My antipathy about the use of the word “correlation” changed as a result of reading the excellent article by Katerina Kolozova on Laruelle’s non-marxism and on the need for monstrously radical concepts:
“Laruelle… uses the term “correlation” in a different sense – it is a relation which is not “relationist”, one that remains in the One, one that merely correlates with the Real without mirroring it, within the gesture of relative constitution of both terms. So Meillassoux’s “correlationism” corresponds to the non-philosophical notion of the relative mutual constitution of the Real and the Transcendental, i.e., of Philosophy’s Unity (of the Two) or auto-reflectivity” (p223, footnote 16).
Correlation in this extended sense of a relation that is not “relationist” would be totally compatible with transversality of research and gives “primacy” not to any discipline but under the name of “determination in the last instance” to the Real or to the “source of immanence”.
Thus Laruellian unilaterality gives us a wider concept that I propose to call extrathetic or strong correlation. It is utterly incompatible with any notion of withdrawal, expressing the abundance of the Real and its renewal. Strong withdrawal repels “correlation”, but only in its constructivist intrathetic form, calling it illusion. Thus Harman calls the objects of science, of the humanities, and of common sense “shams” or “simulacra”. Strong correlation suspends all notion of withdrawal, calling it hallucination, including Harmanian noumenal objects in the rubric of philosophical illusion.
Weak correlation is the naturalisation of the strong withdrawal thesis, allowing some correlation as causal relation, and thus weak withdrawal as partial contact. Harman’s “example” of the flame and the cotton (cf “When fire burns cotton, it makes contact only with the flammability of this material”, QUADRUPLE OBJECT, 44) , while forbidden by his own system (“real objects cannot touch”, 73, and “contact in the realm of the real is utterly impossible”, 75), is so intuitively appealing because it illustrates not his own concept of absolute withdrawal (a disastrous self-refuting anomaly in the philosophical landscape), but Bryant’s and Cogburn’s naturalised version of weak withdrawal.