The End of the World after the End of Finitude: On a Recently Prominent Speculative Tone in Philosophy

In Marcia Cavalcante Schuback & Susanna Lindberg (eds.), The End of the World: Contemporary Philosophy and Art. London: Rowman and Littlefield International. pp. 105-123 (2017)
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The chapter studies the speculative realist critique of the notion of finitude and its implications for the theme of the "end of the world" as a teleological and eschatological idea. It is first explained how Quentin Meillassoux proposes to overcome both Kantian and Heideggerian "correlationist" approaches with his speculative thesis of absolute contingency. It is then shown that Meillassoux's speculative materialism also dismantles the close link forged by Kant between the teleological ends of human existence and a teleological notion of the "end of the world." Speculative materialism no longer sees the end of thought, or the end of the thinking human being, as an insurmountable limit of conceivability, but rather as one contingent and possible event among others. This allows us to conceive an "end of all things" in a positive sense with regard to which the old eschatological hope for the end of the present world of injustice and for the emergence of a new world of perfect, "divine" justice becomes meaningful and legitimate in an entirely new sense.
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