Philosophy Today 57 (4):358-368 (2013)

Robert Gall
West Liberty State College
Quentin Meillassoux’s After Finitude: An Essay on the Necessity of Contingency advocates a “speculative materialism” or what has come to be called “speculative realism” over against “correlationism” (his term for [nearly] all post-Kantian philosophy). “Correlationism” is “the idea according to which we only ever have access to the correlation between thinking and being, and never to either term considered apart from the other.” As part of his criticism of “correlationism,” Meillassoux argues that it necessarily leads to fideism, referencing the return of the religious in contemporary phenomenology and the fundamentalist fanaticisms of contemporary religion to make his point. It is this criticism of “correlationism” that I will explore in this paper—in two ways. On the one hand, I argue that, at least in the work of thinkers like Nietzsche and Heidegger, what Meillassoux calls “correlationism” leads to faith in doubt rather than fideism. On the other hand, I argue that “correlationism” has resulted in fideism only to the extent that it follows Hegel and becomes speculative, which raises questions for Meillassoux’s own “speculative realism” and his faith in mathematics as the means to accessing reality in itself.
Keywords Quentin Meillassoux  Martin Heidegger  Speculative Realism  Phenomenology
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DOI philtoday201357430
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