The End of the World after the End of Finitude: On a Recently Prominent Speculative Tone in Philosophy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


The chapter studies the speculative realist critique of the notion of finitude and its implications for the theme of the "end of the world" as a teleological and eschatological idea. It is first explained how Quentin Meillassoux proposes to overcome both Kantian and Heideggerian "correlationist" approaches with his speculative thesis of absolute contingency. It is then shown that Meillassoux's speculative materialism also dismantles the close link forged by Kant between the teleological ends of human existence and a teleological notion of the "end of the world." Speculative materialism no longer sees the end of thought, or the end of the thinking human being, as an insurmountable limit of conceivability, but rather as one contingent and possible event among others. This allows us to conceive an "end of all things" in a positive sense with regard to which the old eschatological hope for the end of the present world of injustice and for the emergence of a new world of perfect, "divine" justice becomes meaningful and legitimate in an entirely new sense.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe End of the World
Subtitle of host publicationContemporary Philosophy and Art
EditorsMarcia Sá Cavalcante Schuback, Susanna Lindberg
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781786602633
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes
Publication typeA3 Book chapter

Publication series

NameFuture Perfect: Images of the Time to Come in Philosophy, Politics and Cultural Studies
PublisherRowman & Littlefield


  • end of the world
  • finitude
  • teleology
  • eschatology
  • speculative realism
  • correlationism
  • contingency
  • Immanuel Kant
  • Martin Heidegger
  • Jacques Derrida
  • Quentin Meillassoux


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