DOWNLOAD HERE THE CONFERENCE'S HANDOUT: http://www.mediafire.com/download/y4p13g499v9dwz9/Ray_Brassier_Naturalism%2C_Nominalism%2C_Materialism_handout.pdf
Nominalism denies the existence of abstract entities (universals, forms, species, propositions, etc.). Traditional nominalism proceeded from an empiricist epistemology that challenges the very possibility of metaphysics, whether idealist or materialist. The critique of empiricism is taken to entail the refutation of nominalism. But nominalism contains a valuable insight for materialists: reality does not have propositional form. This is an insight that should be taken up by post-Darwinian materialists, who ought to deny that reality has a conceptual structure. For a consequent materialist, realism about abstract entities is problematic because it re-iterates the theological presumption of a pre-established harmony between conceptual order and real order. The question is whether materialism can take up this nominalistic insight while jettisoning the empiricist prejudices that tie it to skeptical relativism. For the claim that reality is devoid of propositional form need not require denying that we can use language to capture aspects of reality or that concepts have ontological purchase. This is what I propose to investigate using the work of Wilfrid Sellars, who managed to combine nominalist semantics, epistemic naturalism, and what I will call ‘methodological materialism’.
Ray Brassier is a member of the philosophy faculty at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon, known for his work in philosophical realism. He was formerly Research Fellow at the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy at Middlesex University, London, England. He is the author of Nihil Unbound: Enlightenment and Extinction and the translator of Alain Badiou’s Saint Paul: The Foundation of Universalism and Theoretical Writings and Quentin Meillassoux’s After Finitude: An Essay on the Necessity of Contingency.
The Matter of Contradiction is a series of workshops and seminars initiated by Sam Basu, Fabien Giraud, Ida Soulard and Tom Trevatt.
The Matter of Contradiction: War against the sun was organized in collaboration with Inigo Wilkins.
More informations can be found here: http://lamatiere.tumblr.com/
War against the sun was held at Mute magazine offices at Limehouse Town Hall in London on the 1st and 2nd of March and followed by a workshop on the 3rd.
Special thanks to Val Ravaglia and Stephen Nachtigall for the video recordings of the event.