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Critique in the Age of Indifference

MacKenzie, Iain (2019) Critique in the Age of Indifference. Theory and Event, . ISSN 1092-311X. (In press) (KAR id:79342)

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Abstract

In After Finitude, Meillassoux asks an epoch defining question: how can we criticise both ideological dogmatism and sceptical fanaticism if the rise of sceptical fanaticism is an effect of the Kantian critical philosophy one must employ against ideological dogmatism? Meillassoux’s answer is to argue in favour of thought’s ability to access the absolute necessity of contingency. Agamben and Laruelle give an alternative answer. Although very different in style and argument, both aim to disqualify fanatical positions by showing how ‘the belief that belief is all there is’ is not all there is because of the contingent nature of thought about the real. It will be argued that while pursuing logics of disqualification all three thinkers nonetheless employ arguments that render positive claims that sit uncomfortably within their respective systems. The upshot is that the transcendental gesture of critical philosophy – what are the conditions of our positive claims about thought and the world – is halted by an uncritical appeal to the condition of all conditions; intellectual intuition in Meillassoux and an indifferent thought/real in Agamben and Laruelle. But what options remain given that the problem of critique in an age of indifference is a problem that critical philosophy itself has created? The task, it will be argued, is to express the transcendental conditions of what we know about the world and how we know what we know about the world in a manner that retains the contingency of both. But are there variants of contemporary thought that can express the contingency of the real and of thought while remaining within the transcendental apparatus that provides the necessary criteria for the challenge of both ideological dogmatism and sceptical fanaticism? I shall bring the argument to a close by suggesting that two such variants are available – transcendental naturalism and transcendental aestheticism – and that the latter provides a secure but non-dogmatic ground for critique in an age of indifference.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled keywords: critique, Meillassoux, indifference, Brassier, Centre for Critical Thought
Subjects: J Political Science > JC Political theory
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations > Centre for Critical Thought
Depositing User: Iain MacKenzie
Date Deposited: 18 Dec 2019 10:36 UTC
Last Modified: 08 Apr 2020 10:54 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/79342 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
MacKenzie, Iain: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0540-5288
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