The theoretical movements known as Speculative Realism and Object-Oriented Ontology depend on the “critique of correlationism” offered by the French philosopher Quentin Meillassoux in his 2008 After Finitude. There Meillassoux claims to have shown that Kant and all philosophers following him committed a grave and unseen philosophical error that he calls “correlationism,” in failing to see that humans can have access to absolute knowledge. Meillassoux's demonstration fails to deliver on this promise by equivocating on just the key argumentative points that philosophers from Kant onward have worked to clarify with precise language and argument, and by ignoring tremendous amounts of countervailing textual evidence. Far from blindly committing the correlationist “error,” much of Kantian and post-Kantian philosophy takes the issues Meillasoux raises as central ones for any philosophical investigation, with a significant number of philosophers and theorists adopting the realist position Meillassoux claims has been eliminated.
David Golumbia; “Correlationism”: The Dogma that Never Was. boundary 2 1 May 2016; 43 (2): 1–25. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/01903659-3469889
Download citation file: