Quentin Meillassoux is a French philosopher. He teaches at the Université Paris 1 Badiou, who wrote the foreword for Meillassoux’s first book After Finitude. It is no exaggeration to say that Quentin Meillassoux has opened up a new path in the history of philosophy, understood here as the history of what it is to know. This is an overview of ‘After Finitude’ by Quentin Meillassoux. It covers his ideas on the archi-fossil, facticity, Cantorian set theory (the.

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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — After Finitude by Quentin Meillassoux.

It is no exaggeration to say that Quentin Meillassoux has opened up a new path in the history of philosophy, understood here as the history of what it is to know This remarkable “critique of critique” is introduced here without embellishment, cutting straight to the heart of the matter in a particularly clear and logical manner. It allows the destiny of thought to be t It is no exaggeration to say that Quentin Meillassoux has opened up a new path in the history of philosophy, understood here as the history of what it is to know It allows the destiny of thought to be the absolute once more.

Quentin Meillassoux deserves our close attention in the years to come and his book deserves rapid translation and widespread discussion in the English-speaking world. There is nothing like it. Meillassoux introduces a startlingly novel philosophical alternative to the forced choice between dogmatism and critique. After Finitude proposes a new alliance between philosophy and science and calls for an unequivocal halt to the creeping return of religiosity in contemporary philosophical discourse.

Hardcoverpages. Published June 7th by Bloomsbury Academic first published To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about After Finitudeplease sign up. See 1 question about After Finitude…. Lists with This Book. Incredibly interesting and, in all likelihood, philosophically important, but not something I’d call a whole whackadoodle of fun.

And as for Meillassoux’s contention? Plus, something about math— All those aspects of the object that can be formulated in mathematical terms can be meaningfully conceived as properties of the object in-itself. What really tugged on my lederhosen was Meillassoux’s meticulously-drawn contention that the current prevalence of what he calls strong correlationism —the offshots of Wittgenstein and Heidegger—have beaten back the weak correlationism held by the Kantians such that the absolute and the in-itself have been released from unthinkability beyond that of the rationally knowable, to the degree that Fideism has become the obverse of Correlationism.

It’s yet another Post-Enlightenment Festivus miracle! Unfortunately, contra Meillassoux, my considered conjecture ended up being, as often has proved the case, I have absolutely no idea whatsoever. Impossible to calculate, because any intervention by thought, even retrojected from our current cosmo-temporal position, would bring to bear all of the formational properties of an observing eye; but does its unthinkability necessitate that it was a universe of unbeing?

Could it, more or less, be stated to have not properly existed, as we understand the meaning of that word, ere sentient witnesses? But how, then, to account for the rise of those sentient beings in the first place? This is the realm into which Meillassoux attempts to bring philosophy, through his conception of Ancestralityroughly the first 4.

Notes from ‘After Finitude’ by Quentin Meillassoux | Avoiding/the\Void

The bottom line is that this, as with most every philosophical work I have encountered, requires multiple readings if all of its speculative potentialities are to be realized in an effective manner by the reader—most especially this reader. What’s wonderful about it is that Meillassoux writes so lucidly and agreeably that doing so will prove an anticipated pleasure, not a chore. I hold that to be a significant accomplishment within the world of modern philosophy. Every once in a while it’s nice to let a philosophy book kick the shit out of me.

This was quite good, but sadly fragmentary by the author’s own admission. I guess I need to figure out if he’s written more on this, because what he’s proposing here is pretty damn great and sits at the intersection if philosophy and science though it leans heavily towards philosophy. I probably also need to read a lot more philosophy so I don’t struggle so much with the more modern stuff. I always feel like I’m Every once in a while it’s nice to let a philosophy book kick the shit out of me.


I always feel like I’m missing some critical links – because I am – and the same holds true here. The author does a pretty good job of providing clarifying information for a lot of this, but some of the basics of phenomenology escape me, and Meillassoux isn’t slowing this thing down for me to catch up. Gotta love the Internet or filling in gaps though This book is mainly interesting for what it reveals about the state of French philosophy at the time it was written, rather than breaking any new ground for philosophy in general.

Apparently the author and his colleagues are completely unaware of any analytic philosophy since aboutand think that it can be covered with brief references to “positivism” and a short discussion of one remark from the Tractatus. Meillasoux starts with 2 key propositions: Secondly, he says that correlationism cannot accommodate “ancestrality”, which is the problem that modern science posits events and entities that existed before any sentient beings existed to observe them.

Quentin Meillassoux

With regard to “correlationism”, the first thing to note is that it is simply not true that modern Anglophone philosophy is in any way committed to it, in fact plenty of its practitioners would find nothing problematic about ancestrality.

Only on the assumption that some form of logical positivism still reigns would that be the case. But never mind about that. If we are to read it as a form of what Kant dubbed “empirical idealism”, then it has to declare ancestral statements meaningless; but it has to do the same for objects that lack present observers. QM portrays the correlationist as rejecting such a view, and instead claiming something more like Kant’s transcendental idealism, capable of appealing to counterfactuals about possible-but-not-actual observers.

In which case the correlationist has no problem with ancestrality, and they would also be quite correct to rebut QM as mistaking transcendental conditions for physical ones, which is the next reply he considers. It strikes me the author simply doesn’t have a consistent target in “correlationism” and is conflating together quite distinct meillassojx in any case the question he doesn’t ask which a genuine positivist like Ayer would do is in what sense “correlationism” differs from realism, if it can avail itself about counterfactuals about unobserved things.

What makes those counterfactuals true? Who has the higher authority? Why not take the stand of philosophy against mere “scientism”? The accusation usually made against post-Quinean naturalist Anglophone philosophy is that it cedes all to the scientists and leaves out all the human-centred insights that only the continentals still care about.

Meillasoux seems quite uncritical with regard to statements about “arche-fossils”, and the nearest we get to an argument for their acceptance is that rejecting ancestrality would be tantamount to agreeing with Young Earth Creationists. I suppose YECism is a genuine case of correlationism God, being eternal, always observes all that existsbut merely agreeing about that detail doesn’t make one a reactionary.

It seems that QM is drawing his metaphysics to suit his politically-charged outlook, and being quite “scientistic” about it. He also has a line that correlationism has encouraged attitudes of cultural relativism in the West and prevents intellectuals challenging the rise of new religious attitudes; all that sounds jolly good but it is simply recapping the anti-postmodernist polemics of the 90s.

This is all right, but it isn’t new. The middle section of the book is taken up with the attempt to break “the correlationist circle”, by demonstrating that the law of non-contradiction applies to statements about the noumenal world.

The trouble with this demonstration is that it depends on treating the “contradictory object” as if it were contradictory in ALL respects; but only 1 aspect would be needed for a contradictory object.

After Finitude

Unfortunately he simply brackets the problem for later resolution, which means the book doesn’t exactly live up to the billing Alain Badiou gives it in the introduction. The final section of the book is QM’s attempt to sketch how he relates science at the phenomenal level to the “absolutist” basis he tried to establish earlier.


The argument depended on the denial of any necessary beings or connections in the universe; so we need an explanation of how science could be possible in such a realm. It’s here that QM really could do with having read some analytic metaphysics from the past 40 years, since the view he is trying to ground seems not very far away from the one David Lewis worked on and published so much about.

Non-necessitarian theories of laws are not new, they were the prevailing view in Anglo departments, at least up to the 90s. Altogether none of this seems to me as wrong or definitely misguided, though the central argument about contradiction and necessity is inadequate as admittedand I am not convinced about exactly what “correlationism” is, or whether it has a crucial problem with ancestrality. I think Meillasoux and the rest of the “speculative realists” could gain a lot from engaging with Theodore Sider and at least a dozen other writers writing about metaphyics and epistemology in English; I’m not sure they have anything startlingly different to offer in exchange.

This seems to mark the end of “continental philosophy” as an antithetical project to the analytical one. Apr 27, Hind rated it really liked it Shelves: It messes with the brain just a tad bit. Make sure you know your philosophy before you attempt this.

This meillasssoux belief forces the advocate of correlationism to commit to the unthinkability of an objective world outside or separate from the existence of subjects — Meillassoix world is held as inconceivable if not a World-for-us. All of which means Ia! The omnipotent idiot Sultan, gyres and gnaws at the heart of reality! Jan 22, Michael rated it it was amazing.

A punch in the gut. Sep 17, Alex Lee rated it it was amazing Shelves: I haven’t read any clearer reading of the philosophical tradition in a while, and that’s saying quite a bit. While Meillassoux is mostly interested in the philosophical tradition, and meil,assoux constraints extending it somewhat to religion and science he is able to dance within that tight framework and come up with a clear summation of the larger picture.

Many thinkers tend to meillassouc in the nitty-gritty, and that’s most likely because in the process of spending so much time learning what the “greats” I haven’t read any clearer reading of the philosophical tradition in a while, and that’s saying quite a bit. Many thinkers tend to fight in the nitty-gritty, and finiude most likely because in the process of spending so much time learning what the “greats” have said, they become invested themselves. And because academia encourages people to disagree with one another.

How else could they jockey for position? I agree with most of the comments around; that Meillassoux has managed to say something different. And how he says is intensely fascinating.

He sums up the aesthetic goals of mejllassoux many familiar names: Kant, Hegel, Descartes, Leibniz in so many terms. He brings us around to Badiou and demonstrates in slightly different terms, Afteer genius and how that enables us to begin to formulate a new beginning, one that does not rely on Being or totalization in order to guarantee meaning. He leaves us then with a new project, one in which to find a new totem to anchor as the absolute reference, one that isn’t Kant’s old hat.

While I find his book and direction exhilarating, and agree with his reading especially how he puts many terms I do believe meilpassoux there are other ways to put the pieces. Here is another conception of philosophy: Philosophy isn’t so much about truth as it is about managing complexity.

Much of the time you do need to have some way of organizing discourse so as to be able to relate to one another. This much is certainly how people interact with one another or how discourses are able to connect.