On this blog I have been analysing the work of contemporary Continental philosophers working in the domain of epistemological and ontological pluralism (Laruelle, Latour, Zizek, Badiou, Stiegler) as articulating competing « metaphysical research programmes ». I employ this expression in Popper’s sense of general conceptual frameworks combining both speculative and empirically testable elements.
These pluralist metaphyisical research programmes can be analysed, compared, and put into dialogue in terms of an open set of heuristic criteria: degree and nature of pluralism, historicity, non-foundationalism, anti-essentialism, realism, apophaticism, testability. By means of this formal comparison we can better evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each programme, and make positive suggestions as to its improvement.
Steve Fuller’s research programme as it has emerged over a period of thirty years of published work, is an important contribution to that philosophical constellation, and allows for a richer critical discussion of shared and contested theses and concepts. In particular, his discussion of the concept of post-truth is an extremely useful contribution to the contemporary concern over the spread of the relativist idea that all thoughts are equal.
An interesting and important consequence of Steve Fuller’s critique of the one-sidedness of the pejorative definition of « post-truth » is that it must not be confused with relativism. Post-truth is not post-real, and one can have an epistemology that is both post-truth and realist.
A second theme of my blog that has emerged in my discussion of Laruelle and Zizek (and also of Feyerabend) is the possible elaboration of a « quantum » image of thought, in terms of an underlying vision that is separable to some extent from physics and transferable elsewhere (transversality). This quantum thought is something that Fuller has begun to discuss in recent years, and there is an extended discussion of quantum physics and modal power in his new book POST-TRUTH Knowledge as a Power Game.
This quantum vision must be kept in mind when we discuss Steve Fuller’s defence of the hypothesis of « intelligent design » (or ID), as quantum indeterminism and the ontological incompleteness of the past re-qualify what can be meant by « design ». Similarly we should be wary of conventional notions of intelligence when extrapolated onto the cosmological scale. Intelligent design is not necessarily intelligible design and by becoming more « God-like » we may well be becoming more unknown and unintelligible to ourselves than less.