The Significant Event, Part 4b (Part 5): Hard Correlationalism: The Crux of the Problem of Speculative Realism and the Critique of Conventional Philosophy. (And no, I am not mistaking ‘continental’ philosophy; I mean Conventional philosophy.)

We are still moving toward the meaning of the pocket veto and the significant event. Here, we consider Quentin Miessaloux and the ideas presented in his book “Beyond Finitude”.

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Meillassoux’s argument arrives through the question: when modern science, or the mathematization of the world, had taken hold, what he identifies as the Copernican Revolution, why did philosophy move away from its announcement, which is to say, away from, as M puts it, “thought’s capacity to think what there is whether thought exists or not” [pg 166, Beyond Finitude]. This is really to question thought itself, but he stays with his problem of why philosophy did not move toward this, as he terms, ancestral object, where knowledge conforms to the object, and instead move toward the object conforming to knowledge.

His thesis concerns more a proper manner of thinking, and this concerns removing metaphysical thinking, thinking that involves a transcendental element or aspect, what QM frames more precisely as that derives from ‘necessaritan probabilistic’ thinking. Such thought stems from the notion that the probability of reality manifesting in just the way it is for any moment is extremely low, nearly impossible, and so in as much as reality does indeed manifest in such a way, it is thus necessary due to a transcending element or aspect that has determined the outcome against this highly improbable outcome. Indeed, he is arguing necessity over contingency, but necessity in its absolute form that does not arise due to contingency.

It is this proposal that I agree with. I appreciate how he has voiced this situation because it quite aptly describes the issue, the pivotal discernment, the axial moment in the discussion of ideas put forth by authors of philosophy that I call ‘the point of contention’, which lays out the divergent path as a necessary outcome of the motion of conventional discursive method and thereby involves unilateral duality in contrast to — what I believe is called — a bilateral unity.

Where QM and I differ has do with with his assertion of proper thinking, a proper method by which to suggest a ‘more proper’ method. His is the same problem that is evidenced with Immanuel Kant, and indeed I would say that he is offering little more than Kant in this respect. Due to the appropriation of conventional knowledge that uses Kant’s ideas as previously stated and thus already posited object to be considered built upon as progress in the effort for the truth of conventional philosophy, one could see that a more pronounced move should indeed be indicated; this in so much as synthetic a priori, the categorical imperative and Kant’s theses did little more than arouse suspicion and debate. QM is keen to understand maybe not only why, but also how to develop a move that would emphasize or reiterate what Kant was really trying to propose. Yet the impetus for the reiteration must then also have allowed QM to see that the fault of Kant’s force lay in his (Kant’s, but also ironically QM’s) reckoning of his (Kant’s) notion by a One reality that an insistence upon a universal ethics reveals. So it is that while QM may indeed notice the error to thereby be motivated to such a new turn, aka speculative realism, his also may be thwarted by this same problem of Kant. To wit; Kant suggests that the categorical imperative may imply a ‘right action’ of sorts, an ethical (good) action, that distinguishes then in relief what actions may be questionable, and thus he resorts the real ubiquitous power of choice by which the total and universal absolute manifestation of humanity exists, decision. In this distinction, we may thereby tend to not forgive QM, for it is the statement of Kant that should by now arrive with the question that is relieved of such universality; which is to say that where QM’s mentor Alain Badiou occupies the strong point of the human situation, and Francois Laruelle the strong position, QM himself makes the weak move by indicting reason, albeit a particular kind of reasoning, as the issue at hand.

QM’s approach is upon how such an object antecedent to thought proposes likewise a condition of thought, an elementary and necessary condition of the reality for which he is arguing a new propriety, i.e. ‘reason’ — but if there is a thing in its own right antecedent to thought, what does this say of thought? Thus it is interesting that his critique is held out away from itself; where if there is an aspect that informs human thinking that exists independent of thought, and presumably QM is moving in that direction, then thought itself is brought into question; but QM invokes ‘reason’. His move is toward an imminence of thinking that should properly be understood as stemming from mathematical truth, removed from the transcendental tendency for thought that arrives by the opposite move. Yet QM leaves untouched the question of thought and instead approaches from an effect of thought, that reason, and not thought, is an ideological construction formed out of a historical misconstruing of information that he identifies as a ‘necessitarian probability’. Yet, ironically, as he proposes that the fault of reason is due to this necessary probability that surmises a unitary discourse, he is nevertheless proposing that a unitary discourse may be arrived at through a discarding of the transcendental reason in favor of a more mathematical basis. His can be taken as little more than another conventional assertion, another argument to be considered, and yet his indicts such reason as a particular incorrect reasoning.

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His move makes very explicit the rejection of the correlationalist dictate that would reduce thoughts’ “capacity to think what there is whether or not thought was there to think it” to the thought itself, and thereby posits objects that are not transcendental in their nature — or maybe more precisely, exactly transcendent, which is to say, to the correlationalism that would reduce all posited antecedents to the , what he calls, facticity of thought. In other words, we might see that where correlationalism reduces all that is to what can be thought in the moment, what is the real condition of knowledge, such correlative reality instead thus evidences the limit of knowledge and not the impossibility that any thing more exists.

But his is supposedly not a Kantian intuition that relays the object in-itself to knowledge through a transcendent effector that then calls for an elaboration on what is true of metaphysics; he is proposing a proper basis of method for metaphysical speculation. Strangely enough, though, it is the opening by which we need not any longer rely upon a Hegelian History, an opening where the nature of the object in-itself may be identified without a need of a transcendent interlocutor, which is for current modern philosophy a real Historical Consciousness denied as such due to the investment in the potential term-object identity that has gone beyond Hegel. Thus, it is not so much that anything may exist independent of thought — this is the oriented move of the Speculative Realists — but rather more that the corresponding question has to do with the discourse from which derives the deviation and thus the question — not of reason as QM proposes, but of thought itself, which is then to pronounce the counter-partial aphilosophical move. For there is never a mathematical conception that can avoid putting its use for humanity into terms, which is discourse, and apprehension of discourse cannot avoid a transcending effect (see my earlier posts). Real discourse always involves transcendence; the move he wishes to make, though, seems more inline with developing a ‘correctly fashioned’ discourse, one that will align thought with a real-true universe, which is, ultimately, a unitary discourse of the real, a discourse that only gains its footing through an assertion of a State of Reality, again, as in the previous segment (part 3), a revolt from the limit back into the limit. And again I say it is no wonder that QM and others must call their brand of Realism ‘speculative’; at least there is an appearance of an effort for humility.

Hence the deviant move that corresponds counter-partially to Speculative Realism is that move that says the issue concerns what is not real, the move that brings thought itself into question, which is more consistent with Miessalloux’s pronunciation of the problem than he seems to be able to admit. Indeed, math appears to exist and its functions manifest despite what we may think of it, and it thereby argues an existence apart from thought that does not fall pray to the all-encompassing correlational position. What occurs then is a necessity that shows math does not get ‘discovered’ by our thinking, we do not ‘solve’ mathematical problems; rather, math is presenting itself or ‘is presented’ by its solutions to us in the only manner that is able to be presented, which then argues that the ‘thoughts’ that solve mathematical problems are determined, and not truly based in some sort of free, intuitive, inspirational or imaginative agency, which is to say, are not based in any sort of contingency. At best, it would seem QM is saying that we should limit types of thinking that are allowed to be counted as true, which appears then to fall on the weak side of his mentor’s, Alain Badiou, thesis of ‘Being and Event’.

For what are we really saying when we make an argument? We are saying that the route by which such an argument was made is true in its facticity, its fact of it being an argument as a series, that because of the trueness of the fact that such arguments were made, this argument is likewise true but also more true; the argument that is being made is that it is a furthering of the progressive movement of historical argument, that indeed thisargument I am presenting to you now argues that it makes the next step in the progress toward the truth of humanity in reality; and this is ironic.

There is a problem here, then also with QMs proposal. He is not suggesting a particular type of reasoning or manner of argument is to blame, rather, he is indicting a type of reason, a particular manifestation of thinking. He is not talking about operations of reason as reason might be a foundation upon which to make various arguments; no, he categorizes the problem as reason itself. So then how is it possible that an argument has been made upon the historical content that is argument, where this furthest consequential proposal enjoins the facticity of progress in order to thereby argue that the facticity of the series is or was based upon an incorrect manner of proposing argument? It would seem by virtue of the argument QM is making that he would not only have to understand the previous proposals through that very faulty reason but then also understand that the manner by which he comes upon this furthest argument is significantly different than his (arch-fossil) predecessors; in other words, it would seem to have to be that the argument that he makes was not made upon the proposals of those before him, but rather his argument was presented intact, and the previous authors are merely vehicles for that presentation. What we have here then is a marker of the significant event in play, and an indication of the veto.

This is the reason why I bring the issue to thought itself. Graham Harman (Object Oriented Ontology) can be brought back in here. We are dealing not with objects of thought, for this way of viewing objects we are discussing, this orientation upon objects, does not exclude in a manner shown above, which quietly and subtly deceives by leaving the intuition of the transcendent as an element outside the speaking of issues; indeed, irony is at play here. We are dealing with and addressing the facticity of being human in the world, and thereby reducing all possibility of addressing to a matter of objects, and thought is another of these objects.

The reason QM does not bring his discussion to thought is because he sees that there is some form or aspect of his ability to bring argument that has been inspired to be able to view reality significantly different than the philosophers that he is presented with; this form is thus excluded from the giving of the system or scheme of meaningful objects, and this excluded element is exactly absolute transcendence. Hence he is arguing a divergence based in the possibility of elements or aspects that are antecedent to thought, objects that exist despite whether thought is there to think them. And, because the transcendent is de facto another object as soon as we speak about it, which is to say, terms are objects, this undisclosed object, the transcendent interlocutor, the significant experience of such element, to use Otto from earlier in this essay (part 1), is frankly excluded. on the other hand, we posit no exclusions here, and thereby delineate that the significant issue has to do with discourse’s limitation and Lyotard’s caveat: How does one speak of the significant event?

Hence, Miessaloux solves Lyotard’s problem by the conventional route, i.e. by falling back into the hard correlational limit, by intuition, but a particularized inspired intuition of the transcendent, the point at which such a division was come upon by him. In other words, he is following a distinction noticed as far back as Aquinas:

“Theoreticus sive speculativus intellectus in hoc proprie ab operativo sive practico distinguitur, quod speculativus habet pro fine veritatem quam considerat, practicus autem veritatem consideratam ordinat in operationem tamquam in finem.”

{Theoretical or speculative intellect is properly distinguished from the operative or practical, that the speculative has for its end the truth that it contemplates, the practical truth, however, orders the considered operation as its end.} Translation Google.

He is thus dealing squarely with the ‘speculative’ (surprising,huh?), yet in an odd sort of way he thus is also dealing with conventional reality, attempting to pose a solution to the problems evident of it by its philosophical discursive formulations, but without investigating that by which such formulations are made. Further, inso relying upon such prior ground, such assumption of progress, his statement represents a ‘false ego’, a ‘bad faith’, for being invested in the division of labor that sees his ability not only granted by the history before him through True Objects, but likewise upon a hierarchical structure of True forms, where his position is seen as highest. And further, though he may understand certain things of Aquinas’s ‘practical’, his statement evidences an assertion of Truth (albeit speculative) that does not require an explanation of his footing, but assumes it due to the commonly understood division of labor, but also the character of the common human being in reality and its ability to conspire with or be inspired by the transcendent that informs all things as to its necessary progress. He is proposing a route to Truth based upon a foundation that is inherently unstable, indeed, fantastical in its bearings, which is to say, upon a faith in the common One conventional reality.

Such conventional assertions, admittedly of reality, as I have said, bring solutions only of the type that deal with momentary present social situations and thus require the appropriate ‘revolutionary act’ of Marx that reality demands. Thus the bridge that ones such as Slavoj Zizek or even maybe Angela Davis cross.

The issue then concerns not so much the revolutionary act, for such an act is required at all times; rather it is the feature of human consciousness that sees such an act as necessitating some posterior (of real experience) transformation, some intuition, that thereby evidences a prior (informed, given) separation of the human being from the world — as if ‘contemplation’ is withdrawn from the revolutionary act.

It is thereby Meissaloux’s work becomes an instrumental occasion to discuss the pocket veto, the significant event, and specifically but in general the human being in reality.

End Part 5.

Next up: Just Kant stop with Miessaloux. I will reiterate the problem using a generalized iteration of Badiou’s thesis of “Being and Event.

After that, I will begin to discuss more thoroughly the significant event, the veto and hopefully return at some point to the Romance ands its role in the constitution of the individual of reality.

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The Significant Event, Part 4a: The Problem with Speculative Realism.

Individuals nevertheless still have such significant experiences, and these experiences frame the existential problem noted above (part 3), or for my terms, how a person is oriented upon objects. The significant event, or more properly said, the question of the pocket veto distinguishes that which is fidelitous to the Event from that which finds recourse in the True Object of the pure multiple. This is to say that the question that is brought to bare of such event is referred to the question of its reality, as in the previous segment, the question “Is this real?” The answering of this question posed by the individual thus solves the irony present in the very situation, to wit, either I have been privy to a moment of inspiration that raises me above the State of Reality enough to be only at least partially subject to the State, and thereby be in a position to sufficiently address the oppression of the State, which is the real answer, the answer that derives from an (Kant) intuited object, the transcendent, or, I am not subject to the State.

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We thus take the similarity between what I have just proposed and the Speculative Realists, Graham Harman and Quentin Miessaloux in particular, as an occasion by which to further the effort to gain the veto, but I will be addressing more of Quentin Miessaloux with his primacy of math over the tendency for transcendental thinking. It comes down to this, the issue brought up earlier in this extended essay: Even if mathematics reflects in an arch-fossil manner an object antecedent to thought, the conveyance of such object is subject to discourse of the strong correlationalist sort.

But we should take a moment to see what Speculative Realism really involves as a philosophical position (if that designation really refers anymore to any specificity of discourse).

The usual conventional philosophical paradigm involves the subject and the object, or what is found in the Cartesian “cogito ergo sum”. The veto we are after in these essays involves a significant event by which the split that identifies the subject and object becomes apparent. This split is the moment that can be addressed through considering the Cartesian/Copernican Revolution. The significance that SR is concerned with is this establishment, in simple meaning, the “I think, therefore I am”, a basic polemic between the thinking subject and its presence in the world, a presence that implicates a segregated element, whereby thought is distinguished from the object of its operation. This is where Graham Harman of noted Object Oriented Ontology takes up his solution by the object –> object as opposed to the subject –> object query –which is a real endeavor, a venture posed upon an un investigated given by which possibility may arise; hence ‘speculative realism’. The problem supposedly since that time of Descartes has been how to reconcile this apparent subject/object duality. The Speculative Realists propose that such a reconciliation is based upon an incorrect assessment of the situation at hand. It appears SR and I agree on this point, yet where the SR are involved with the discovering the object along a conventional (real) route, and while the subject is likewise tied into such an object, I propose and so venture towards the effect of human consciousness that allows for such posturing. The real objectival discursive situation marked by the SR, interestingly enough, creates a viable opening by which to discuss a necessary divergence from such a real conventional method. Knowing of how such conventional reality of the object may be addressed is an ironic venture.

The proposal of solving the Cartesian problem of the subject and the object along an objective path is dubious at best. For one, it supposes that humanity before a certain time had no such apprehension of duality. The problem is supposed particular, to have came about not merely at a specific time, but due to a specific discourse, which for such SR and object oriented philosophers, means a specific way of thinking, again indicating that thought and discourse are intertwined in a causal historical situation. While Graham Harman appears to reduce his Object Oriented problem to how two objects may touch — as we should see, the ‘object’ that is the Cartesian ‘subject’ and the ‘object’ that is the ‘object’, as well as ‘regular’ objects, thus may follow his description of what all objects actually are — so as to allow their interaction in reality, Quentin Miessalloux seems content to take the problem to correlationalist reasoning, where objects reflected in consciousness tend to argue back into present objects only, the discourse of objects relying upon a thinking subject that reasons objects back into the scheme of reason such that no object exists outside the knowing subject. He thereby argues due to this posed limit that there are objects outside of the correlationalist cycle.

Yet despite what discursive moves one may make to therefore be able to attain a relationship consistent entirely of objects, the question thus begs its own determination:

Is thought influenced by discourse or is discourse influenced by thought?

Is there an influence that bridges these elements in a directional manner?

Was thought going on and then discourse came about due to the human being thinking?

Was there some sort of communication occurring before thought came to be thought?

Did discourse arise in the same motion as thought?

One can take these questions in any number of ways. Nevertheless, we can address these types of questions specifically to SR, because both of these authors’ endeavors can be accounted by the significant event. The problem with Harman is his discourse relies and draws upon ideas that are taken as given for their ability to make their arguments. In other words, the objects of past authors, their thesis and ideas and such, are indeed touching Harman so that he can use theirs to support his ideas, despite his problemitization of how it can be so, and, the objects he is using to situate his thesis appear to be touching. He appears thus to be drawing from some aspect or element undisclosed to his argument, some element that is not an object, so he can thereby make his argument that all reality is constituted by objects, and thereby propose a real-true system. I suspect that his system stems from the same maxim that I have proposed, ie. there is nothing beyond discourse, and transcribes, as I do, ‘terms’ as ‘objects’; he thereby develops a system of relating objects to account for reality. But his thereby seems to suggest that the route I propose in my essays is more salient, accounting for more of the facts, because any scheme relating objects at most describes a particular real moment, a particular conventional True Object in necessary opposition to another True Object, and at best describes the individual in reality. Granted, he is making a statement that will go in the annals of conventional philosophy, but we will leave him for now in his own right to fill out the object of reality.

The problem with Miessaloux appears for now little more suited to irony. His argument is that math relays the truth, and that the situation of math thereby gains a true-real situation of the individual. He suggests that it is a particular type of reasoning that gets in the way of seeing the reality that is the truth of math. From this he proposes that there are things that exist outside of thought, things he calls ‘arch fossils’, for example, skeletons of dinosaurs suggest that there were living creatures that relied upon such skeletons that existed before humans began to think about them, things that exist anterior to humans thinking about them.

With this in mind, in the effort still to gain the meaning of the veto, next we consider Quentin Meillassoux, and then Matin Hiedegger, their ideas on science, in the following parts.

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End part 4a