Towards an Ecstatic Cosmology
Husserl, speculative realism, and the outlines of a new phenomenological naturalism
Keywords:speculative realism, Quentin Meillassoux, correlationism, the ancestral, phenomenology, Edmund Husserl, realism, idealism, anti-realism, epistemic idealism, natural attitude, phenomenological reduction, transcendental phenomenology, naturalism, transcendental subjectivity, materialism, ecstatic materialism, ecstatic cosmology
This paper addresses the challenge Quentin Meillassoux has posed to phenomenology with his critique of correlationism. Meillassoux argues that transcendental phenomenology, which focuses on the correlation between thought and being, is anti-realist and that it cannot provide a philosophical basis for the real objects of scientific investigation. Because of this, he argues that when it comes to scientific statements about pre-terrestrial phenomena (such as the formation of the solar system), phenomenology collapses into another form of Berkeleyian idealism. Taking Edmund Husserl’s idealist phenomenology as a test case, I argue that Meillassoux’s critique of phenomenology is misguided because Husserl’s project was an epistemic idealism that sought (in part) to establish or philosophically justify the reality of the transcendent world. Nevertheless, Meillassoux’s challenge to phenomenology once again forces contemporary phenomenologists to confront the troubled encounter between their tradition and naturalism. I conclude by mapping out the problematic of a transcendental cosmology, called ecstatic cosmology, that would seek to show the unity between the material being of the physical universe and constituting subjectivity split between its own material and metaphysical possibilities.
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