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LPHI 2052 - Quentin Meillassoux,After Finitude: An Essay on the Necessity of Contingency

Shortly after its translation into English, Quentin Meillassoux’s After Finitude: An Essay on the Necessity of Contingency accomplished what few philosophical texts have: it effected a dramatic shift in the focus of continental philosophy. Following Meillassoux’s critique of what he terms “correlationism” (the necessary co-relation of subject and object characteristic of post-Kantian philosophy) the question of the thought-independent Real, or the “Great Outdoors” of speculation, once again became a live topic for philosophical discourse. With this, what is now known as “Speculative Realism” was born. In this tutorial, we will closely follow the arguments of Meillassoux’s brief yet dense text, attempting to understand them in their relation to the history of philosophy with which Meillassoux engages. We will critically assess both Meillassoux’s motivations for the return to the Real as well as his proposed way out of the circle of correlational determination. Speculative Realism at one time promised a new future for philosophy in the 21st century; our ultimate goal will be to grasp the contours of this future and determine its desirability.
Liberal Arts, Open to Non Majors
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