Speculative realism  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Speculative Realism is a philosophical current taking its name from a conference held at Goldsmiths College, University of London in April, 2007. The conference was moderated by Alberto Toscano of Goldsmiths College, and featured presentations by Ray Brassier of Middlesex University, Iain Hamilton Grant of the University of the West of England, Graham Harman of the American University in Cairo, and Quentin Meillassoux of the École normale supérieure in Paris. Credit for the name "speculative realism" is generally ascribed to Brassier, though Meillassoux had already used the term "speculative materialism" to describe his own position.

While often in disagreement over basic philosophical issues, the speculative realist thinkers have a shared resistance to philosophies of human finitude inspired by the tradition of Immanuel Kant. Unlike most realists, they also tend to develop theories that depart markedly from the views of everyday common sense. For instance, Brassier upholds a radical nihilism of a world without meaning, Grant defends a primordial stream of matter that is "retarded" to give rise to individual entities, Harman holds that no two objects can have any direct causal interaction, and Meillassoux believes that the laws of nature are absolutely contingent and that God does not exist but may exist in the future.

Speculative realism has close ties to the journal Collapse, which published the proceedings of the group's inaugural conference, and has featured numerous other articles by the speculative realist thinkers.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Speculative realism" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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