AGAINST CORRELOLOGY: On the dumbing down of realism

I see no reason to regard internal realism as correlationist, when it was elaborated to deal with the sorts of worries that the correlologists (those who believe in the notion of correlation) raise post festum, and Harman’s notion of the non-absolute reality of the scientific object, in THE THIRD TABLE, is in fact parasitic on internal realism, but is a dumbed down version. Questioning objectivity of objects and reconfiguring our notion of it is not in itself correlationist. Nor is Foucault a correlationist. Deleuze explains quite clearly that even in the first Foucault of the archeological period language does not constitute the materiality of objects, the visiblities do not coincide with the enunciatables. Also the archive is a material element, it does not constitute itself. Neither is Popper a correlationist with his Third World of objective knowledge. Nor is Wittgenstein with his forms of life. Derrida is not a linguistic idealist, nor is Putnam. Having a nuanced realism is not the same as being idealist. « Anti-realism » is not a form of idealism, but contests the independent existence of certain entities, for example mathematical entities or theoretical entities in general. By this definition Harman is an anti-realist: about science (the scientific table is an « utter sham ») and about common-sense objects (also « utter shams »).

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3 commentaires pour AGAINST CORRELOLOGY: On the dumbing down of realism

  1. Ping : Internal Realism and Correlationsim

  2. terenceblake dit :

    My reply to David Roden at enemyindustry:
    January 20, 2013 at 10:42 am

    I think that terms such as “realism”, “anti-realism” etc. are very slippery and often change meaning several times in the course of a discussion. For example, Harman makes a big fuss about his “realism”, yet he is anti-realist with respect to scientific objects and common sense objects. His vanishingly thin realism is what I call tautological realism, the only real entities are his real objects (or “harms” as you once called them) but he can give no example as they are unknowable, untouchable, invisible etc.
    I do not find Putnam very interesting as he came rather slowly to his own rather constipated position of “internal realism” but I think that he just does not fall under Meillassoux’s concepts. What I find ridiculous in Meillassoux’s definition is the confusion of knowledge and access. Knowledge is not access, more generally “aboutness” is not access or attempted access either. Similarly “thinking” is not the same thing as “theory”. Meillassoux’s little anti-correlationist machine cannot even get started on most Anglophone epistemologies.
    The term “correlation” has a sort of intuitive appeal, but that is precisely its danger. I have nothing against intuition as such, but it is a simplistic sort of foundation for a critique of all major post-Kantian philosophies. Meillassoux seems to be unaffected by all the debates on theory-change and scientific revolutions, the theory-ladenness of observation, the existence of normal science, the historicity of mathematics, the role of mediations etc.
    Putnam himself was very slow to come to his position and always seemed to me to be conceptually very conservative. Yet he is miles ahead of Meillassoux. I have, however, no particular wish to defend Putnam, and I find, as you do, that his notion of the scientific community is ambiguous, coming very close to being just a bigger subject, a group subject. It leaves out the necessary mediations. Or does it? It all depends on what he has packed into the notion of “warrant”. Is it just a linguistic notion? I think not. Observations, tests, laboratories, crucial experiments all play an essential role. Internal realism is not “debating club” realism. Nor is it the thesis of the infinite plasticity of the real to our theories. That is an empirical thesis, overwhelmingly refuted by the facts under any warranted description.


  3. inthesaltmine dit :

    « In order to be adequately complete human beings, we must learn at which tables we are the eaters and at which we become the eaten. The tables at which we eat are called dining tables; those at which we are eaten are called altars. » Peter Sloterdijk, Bubbles, 523


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