Lately Nick Gall has been speaking approvingly of Quentin Meillassoux, and I decided to just take a peek at After Finitude, just to see what’s going on there. Meillassoux has been lumped with the Object-Oriented Ontology folks, who I’ve derided pretty savagely, albeit nervously — but (from what I’m gathering) he is slightly outside OOO and elevated slightly above them, a peer-guru in the mold of Wittgenstein’s relationship to the Vienna Circle, maybe. So, Meillassoux is a thinker I’ve been casually intending to investigate for quite a while, and I’ve had his book sitting on my shelf for ten years, looking at me, and insinuating that I might have a book hoarding problem.
So — so far, AF is thrilling, as, well, af. When I reported this to Nick, he advised me to read a paper Meillassoux delivered in 2012 before continuing AF, in order to benefit from some clarifications to ideas some critics found confusing in the book.
This paper is also thrilling, and it inspired me to pose some questions to Nick. I occurred to me that our conversation might be interesting to the other reader of this blog, (Nick is at least half my readership, and often all of it.) so I’m posting the email here:
Yeah, you are right, this paper is incredible. Meillassoux is a miracle of clarity. He is totally accounting for how I think to my own satisfaction, so I’m electrified imagining how he intends to tear it down! This is philosophy at its very best.
It is all inducing some exciting questions:
Is our Taoist metaphysical stance a subjectalism? I’m speculating nothing at all about the absolute apart from its capacity to surprise, as well, of course, as its capacity to fall into sufficient regularity as to permit intelligibility. I’m leaving indeterminate its nature-in-itself, assuming our general categories of ideality/materiality/temporality/extensivity are as much products of human thought as their particulars.
Also, is Whitehead a subjectalist?