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Continental Realism and Its Discontents$
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Marie-Eve Morin

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781474421140

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474421140.001.0001

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Before Infinitude: A Levinasian Response to Meillassoux’s Speculative Realism

Before Infinitude: A Levinasian Response to Meillassoux’s Speculative Realism

(p.59) Chapter 3 Before Infinitude: A Levinasian Response to Meillassoux’s Speculative Realism
Continental Realism and Its Discontents

Lee Braver

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter argues that like Meillassoux, Levinas opposes correlationism—a term encompassing both idealism and anti-realism in philosophy. However, Levinas’s attempt to overcome correlationism differs markedly from that of Meillassoux. Whereas Meillassoux argues that mathematizable, scientific discourse can determine facts about reality independent of human thought or awareness, Levinas appeals to an ethical experience of the other that remains correlated with awareness but transcend human rationality. Their attempts to overcome correlationism are thus reverse images of each other: whereas Meillassoux uses reason to transcend experience, Levinas appeals to experience to transcend reason. Taken together, these disparate approaches point to a more nuanced understanding of correlationism and its possible overcoming.

Keywords:   Levinas, Meillassoux, reason, ethics, correlationism, idealism, anti-realism

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