Catherine Malabou, ‘Relinquishing the Transcendental? Speculative Realism in Question’
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This lecture, recorded on 4 December 2014, forms part of the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy’s 20th Anniversary Public Lecture Series, in association with the London Graduate School and Art and Philosophy at Central St Martins.
Is contemporary continental European philosophy preparing itself to break with Kant? An attack upon supposedly indestructible structures of knowledge is occurring: finitude of the subject, the phenomenal given, a priori synthesis. “Relinquishing the transcendental” is the leading project of postcritical thinking in the early twenty-first century, in particular as it appears in Quentin Meillassoux’s book After Finitude. Some questions it seemed could never be raised after the Critique of Pure Reason are reappearing with a renewed force: Was Kant genuinely able to deduce categories instead of imposing them, to prove the necessity of nature, to found the difference between “a priori” and “innate”? Should we consider, on the contrary, that the “problem of Hume”—the existence of an irreducible contingency of the world—was never settled by the Transcendental Deduction? Such a claim implies that we have provided a sufficiently convincing concept of the irregularity of the laws of nature and of the possibility of a totally different world. Does After Finitude elaborate such concepts?