Category Archives: meillassoux

Real Objects/Material Subjects Journal Issue (finally.)

So I’ve let this blog wither away into nothingness….but would like to try to insert a spark of being into it again by posting the table of contents for an upcoming issue of Cosmos and History edited by Brian Smith and myself. It features papers that are based on presentations given at the ‘Real Objects or Material Subjects?’ conference which took place at the University of Dundee in March, 2010. As C&H is open access, the issue will be available for everyone. I’ll post again once it’s online. Until then, here is what you can expect:

Real Objects or Material Subjects?

The Future of Continental Metaphysics

Table of Contents

Editors Introduction

Michael O’Neill Burns & Brian Anthony Smith

The Problem with Metzinger

Graham Harman

The Transcendental Core of Correlationism

Paul Ennis

Critical Idealism and Transcendental Materialism: A Speculative Analysis of the Second Paralogism

Michael Olson

Objects in manifold times: Deleuze and the speculative philosophy of objects as processes

James Williams

Becoming L’Homme Imaginaire: The Role of the Imagination in Overcoming Circularity in Sartre’s Critique of Dialectical Reason

Austin Smidt

Beyond Objects, Beyond Subjects: Giorgio Agamben on Animality, Particularity and the End of Onto-theology

Colby Dickinson

Fanon and Political Will

Peter Hallward

The Necessity of Contingency or Contingent Necessity: Meillassoux, Hegel, and the Subject

John Van Houdt

Aufhebung and Negativity

Ryan Krahn

Lacanian Materialism and the Question of the Real

Tom Eyers

Materialism, Subjectivity and the Outcome of French Philosophy

Interview with Adrian Johnston

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bad news.

from graham:

“Dear Conferees,

It is with some regret that I have to announce that Quentin Meillassoux will not be able to attend the April event. He will however be sending us his paper which will be circulated to conferees in advance to enable a fuller discussion of its topic than might otherwise have been possible.

We understand and share the disappointment of many at this news.

Despite this, however, the conference will go ahead as planned.

Iain Grant”

Bad news indeed. Not that this event won’t still be wonderful, but as according to the recent classification of SR sub-categories I think I fall into the Meillassoux (badiouian) group, this is a big loss. Hopefully he ends up somewhere in the UK later this year, as I was very impressed last time I got to see him speak and share a meal with him, and would very much like to do it again, this time with some much better questions in mind.

meillassoux vs. hallward vs. brown

An interesting debate seems to be taking place in response to Peter Hallward’s recent review of ‘After Finitude’ which was published in this month’s issue of radical philosophy. If you don’t normally read radical philosophy, I highly recommend getting a copy from your library or local bookstore and reading this review, which is on par, and in many ways similar, to the previously mentioned review of Logics of Worlds Hallward published in last month’s New Left Review.

Over at speculative heresy they have posted a response to Hallward’s review by Nathan Brown. It’s a well thought out review that brings up many good points, but, I must say that I still side with Hallward’s review. I think his critique of Meillassoux’s use of mathematics (which is very similar to the way he critiques the use of mathematics in Badiou) is quite accurate, and poses an interesting problem for those of us working on Badiou and Meillassoux.

For a taste of Brown’s piece, towards the end he says:

“Throughout Hallward’s critique of After Finitude, the basic move is to extend the book’s arguments beyond the proper domain of their application and then to hold Meillassoux accountable for the resulting difficulties.”

I, for one, find this critique a bit problematic. Hallward brings up some important questions regarding the potential (or lack there of) present in Meillassoux’s contingent ontology to bring about political and social transformation. As much as Meillassoux doesn’t explicitly set out to make an argument of this sort in After Finitude, can’t it still be said that every ontology necessarily has political and social implications? And if Meillassoux holds a position of absolute contingency, doesn’t it leave us waiting for political novelty to happen, rather than providing a way towards developing the sort of ‘transformational materialism’ that Hallward seems to be aiming for? In a sense this critique is very similar to those levelled against Badiou, and specifically in regards to what is to be done in the pre-evental state of existence from the perspective of the potential subject. Whereas Badiou has (to an extent) clarified this in Logiques des Mondes in the sections on the commune, intensity, and evental sites; Meillassoux has yet to clarify what is to be done towards the work of transformation in a situation of absolute contingency. He could very well, and I would assume likely will, clear this up in his future work; but as it stands now, it seems as if Hallward has every right to make this critique.

The only thing I would say regarding Hallward, is that in light of his two recent reviews, I’m quite anxious to see how he attempts to solve these problems haunting contemporary French materialism in his own work. As far as I know he still seems to be working on his political will/determination project, but hopefully he takes a more constructive and original path in his future work and begins to develop this transformational materialism he seems to find lacking in both Badiou and Meillassoux.

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in lieu of ‘real’ posting

Due to being currently caught in the grips of quite a nasty flu, I am incapable of posting anything worth reading. So instead I recommend you go and read this post over at poetix, which is an interesting reading of Meillassoux ‘spectral dillema’ in relation to Marx’s theory of alienation.

Here is the conclusion to whet your appetite:

“What we should seek to recover from the political and cultural projects of the past is not their squandered vitality, but their abandoned fidelity.”

Laurelle…in Rome??

Well, according to the updated conference poster, the internet sensation Francois Laruelle will be presenting at the Grandeur of Reason conference in Rome this September. Although many on the interweb were quite skeptical about this conference intially, we now have a speculative realism panel (featuring Grant and Meillassoux), a presentation by Francois Laurelle, as well as Zizek, Agamben, John Mullarkey, and James Williams. Should be a great time, and hopefully those of us attending will have the common sense to get some audio/video/notes and post them on the internets soon afterwards.

Meillassoux on Badiou’s latent Christian eschatology

“Badiou is thus here in extreme fidelity… – with the structure, if not the contents – of Christian eschatology. It is by no means the denial of this dream, as it is he who makes of Paul the “founder of universalism”: that which seized the first militant nature, and not the erudition, of truth. In this sense it without doubt represents one of the possible evolutions of Marxism, shared since the beginning between critical thought and revolutionary eschatology. A great part of the ex-Marxists renounced eschatology, considering that it was effectively religious residue, a principal source among the promethean disasters of real socialism. The singularity of Badiou seems on the contrary to consist of this: that he isolates from Marxism its eschatologic share, separates it from its pretension, that he considers economic scientificity illusory, and delivers it, burning, on the disseminated subjects of all kinds of struggles, political as well as amorous. With the place of the religious illusion of eschatology dissolved by criticism in the writings of Badiou, eschatology becomes irreligious so that the event can deploy its critical power on the colorless present of our ordinary renouncements.”

from his essay, History and Event in the Writings of Alain Badiou. Trans. Keith Tilford

(via metastable equilibrium & the accursed share)

collapse volume IV

It has been announced that Collapse IV: ‘Concept Horror’ is going to be printed next month. Once again they have an exciting (and quite diverse) line-up of contributions. Visit urbanomic for the full list of contributions.

also, check back here soon for an announcement regarding an event coming up featuring some of the contributors to this edition of collapse…