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After Finitude: An Essay on the Necessity of Contingency Paperback – January 5, 2010
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'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
"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
“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
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.
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Top Customer Reviews
"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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Pretty incredible to take on this subject after centuries and decades of attempts and then despair at even attempting to address it.Published 7 months ago by R. Burnier
Quentin Meillassoux's *After Finitude* was one of the first in what has become a steady stream of books of "speculative realism", a new direction in philosophical thought... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Jeffrey Rubard
Meillassoux's book was highly inspiring at a time in my life when I was looking for 'real philosophy'. Read morePublished 11 months ago by N. Coppedge
Engaging philosophical essay about correlationism and what Meillasosoux refers to as Ancestrality. How can science make statements about the cosmos when consciousness did not exist... Read morePublished 15 months ago by booklover
It would be impossible for me to write a decent review here, and that largely because I have a propensity for long-windedness. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Aaron
this is an amazing work with broad implications for, quite arguably, every field of study. as someone interested in the problems of political philosophy/ social theory, i find this... Read morePublished on August 17, 2013 by rob
The best review I can give a philosophy book is that it ripped a few of my assumptions about the universe to shreds - and I enjoyed every second of it. Read morePublished on March 3, 2013 by Josh James
Thanks to all the reviewers for their wonderful insights! THESE REVIEWS AND COMMENTS ARE AS GOOD AS THE BOOK ITSELF! Read morePublished on February 5, 2013 by Let's Compare Options Preptorial