ancestrality isnt really an argument at all, but just a sort of aporia that correlationism runs into. For what it is worth.

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