Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, Vol 8, No 1 (2012)

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The Future of Speculation?

Wesley Phillips

Abstract


The emergence of a philosophical movement amidst the precarious situation of 'continental philosophy' is today notable. Whilst welcoming a turn to speculation, and to questions of totality, this article will contend that speculative realism has misplaced the concept of speculation. Its naturalistic sense of totality and of realism prevents it from relating ‘necessary contingency' to any (future-oriented) task. What, then, is the future of speculative realism? I will examine the extent to which the phenomenon may prompt historical materialism to examine its speculative standpoint, amidst the ongoing problem historical totalisation.

My case study is Iain Hamilton Grant's Philosophies of Nature After Schelling (2006), for the reason that it allows for a clear comparison between ‘Schellingian naturephilosophy' and its competing, Hegelian alternative. Hegel's speculative philosophy of history faces a set of problems of its own. In contrast to Grant's reading of Schelling, an examination of the relationship between Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit and the middle Schelling can address some of these problems. An alternative future to research on speculation will be outlined.


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