Posted by: Johan Normark | December 16, 2012

2012: There are no necessary entities

Meillassoux sees the doctrine of necessary entities as a dogma that underlies both classical metaphysics and rationalism, theism and atheism, Mayanism and Mayanist studies. He sets out to undermine this doctrine and in order to do this he wants to uncover an absolute necessity that does not reinstall an absolute necessary entity (such as God, laws of nature or the subject-object correlate). Therefore Meillassoux attempts to develop an absolute knowledge where the things-in-themselves exist without reason and that they also can change at any time for no reason at all. This part is much more controversial than my previous post on Meillassoux.

His absolute is not the correlate but the facticity of the correlate. Facticity describes structural invariants or transcendental parameters that control a domain of correlation without themselves being explainable from rational perspectives. The conditions of the correlate can only be described, not explained. We know that it exists but not that it has to exist. Here Meillassoux reverses the Strong Correlationist argument into Speculative Materialism, from epistemology to ontology. Whereas the Strong Correlationist thinks that we cannot know which possibility about the world is true, Meillassoux thinks that we can know that any possibility could be true and without any reason.

Can facticity itself be factial? Factiality is a term that describes the speculative essence of facticity, i.e. that the facticity of everything cannot be thought as a fact. Whereas facticity means that the correlate can be described but not deduced, factiality means that facticity can be deduced. Facticity itself is therefore necessary. Non-contradiction is one necessary feature of factiality just as there must be something rather than nothing and that every mathematical statement can be absolutized.

Meillassoux accepts non-contradiction but not the Principle of Sufficient Reason which is the doctrine that everything is necessary because everything has a reason for being what it is. Hume destroyed the Principle of Sufficient Reason and it is to this pre-Kantian (pre-correlationist) philosopher Meillassoux returns.

Hume never doubts causal necessity but he doubts our capacity to ground it through reason. This is why skepticism quickly turns into superstition since both assert that there is a causal necessity of the world. The Principle of Unreason needs a necessity that does not require a necessary entity. Here Meillassoux converts facticity into contingency which means that physical laws remain indifferent as to what happens, whether any entity emerges, subsists, or perishes. Only contingency is necessary.

Meillassoux develops a concept of contingency in order to explain the apparent stability of chaos. He finds the tool in mathematics. Cantor’s set-theory shows that the conceivable cannot be necessarily totalizable. There can never be a greatest cardinal number (entity, law, God, etc.) because the power set of any cardinal number will be larger than the cardinal number itself (this is Cantor’s paradox). The power set axiom indicates that the parts are always greater than the whole. Hence, we can use probabilistic reasoning for events and objects occurring within the universe but not for the universe as a whole.

Cantor’s paradox applies to many different aspects. The parts of “Maya culture” and the “2012-phenomenon” are greater than the terms that define the whole of which they are part. There can therefore never be a true transcendent order that controls all its parts. There are no necessary entities either that defines the whole. The galactic alignment does not define the whole 2012-phenomenon even though some people like to think that is the case. It is not a necessary entity for the phenomenon as such.

Hyper-Chaos/super-Chaos is Meillassoux’s term for absolute contingency. It is a time capable of destroying even becoming itself. It is to this groundless ground we shall return to in the next post on Meillassoux’s relevance for the future.



  1. […] in the past posts is something you should take a look at. The previous posts can be found here, here, and […]

  2. […] my previous posts on Meillassoux I mentioned that he said that creationism, fanaticism, etc. (and New Age in my view) is a (waste) […]


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