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.