Reading Philosophy Today

Posted by Edward Willatt on Thursday, August 19, 2010 Under: Transcendental Philosophy

A very interesting debate has been taking place between different bloggers over the way we should read philosophy.  The issue is whether thinkers like Kant, Husserl or Derrida can be presented as realists in order to meet the challenges posed by speculative realism and object-oriented philosophy.  The notion that such philosophies are caught in the ‘correlationist circle’, as Quentin Meillassoux argues, has been challenged by those seeking to establish the realist credentials of these philosophers.  Thus, rather than neglecting objects or mind-and-language-independent-entities these supposed anti-realists were always already realists.  The challenge posed to such readings has been made at the Object-Oriented Philosophy and Larval Subjects blogs.  They argue that such readings are in fact creative readings of anti-realists which seek to convert their correlationism into realism.  An example that is currently being disputed is Derrida’s notion of the world as text.  Can this be presented as a realist ontology that does not presuppose the existence of language?  The debate has come to centre on the standards for reading a philosopher and making claims about his thought.  What constitutes a creative reading rather than one that reveals what was there all along? 

My own work has explored the resources Kant has for meeting current challenges.  I have argued that if we follow his construction of an architectonic, a systematic and ambitious philosophy that was taken up by German Idealism, we can meet such challenges without doing violence to the text.  This presents Kant in a very different light from, for example, the way he is portrayed in the current debate over transcendental arguments.  In this case Kant’s supposedly modest attempts to account for knowledge of the world outside of the subject has led some to argue that Kant employed self-directed arguments and that we should instead look to world-directed arguments (Quassim Cassam argues in this way).  From this perspective Kant is certainly caught in the ‘correlationist circle’ which needs to be overcome by a more ‘worldly’ approach to transcendental arguments.  However, if we direct our reading of Kant towards aspects of his thought that were drawn upon by the German Idealists things appear very different.  This is not to suggest that we should dismiss the point made at Object-Oriented Philosophy and Larval Subjects.  They present a fundamental challenge to those of us who wish to defend such thinkers from the realist case being made so forcefully and effectively today.  How far can we go to read realism into a philosophy which talks explicitly about the relation of subject and object or about the world as text?  Can we argue that realism was what the philosopher really meant when they explicitly invoked the subject and language?  I think that these challenges can be met but not without taking very seriously the proponents of speculative realism and object-oriented philosophy.  It does not serve the cause of transcendental philosophy if we are reactive in the face of challenges from those who are wide and careful readers of philosophy.

In : Transcendental Philosophy 



null

Reading Philosophy Today

Posted by Edward Willatt on Thursday, August 19, 2010 Under: Transcendental Philosophy

A very interesting debate has been taking place between different bloggers over the way we should read philosophy.  The issue is whether thinkers like Kant, Husserl or Derrida can be presented as realists in order to meet the challenges posed by speculative realism and object-oriented philosophy.  The notion that such philosophies are caught in the ‘correlationist circle’, as Quentin Meillassoux argues, has been challenged by those seeking to establish the realist credentials of these philosophers.  Thus, rather than neglecting objects or mind-and-language-independent-entities these supposed anti-realists were always already realists.  The challenge posed to such readings has been made at the Object-Oriented Philosophy and Larval Subjects blogs.  They argue that such readings are in fact creative readings of anti-realists which seek to convert their correlationism into realism.  An example that is currently being disputed is Derrida’s notion of the world as text.  Can this be presented as a realist ontology that does not presuppose the existence of language?  The debate has come to centre on the standards for reading a philosopher and making claims about his thought.  What constitutes a creative reading rather than one that reveals what was there all along? 

My own work has explored the resources Kant has for meeting current challenges.  I have argued that if we follow his construction of an architectonic, a systematic and ambitious philosophy that was taken up by German Idealism, we can meet such challenges without doing violence to the text.  This presents Kant in a very different light from, for example, the way he is portrayed in the current debate over transcendental arguments.  In this case Kant’s supposedly modest attempts to account for knowledge of the world outside of the subject has led some to argue that Kant employed self-directed arguments and that we should instead look to world-directed arguments (Quassim Cassam argues in this way).  From this perspective Kant is certainly caught in the ‘correlationist circle’ which needs to be overcome by a more ‘worldly’ approach to transcendental arguments.  However, if we direct our reading of Kant towards aspects of his thought that were drawn upon by the German Idealists things appear very different.  This is not to suggest that we should dismiss the point made at Object-Oriented Philosophy and Larval Subjects.  They present a fundamental challenge to those of us who wish to defend such thinkers from the realist case being made so forcefully and effectively today.  How far can we go to read realism into a philosophy which talks explicitly about the relation of subject and object or about the world as text?  Can we argue that realism was what the philosopher really meant when they explicitly invoked the subject and language?  I think that these challenges can be met but not without taking very seriously the proponents of speculative realism and object-oriented philosophy.  It does not serve the cause of transcendental philosophy if we are reactive in the face of challenges from those who are wide and careful readers of philosophy.

In : Transcendental Philosophy 



null

 

 
Make a Free Website with Yola.