After Finitude, Chapter 4: Hume’s Problem

Originally discussed on April 21, 2012

The subtitle of After Finitude is “An Essay on the Necessity of Contingency”.  This necessity was shown in chapter 3, and it can be briefly stated as follows: the principle of factiality teaches us that no thing exists necessarily.  Any and every thing could not exist, or exist, or exist differently.  There is no ultimate law governing the world: anything can happen, for no reason at all.

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After Finitude, Chapter 3: Facticality

Originally discussed on April 7, 2012

Meillassoux has established three things so far. First, if the ancestral is thinkable, then an absolute must be thinkable.  Second, there is no thing that exists necessarily.  Third, we must get past the strong correlationist position in order to establish an absolute.  In this chapter, Meillassoux finds his absolute in facticity – our “inability” to know why thought and the world are not different.  He then uses facticity to show that real contradiction is impossible, and then answers the question of why there is something rather than nothing.

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After Finitude, Chapter 2: Metaphysics, Fideism, Speculation

Originally discussed March 24, 2012

In chapter one, we saw that thinking ancestrality means thinking the world as it is apart from thought.  In order to show how this is possible, we need a way to break free of the common denominator of much philosophy from the last two hundred years: the claim that to be is to be a correlate.  In other words, in order to be knowable or have any qualities, a thing must be in a relation with thought.  Ancestrality shows us that we can know things that can exist and have qualities entirely apart from thought.

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After Finitude, Chapter 1: Ancestrality

Originally discussed March 10, 2012

In After Finitude, Meillassoux argues that the most basic characteristic of philosophy since Kant has been correlationism: the claim that to be is to be the correlation of a thinker and a thing.  In the first chapter, he uses the aporia of the arche-fossil to begin driving a wedge between thought and appearance.

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