Quentin Meillassoux

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Quentin Meillassoux
Quentin Meillassoux.jpg
Born 1967
Paris,[1] France
Era Contemporary philosophy
Region Western philosophy
School Speculative Realism
Main interests Materialism, Mathematics, Realism
Notable ideas Speculative materialism, correlationism, factiality, arche-fossil, absolute time

Quentin Meillassoux (French: [mɛjasu]; born 1967) is a French philosopher. He teaches at the École Normale Supérieure, but he will be moving in Fall 2012 to a new position at the Université de Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne. He is the son of the anthropologist Claude Meillassoux.

Meillassoux is a former student of the philosophers Bernard Bourgeois and Alain Badiou, who has written that Meillassoux's first book Après la finitude (2006)[2] introduces an entirely new option into modern philosophy, different from Kant's three alternatives of criticism, scepticism, and dogmatism.[3] The book was translated into English by philosopher Ray Brassier. Meillassoux is associated with the Speculative Realism movement.

In this book, Meillassoux argues that post-Kantian philosophy is dominated by what he calls "correlationism," the often unstated theory that humans cannot exist without the world nor the world without humans.[4] In Meillassoux's view, this is a dishonest maneuver that allows philosophy to sidestep the problem of how to describe the world as it really is prior to all human access. He terms this pre-human reality the "ancestral" realm.[5] In keeping with the mathematical interests of his mentor Alain Badiou, Meillassoux claims that mathematics is what reaches the primary qualities of things as opposed to their secondary qualities as manifested in perception.

Meillassoux tries to show that the agnostic scepticism of those who doubt the reality of cause and effect must be transformed into a radical certainty that there is no such thing as causal necessity at all. This leads Meillassoux to proclaim that it is absolutely necessary that the laws of nature be contingent. The world is a kind of hyper-chaos in which the principle of sufficient reason is abandoned even while the principle of non-contradiction must be retained.

For these reasons, Meillassoux rejects Kant's so-called Copernican Revolution in philosophy. Since Kant makes the world dependent on the conditions by which humans observe it, Meillassoux accuses Kant of a "Ptolemaic Counter-Revolution."

Several of Meillassoux's articles have appeared in English via the British philosophical journal Collapse,[6] helping to spark interest in his work in the Anglophone world. His unpublished dissertation L'inexistence divine (1997) is forthcoming in book form.[7]

In September 2011, Meillassoux's book on Stéphane Mallarmé was published in France under the title Le nombre et la sirène. Un déchiffrage du Coup de dés de Mallarmé.[8] In this second book, he offers a detailed reading of Mallarmé's famous poem Un Coup de Dés Jamais N’Abolira Le Hasard (A Throw of the Dice Will Never Abolish Chance), in which he finds a numerical code at work in the text.[9]

Meillassoux clarified and revised some of the views exposed in After finitude during his lectures at the Free University of Berlin in 2012.[10]

Bibliography[edit]

Books
  • After Finitude: An Essay On The Necessity Of Contingency, trans. Ray Brassier (Continuum, 2008)
  • The Number and the Siren: A Decipherment of Mallarme's Coup De Des (Urbanomic, 2012)
Articles
  • Potentiality and virtuality, in Collapse, vol. II : Speculative Realism.[11]
  • Subtraction and Contraction: Deleuze, Immanence and Matter and Memory, in Collapse, vol. III : Unknown Deleuze.[12]
  • Spectral dilemma, in Collapse vol. IV : Concept Horror,.[13]

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Quentin Meillassoux - CIEPFC : Centre International d'Etude de la Philosophie Française Contemporaine". Ciepfc.fr. Retrieved 2011-09-21. 
  2. ^ Après la finitude. Essai sur la nécessité de la contingence, Paris, Seuil, coll. L'ordre philosophique, 2006 (foreword by Alain Badiou).
  3. ^ After Finitude, trans. Ray Brassier, Continuum, 2008, foreword, p. VII
  4. ^ After Finitude, Chap. 1, p.5
  5. ^ After Finitude, Chap. 1, p.10
  6. ^ Quentin Meillassoux, Spectral Dilemma
  7. ^ After Finitude, Bibliography, p.141
  8. ^ "Le nombre et la sirène". Amazon.fr. Retrieved 2011-09-22. 
  9. ^ "Graham Harman (website), Meillassoux on Mallarmé". Retrieved 2011-09-25. 
  10. ^ Iteration, Reiteration, Repetition: A speculative analysis of the meaningless sign Freie Universitat Berlin, April 20, 2012
  11. ^ "Collapse Vol. II: Speculative Realism". Urbanomic. Retrieved 2011-09-21. 
  12. ^ "Collapse Vol. III: Unknown Deleuze [+ Speculative Realism". Urbanomic. Retrieved 2011-09-21. 
  13. ^ "Collapse Vol. IV: Concept Horror". Urbanomic. Retrieved 2011-09-21.