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Monday, 19 March 2018

Metaphysics and speculation

Thinking about a way to think through the metaphysical tradition that goes through Levinas and Deleuze in the 20th century, it occurred to me that one can describe their project as a metaphysics without speculation where the sense of totality is fully replaced by an commitment to exteriority and infinity (in the sense Levinas ascribes to Descartes). It is a metaphysics of contact, and not of speculative gestures. Interestingly, if we think of the four possibilities of presence and absence of metaphysics and speculation, the other three quadrants are occupied by metaphysicians like Whitehead but also by Leibniz and Spinoza (the quadrant on Metaphysics with Speculation) as much as the quadrant that rejects both metaphysics and speculation is occupied by the traditional forms of correlationism. Finally, speculation without metaphysics is what Meillassoux want to pursue. The fourth quadrant, metaphysics without speculation, is almost completely absent in the current discussion on metaphysical renaissance and the speculative turn.


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