Mehdi Belhaj Kacem on Meillassoux (2): Meillassoux’s bluff and the phantom problem

I am commenting on the excerpt from Kacem’s forthcoming book L’effet Meillassoux (The Meillassoux Effect) on the blog Les apports de Mehdi Belhaj Kacem. Kacem describes Meillassoux as  committed not only to theorising ontologically the real as a game of chance but to participating in the game of ontological poker as a super-player, a “magnificent player of philosophical poker, bluff included”. Meillassoux’s “bluff” is to presuppose a demonstration that in fact he never gives:

la stabilité universelle des Lois est corrélée à la supposition, nouménalement mise en réserve, du super-Chaos. Mais comme nulle part il n’a réellement fourni une telle démonstration, dont nous verrons en son lieu qu’elle ne peut tenir qu’à un approfondissement de la question du lien entre ontologie et théorie de l’événement, il éprouve la nécessité in extremis de nouménaliser son super-Chaos”

“the universal stability of the Laws [of Nature] is correlated to the supposition, noumenally held in reserve, of super-Chaos. But nowhere has he really provided such a demonstration, which we will see in its proper place that it can only come from a deeper consideration of the question of the link between ontology and theory of the event, he feels it necessary in extremis to noumenalise his super-Chaos” (my translation).

Kacem calls the inference from the ontological diachronic storm of super-Chaos to the empirical synchronic stability of the Laws, as we observe them in our experience, the “phantom problem”. This problem is not formulated as such by Meillassoux, much less resolved. What prevents the problem from being considered is Meillassoux’s master-stroke, which Kacem calls his “Pyrrhic stroke”, which consists in the bluff that the demonstration has already been given. This bluff allows him to maintain, while denying it, Deleuze’s Chaos, and even to radicalise it by subtracting the One-All that englobed it. The bluff allows QM to remain Deleuzian while pretending to be faithful to Badiou.

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