From a mathematical perspective, this paper will compare the 'Speculative' Realist Philosophy of Alain Badiou with the Process Philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead. To this end, each philosophy will be examined in terms of how it departs from the strictures of Kantian Critical Philosophy, specifically, in terms of how it articulates the structural relationship between subjects, objects, and relata. Moreover, each philosophy will also be judged both in terms of how it addresses the mereological distinction between internal and external relations, (...) and how it conceives of the relationship holding between philosophy and its others: the four Althusserian 'generics' of science, politics, art, and love. (shrink)
Is reality the basis of everything or has reality itself an other basis? What makes reality – not the real things – to be active, to exist? The question of what is real seems to be an easy question, because in our daily lives we are and must be naive realists. We ourselves, the things around us, the world, the facts, all that is real. there must be several concepts of reality if we want to say that not only physical (...) or material things of everyday life are real, e. g. numbers, π, Dr. Faustus, thoughts, emotions and other things. On the other hand, given the difference of classical physics and modern physics, we see that even that form of knowledge, which seems to be most responsible for reality, natural science, cannot give the desired uniqueness in terms of what itself wants or needs to understand as real. Alternatively, when we see that nothing can be and nothing can be real without being in a world, and when we understand the world as the order of things, which I call worldI , then this leads us to the speculative answer that it is exactly the “unreal” worldI which is the reason why the everyday reality, worldI I , is real. The worldI is the basis for the reality of our empirical worldI I . The considerations presented here have nothing to do with the idealistic conception of possibility, founded in the power of the subject, nor with the existential concept of potentiality, founded in the Entwurf des Daseins. (shrink)
This chapter is a rethinking of my earlier “The Ages of Beauty” which investigated Charles Hartshorne’s Diagram of Aesthetic Values. The argument is placed in a long history of beauty being considered as the middle between extremes. It slowly develops into a structure not merely of aesthetic experience but of existence itself, making it a competitor of Heidegger’s fourfold.
Drawing from Arjen Kleinherenbrink's recent book, Against Continuity: Gilles Deleuze's Speculative Realism (2019), this paper undertakes a detailed review of Kleinherenbrink's fourfold "externality thesis" vis-à-vis Deleuze's machine ontology. Reading Deleuze as a philosopher of the actual, this paper renders Deleuzean syntheses as passive contemplations, pulling other (passive) entities into an (active) experience and designating relations as expressed through contraction. In addition to reviewing Kleinherenbrink's book (which argues that the machine ontology is a guiding current that emerges in Deleuze's work after (...) Difference and Repetition) alongside much of Deleuze's oeuvre, we relate and juxtapose Deleuze's machine ontology to positions concerning externality held by a host of speculative realists. Arguing that the machine ontology has its own account of interaction, change, and novelty, we ultimately set to prove that positing an ontological "cut" on behalf of the virtual realm is unwarranted because, unlike the realm of actualities, it is extraneous to the structure of becoming-that is, because it cannot be homogenous, any theory of change vis-à-vis the virtual makes it impossible to explain how and why qualitatively different actualities are produced. (shrink)
Finishing this essay exactly one year after the official arrival of the SARS-COV-2 virus in Belgium and the Netherlands—where the cartographers of this essay are currently located—it is safe to say that the COVID-19 pandemic has immensely impacted our day-to-day lives. The pandemic has not only forced us to question various taken-for-granted existential certainties and luxuries provided by a capitalist system out to destroy the earth but has also re-spotlighted post-Enlightenment critiques of the human subject. If these pandemic times are (...) indeed more-than-human, then the clock is ticking for the discipline of philosophical anthropology to face these post-anthropological facts and receive what feminist science studies scholar Donna J. Haraway has aptly called a thorough dose of “epistemological electroshock therapy” (1988, p. 578). Taking Haraway’s foregoing call and the idea of thinking-with the (end of the) Anthropocene seriously, we construct a critical cartography of Emmanuel Levinas’ take on philosophical anthropology in dialogue with other major philosophical anthropologists and feminist new materialists while arguing for a post-anthropology for the Chthulucene. (shrink)
In this article I argue that Gilles Deleuze's reading of David Hume in his early work Empiricism and Subjectivity avoids the central claim made by speculative realists that all post-Kantian philosophy suffers from what they call correlationism. My claim is not that Deleuze's reading of Hume produces a non-correlationist ontology, but that it leads him to a non-ontological constructivist philosophy. In Deleuze's terms, this produces a transcendental empiricism of "thinking with AND, instead of thinking IS, instead of thinking for IS."1I (...) begin with a recap of the argument that Immanuel Kant understood Hume as an epistemological skeptic and that Kant's use of the transcendental deduction to respond to Hume led... (shrink)
Una de las razones fundamentales por las cuales la muerte causa dolor se debe a una comprensión equívoca acerca del sentido último de la vida humana. Además, la Modernidad se desliga, en ocasiones, de la dimensión emotiva y afectiva del ser humano. Así pues, toda terapéutica del duelo mortuorio exige reflexionar con seriedad acerca del sentido de la muerte, tarea en la cual la tradición filosófica y teológica occidental es un apoyo ineludible. En la primera parte se ha de revisar, (...) desde la perspectiva filosófica de Epicuro, la concepción de la muerte según la cual la opinión ordinaria es errada y no da cabida a una vida realizada como fundamento de la tranquilidad y la salud. En la segunda parte se esbozarán los rasgos y las notas esenciales de una concepción cristiana de la muerte a partir de la obra de San Agustín de Hipona, exponiendo algunas medidas concretas de preparación para la muerte con base en su pensamiento. (shrink)
The work of Michel Serres is often presented as a radical break with the work of Gaston Bachelard. The aim of this paper is to partly correct this image, by focusing on Serres’s early Hermes series (1969-1980). In these books Serres portrays himself as a follower of Bachelard, exemplarily shown in his neologism of the ‘new new scientific spirit’ (le nouveau nouvel esprit scientifique), updating Bachelard in the light of more recent scientific developments. This allows a reinterpretation of the relation (...) between both authors, one where there is room to acknowledge how the roots of Serres’s philosophy lie not in a radical break with Bachelard, but can be partly understood as a Bachelardian criticism of Bachelard himself. This Bachelardian criticism consists in what could be called his ‘surrationalism’: the sciences do not follow the categories imposed by philosophers, but are always more flexible and open than these categories allow. Specific critiques of Serres, such as those concerning the novelty of Bachelard’s thought, the role of epistemology and finally the political dimension of science will be evaluated through a reappraisal of this Bachelardian move that underlies Serres’s criticism. (shrink)
This paper takes off from a growing preoccupation in Western political-social philosophy on the thinkability of the materiality of change, that became most pronounced in Alain Badiou's philosophy of the event. It traces the development of the discourse of radical change tied to a materialist theory of subjectivity beginning from Badiou, down to the strong criticism posed against it by Slavoj Žižek. This is then followed by the discussion of Bruno Bosteels' potent defense of Badiou's philosophy. Finally, the last part (...) takes off from this debate and highlights how this tension in Badiou's philosophy was possible in the first place. Using Adrian Johnston's key insight on pre-evental and post-evental time, this paper argues that Žižek and Bosteels respectively employ pre-evental and post-evental lenses in reading the relation of event to being. Furthermore, these two lenses are themselves the effect of the split readability of the event at the moment of its rupture: the parallax-effect that divides the event into two. This paper asserts that neither of the two is sufficient. Both are fundamental in outlining what sort of sustained disciplines are necessary before and after events take place. (shrink)
A common commitment amongst speculative realists holds that phenomenology is irredeemably hostile to nonhuman alterity because phenomenology is correlationist. Since phenomenologists deny unmediated access to the modality of the in-itself, their correlationism purportedly consists in subsuming the more-than-human world into one’s own (narrowly anthropocentric) intentional horizon, a move that promises correspondingly disastrous environmental implications. Merleau-Pontian phenomenology appears to be especially guilty in this regard since Merleau-Ponty argues that taking our situated embodiment sufficiently seriously entails that any other entity encountered must (...) always take the form of an “in-itself-for-us.” In this paper, I argue that the charge of correlationism against Merleau-Pontian phenomenology can be disarmed because it is either false or insubstantial. In either case, I argue, if we are to remain sufficiently open to more-than-human alterity to evade the dangerous sort of anthropocentrism that anticorrelationists rightly speak against, we would do well to retain the very subject-object ambiguity that motivates the correlationist charge against Merleau-Pontian phenomenology in the first place. (shrink)
Starting with a few simple questions about living well and where movement originates from this essay turns into a vast map of intricate relations revolving around the notion of grace. By developing the argument from a historical perspective it quickly becomes clear that grace relies on the specific qualities of figuration and how the figure appears in what is termed “the gap between habit and inhabitation.” This article is a shorter version of the introductory chapter to my “Grace and Gravity: (...) Architectures of the Figure” (Bloomsbury, 2020). (shrink)
Enter Object-Oriented Ontology: A New Theory of Everything.Eschewing the verbose and often obscurantist tendencies of other philosopher-authors, Harman tackles what might otherwise be a complicated, controversial and counter-intuitive philosophical stance with accessible and easy-to-follow prose. OOO has never been so clear nor so convincingly presented as it is here. Covered in seven chapters, the book gives a genealogical account of OOO, chronicling the reason for its emergence, comparing it to both the past and current philosophical traditions and arguing for its (...) potency over the competing ontologies, almost all of which are post-Kantian. (shrink)
The publication of Form and Object: A Treatise on Things by Tristan Garcia, Prix de Flore-winning novelist, philosopher, essayist, and screenwriter is a genuine event in the history of philosophy. Situating this event within classical, modern, and contemporary dialectical space, Jon Cogburn evaluates Garcia's metaphysics, differential ontology, and militant anti-reductionism through a series of seemingly incompatible oppositions concerning: substance and process, analysis and dialectic, simple and whole, and discovery and creation. Cogburn also includes a critical assessment of the consequences of (...) Garcia's philosophy, the various unresolved problems in his treatise, and the future prospects of speculative metaphysics. (shrink)
A new realist movement in continental philosophy has emerged to challenge philosophical approaches and traditions ranging from transcendental and speculative idealism to phenomenology and deconstruction for failing to do justice to the real world as it is ‘in itself’, that is, as independent of the structures of human consciousness, experience, and language. This volume presents a collection of essays that take up the challenge of realism from a variety of historical and contemporary philosophical perspectives. This volume includes essays that engage (...) the fundamental presuppositions and conclusions of this new realism by turning to the writings of seminal figures in the history of philosophy, including Kant, Schelling, and others. Also included are essays that challenge anti-realist readings of Merleau-Ponty, Derrida, and Nancy. Finally, several essays in this volume propose alternative ways of understanding realism through careful readings of key figures in German idealism, pessimism, phenomenology, existentialism, feminism, and deconstruction. (shrink)
This book introduces the underlying ideas which have created the constellation of thought commonly referred to as Speculative Realism (SR). In a non-technical style Speculative Realism: An Epitome explores the thought of three contemporary philosophers: Quentin Meillassoux, Ray Brassier, and Iain Hamilton Grant. The book characterizes the milieu in which SR was born and charts how the tendencies of thought created from its birth have diverged into contemporary metaphysics. Readers will gain from the book an understanding how the evolving motion (...) of concepts created by the brief life of SR continue to change speculative philosophy in the contemporary Continental philosophical landscape today. (shrink)
Continental philosophy is witnessing a global renaissance of speculative philosophy. And while some corners of this movement are gaining traction in art- and architecture-theoretical circles, its application to philosophical aesthetics has been forestalled in favor of metaphysical and, secondarily, epistemological inquiry. This essay tracks some of the ways that speculative aesthetics is emerging, and opening new pathways, within the renaissance. It accomplishes three primary tasks. First, it enumerates several of the ways that the name “speculative aesthetics” has been mobilized in (...) contemporary speculative philosophy. Second, it presents and develops one approach to speculative aesthetics, namely Graham Harman’s, and highlights its indebtedness to Levinas. Third, it briefly endorses a particular way forward for speculative aesthetics, one that is object-oriented and articulated in a recent essay by N. Katherine Hayles, the work of Steven Shaviro, and my book Plastic Bodies. (shrink)
This transcription of a keynote for the Speculative Art Histories conference in May 2013 is a mixture of the main argument of The Sympathy of Things and some new insights. The text might be helpful for those who have not read the Sympathy book, which has been sold out for a number of years. This essay will appear as a chapter in Sjoerd van Tuinen's Speculative Art Histories, to be published with Edinburgh University Press in 2017.
Quentin Meillassoux has recently launched a sweeping attack against ‘correlationism’. Correlationism is an umbrella term for any philosophical system that is based on ‘the idea [that] we only ever have access to the correlation between thinking and being, and never to either term considered apart from the other’. Thus construed, Meillassoux' critique is indeed a sweeping one: It comprises major parts of the philosophical tradition since Kant, both in its more continental and in its more analytical outlooks. In light of (...) this critique, the aim of this paper is twofold: On the one hand, I shall defend phenomenology against Meillassoux' main argument, the ‘argument from ancestrality’. On the other hand, I will argue that this argument, albeit unsuccessful in its original form, can be modified to pose a more serious threat. Although this modified version can also be circumvented, it forces phenomenologists to clarify their stance towards the natural sciences. (shrink)
According to Quentin Meillassoux, one of the principal aims of speculative philosophy “must be the immanent inscription of values in being.” In this regard, the return to speculation in contemporary philosophy is in many ways a deeply ethical project. This “inscription of values” can only be successful, however, if it can somehow assert an absolute ethical value without, on the one hand, resorting to the kind of dogmatism laid to rest by the Kantian critique; or, on the other, by falling (...) into some form of ethical relativism incapable of grounding universal ethical judgments. Unfortunately, too many of these attempts have failed. The aim of this paper is twofold: firstly, to explore the structure and failures of two such attempts through an analysis of the ethical projects of Alain Badiou and Quentin Meillassoux, respectively; and then, secondly, to show how both of these thinkers, and the project of speculative ethics in general, could benefit by turning to the work of F.W.J. Schelling on the concept of good and evil as absolute ethical values. (shrink)
This paper argues that the affirmative philosophy of Gilles Deleuze opens for a generous ethic. Such ethic passes on new or different possibilities of life. The paper briefly outlines the basic ideas in Deleuze thinking that can be understood as generous. Then it suggests how paying attention is a prerequisite for practicing a generous ethics, that is, mainly being aware of what, how and why something happens. Finally, it exemplifies how—referring to Christopher Nolan’s film Inception—we may practice a generous ethic.
A long chapter for The War of Appearances: Transparency, Opacity, Radiance (V2_Publishing, 2016) building on the findings of “Charis and Radiance,” an essay published two years earlier. It discusses the inherent connection between visibility and radiance within the framework of Plato’s sun model as the source of reality. The argument develops a system where transcendent verticality and earthly horizontality together construct an “arena of presence” in which things flood each other with light, absorbing and returning portions of it in a (...) circular economy similar to gift exchange. (shrink)
Short introduction to the V2 publication of "The War of Appearances: Transparency, Opacity, Radiance" (2016). An anthology with Matteo Pasquinelli, Luciana Parisi, Graham Harman, Tomas Saraceno, René ten Bos, Tim Morton, and many others.
As an alternative to speculative realism, this book claims that realism is not a stance that became impossible with Kant but instead represents a concomitant phenomenon of modern reason, however obscure. The realist stance can be claimed only at the precarious pinnacle of the dialectic of totalization and release, where the overarching activity of the subject switches into a mode of de-totalizing release of the world from the constraints of consciousness and language.
Short introduction to the V2 publication of "The War of Appearances: Transparency, Opacity, Radiance" (2016). An anthology with Matteo Pasquinelli, Luciana Parisi, Graham Harman, Tomas Saraceno, René ten Bos, Tim Morton, McKenzie Wark, Wim Delvoye, Diana Scherer, Paolo Cirio, Paul Frissen, and Willem Schinkel.
Phenomenology has recently come under attack from proponents of speculative realism. In this paper, I present and assess the criticism, and argue that it is either superficial and simplistic or lacks novelty.
Realism Materialism Art (RMA) introduces a diverse selection of new realist and materialist philosophies and examines their ramifications in the arts. Encompassing neo-materialist theories, object-oriented ontologies, and neo-rationalist philosophies, RMA serves as a primer on “speculative realism,” considering its conceptual innovations as spurs to artistic thinking and practice and beyond. Despite their differences, these philosophical positions propose that thought can and does think outside itself, and that reality can be known without its being shaped by and for human comprehension. Today’s (...) realisms and materialisms explicitly challenge many of the dominant assumptions of cultural practice and theoretical inquiry, opening up new domains of research and artistic inquiry. -/- Cutting across diverse thematic interests and modes of investigation, the 35 essays in RMA offer a snapshot of the emerging and rapidly changing set of ideas and practices proposed by contemporary realisms and materialisms. The book demonstrates the broad challenge of realist and materialist approaches to received disciplinary categories and forms of practice, capturing their nascent reworking of art, philosophy, culture, theory, and science, among other fields. As such, RMA expands beyond the primarily philosophical context in which realism and materialism have developed. (shrink)
Chapter 6 considers the Speculative Realist critique of phenomenology and Quentin Meillassoux’s insistence that the world without humanity is deviod of feeling and thought; and develops a new image of thought that is not reducible to phenomenological intentionality, or subject to Meillassoux’s critiques.
The turn to analytic philosophy in Anglophone countries, which is still underway and is spreading elsewhere, has generally involved a retreat from ‘synoptic’ thinking and an almost complete withdrawal from ‘synthetic’ thinking, the creative thinking that in the past has been the source of the greatest contributions of philosophy to science, the humanities and civilization. Analytic philosophy’s ‘naturalistic turn’ led by Willard van Ormond Quine was really a capitulation of philosophy to mainstream reductionist science. So-called ‘continental philosophy’ when it abjures (...) naturalism, offers no real challenge to this. This paper attempts to recover a much more powerful challenge to such analytic philosophy and reductionist science, a philosophy which is naturalist but values synopsis and synthesis along with analysis: speculative naturalism. As such, this is presented as a manifesto not only for philosophy, but for science and the humanities. As Mikhail Epstein argued, the practical outcome of the humanities is the transformation of culture. To transform culture is to transform ourselves, our society and our relationship to each other and to nature. (shrink)
Problems and Prospects Peter Gratton. uncoveredness of entities that serves as the basis for a true assertion is dependent upon dasein's understanding of being, which lets these entities manifest themselves. hence, as heidegger will say, ...
“Speculating God: Speculative Realism and Meillassoux’s Divine Inexistence.” In The Future of Continental Philosophy of Religion. Edited by Clayton Crockett, Keith Putt, and Jeffrey Robbins. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.