Woodard on Grant

September 6, 2012

Ben Woodard has a long post on Iain Hamilton Grant, HERE.
However, in referring to a recent remark I made about Grant on this blog, Ben somehow got my meaning backwards.

Here is the relevant passage from this blog:

“Namely, [the Speculative Realists are] all realists in the sense of accepting a reality beyond human access to it. But there’s the other, epistemological use of the term ‘realism,’ which means that reality is also accessible to us in its own character. In the Berlin lecture, Meillassoux goes so far as to define realism as the knowability of the real. Which is something I of course cannot accept, and it’s something that Grant doesn’t really accept either, since for him knowledge is the production of phenomenal products, not a reflexive access to something.”

Ben comments as follows:

“This is the guiding realist thread of the System of Transcendental Idealism which can appear too Kantian or too Fichetean to those who do not read it closely. This is why Harman’s recent comment about Grant’s relation to epistemology is not quite fair I think. Knowledge is filtered through products/objects via a combination of intuition and reflection pointing to ideation as a process whereas Harman suggests knowledge is a production of the phenomenal.”

To which I have two points in response.

1. One would call a remark “not quite fair” if it were intended negatively. But it should be clear from the above that my remark on Grant was meant positively. I was saying, namely, that Grant and I agree that knowledge is not about a special human subject coming into special relation with a non-human object.

2. By no means do I read Grant as Kantian or Fichtean, but precisely the contrary. The whole point is that for Grant, what idealists call phenomena are actually phenomenal products, meaning that they are part of nature just like everything else. I made this point in Grant’s presence in Bonn, and he wholeheartedly agreed. And that’s exactly why Meillassoux’s Berlin lecture (correctly) groups me and Iain on one side of the great divide and Meillassoux and Brassier on the other. This is the crucial fault line, more than any other.


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