HARMAN AND MEILLASSOUX: the noumenal absolute and the withdrawal problem

Belhaj Kacem argues that Meillassoux noumenalises the diachronic (super-Chaotic flux) whereas Harman noumenalises the synchronic (timeless real objects). Just as QM has trouble explaining how a withdrawn super-Chaotic flux can give rise to stable natural Laws, Harman cannot explain how withdrawn timeless real objects can give rise to sensual fluxes. In both cases there is an inability to account for the unique anthropological and cognitive nature of science, its synthesis of historicity and realism. Both philosophers posit a noumenal absolute behind the veil of strong withdrawal (unobservable, unknowable, and inaccessible). This withdrawal is structural and transcendental rather than physical and empirical, but the contradiction in Meillassoux’s case between the two absolutes of super-Chaos and mathematics leads to a becoming “entitative” of the structural super-Chaos in the guise of the coming of the God who may be.

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