Science, realism and correlationism

A phenomenological critique of Meillassoux' argument from ancestrality

Harald Wiltsche

pp. 808-832

Quentin Meillassoux has recently launched a sweeping attack against ‘correlationism’. Correlationism is an umbrella term for any philosophical system that is based on ‘the idea [that] we only ever have access to the correlation between thinking and being, and never to either term considered apart from the other’ (Meillassoux 2012: 5). Thus construed, Meillassoux' critique is indeed a sweeping one: It comprises major parts of the philosophical tradition since Kant, both in its more continental and in its more analytical outlooks. In light of this critique, the aim of this paper is twofold: On the one hand, I shall defend phenomenology against Meillassoux' main argument, the ‘argument from ancestrality’. On the other hand, I will argue that this argument, albeit unsuccessful in its original form, can be modified to pose a more serious threat. Although this modified version can also be circumvented, it forces phenomenologists to clarify their stance towards the natural sciences.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1111/ejop.12159

Full citation:

Wiltsche, H. (2017). Science, realism and correlationism: A phenomenological critique of Meillassoux' argument from ancestrality. European Journal of Philosophy 25 (3), pp. 808-832.

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