Mehdi Belhaj Kacem on Meillassoux (1): synchronic vs diachronic ontologies

Very interesting excerpt from Kacem’s forthcoming book L’effet Meillassoux (The Meillassoux Effect) on the blog Les apports de Mehdi Belhaj Kacem. Belhaj Kacem situates Quentin Meillassoux (QM) in the context of the post-Badiousian generation, that is trying to inherit not only from Badiou but also from Deleuze. In my language, they are trying to combine elements of a synchronic ontology with those of a diachronic ontology.

Kacem: “ C’est une mode des philosophes de ma génération, qui m’a agacé chez beaucoup : comment « compossibiliser » Deleuze et Badiou ? Parce que son talent est incommensurable à la concurrence, QM est allé bien plus loin, et à sa lecture on se dit souvent qu’il est bien près d’y parvenir. Et pourtant à la fin non. Le présent livre voudrait contribuer, au-delà des critiques, à ce qu’il réussisse quand même“.

“It’s a fashion amongst philosophers of my generation which has annoyed me a lot: how to “compossibilise” Deleuze and Badiou? Because his talent is incommensurable to the competition, QM has gone further than most, and reading him one tends to think that he is very close to succeeding. And yet finally he doesn’t. The present book would like to contribute, beyond its critiques, to him succeeding after all” (my translation).

For Kacem this opposition of incompossibles and the attempt to overcome it can be seen in QM’s implicit loyalty to Deleuze in his concept of “super-Chaos” and his vacillating loyalty to Badiou in the notion that “mathematics=ontology”:

Je vais plus loin dans « l’hypothèse de travail » : QM nous cache et se cache son deleuzisme foncier par un badiousisme schizophrénique”

“I go further in my “working hypothesis”: QM hides, from us and from himself, his basic Deleuzism under a schizophrenic Badiouism”.

In Kacem’s analysis there is a contradiction at the heart of Meillassoux’s system: QM’s super-Chaos is the negation of the factial eternity of logic and mathematics, and logic and mathematics are the “factial negation” of any form of super-Chaos. Thus Meillassoux is torn between two absolutes, each of which is the negation of the other.

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