Thursday, March 18, 2010

Meillassoux’s Motivation and the Pure Space of Speculation

This is just a quick post regarding a problem that Mike raises of Meillassoux’s motivation and “what Meillassoux’s derailing has to do with politics.” I think the answer is that it has nothing to do with politics and I would go as far as to say that speculative realism is a thoroughly apolitical enterprise (and de-politicizing continental philosophy is, in a sense, the theme of post-continental philosophy).

As far as I can see Meillassoux is trying to get at the ‘real’ in the same way Badiou or Deleuze are trying to get at it. And his hopes rest with mathematics – always a kind of pure potential for philosophy since it is unencumbered by the various ‘mixtures’ we are supposed to be avoiding. If you run through Kant or Hegel or Husserl you will find the word ‘pure’ posited at any moment when one is said to be coming to the question proper. Heidegger even has a word for the non-pure: the ‘mere’ and he attaches it to anything he doesn’t like. Philosophy is at the point, in the post-continental form, of a kind of immanence or intra-philosophical discourse with itself although occasionally there are overtures to the natural or mathematical sciences (arguably one could say it has always been this way so I would add that we are in a particularly self-conscious state of this). I suppose we can even see post-continental thinking as trying to regain something of a ‘lost time’ when philosophy was committed to a rigour that perhaps lost its way sometime in the post-Heideggerian landscape (I would suggest that this is more a case of a deflation of rationalism and modernist goals and that the rigour was simply ‘different’). Having undergone a kind of wayward time philosophy is coming home to its relentless pursuit of ‘thinking’ and what exactly good thinking is – and looks like (looking, seeing and the visible are all themes to be found in Badiou and Henry for example, and it is all rather Platonic in tone). In another way it a reclamation of what is usually derived as ‘representationlist’ forms of thinking. The representation is being reintegrated into the philosophical project.

And the ancestral realm comes to be a kind of ‘pure’ space where representation is necessary in order for one to make sense. Even better it is understand vicariously with mathematical representation that brings the arche-fossil to its fullness as an indicator. The ancestral realm is a pure space of speculation.


Anonymous said...

'I would go as far as to say that speculative realism is a thoroughly apolitical enterprise (and de-politicizing continental philosophy is, in a sense, the theme of post-continental philosophy)'

I wonder though: is it possible to actualize this depoliticization? Even without claiming that philosophy is necessarily political, I would say that 'philosophy' in itself is either political or not political. Can it be political in the 60s and then depoliticized in the 00s?

So are you saying that no, philosophy is always, a prioristically apolitical and that post-continental thought (and M in particular) is practicing a purification of 'thought', brushing off the political detritus so to retrieve the 'pure space of thought'? Or that there has been an actual metamorphosis of the core of philosophical thought?

Then again, I would not go as far as including the whole of SR. What of the neuromarxism of the Brasserian faction? Brassier is the one that highlights M's 'intellectual intuition' as smuggling idealism back into his system.

michael~ said...

and this is why a post-metaphysical turn prempts the speculative turn, making human praxis, I think rightly so, the standard to which all advanced discourse might be judged...

great disscussions guys!