Some upcoming conferences that I am speaking at:
1. Memories of the Future at Chelsea College of Arts in early May
My paper is titled: 'The Blackening of Epekeina Tes Ousias: The death of the sun and the death of philosophy.'
The very possibility of any future memory has recently been called into question by Ray Brassier and his speculative extension of the eventual death of the sun and extinction of the universe as articulating an “‘anterior posteriority’ which usurps the ‘future anteriority’ of human existence” (Nihil Unbound, p. 230). Tied up with this examination of extinction is a critique of the explicitly future oriented philosophy of phenomenology. Brassier makes this explicit in his use of what he calls the ‘hyperbolic’ phenomenology of Emmanuel Levinas. This paper will examine Brassier’s critique of the future anterior and his use of Levinas and contrast this with the discussion of Levinas by Jacques Derrida in ‘Violence and Metaphysics’. I will show show how Derrida addresses the issue of the death of the sun in terms of the blackening of epekeina tes ousias (the Platonic notion of ‘beyond being,’ expressed, importantly, by the sun in the allegory of the cave), which in turn reveals the stakes of the death or end of philosophy (as a discourse of the future) in terms of the danger of developing it in either a ‘superior’ or ‘apocalyptic’ tone. I will argue that Derrida’s parallel yet prior critique of the possibility of the future anterior set certain limits and reveals traps that Brassier’s speculative method and replacement ‘anterior posteriority’ are prone to fall prey to without proper care. In contrast, I will argue, Derrida attempts to provide an alternative model of the future, which itself is not entirely unproblematic.
2. Consequences of Realism at the MAXXI Museum in Rome also early May
My paper there is titled: 'Time-Determination and Hyper-Chaos: The Reformulation of the Principle of Sufficient Reason In Kant and Meillassoux.'
Recently the legacy and influence of Kant has come under attack in the work of Quentin Meillassoux, who in After Finitude develops a path of thought that avoids that taken by philosophy after Kant. In this paper I will argue that despite Meillassoux’s avowed antipathy to Kant there are in fact several close parallels between the works of these two philosophers. This is most obvious when comparing Meillassoux with Kant’s pre-critical writings, that is, the problems which Kant struggled with in his own ‘dogmatic slumber’ before the solution of transcendental idealism was developed in the Critique of Pure Reason, i.e., before, in Meillassoux’s polemical terms, his ‘catastrophic’ turn to correlationism. Focusing on the pre-critical Kant opens up a new point of comparison with Meillassoux, who almost exclusively considers Kant in terms of the Critique, as Kant’s pre-critical project, with its belief in the possibility of rational knowledge of the world, is much closer to Meillassoux’s own project. The parallels between these two thinkers are unsurprising as they are both attempting to solve the same problem: how is knowledge of the world possible after the rejection of dogmatic metaphysics in the form of the principle of sufficient reason? This formulation of the fundamental problem supplies the structure of the two stands of thought that makes up my comparison of the two philosophers. Firstly, the rejection of dogmatic metaphysics; and, secondly, the reformulation of the principle of sufficient reason that this prompts. This latter strand will reveal the most important point of comparison between Kant and Meillassoux: that both reformulate the principle of sufficient reason in terms of time; for Kant, as the possibility of transcendental time-determination, and for Meillassoux as the principle of unreason as the hyper-chaos of time. However, I will argue, this explicit focus on time is problematic, this is most evident in the problems that Kant runs into in the Transcendental Deduction, which ultimately is unable to provide a solution to the issue of time-determination. Recognizing these problems in Kant will, by virtue of the already established parallel, provide new means with which to interrogate Meillassoux’s own temporal principle of unreason.
3. Phenomena at the Margins at Sussex University in June
Paper title: 'Spatial Disruptions and Temporal Amplifications: The effect of Heidegger’s turn to place on his reading of Kant.'
This paper will explore the ways in which the later developments in Heidegger’s thought, in particular the growing emphasis on space and place, affect his earlier interpretations of Kant and the predominance of time and temporality within these interpretations. In turn, these examinations will reveal how space was already important to Kant himself and that while Heidegger’s overly temporal interpretation in many ways occluded this importance or pushed it to the margins, its existence within Kant’s system provided a disruptive element that played a part in Heidegger’s turn towards spatiality and the philosophy of place. While Heidegger follows this spatial turn in his own thought he never explicitly returns to his interpretation of Kant to explore the way in which the neglect of spatiality in his interpretation perhaps effected or is itself affected by this turn. Although, he certainly does recognize the possibility of such a task, noting in the 1973 Preface to the Fourth Edition of the Kantbook that his engagement with Kant lead to both the manner of questioning from Being and Time and also later gave another, unspecified meaning to this manner of questioning; leading him to admit that he has “attempted to retract the overinterpretation [of Kant] without at the same time writing a correspondingly new version of the Kant book itself.” This paper suggests that it is the role of space in Kant that provided the new meaning for the manner of questioning; and, using the aporias of time and space in both the Critique of Pure Reason and across Heidegger’s work, sets out and argues for what such a new version of the Kantbook might look like. This will allow me to speculate on what this might mean for the place or orientation of phenomenology, in every sense of those terms.