Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, Vol 16, No 1 (2020)

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From Being to Maybeing: On Meillassoux's Interpretation of Mallarmé

Martin Orensanz

Abstract


In After Finitude as well as in Potentiality and Virtuality, Meillassoux conceives chance in a mathematical way. In The number and the Siren, he argues that Mallarmé had a philosophical conception of chance, specifically a dialectical one. Here we explore Meillassoux’s interpretation of Stéphane Mallarmé’s poem Un Coupe de dés. What we consider to be crucial about that interpretation is the Mallarmean concept of Chance, which we think is the precursor to Meillassoux’s concept of contingency. Additionally, we suggest that Meillassoux recuperates the Mallarmean “Perhaps”, which may called “Maybeing”, as that which replaces Being. We then explain what the concept of “Maybeing” is. Roughly speaking, it is a fusion of two English expressions: “may be” (modal verb) and “maybe” (adverb). Finally, we indicate how the concept of Maybeing can be used in order to solve the problem posed by the correlational circle, as well as some comments on Meillassoux's ideas about meaningless signs.


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