Just so everyone knows, according to the excerpts from The Divine Inexistence published in Harman’s book on Meillassoux, the logical consequences of an embrace of the radical contingency of all being and the inexistence of God are as follows:

  • The belief in creation ex nihilo
  • Anthropocentrism: the contingent becoming of the universe reaches its pinnacle and unsurpassable goal in humanity
  • Faith in the resurrection of the dead
  • Hope in a coming mediator figure who, though possessing the divine power necessary to inaugurate the resurrection, empties himself
  • An ethics based on living in joyful hope of the resurrection

It’s a good thing we have Meillassoux to tell us about these radically new and unheard-of ideas! I wonder if the other sections tell us about such innovations as a ceremonial cleansing to enter the messianic community or a symbolic meal commemorating the mediator figure.

20 thoughts on “FYI

  1. I don’t understand. Are you saying that he falsified the translations in some way, or chose unrepresentative excerpts to make Meillassoux look bad, or what? I don’t find either of those hypotheses at all plausible.

  2. i was thinking that perhaps he chose selectively and it painted an unfair picture. but since you’ve read it, not me, then i’ll trust your judgment. then perhaps i’ll call bullshit on you (in jest of course, with a tinge of hesitation); just because the logical consequences are so ridic.

  3. It seems very improbable to me that these arguments are marginal points that Harman is artificially highlighting — but you may find that you are now able to read it for yourself and make your own judgment.

  4. cool cool. either way, i just felt the impulse to call bullshit and since i did i’m going to stick with it until i find some someone to which the call applies justifiably…

  5. One of the very compelling parts that Harman left out is Meilassoux’s logical deduction that a subset of the ones waiting for the emptying mediator will heavily favor goatees, or at least soul patches, and fleece vests.

  6. It makes more sense imo if you think of Meillassoux’s real target not being religion, but specifically fideism as a doctrine, which he spends a good part of After Finitude railing against, and blaming correlationists for.

    Though it’s probably fair to ask whether he’s neglecting close parallels to some varieties of (non-fideist) theology/apologetics. His particular (somewhat strange) justification for the logical necessity of these various claims are probably not even the most strange in existence; there is a lot of weird stuff published under the general aegis of proving Judeo-Chrisitian theological elements to be logically derivable from first principles. He’s just got a different set of first principles, and his God is inexistent (at the current time).

  7. Meillassoux explicitly says that his target is fideisim, but he pretty consistently uses fideism, theism, and religion interchangeably. And it’s definitely fair to ask whether he’s neglecting non-fideist (as well as non-classically-theist) theology, because the answer to that question is certainly “yes, he is.”

    What he ends up defending is hardly distinct from the modern, metaphysical idea of God (as pointed out, supposedly logically derived) – this God’s (current) inexistence & contingency being the only aspects that make it distinguishable at all from the modern version. (Well, that and Meillassoux’s God isn’t a creator, but since he still has creatio ex nihilo in there what’s the difference.)

  8. It’s all in there Austin. I would consider myself slightly different than the Meillassoux fans the Interccect member hypothesizes about in that I consciously limit myself to the arguments made in AF. Not that these themes aren’t in AF, but they are certainly scaled back, and I think it is a better book because of it. However, I don’t think it should come as a shock to anyone reading Meillassoux prior to Harman’s translation. You can find the same arguments in Potentiality and Virtuality; published (in English) in Collapse II way back in 2007.

  9. Michael, I don’t think it’s true that Meillassoux is ignoring non-fideist theologies. He considers every theology that posits some necessity or that leave the question of necessity open, or even just having something inaccessible to rational thought, as fideistic. Doesn’t that pretty much cover everyone from Aquinas to Barthes?

  10. Once you’ve begun a discussion of reality, or ‘being’ outside of a scientific approach, you are on the road back to one church or another. Metaphysics in general is conjecture, not knowledge. Indeed it is a turning away from knowledge. You should be allowed and expected to wax poetically about ‘totalities’, ‘absolutes’ and ‘necessity’ all you want. Just don’t expect any one to accept your wisdom, unless of course it’s on faith.
    The Critical project of Kant’s explained this quite clearly.

  11. Mike, in (1) considering every theology that posits any necessity fideistic (thereby reducing a large variety of classically theist positions to subtle variations on fideism), and (2) not allowing for any of the many other theological approaches that do exist (the post to which Leon links mentions a few) without provide a convincing argument for this exclusion, I do think it’s true that he simply assumes that theology is fideistic by defintion. That might be a plausible claim to make about “everyone from Aquinas to Barth” (and I’m not so sure even about that), but the distance between those two isn’t actually that large when you get a wider view of the theological landscape.

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