Speculative realism seems to be based primarily on opposing the Kantian philosophy of correlationism - I quote Meillassoux:

Correlationism consists in disqualifying the claim that it is possible to consider the realms of subjectivity and objectivity independently of one another. Not only does it become necessary to insist that we never grasp an object “in itself”, in isolation from its relation to the subject, but it also becomes necessary to maintain that we can never grasp a subject that would not always-already be related to an object

I find it hard to believe that similar notions have not been articulated in other philosophies, such as objectivism, postivisim, rationalism etc. Is it possible to summarize in what ways speculative realism (specifically Meillassoux's philosophy) is fundamentally different from the philosophy of other post-Kantian thinkers, and what may be good resources to get a clearer view of the picture?

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Kants Copenican gesture was to assume that objects conform to the subject, this meant in particular that space & time was the conditions for experience. He also distinguised between noumena, an underlying reality which itself is not directly available to experience; and to phenomena the representation of noumena to the subject. One could say that phenomena is the linking relation between reality and the subject. I assume this is what is meant by correlationism.

Speculative realism is a return to reality, to objects. It places the subject on the same level as the object. One could say it is a democratic gesture. But subjects have a self, one does not think of objects of having such.

Arrangements are objects: When one considers a molecule, an object, is an arrangement of atoms, also objects; then we generalise by supposing any arrangements of objects is also an object.

To become fully democratic one introduces a self for objects. So, not only are subjects objects, but also objects are subjects. This is a new form of pan-pyschism. So it returns to reality whilst accepting the Kantian perspective.

One could also see it as a metaphysics of science - or rather it provides a metaphysics of science. After all, science deals with data, with facts at the basic level (the Wittgenstinian fact). One could suppose that theories are facts, or at least tending to them.

The speculative comes from thinking that the fact of world can be other than it is: Physical laws are not neccessary. This is another Wittgenstinian thought. Only the laws of logic (or geometry - as Wittgenstein might say) hold. In this sense, one might say that is anti-science; or at least anti-empirical.

The wikipedia page is a good resource.


Speculative Realism as a movement has no unique ideas and is parasitic on a host of previous and contemporaneous thinkers that it forgets, misrepresents, or actively ignores. See: FROM OCCUPY TO MULTIPLY: speculative realism is noone’s property, http://terenceblake.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/from-occupy-to-multiply-speculative-realism-is-noones-property/

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