ELIMINATIVISM: pluralist vs dogmatic

Eliminativism is a philosophical speculation that in its dogmatic form tries to present itself as the only possible conclusion from the results of modern science. A pluralist approach to eliminativism treats it as a line of thinking that is worth pursuing as it sharpens the debate and produces interesting hypotheses, but this is also the case for the hypothesis of the unconscious, that makes no essential reference to material inscription, and indeed relativises its meaning and importance. Perhaps the neuronal unconscious may ultimately replace the specific hypothesis of the Freudian unconscious, although this is a mere programmatic speculation for the moment. But I don’t think that the hypothesis of the unconscious in its most general form (as in Lacan, Jung, Deleuze and Guattari, Stiegler) is likely to give up the ghost very easily. Eliminativism, from this point of view, is just one cognitive style amongst many. That said I think it is heuristically useful to pursue the eliminativist programme as an aid to thinking and research.

Dogmatic eliminativism in Badiou’s terms arises from a recurrent danger in the history of speculative thought: the suture of philosophy to one of its conditions. Such reductive or scientistic eliminativism arises from the suture of philosophy to the condition of science, which is itself identified with a narrow selection of its purported content. Whence it’s contradictory self-image of both not being a hypothesis at all (as science), and of being a much more plausible hypothesis than its speculative rivals (as philosophy).

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