Graham Harman’s new book Quentin Meillassoux: Philosophy in the Making has been out for less than a month, and I’ve now had a chance to read it. The structure of the book is reasonably straight-forward – chapters on After Finitude, the essays, the (largely unpublished) L’inexistence divine, and an overall assessment of his work. The first three chapters are clear and crisp summaries and discussions, largely presenting Meillassoux’s ideas but not allowing Harman’s own voice to intrude that much. The fourth chapter is understandably more explicit in staking out some differences and disagreements. The bit about imagining the future of philosophy in 40 years time is fun.
I say that L’inexistence divine is ‘largely unpublished’, and that’s because here, for the first time in either English or French, large sections are available. Just over 60 pages of this book is taken up with translated sections – about 20% of the 2003 draft Harman worked with. There are earlier and later versions too. There is some very intriguing stuff here, especially, for me, in the notion of Worlds, the intra-Worldly and worlds. There is also an interesting interview with Meillassoux. My only minor complaint is that because the French of L’inexistence divine isn’t available, I can’t see what Meillassoux himself said – not, I hasten to add, that I don’t trust Harman’s translation, but that my standard practice is to check everything back to the original, as no matter how good the translation there are nearly always little inflections that no translation can capture.