June 24, 2009

Brassier upholds a radical nihilism of a world without meaning

Speculative realism

Speculative Realism is a philosophical current taking its name from a conference held at Goldsmiths College, University of London in April, 2007. The conference was moderated by Alberto Toscano of Goldsmiths College, and featured presentations by Ray Brassier of American University of Beirut (then at Middlesex University), Iain Hamilton Grant of the University of the West of England, Graham Harman of the American University in Cairo, and Quentin Meillassoux of the École normale supérieure in Paris. Credit for the name "speculative realism" is generally ascribed to Brassier, though Meillassoux had already used the term "speculative materialism" to describe his own position.

While often in disagreement over basic philosophical issues, the speculative realist thinkers have a shared resistance to philosophies of human finitude inspired by the tradition of Immanuel Kant. Unlike most realists, they also tend to develop theories that depart markedly from the views of everyday common sense. For instance, Brassier upholds a radical nihilism of a world without meaning, Grant defends a primordial stream of matter that is "retarded" to give rise to individual entities, Harman holds that no two objects can have any direct causal interaction, and Meillassoux believes that the laws of nature are absolutely contingent and that God does not exist but may exist in the future.

As a movement, speculative realism has close ties to the journal Collapse, which published the proceedings of the group's inaugural conference at Goldsmiths and has featured numerous other articles by the speculative realist thinkers. As has the academic journal Pli, which is edited and produced by members of the Graduate School of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Warwick.

A second conference entitled 'Speculative Realism/Speculative Materialism', two years after the original event at Goldsmiths, took place at the UWE Bristol on Friday 24th April 2009. The line-up consisted of Ray Brassier, Iain Hamilton Grant, Graham Harman, and (in place of Meillassoux who was unable to attend) Alberto Toscano. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 1:16 PM 12:53 PM 1:31 PM 12:59 PM 1:13 PM 8:48 PM 12:57 PM

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