#13701 Overall Influence

Quentin Meillassoux

French philosopher


Why is this person notable and influential?

Meillassoux is a French philosopher who studied under Alain Badiou. He is Professor of Philosophy at the Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (or “the Sorbonne”). Meillassoux is perhaps best known for his 2006 book on philosophy, After Finitude. In it, he develops a position which has made him a notable and iconoclastic philosopher, as it departs radically from the mainstream in philosophy, often traced back to Immanuel Kant. Kant argued that our ideas about the world are “correlated” with ourselves, in the sense that we cannot understand the world apart from ourselves. By contrast, Meillassoux argues that the universe exists (and can be known) entirely independent of our minds and prior to our conceptual schemes to make sense of it.

His view is a challenge to cherished concepts like causation — Meillassoux argues that there is no cause and effect (not even contributed by humans), and that the world is chaotic and independent of our minds. He calls this view of reality the “ancestral” realm, and argues for it as a kind of realism, known as speculative realism.

Meillassoux’s other notable works include The Number and the Siren: A Decipherment of Mallarme’s Coup De Des, and Science Fiction and Extro-Science Fiction.

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#881 World Rank
#2154 World Rank