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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic (January 5, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1441173838
  • ISBN-13: 978-1441173836
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #50,865 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

'Rarely do we encounter a book which not only meets the highest standards of thinking, but sets up itself new standards, transforming the entire field into which it intervenes. Quentin Meillassoux does exactly this.' Slavoj Zizek



'In his clearly argued essay, now available in an excellent English translation, the French philosopher Quentin Meillassoux shows that subjectivity and objectivity must be conceived of independently of each other ... It is a truly philosophical work in that it develops the original idea of a speculative materialism with uncompromising passion and great consistency.'
Alexander Garcia Düttmann, Professor of Philosophy and Visual Culture, Goldsmiths University of London, UK


'You may entirely disagree with the author's solution (I do) but not with the courage with which he proposes to escape from the prison of discourse and to put the much abused metaphor of the Copernican Revolution right at last.'
Bruno Latour


"Talented and exciting new voice in contemporary French philosophy"—Bookseller Buyers Guide
(Bookseller Buyers Guide)

'An exceptionally clear and careful writer... Quentin Meillassoux launches a stinging attack upon the state of philosophy in general, and takes initial steps towards a form of speculative philosophy which, he thinks, overcomes the shortcomings he has identified.' - John Appleby, The Philosopher's Magazine, Issue 43, 4th Quarter 2008


"It's easy to see why Meillassoux's After Finitude has so quickly acquired something of a cult status among some readers who share his lack of reverance for 'the way things are'. The book is exceptionally clear and concise, entirely devoted to a single chain of reasoning. It combines a confident insitence on the self-sufficiency of rational demonstration with an equally rationalist suspicion of mere experience and consensus....[this] is a beautifully written and seductively argued book." - Peter Hallward, Radical Philosophy, 2008


"After Finitude will certainly play a central role in ongoing debates on the status of philosophy, on questions pertaining to epistemology and, above all, to ontology. It will not only be an unavoidable point of reference for those working on the question of finitude, but also for those whose work deals with political theology, and the status of the religious turn of philosophy. After Finitude will certainly become an ideal corrosive against too rigid assumptions and will shake entrenched positions." — Gabriel Riera, University of Illinois, Chicago, in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, 2008

"There is something absolutely exhilarating about Meillassoux's argument, and it is not difficult to see why his book has already aroused so much interest. The exposition and critique of correlationism is brilliant and Meillassoux is at his best when showing the philosophical complacency of contemporary Kantians and phenomenologists. The proposal of speculative realism is audacious and bracing, particularly when he defends the idea of nature as a 'glacial universe', cold and indeifferent to humans. Such is Pascal's 'Eternal silence of infinite spaces', but without the consolation of a wager of God's existence. However, by Mellassoux's own admission, his proposal is incomplete and we await its elaboration in future books. Although, his style of presentation can turn into a sort of fine-grained logic-chopping worthy of Duns Scotus, the rigour, clarity and passion of the argument can be breathtaking." — Simon Critchley, TLS, Feb 2009

"Meillassoux addresses the question whether natural laws are necessary, and if so why, raised by Kant and gnawed by subsequent philosophers from Hume to Foucault. He offers a logical proof that the only feature of the laws of nature that is absolutely necessary is that they are contingent. He explores the ethical and metaphysical implications. Brassier translates Apres la finitude, which was published in 2006 by Editions du Seuil." -Eithne O'Leyne, BOOK NEWS, Inc.



'A penetrating critique of the post-Kantian "correlationism" that has dominated philosophy on the European mainland over the last 250 years.' - Books of the Year, Times Literary Supplement

'In his clearly argued essay, now available in an excellent English translation, the French philosopher Quentin Meillassoux shows that subjectivity and objectivity must be conceived of independently of each other ... It is a truly philosophical work in that it develops the original idea of a speculative materialism with uncompromising passion and great consistency.'
Alexander Garcia Düttmann, Professor of Philosophy and Visual Culture, Goldsmiths University of London, UK


"Talented and exciting new voice in contemporary French philosophy"—Bookseller Buyers Guide
(Sanford Lakoff)

"It's easy to see why Meillassoux's After Finitude has so quickly acquired something of a cult status among some readers who share his lack of reverance for 'the way things are'. The book is exceptionally clear and concise, entirely devoted to a single chain of reasoning. It combines a confident insitence on the self-sufficiency of rational demonstration with an equally rationalist suspicion of mere experience and consensus....[this] is a beautifully written and seductively argued book." - Peter Hallward, Radical Philosophy, 2008


After Finitude will certainly play a central role in ongoing debates on the status of philosophy, on questions pertaining to epistemology and, above all, to ontology. It will not only be an unavoidable point of reference for those working on the question of finitude, but also for those whose work deals with political theology, and the status of the religious turn of philosophy. After Finitude will certainly become an ideal corrosive against too rigid assumptions and will shake entrenched positions.” – Gabriel Riera, University of Illinois, Chicago, in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, 2008

“There is something absolutely exhilarating about Meillassoux’s argument, and it is not difficult to see why his book has already aroused so much interest. The exposition and critique of correlationism is brilliant and Meillassoux is at his best when showing the philosophical complacency of contemporary Kantians and phenomenologists. The proposal of speculative realism is audacious and bracing, particularly when he defends the idea of nature as a 'glacial universe’, cold and indeifferent to humans. Such is Pascal’s 'Eternal silence of infinite spaces’, but without the consolation of a wager of God’s existence. However, by Mellassoux’s own admission, his proposal is incomplete and we await its elaboration in future books. Although, his style of presentation can turn into a sort of fine-grained logic-chopping worthy of Duns Scotus, the rigour, clarity and passion of the argument can be breathtaking.” – Simon Critchley, TLS, Feb 2009

About the Author

Quentin Meillassoux teaches Philosophy at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, France.

Alain Badiou teaches at the École Normale Supérieure and at the Collège International de Philosophie in Paris, France. In addition to several novels, plays and political essays, he has published a number of major philosophical works.

Ray Brassier is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon.


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Customer Reviews

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My only complaint about the book is that Ray Brassier translated it.
David Milliern
This is one of the most exciting philosophy books I have read in a long time.
Brian C.
The key for him will be taking the notion of contingency to the limit.
DCCHEF

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

102 of 107 people found the following review helpful By Martin M. Rayburn on June 24, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Meillassoux's first book is nothing less than a completely original and meticulously argued philosophical manifesto. Drawing upon the ontology of his teacher, Alain Badiou, Meillassoux aims to prove what was only implicit in Badiou's "Being and Event": the absolute contingency of all being. A writer working largely within the tradition of continental thought--often decried for its putative obscure prose and shoddy methods of argumentation--Meillassoux (unlike Badiou) never sacrifices clarity, and displays a stunning capacity to take down canonical philosophers with implacable reasoning. Although he will doubtless be exposed to criticism as his argument gains a wider readership, Meillassoux has already, in this slim volume, circumvented the many of the critiques that could be thrown his way.

"After Finitude" targets two principal philosophical opponents: the metaphysician and the correlationist. The prime representative of the metaphysical tradition here is Descartes, whose assertion of the absolute goodness of God allowed him to "prove" the existence of an objective world exterior to the human subject. Although Meillassoux is sympathetic to Descartes' attempt to think the absolute--and takes Descartes' metaphysical presumptions seriously--he also recognizes that the metaphysician's reliance on either the principle of sufficient reason or at least one necessary entity (God, atom, history, etc.) hinders any engagement with unconditional truth.

This repudiation of metaphysical dogmatism not withstanding, Meillassoux's primary adversary is the correlationist (Kant and his disciples fall under this category), who subordinates knowledge of the "great outdoors" to its relation with a human being, a thinking subject, Dasein, etc.
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29 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Nin Chan on January 11, 2010
Format: Paperback
Well, I sat up all evening reading this- I had to read various sections twice to make all the connections that the text supplies. I have to say that it is, beyond being a startlingly *original* text, astonishingly *clear*. In fact, it is the most lucid work of philosophy i have read in years, an example of truly 'zero degree writing' (barthes) that privileges exposition over style. Of course, one sometimes misses the lofty lyricism of a Badiou or the deadpan slapstick of a Zizek, but i don't think i have read a text that develops in such a programmatic and rigorous fashion since Spinoza.

I don't really understand the objections toward the text, reservations that concern the 'hype' surrounding it, rather than the content of the book itself. The book is clearly a sort of 'prolegomena' that outlines meillasoux' problematic, rather than an attempt to resolve it (this, i suspect, shall be reserved for his delayed 'L'inexistence Divine', which Badiou refers to in 'Logics of Worlds').

What you DO get here is the formulation of a consummately atheistic thought, one that attempts to consummate a rupture that has been promised since the dawn of modernity- philosophy's irrevocable divorce from the One. This is the most rigorous attempt yet to initiate the 'Death of God', breaking with the disavowed fideism/pietism of post-structuralism. I can't help but feel that meillasoux takes especial issue with the haphazard bricolage of Bataille, Levinas and Kierkegaard that constitutes 'deconstructive' religiosity today, and this can be read alongside Zizek's 'The Puppet and the Dwarf' as an attempt to salvage a (militant) thought of universality and the absolute from mystical obscurantism.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Brian C. on February 22, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is one of the most exciting philosophy books I have read in a long time. Quentin Meillassoux is an exceptionally clear and lucid writer. I have been waiting for a long time for Continental philosophers to finally embrace the virtues of clarity of expression and I think that time is finally coming.

Quentin Meillassoux's primary goal in this work is to escape what he calls the correlationist circle which has dominated modern philosophy since Kant. Quentin Meillasoux is trying to find an outside to thought, or an absolute, and his strategy, as he himself suggests, is similar to Descartes' strategy in the Meditations. Descartes, of course, begins with a self-present cogito and then attempts to find something within that immanent sphere which can secure a certain knowledge of something outside that sphere. Descartes finds the key he needs in the idea of God. Since God is infinite, and since a cause must possess at least as much formal reality as the effect possesses of objective reality (or vice versa, I never could get those terms straight in Descartes), the idea of God cannot have been created by finite minds. Once Descartes has that all he has to do is prove the veracity of God and he can also be certain of external objects and the external world. Descartes has found an escape route from solipsism in the idea of God.

Quentin Meillassoux follows a similar strategy in attempting to find something within the correlationist circle which will provide a means of escape, like the idea of God in Descartes. Quentin Meillassoux finds this escape route in the idea of facticity or what he comes to call factiality. Meillassoux's argument is actually quite subtle and I am not really capable of summarizing it, or doing it justice, in this review.
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