An Interim Report
This chapter offers a critical review of the Speculative Realist movement that emerged in the wake of Quentin Meillassoux’s book After Finitude. It is a movement remarkable for what must strike most observers as a wildly improbable combination of attributes. Thus it is (1) French in origin, (2) decidedly ‘continental’ in orientation, and (3) a full-fledged objectivist realism which forcefully abjures all forms of the so-called ‘correlationist’, i.e., post-Kantian epistemic turn. All the same this uncompromising realism has often gone along, as in the second, more extravagantly ‘speculative’ part of Meillassoux’s book, with some far-fetched and philosophically insupportable ideas which, if taken at anything like their literal force, would totally undermine the realism or show it up as merely a fig-leaf doctrine. I make a case that this liability has resulted from these thinkers’ conspicuous failure to engage with developments in the ‘other’ (analytic) tradition in epistemology and philosophy of science. More specifically, they have ignored the conceptual resources nowadays on offer from those varieties of strong (ontologically grounded) causal realism that have lately mounted a vigorous challenge to correlationist assumptions, and all the more so when conjoined with an historically informed account of inference to the best explanation.
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