The Advent of Contingency, An Ethics of the Fourth World; and the Divine Inexistence: A Meillassouxian ‘Spectral Dilemma’

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Abstract
Quentin Meillassoux’s ‘Spectral Dilemma offers philosophy an answer to an age old problem, one that Pascal had intimated on in the wager. Is it better to believe in God for life or abstain from belief and declare atheism? The paradox of theism and atheism has separated philosophy for centuries by limiting the possibilities for real thought. For Meillassoux, there is more at stake than just the limitations of thought. Both atheism and theism have exhausted all the conditions of human life. In order to answer this paradox Meillassoux must combine religious insight that the dead must be resurrected with the atheist conviction that God does not exist. (Harman, Quentin Meillassoux, Philosophy in the Making p.87). The aforementioned insight, grounds Meillassoux’s position in what he calls a Divine Ethics. The concept of the Divine carries both atheism and theism to their ultimate consequences to unveil the truth that … “God does not exist, and also that it is quite necessary to believe in God (Harman p.236). The Divine links both assertions in an absolute ethics which Meillassoux calls Divinology. This leads us to our next question what is the Spectral Dilemma? In order to answer this question, we cannot rely solely on what the dilemma is, for it is not, a sufficient account of what Meillassoux is trying to solve. We must proceed to understand the conditions of what Divine Ethics are, and how the Divinology can best represent life for both the living and the dead. What is a spectre? According to Meillassoux it is a dead person who has not been properly mourned (Meillassoux, Spectral Dilemma p.261). This person’s death haunts us. This haunting is the mere fact that we cannot mourn their loss, for as time passes by, our bond with the dead, or dearly departed, proves to be inadequate for our own lives. This haunting leads us to utter despair. The sheer horror of their death is a burden that lays heavy on our backs; and not just our own backs, or our families backs, but for all those people who have crossed their paths in history (Meillassoux p. 262). These terrible deaths are called Essential Spectres and they include all deaths, such as, odious, premature, the death of children, the death of parents; and all of those poor individuals who know that their own destiny will at some point in time, be the same as these poor individuals (Meillassoux p.262). But it is precisely all death in its inconclusive finality that haunts us all, not just natural deaths or even violent grueling death and causalities of war. These essential spectres, are the dead who refuse to Passover, even though they are gone. This concept must seem absurd to any reader to believe in them, but still, Meillassoux makes his point that these essential spectres still cry out to us all, that they still exist with us (Meillassoux p.262). Meillassoux claims that the completion of mourning must occur and Essential Mourning, which is described as an accomplishment of a living relationship with the dead, as opposed to maintaining a morbid bond with those who have survived after their deaths (Meillassoux p.263). According to Meillassoux, essential mourning grants us the possibility, of forming a bond again with the dearly departed (Meillassoux p.263). This bond actively animates their memory into our lives again, but the concept of accomplishment means, that to live again with those essential spectres … “[R]ather than relating to them with the memory of their morbid death” (Meillassoux p.263). In order to fully understand this possibility, we must ask the question does God exist. Is there a merciful spirit, which transcends all of humanity? Is this God working in the world? If so, then why do essential spectres exist? How is it possible that these terrible deaths occur in the world and are allowed by such a God? If this is so, that God allows these deaths to occur then perhaps God is not all powerful? Perhaps this so called transcendent principle is absent in the world (Meillassoux p.263).Meillassoux states that both the religious and atheist options do not allow for essential mourning to take place. Both these positions lead to disappear when confronting death. What is needed is what will follow in the rest of this paper … a Divine Inexistence. We need to assert the existence of a Virtual-God that is both inexistent and possible, but also contingent and unmasterable (Harman p.89). The Divine Inexistence is the main concept of Meillassoux’s Divinology but also the answer to the spectral dilemma, that a new ethics is both possible and needed. This Divine Ethics will both save Essential Spectres and Philosophy. My essential claim is that the actual article ‘Spectral Dilemma’ published in collapse Journal, is insufficient in fully answering the problem of essential spectres. The juxtaposition of atheism and theism is not enough to philosophically explain the significance of the Divine Inexistence. The article is not lengthy enough to explain how ontology, contingent-metaphysics and ethics relate to the fundamental problem. The Divine Inexistence must be fully articulated with the entirety of Meillassoux’s Divinology. I will attempt to fully express the entirety of Meillassoux for my reader, while at the same time, offering a comprehensive answer to the spectral dilemma.
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