As Featured in The Absolute Choice

Limits Are Limitless

O.G. Rose
60 min readMar 26, 2024

Considering the Fundamental Limits of Alexander Ebert with the Radical Contingency of Quentin Meillassoux, and “Fre(Q) Materialism”

Photo by Kir

Dr. Stephen Houlgate refers to Hegel as “presuppositionless philosophy,” but what does this mean? If this is possible, then it might be possible for Hume to be “thought beyond” in a sense, which is to say it is possible for us to move from “Hume to Hegel.” Well, this means that Hegel doesn’t base his philosophy on any assumptions, only on a simple observation that doesn’t require interpretation. What assumption is that (which doesn’t need interpretation, which on the face of it seems impossible)? The assumption is that “we are finite,” which is to say, “we are limited” — as Alex Ebert stresses and so well describes in “Fre(Q) Theory.”

Is that a presupposition? Seemingly not, for we are indeed limited, though what it means that we are limited could slip into presuppositional thinking. And since we require meaning and “understanding” to function, whatever conclusions we reach without presuppositions will almost immediately fall back into presuppositions, which we will then need to release again, only to hold onto new ones — on and on. For Hegel, an aid seems to be if we can possibly find a philosophy that trains us to move “in and out of” presuppositions, letting them come and go as they must. We must do this, which then means we must be limited from being an entity who doesn’t possibly have to engage in this effort. And so limits are not assumed but hit and encountered…

If it is impossible for us to entirely avoid presuppositions, then we are limited from entirely avoiding presuppositions, and so “we cannot say we cannot avoid presuppositions” without assuming we are limited, and yet the very fact we cannot know if we are limited (only assume such) is itself a limitation. And thus it is not an assumption that we are limited, but the way of things, a fundamental and essential reality for human beings. Ontology is defined by limits, even if somehow the ontic is not, and the very fact we can’t say either way is further proof of the fundamentals of limitation. Limits are axiomatic, and in fact, it almost seems wrong to say “limits are axiomatic.” They just are, “there” — hence perhaps why Hegel encourages us to “look on.”

At the very least, the reality of death doesn’t seem to entail any presuppositions: we will all die. This is simply the case, though of course what it means that we die could “fall back” into presuppositions. We are all born; we all live some amount of time; we all die. The process of life-to-death doesn’t entail presuppositions, and anything we might conclude as an extension of this presuppositionless reality could also prove “without presupposition” in being an extension of that which is without presupposition. And for me this is “limitation,” for even if we find out a way to avoid death, we were “limited” from not having to address death (in life as born). We are thus limited from not having to deal with death, and since this limitation extends from death as without presupposition, it follows that the limit is presuppositionless. In fact, we might argue that limit is more fundamental, for death has meaning as a “limit” on life. Death is limit, and so limits never die.


As Alex Ebert stresses, since Hegel makes limitation foundational to his philosophy, and if limitation cannot be said to be an assumption or presupposition, it follows to say that Hegel’s philosophy is “presuppositionless,” just as Dr. Houlgate claims. Now, in the process of determining what that means, we might need to slip into presuppositions, but this is secondary, and so we cannot say Hegel’s philosophy itself and/or as a whole is “presuppositional” (and the fact presuppositions seem inevitable “along the way” is itself evidence of limitation as fundamental). Also, it is not necessarily wrong to fall into presuppositions, for to say “all presuppositions are wrong” would itself be a presupposition; to allude to the work of Samuel Barnes in The Iconoclast, if we say that “nothing we do has anything to do with the Meta-Question,” then we have stated something which would require answering “The Meta-Question” to state. Thus, the fact that Hegel’s thought and dialectics in general must weave in and out of “holding and releasing” presuppositions does not necessarily mean Hegel moves in and out of error — that would be to say too much. Rather, the issue is that for most philosophers “presupposition comes first and then an effort to justify that presupposition,” while in Hegel “presuppositionless-ness comes first and then presuppositions from out of and in (the following of) the unfolding of something” (which makes all the difference and radically increases the probability that we avoid “confirmation bias,” ideology, etc., though not necessary, which again precisely suggests the fundamentals of limits).

To help explain, we start in the Phenomenology of Spirit with Consciousness operating according to its own limitation (for please note that if we don’t “assume x” the only alternative is to “phenomenologically follow the unfolding of x in its operation to and as itself”), which is what gives Consciousness definition as itself. Limitation is also fundamental because definition is fundamental, and definition requires limitation (even though limitation is still arguably more fundamental, because our requirement of definition to think is itself a limit). Anyway, the point is that Consciousness eventually exhausts or “saturates” itself (to use Ebert’s language) to where it must negate/sublate into Self-Consciousness, which is to say it must begin operating according to new presuppositions about itself. Please note the word “must” in the last sentence, for every necessity and “must” means there is a limitation, and it is precisely the “necessity” inseparable from the “limitation” which makes limitation a source of negation/sublation (which for Alex Ebert is to say there is a point of “total saturation” and “equilibrium” which automatically generates further oscillation and movement toward the next equilibrium, on and on).

Every “limitation” is also a “necessity” (every “limit” and every “necessity” is actually a “limit/necessity”), for “limits are necessary,” per se. And thus to encounter a limit is to encounter “the necessity of responding and/or incorporating that limit.” But if we incorporate that limit, we change, and thus we are not limited in the same way we were before we encountered and incorporated that limit. And so our limits change (Consciousness negates/sublates into Self-Consciousness), meaning we have different limits to encounter (Self-Consciousness will now unfold as itself into Reason), which encountering will necessarily generate different limits — on and on. Every limit necessitates new limits, and so limits are unlimited in that they can always more so emerge. Limits aren’t limited, and thus we need limits to be unlimited.

Limits are the boundaries of our definitions, and definitions must follow things, not the other way around (but because of imagination, they don’t have to go in the right order, thus all the trouble and need to undergo “conceptual meditation”). Unless we are fools, we do not come up with a definition for a cat and then look for things in the world that match that definition; rather, we see cats and then write down definitions for them. But Hegel is basically suggesting that most of philosophy has been a history of people “writing definitions for ‘cat’ and then looking for things to match those definitions,” which is to say most philosophy has started from presupposition. But Hegel realizes that avoiding presupposition is insanely difficult, and most philosophers often thought they avoided that mistake when indeed they didn’t — they ended up searching for animals to meet a definition without realizing it. It’s fine and perhaps inevitable that we encounter a cat in the world, write a definition, and then assume that definition is valid (presuppositionally) until we encounter a feline which forces us to change the definition (like a “black swan”), which is to encounter a limit to our definition, please note (a lack/excess). Alright, but how then can we avoid starting in an error that would keep error from being a way to truth? That seems to be the rub: we will inevitably err (it’s required by our ontoepistemological structure), but if we err in starting with a presupposition, the resulting error cannot readily be a way of negation/sublation to truth. But if we err in (necessary) presupposition from and after presuppositionless-ness, then error might help us toward truth (so it goes with understanding, picture-thinking, etc.). Thus are the stakes in assuring we start well, as most philosophers knew but Hegel rightly addressed.

Again, as championed by Alex Ebert, the genius of Hegel is the realization that seemingly the only possibility of “presuppositionless philosophy” is one which makes limitation itself fundamental, for limitation itself is what we can observe in the world and must define it as itself (without presupposition), for it is there (my very inability to see beyond my range of sight, or to say everything at once, “shows” it). It is only limitation that seemingly can be present phenomenologically while at the same time that phenomenological presence not give us reason to believe we cannot believe in it. In other words, the noumena of Kant must be in the phenomena, and if so that means limit is that which is present phenomenologically and yet must also be noumenal, which means the phenomenal can in fact access the noumenal. The very division Kantianism proposes to divide us from “things-in-themselves” works if that division is not merely phenomenal, which means it must be to some degree noumenal, which means we can access something noumenal. Not everything instantly or all at once, no, but there is “an opening in reality,” per se. There is hope. And Hegel operates in that hope, which is possible thanks to the limitation which seems to kill hope. Hope prevails where it is lost.

“Fre(Q) Theory” by Alex Ebert is the best depiction and explanation of all this that I’ve encountered, and my thinking is forever indebted to it. The fundamentality of limits unveils the centrality of “meta-dimensions,” per se, the “folding back in” of things on themselves to unveil what they “are” in their unfolding through time. It’s like a wave, and “self-reference” is not about so much “getting to the truth of self” but keeping the wave alive. When we reference something, though it seems like we’re “trying to get at it,” really we’re more so “trying to keep it going.” “The Truth” (everything that is the case, considering Wittgenstein) is not our goal; our art is “The Absolute” (everything that is the case, plus us). Limits necessitate self-reference and self-refence is thanks to limitation, and self-reference makes possible self-creation. Likewise, limits necessitate reference and reference means there are limits, and because there are limits there are definitions which can change, stabilize, change…and change us.¹

To clarify and look ahead, as will be elaborated on in “Presuppositions, Presuppositionless, and Intersuppositions” by O.G. Rose, for me, all this means that limits are “intersuppositional” and a perpetual testament to the existence and relevance of the intersuppositional. Limitation requires there to be a “between” things, for we are limited always “in” relation, and if limitation is most fundamental this means, like definition, that “relation” is also fundamental in being limit(ed). Limits are intersuppositional because they exist between us and things; we are limited, as things are limited, and so limit is everywhere because of “(between) us.” The universe is a universe filled with “betweens,” which means it is necessarily full of limits, definitions, and relations.² These are the building blocks of Hegel’s philosophy, and so Hegel’s philosophy can be considered “presuppositionless.”³


Quentin Meillassoux now comes to mind, whose work is expounded on well by Graham Harman in Quentin Meillassoux: Philosophy in the Making. The ‘human and world come only as a pair and cannot be addressed outside their mutual correlation,’ Harman tells us, and yet for Quentin it is still the case that ‘correlationism’ is the enemy, even though that seems unavoidable if we accept that “world and humans” are indivisible (as does Hegel) (please note that I use elsewhere the language of “coherence” and “correspondence” to avoid confusion with the “correlation” discussion).⁴ Meillassoux is a “Speculative Realist” (which is a category that entails radical diversity, please note) who believes we can directly access thinking and being, not just a correlation between them.⁵ We can access thinking free of being, as we can access being free of thinking, which in Hegel’s language would be to say we can access Notion free of Nature and Nature free of Notion. Now, Hegel wouldn’t necessarily disagree, but it’s just that accessing Notion free of Nature is an act which would change Nature as accessing Nature free of Notion changes Notion. They are distinct but always informing one another, so (though it might sound strange) it is possible to somewhat rest “Speculative Realism” upon Hegel. In other words, Nature and Notion are always bound up and structurally isomorphic, but that doesn’t mean I cannot treat Nature “as Nature,” nor Notion “as Notion” — it’s just that doing so will change Nature and Notion, thus Nature/Notion. Such is the strangeness of “a Monistic Pandialecticism” (to use a term from Alexander Bard), a world of “Absolute Idealism.”⁶

Before consciousness, there was Nature without Notion, as Meillassoux makes clear with his ‘ancestrality’ points (‘the age of both fossils and starlight […] plac[es] many entities at a date far older than all possible sentient observers’), which proves ‘a reality that precedes any possibility of [a ‘human-world correlate’].’⁷ We thus know it is possible for Nature to exist without Notion, and so we cannot be “autonomous Notionalists,” per se, which is arguably a form of panpsychism. “Autonomous Naturalism” seems possible, but that can precisely lead to the Scientism and reductionism which has caused “The Meaning Crisis,” so another path must be tread. That in mind, today, there only seems to be Nature/Notion, and it is possible that the introduction of Notion changes how Nature unfolds (a point that suggest Rudolph Steiner). This might suggest that how plants grow in a world with consciousness is different from how they grew before consciousness, which might sound strange and like panpsychism, but at the same this point might be no stranger than claiming humanity has profoundly changed the ecosystem through modernization: the plants that grow before humanity were different from the plants that grow now, even if the same plant. Apples grown today are easily different in their very composition from apples which grew before humanity, and there are many foods and fruits which might not exist at all without human intervention. The perhaps more extreme step we could take at this point would be to say that chemicals and the biosphere operate according to the same logic or even “forms” as does consciousness, which would be to say Nature and Notion are isomorphic, so even when Notion is “technically” gone it is “practically” still present “form(ally).” (This might be suggested by the work Michael Levin with his nanobots, but I am no expert. The work of Wolfgang Smith also comes to mind.)

Even if not all apples are different after humanity, the fact some are would suggest the world “as a whole” is now a profoundly intertwined mixture of Nature and Notion to the point where we cannot meaningfully discuss it as anything but Nature/Notion, even if there are places here and there where Nature is free of Notion. Who can say? Not us, but we don’t need to say for Meillassoux’s point to stand: starlight proves its possible for Nature to exist without Notion.⁸ Nature doesn’t need Notion to exist, even if the existence of Notion forever changes Nature, and on this move we at least gain “reason to think” Nature can exist on its own terms. But can it be accessed? That is the question.

Anyway, as far as I can tell, Quentin Meillassoux, Dr. John Vervaeke, and Dr. Wolfgang Smith all have very similar concerns: the world is being torn about by scientism on one side and fideism on the other (‘fideism goes hand in hand with skepticism’), and between both formulates a Meaning Crisis.⁹ ‘Religious notions are no longer condemned for their falsity, since the question of truth has shifted entirely to the realm of belief,’ and science is “unbound” and creeping into everything with its reductionism, since belief is not strong enough to stop science (as it actually shouldn’t be, considering Kindly Inquisitors by Jonathan Rauch).¹⁰ All of them agree that the best address to these problems (resulting from ‘the Kantian catastrophe’) is defending the claim that ‘absolute knowledge is possible,’ and for Vervaeke and Wolfgang Smith that can be accomplished with Platonism, as scientifically defensible thanks to say “The Visual Theory of Perception” by Gibson (which generally argues things seem to “direct us” in how we should perceive them, which means we are not stuck in our heads), the Measurement Problem, or more recently the work of Michael Levin.¹¹ ¹² Here, I will focus on Meillassoux’s possible address to Kantianism, as well as Alex Ebert’s, and for Meillassoux, beating Kantianism requires only ‘the truth that only one thing is necessary,’ and that is ‘contingency itself.’¹³ It’s a truly brilliant move, and Harman covers the argument well in his book. For Meillassoux, ‘[t]he absolute is simply found in the very conditions of the subject-object relationship rather than somewhere beyond it,’ and what conditions that relationship is contingency itself.¹⁴ ‘[T]he possibilities are absolutely possible,’ a point which sounds very Hegelian, for doesn’t Hegel constantly stress contingency?¹⁵ Yes, but here the debate all comes down to order, which is to ask the following: “Does limit lead to contingency or does contingency lead to limit?”

In my opinion, Meillassoux is very Hegelian, but while Hegel makes “limit” primary and contingency following from limit, Meillassoux makes contingency primary and limitation always tentative. Does this switch in order matter? Limitation for Ebert is always unlimited, and isn’t thinking such just another way of saying that “limits are always contingent?” Yes/no: we arrive here at fine distinctions and shifts in order that, following St. Augustine, can determine the difference between life and trouble (for sin is just a disordered good). I do believe that “Meillassoux’s Contingency” solves the problem of Kantianism, and to make a long story short it ultimately does so by making “contingency” noumenal exactly like Ebert makes “limitation.” If we say we cannot accept the noumenal, then we cannot say that the phenomenal has nothing do with the noumenal, which means we must concede the phenomenal might have something to do with the noumenal, and thus that “might” and proceeding contingency is absolute. We know we “might” access the noumenal precisely because we know we cannot know for sure either way without accessing the noumenal: the contingency is unavoidable and is the very condition which makes the noumenal meaningful and possible (to surrender the “might” is to surrender the noumenon). If there is no contingency in the noumenon, it cannot exist as an internally consistent notion, and so it certainly cannot be absolute. Thus, contingency is inherent to the noumenon. It is absolute, and so in knowing contingency we know something about being which exists outside of knowing. Contingency exists both in the phenomenal and noumenal, which proves the possibility of knowing something noumenal, which is all we need in order to propose the possibility of “real knowledge” about the world. We do not have to accept “autonomous correlationism,” and if we don’t have to accept that, we don’t have to accept any “correlationist prison.”

Meillassoux overcomes Kantianism, and he does so by ‘convert[ing] facticity […] into contingency,’ which comes at a heavy price.¹⁶ We can noumenally know everything is contingent, but to extend this “real knowledge” about contingency from contingency to things themselves, we must say “everything is contingent” and really mean it if we are to have “real knowledge” about them (the great speculative move). If we can noumenally know contingency and everything is contingent, then we can really know about everything, but that real and direct knowledge is “contingent” on the degree things are contingent and only actually knowable as such. And so for Meillassoux everything has to be radically contingent to be knowledge (which is the only kind of knowledge, please note, for there is no necessity and thus no “deeper knowledge”), which means the price for “real and direct knowledge” is making the entire universe very strange.

‘Everything could actually collapse: from trees to stars, from stars to laws, from physical laws to logical laws […] by virtue of the absence of any superior law capable of preserving anything, no matter what, from perishing.’¹⁷

There is a beautiful freedom in this, and the notion also suggests the entire universe is constantly miraculous in not changing every second and possibly miraculous in that it could so change. However, in having killed Kantianism with this move, Meillassoux must “stick the landing,” and so ‘[t]he unification of contingency and stability now becomes Meillassoux’s primary concern.’¹⁸ Meillassoux places us in ‘a hyper-chaotic world devoid of all necessity, in which the laws of nature can change at any moment for no reason whatever,’ and yet this notion is not suggested by our phenomenological experience of the world.¹⁹ What Meillassoux is presenting just doesn’t seem true — why doesn’t it? ‘The fact that natural laws are contingent does not require that they be unstable,’ Meillassoux must argue, and from this must be posited why they nevertheless “usually are.”²⁰ To put it very simply, I believe we can understand how he attempts this by arguing that ‘[t]he hyper-chaos is so contingent that even flux is contingent,’ and so the stability of the universe was a realized contingency of “hyper-contingency,” which means the lack of contingency is a testament to the omnipresence of contingency (like a God who chooses to be limited, and so that limitation is an expression of that God’s omnipotence).²¹

Much more can be said, and Harman is right to say ‘Meillassoux’s ontology hinge[s] on his supposed demonstration that there is such a thing as Strong Correlationism that avoids melting into Absolute Idealism.’²² Some think Meillassoux succeeds, while others think he fails, and I’ll let readers see Harman’s book to decide for themselves. Regardless, I believe Alex Ebert can help us maintain the good of Meillassoux without the questionable, regardless if “Strong Correlationism” is possible or adequately defended. To make this move, we have to make limitation fundamental versus contingency, which makes limitation unlimited.


As brilliantly described in “The Sublation of Mathematics,” an essay featured in Enter the Alien (Philosophy Portal, 2022), “Fre(Q) Theory” by Alex Ebert might provide “the form” in which “Meillassoux’s Contingency” holds together without being any less contingent. The only limitation Ebert places on contingency is that it must be contingent (which is to say contingency must be itself), and from that limit is enough to derive a “form(ulation)” like depicted in “Fre(Q) Theory.” And on that point we can also see why limitation is more fundamental than contingency: contingency must be contingent. Fortunately, that particular limit is a limit that enables unlimitedness, and that’s the Hegelian move: we limit contingency to be contingency, and so everything must change. In this, we might gain the positives of Meillassoux without the negatives. And this schema simply seems phenomenologically “truer to life” than “radical contingency,” for contingency is experienced as “form(ulated).”

Books don’t seem to randomly turn into butterflies, but why not? They could for Meillassoux, as they could for Ebert, but books seem to turn into butterflies less often than more, and so the emphasis seems like it should be on “limitation” versus “contingency,” yes? Indeed, perhaps the debate between Meillassoux and Ebert is just an emphasis debate, but than again perhaps it is more substantive (and ultimately it might just be the debate on if Hegel should be fit into Deleuze or Deleuze into Hegel, a constant and inescapable question). For Ebert, “books don’t seem to turn into butterflies” because such “radical contingency” is only possible at a point of “total saturation” which is an equilibrium and “phase shift” — yes, books can perhaps be butterflies, but not anytime. The “radical contingency” of books is limited (“limited magic,” per se), because otherwise it couldn’t be guaranteed, precisely because we couldn’t say that contingency must stay contingent. Furthermore, if everything was always change, change itself would be constant — we’d have a radical Heraclitus, while Hegel wants to negate/sublate Heraclitus (“(be)coming” versus just “becoming”). On this point, we can see why Meillassoux might be like Deleuze, while Ebert puts us more with Hegel — the Hegel/Deleuze debate ever-inescapable…

“Radical contingency” must not be randomness, and Meillassoux must explain how the universe can be “radically contingent” and yet not be experienced as random. Meillassoux may or may not have the resources in his thinking to adequately address this phenomenological problem, but Ebert maintains the benefits of “radical contingency” in overcoming popular Kantianism while at the same time providing a coherent argument for why we experience the universe as “ordered” and “formulating” (following “a wave logic,” per se). Ebert accomplishes this alongside Hegel by making “limit” fundamental, the act of which doing then negates/sublates “limit” into something more then what we usually mean when we use the word “limit.” “Limit” as fundamental becomes a dialectic, “a form of/as a wave,” and all that is needed to make this tenable is to provide reason to think that every equilibrium is “an everything as nothing.” We learn from Žižek that “lack moves” (eppur si muove), and with Ebert we gain a model of why: “nothingness” is an effect of a “total saturation” of “everything,” which begins a new process toward “total saturation,” at which point a new process toward “total saturation” begins — on an on.

Alright, but how does Nature “move” on its own before Notion (which Meillassoux has made clear with his “ancestral fossils” must have once occurred)? We have so far argued why Ebert’s theory is arguably more phenomenologically tenable than Meillassoux’s, and “Fre(Q) Theory” expresses how “limits are unlimited” between us and the world, but what about “the world to the world?” How can the world “keep moving” without the presence of a subject (who provides a -1 to the equilibrium)? At this point in our consideration, we might consider the great debate between what some have called “New Materialism” and “Dialectical Materialism” (as I brought up in my conversation with Alex Ebert, Ep #161, though I also admittedly regret doing this, because the category of “New Materialism” is very big and means many different things to many different people, and I appreciate Cadell Last’s comment on the discussion which helped bring all of this into focus). By “New Materialism,” I had in mind a general notion of matter and Nature containing what we might represent as a +1, which is a position I would associate with the rhizomatic Deleuze and Bergson’s “Vitalism.” However, it’s also clear that there are forms of “New Materialism” which basically discard the existence of “the subject” in favor of Nature, which for me is very problematic and a deconstruction of Notion that could lead us to avoiding “The Real” of Lacan and overall negativity that is very problematic to overlook. Cadell Last and Russell Sbriglia discussed this debate, and a lot of the difference between “Dialectical Materialism” and “New Materialism” seems to have to do with the position and role of the subject (exactly as Cadell pointed out). “Dialectical Materialism” emphasizes the subject as a negativity, while “New Materialism” seems to approach the subject as more a vitalistic “unfolding” of creativity and possibility in and as materiality (which is fundamentally dynamic). “Dialetic Materialism” might emphasize “a fundamental negativity” (-1), while “New Materialism” might emphasize “a fundamental positivity” (+1).

As I understand it, “New Materialism” (NM) focuses on considering our connection with matter and the environment, saying little on the subject, while “Dialectical Materialism” (DM) is very concerned with the subject and suggests that ignoring it puts us in danger. I agree with DM, and believe that NM can be very much in the wrong to not deal with Lacan and negativity (we cannot deal with Lack by changing our relationship with the environment). Environment matters, yes, and I don’t want to destroy it, but the lack of human subjectivity is primarily a result of our encounter with Otherness (Das Ding), and as long as our encounters with Others, we will suffer lack and negativity. Unless perhaps we self-select and surround ourselves with similar people…And in this, we see the possibilities of an Isolationism or even Duginism behind the project of NM. “New Materialism” will not help us with Global Pluralism if it ignores the subject and “negativity” which arises between difference. Diversity is often celebrated by NM and Deleuze, but the truth is that humans do not readily like diversity. It’s too hard, and so they can claim to like diversity so that everyone thinks they engage in diversity and never look to see if they actually do. Rhizomes might describe Nature, yes, but humans are subjects are who are not naturally rhizomatic except in a form that is Cheap Deleuzianism which avoids Otherness (Das Ding), all while praising diversity and creative possibility.

If we try to “reenchant the universe” without facing Otherness, which is Global Pluralism, we do not offer a New Address (Land waits). Cadell Last noted that what he sees at stake:

‘between a costly and cheap Deleuzianism, is precisely a limit that works with the subject, and the constant production of new tensions that are its result (destined to destroy all static counter-feit identities). In that sense, the difference between Deleuze and Lacan seems to be about the status of the subject and limit. As opposed to working with the subject and limit, do we just have a multiplicity which enjoys its immediacy, and psychotically forecloses the power of limit? That is what it seems when New Materialism and its vibrant matter create a fake re-enchanted universe that refuses to really think through political difference as such.’

I agree, and yet I also agree with Cadell’s notion that, ‘Then again, a costly Deleuze may be indispensable to think creativity and a costly pluralism against the threat of fundamentalism.’ That’s exactly how I feel, and so the challenge is finding a way to maintain a Costly Deleuzianism without falling into very problematic naivety. This is where “Fre(Q) Materialism” (FM) could play a role (“FM” brings a radio to mind, suggesting waves, as Ebert discusses).

For me, there is a subject that cannot be dissolved and must be tarried with: any form of Deleuzianism or NM which doesn’t do this is what I would call “cheap” (and dangerous) (I would prefer to err on the side of a Lacan without Deleuze than a Deleuze without Lacan). I oppose any NM that tries to “reenchant the universe” without working through the negativity of the subject: that, in my experience, results in an overlooking of political-economy and sociology that is very problematic. Yet at the same time I realize that not all NM might make this mistake, say the Vitalism of Bergson, but then again many might not consider “Vitalism” a form of NM. I don’t know.

At this point, given the ambiguity and debate, I am going to begin moving away from discussing “Dialectical Materialism” and “New Materialism,” for I am not at this point ready to dive into the weeds of that debate — that will have to come much later in The Absolute Choice (after a few more years of confusion). Still, I wanted to note the debate because I believe Alex Ebert’s work might be seen as offering a “Fre(Q) Materialism” that could help us think these movements together. I find the categories of DM and NM very difficult to use, given they mean so many different things to so many people, and again I do not here want to get into the nuanced differences between DM and NM. I find it foolish to ignore the work of someone like Žižek, who we could associate with DM, but at the same time notions of “dynamic matter” or some NM seem possible given the work of a Michael Levin, Bonnita Roy, or Deleuze.²³ I don’t know, and instead I am going to use the categories of Lack (associable with DM) and Excess (associable with NM) (Ebert will discuss “Excess and Absence,” which suggests the same dialectic). Generally, Notion and the subject seem to be more so experiences of Lack, while perhaps matter and Nature are more so an unfolding of Excess. Perhaps this is wrong, but it seems reasonable to consider (and furthermore seems valid given experience, for the subject seems defined by Lack, while the environment seems more alive and Excessive).

There seems to be trouble with “Autonomous Lack” (-1 “all the way down”) and “Autonomous Excess” (+1 “all the way down”), for AL might struggle to explain where creativity, vibrancy, and life emerge from, while AE might struggle to explain the experience of the subject as lacking, negativity, and intersubjective experience (filled with “The Real”). Here, we should take a moment to stress something pivotal (as discussed notably in A Philosophy of Glimpses), which is that “lack is not nothing”: to speak of “an essential lack” is not necessarily the same as speaking of “an essential nothing.” Lack could be apophatic, a product of an excess, which is to say something we are “limited” from experiencing fully in the moment due to epistemological limits (though please note that the impossibility of “completion in space” doesn’t mean we cannot have “completion in time,” as discussed in “Spatial Incompleteness Enables the Fullness of Time” by O.G. Rose). If this is so, it could be that “essential lack” we seem part of is part of us because finitude is part of us, which we “are” in light of things in excess to that finitude. To speak of “essential lack” could be to speak of “essential finitude,” and in this way it is not the case that we necessarily experience “lack” because we are somehow composed of some nothingness (as distinct from “lack”). “Lack” is real, yes, but it is not “a thing in itself,” but instead a result of an interplay between a finite subject and an excessing universe. Lack is not an illusion, for relationships are not illusions (in fact, many are working today to argue that “relations are ontological” and more fundamental than even “things,” a point which brings to mind the great Leibniz and Descartes debate). Lack as real and essentially part of us is sourced from relations versus isolated individuals or “things,” and since relations are essential, this means “lack” is not an illusion at all (as also follows if we are “dividuals,” to use language from Deleuze). There is such thing as “essential lack,” for relations are “essential” to subjectivity (we don’t form outside geometry in isolated algebra, as Leibniz teaches us) — the question is only “from where does essential lack come?” Algebra or Geometry? “Things” or “situations?” Lack for me comes from “situation” (Leibniz) and “relation,” which means there could be a way for us to maintain “lack” through “limitation” as Ebert describes, which can help us think Excess and Lack together, Deleuze and Hegel.

I don’t know for sure, but with help from Alex Ebert’s work, it might prove possible to bring together “New Materialism” and “Dialectical Materialism,” which is to say bring together Deleuze, Hegel, Žižek, and Lacan, without necessarily losing the benefits of each. How exactly rests on arguing that “relations are real” and that our experience of “essential lack” tends to begin in a relation to “an Other” (and hence Das Ding). We start as Deleuzian children, playing, seeking new connections, and following our creativity, but then one day we encounter “an Other” who we disappoint or who we experience as “lacking,” and once that occurs we begin to experience ourselves as more Lacanian. We then have to “work through Lacan” to get back to something more Deleuzian and Childlike, or else otherwise we end up in a “Cheap Deleuzianism” that is deeply problematic, or we end up with a certain hopelessness and nihilism that follows from treating “essential lack” as a simile for “essential nothingness.” We need a “Costly Deleuzianism,” we might say, but that requires us working through “Otherness” and “integrating with lack.” (For those interested, this topic is expanded on in my conversation with Philip Shinn, Ep #155).

In Ebert’s conception, the subject does experience itself as a negativity, for it always experiences itself as limited from what exceeds it. The subject is “always already” related to an externality that the subject experiences as “lacking,” and since relations are real, this “lack” is also real (it would be a mistake to suggest it is an illusion or a mere “social construct,” as some forms of NM might suggest). I personally believe in the existence of “the subject,” and if it is sourced from relations and lack, that for me doesn’t readily undermine its existence at all (it would be reductionism to say “there is no subject” because “it came from relations”). Examples of “wolf boys” show that subjectivity doesn’t develop without socialization and relations, and yet we also see that subjectivity in relationships is defined and qualified by “lack” at some point in a child’s development. Children easily start more creative and “intrinsically motivated” (as Deleuze describes), but eventually that changes, and I personally think that has a lot to do with when the child experiences the Das Ding of the Other (through disappointment, “The Real,” etc.). Then our subjectivity undergoes socialization and experiences itself essentially as Lack, for it experiences itself in relation to an Excess which is always outside of itself (Das Ding). This can tempt the subject to treat others as “Totalities” (A/A) versus “Infinities” (A/B) (to use language from Levinas), which is perhaps what we see today in our world fleeing from Global Pluralism — we are dealing with Lack by avoiding it. Pathology reigns.

This argument will be expanded on (Re)constructing “A Is A,” and the schema will be central in considering “a new address,” as is the main business of Belonging Again (Part II), a book which arguably accepts and considers the political, economic, and sociological ramifications of “Fre(Q) Materialism.” But to offer a schema of FM:

(Lack) Notion

(Excess) Nature

“Fre(Q) Materialism”
“-1 + 1 ≡ 0”

Is it fair to associate Notion with Lack? I think so, because we automatically experience Notion as “exceeding us,” with no guarantee of its manifestation within our membrane or experience. Notion is virtual, not necessarily potential, while Nature is actual and potential, which is to say that Nature entails what will be realized over long enough time (though there is no guarantee enough time will pass, please note). Also, there is no equal sign (“=”) in reality, only “equivalence” or similarity/difference (“≡”) (as we have discussed in the context of Leibniz, Hegel, and Ebert’s paper “The Sublation of Mathematics” — “The VORD” by O.G. Rose, for example, goes into detail).

If Nature is +1 while Notion is -1, then Nature/Notion is “-1 + 1 ≡ 0,” and though that might sound like Nature/Notion always cancel out, -1 and +1 never actually “= 0” (for there is no “=” in nature, as Ebert stresses in his paper, part of Enter the Alien, only equivalence) — hence why we don’t so much use “the equal sign” (“=”) and instead use “the equivalence sign” (“≡”). They only approach it, then break apart precisely at reaching it; approach it, break apart. The zero (or “zero floor,” to use a phrase from Ebert’s paper) is what holds them together though they are +1 and -1; the zero is the form(ulation) of the -1 and + 1 as a “Monistic Dialectic,” while +1 and -1 are their own “form(ulations)” to themselves. The only zero is a “magnetic zero” (to reference Alex Ebert’s band and a critical term of his), and as described in “The VORD” by O.G. Rose, two things cannot become the same without ceasing to be themselves, and that would include “being zero” (“=”) together, for a zero “together” is divisible and thus not zero but multiple. Furthermore, there is no “zero” there to “be” (a zero that can be reached is not zero, for it is “there”), and so “the magnetic zero” is a (virtual) Notion which organizes and “form(ulates)” Nature. When the universe was simply Nature (to Nature), the +1 was all that was needed for life to multiply and diversify. But now that Notion has emerged, we deal with a -1 that, in relating to 1, thus virtually beget (the Notion of) a 0, which in Notion’s very nature it perhaps must be “toward” (and “drawn toward”), for if Notion is a -1, whatever it is “toward” is a +1 that thus makes it experience a 0. And if all we can be now is a Nature/Notion, then we must be a +1/-1 ever-“toward” a 0 which we cannot reach and yet must be “toward” (as a “lack” or “present absence,” not nothing).

As discussed in “How the Absolute Might Move,” Layman Pascal presents “The Metaphysics of Adjacency,” which emphasizes how the universe is in its deep ontology and metaphysics something which is more “99%” than 100%. When we talk about a cat, perhaps the idea is 99% “the case,” but there is still a “-1” that is missing which makes possible movement, development, dialectics, sublation, and the like. If Lacan is right about subjectivity, then Pascal’s model fits: the -1 in the subject means it is only ever at best a 99%, and though that seems like a curse, if it was 100% (per se), it would be stagnant, unmoving, unchanging, and even dead (as Ebert warns). The “sacrifice” of the -1 makes possible life (perhaps suggesting something like God and Christ on the cross, but hard to say).

Alright, that framework might apply to Notion, but what about Nature? Well, perhaps we could say that Notion (as -1) is itself the +1 relative to which Nature is formulating that Nature is “without” (because Mind is irreducible to brain). Thus, Nature is a 99% trying to gain the +1 of Mind/Notion, while Mind/Notion is a 99% because it is irreducible to Nature, and thus Nature is the -1 of Notion. And so Nature and Notion, both a 99%, try to gain the -/+1 of the other, which is for them to be “magnetized” toward the “magnetic zero” of “-1 + 1 ≡ 0,” which would suggest that if Nature and Notion reached 100%, they’d be unveiled as a “100% of (a) 0,” an “equilibrium.” Would this equilibrium be a self-effacement or a negation/sublation? That does seem to be the question, and it might depend on if it is possible for “zero to be nothing” or only for “zero to be lack” (relative to the subject). For the subject at least, since zero isn’t nothing (as “lack isn’t nothing,” as discussed in (Re)constructing “A Is A”), the realization of this 0 could announce precisely the realization that “lack isn’t nothing,” ergo “zero isn’t nothing,” but instead the equilibrium of a new “phase transition.” And so Excess drives itself toward Lack and vice-versa, and when the two converge there might be a “phase transition” into a new dialectical state in which it seems like Notion and Nature never converged at all and yet did, as possible because of the dialectical structure both follow and that keeps them both relating to one another in, and yet in that relation they are never reducible to the other, hence “Dialectical Monism” (Nature/Notion). 0 is when an emergence occurs of a “monistic yet dialectical Nature/Notion,” which makes it seem like they never met at 0, precisely because that is the point where they “phase transition” into a new Notion/Nature. Every finish line starts.

Anyway, to make an example (that might also be considered with the xenobots of Michael Levin), when water (Nature) is heated up to the point of boiling, Nature (considering Stephen Houlgate) “follows a logical structure” (Notion) to the point where water suddenly becomes steam, which is a “phase transition.” Water can do this because it is a 99% in which it can “move” toward becoming steam, which will be a +1 relative to the water (for the water has experienced itself becoming something else), but a -1 relative to the steam (for it experiences itself as “unable to go back” to being steam — it has lost something) (this schema might be appliable to the entire “Vector Theory” of Bard and Elung, as described in “The VORD” by O.G. Rose). Hence, the +1 of water is precisely it’s “movement” into becoming steam, as “set in motion” by heat, which is even possible because water is metaphysically 99% (versus 100%, which would mean the water was “A/A” and thus unable to “become” anything else). In the act of “becoming” according to +1, water is “becoming” precisely what is -1 relative to it (steam), and in (be)coming steam, the steam then experiences “water-ness” as something that is “forever always already gone,” for the steam cannot become water again without ceasing to be itself.

Yes, steam can condensate on a glass and become droplets, but now the steam is gone, and so steam “is” that for which water is a -1. So it might go with mind and brain (which brings to mind the work of Cadell Last in “The Difference Between Neuroscience and Psychoanalysis”): unity with the brain is -1 relative to mind (which is +1 relative to brain), but if the mind becomes brain again, it no longer “is,” and so mind “is” that which brain is a -1 to it and which for brain is a +1. And if mind reaches unity with “the brain” and thus ceases to “be,” another Nature/Notion is still at play between someone else’s idea of the physical brain and the neurological and chemical composition of the brain — on and on. All we can do is transfer and move in and out of various Nature/Notions, and regarding a given “set” of Nature/Notion, like brain/mind, we see a brain which can emerge to the +1-mind it then seeks to regain (thus experiencing -1), precisely as the mind experiences itself beyond the brain as +1, which is also the experience of there being something lost that cannot be regained (-1), like home. Altogether, we sense an equilibrium or 0 we seek to regain and feel we can regain, for -1 + 1 ≡ 0, and we have all the variables we need for that formula (mainly -1 and 1). And yet we relate to those variables through a / (dialectic), meaning we cannot have them “= 0,” only dialectically relate back and forth, back and forth, which the feeling they should “= 0,” but instead all we can gain is a (“virtual”) sense of 0 (not potential), which precisely makes us feel we should keep trying — on and on (for the “virtual” is causally significant, oddly). Learning to live with this feeling and “integrating with the lack” is paramount and necessary. (It is to accept “the partial object,” as I discussed with Thomas Jockin, #159, the Primarily Substance of all as a “temporal competition” through Reason, which is what we are left with once we negate “the spatial competition” of Understanding.)

How though does Nature arise to Notion (+1 to -1)? That’s a great question that lots of people are working on throughout “The Liminal Web,” and at this point there are many models of “emergence” which are possible, and perhaps there are many roads which could generate us a -1 from +1. I’ll leave that to others to decide, but regardless whether -1 (Notion) emerges from +1 (Nature), or both Nature and Notion are a -1 (which if together means the equilibrium is a -1, so there’s still “movement”), we have a model where equilibrium mustn’t be “effacement,” as is needed if we “fundamental limit” is to be a way to overcome Kantianism beyond the work of Meillassoux. It is also possible that Notion and Nature both be a +1, which is perhaps Deleuzianism “all the way down,” but this for me then solves popular Kantianism by making everyone their own unique “essential difference” (each person is their own self-contained noumenon, per se). Perhaps this is the case (though I again question the socioeconomic ramifications of “pure Deleuzianism”), but the models of subjectivity found in Lacan, Freud, and the like seem more tenable to me. Thus, I associate the subject and Notion with -1, even if we start as children (before “the Other”) as more Deleuzian and +1.


Ultimately, it seems to be a question not of “either/or” but “order.” In my view, Ebert/Hegel leads to Meillassoux/Deleuze; limit leads to contingency without ceasing to be limit, but contingency does not lead to limit without ceasing to be itself. Contingency cannot become noncontingent without losing itself, while limit can become unlimited and become limited again. To put this another way, limit contains in itself limitation to limit itself (it entails the material it needs), and thus limit can theoretically limit itself from being limited. In this, limit becomes unlimited, but the unlimited also contains what it needs to become limited again (after all, the unlimited isn’t limited from realizing anything). On the other hand, the contingent contains in itself what it needs to become something else (contingency), but if it becomes noncontingent, it no longer entails what it needs to become contingent again (after all, its noncontingently noncontingent). Hence, “limitation” contains in itself what it needs to be ever-dynamics, while contingency only does to the degree that it itself doesn’t shift. There is a limit to contingency as fundamental, and thus limitation is more fundamental.

A limited limit can unlimitedly be limited, while eventually a contingent contingency could realize the possibility of noncontingency and cease to be dynamic. There is no necessary limit to limitation, while there is a necessary noncontingency to contingency.²⁴ Critically, noncontingency can be noncontingent and itself, but it cannot be noncontingent and contingent, while limitation that is limited can theoretically be limited and unlimited.²⁵ Wait, could limitation just limit itself indefinitely? Yes, and that itself would mean limitation was unlimited. But couldn’t limitation reach a point where it couldn’t limit itself anymore? Yes, and at that point limitation would be unlimited. No, and then limitation couldn’t limit itself anymore. Ah, but that’s a limit. And so the unlimited and limited combine as “(un)limited,” the most foundational principle (which terms like “(in)complete” point to and participate in) — all follows from this “negation of the negation.”²⁶ Also, contingency is not possible without relation, for a thing cannot change unless it can relate to what it changes into from what it was. Where there is relation, there is distinction, definition, and limit (possibly an experience of “The Real”), and so contingency requires limit in order to change (at the very least, the thing is limited from being what it was).²⁷

It would seem every finitude must be both contingent and limited, and so it is fair to consider both of these as possibly “most fundamental.” However, if something finite comes into existence, it would seem a limitation would emerge before a contingency. But might we say that the limit itself is contingent, and thus contingency is first, for the limit could have easily “not been?” If limit wasn’t, there would be (essential) nothingness, and if there was nothing from where would the limit arise? There is nothing before limit, and so we cannot say “limit might not have been,” for then there would be no possibility of even “not being.” Limitation brings with it contingency, which can then be retrospectively projected onto limitation, and thus we can imagine the limitation “may not have been.” But this is to project back upon limit something that comes with and after limit into a time before limit, which we can then say “limit came out of.” This is not the case, for there was “no nothing” which limitation could have remained as contingently. There had to be “always already” something infinite which always existed, and that seems to be finitude itself. Finitude is in-finite, and thus not bound by itself: it entails its own in-finite possibility which it then limits itself by and as precisely so that it can be dynamic.²⁸

If there was no limitation, there would be no finitude, and hence no contingency, and so limitation is more fundamental, and we can only posit contingency as “more fundamental” if it was possible for finitude “not to be,” but that would we require an “absolute nothingness” from which nothing could ever emerge (if so, there would be a limit to absolute nothingness in absolute nothingness, and that limit would be something). Also, a limit that is recognized as a limit is recognized by something beyond the limit, and thus a limit is recognized only where there is something beyond the limit, which means there must be a limit for something to be beyond it.²⁹ But if I recognize something as “contingent,” then my recognition itself doesn’t have to be contingent, or else actually my recognition would be unreliable. Hence, I need something noncontingent to recognize the contingent, while I can use something limited to recognize limit. Lastly, if something unlimited must be unlimited, it must be something which cannot limit itself from being able to limit itself, while if something noncontingent must be noncontingent, it can never change. If something limited must be limited, it is limited, which means it is unlimited, for it only must be what it is, and so it is limited as “is” (“unlimited”). “Is-ness” is limit, and since “is-ness” is everything, limit is everything and thus limit is limitless. Limit is hence the basis of life which plays with limits and so isn’t ultimately limited by them.³⁰

“Limitation” might address Gödel “Incompleteness Theorem,” which is to say that if mathematics cannot be its own grounding, then “the inability of a grounding” is the ground, and this is the insight of both Hume and Hegel. We must pick between “coherence” and “correspondence,” and the fact “we must pick” is necessary. We must be incomplete, and hence everything is “(in)complete.” The inability to avoid “incompleteness” means everything is “(in)complete,” a limit. Limit though can “fall back on itself,” remain itself, and yet in that remaining become unlimited — a beautiful example of dialectical “(be)coming” (consider how if I don’t know anything, I don’t know I don’t know anything and/or I don’t know I can’t know everything). “Radical contingency” is “autonomous Heraclitus,” and if contingency “falls back on itself” as contingent, it is noncontingent, and thus cannot remain itself and become, only “become.” Limitation which “falls back on itself” and limits itself is unlimited in that act of limitation, and thus remains itself as it becomes something else, which is “(be)coming,” while contingency which “falls back on itself” and makes itself contingent makes itself noncontingent, and thus becomes something else without remaining itself, which is “becoming.” Limitation hence is all that is needed to begin a “movement” in and with itself, while contingency can “move” only by changing. Limitation can reach an equilibrium in itself and be unlimited in itself, which means it contains the possibility to be limited in itself again, which means it can be unlimited in itself again — on and on. Limits are things which move, which means limits are dialectics (the word “limit” is seemingly a simile for “dialectic”). And dialectics are more fundamental than contingencies, even though dialectics generate contingency. And dialectics are sublations. Thus, finitude sublates

Again, Layman Pascal’s “Metaphysics of Adjacency” describes how the universe is metaphysically 99%, which is necessary background for the (form(ulation) of) -1 of Lack and + 1 of Excess, which dialectically relate to create a (“virtual”) sense of equilibrium at 0, a 0 which then “magnetically” functions perhaps like “vertical causation” to precisely keep Notion (-1) and Nature (+1) ever-dialectically relating (we might say the 0 is the Monism while Nature/Notion are the Dialectical, thus together being “Monistic Dialecticism” and/or “Fre(Q) Theory,” for -1 always accompanies a +1 and vice-versa, which generates a (“virtual”) 0 which “magnetically relates” -1 and + 1 together, as possible because of the metaphysical 99% which defines reality). And so and yet it moves.

Everything is 99% (in being limited and unable to answer “The Meta-Question,” to allude to Samuel Barnes), and thus everything entails a “movement” in itself: Nature entails a +1, while Notion entails a -1, which is to say the “form(ulation)” of Nature is +1 while the “form(ulation)” of Notion is -1, which suggests that they (“virtually”) “form(ulate)” together as “-1 + 1 ≡ 0.” And all of this is thus because limits are more fundamental than contingency. Now, a question we can embark on next is if this “Monist Dialecticism” which we have described changes and evolves through history, which in turn might mean consciousness itself might evolve (as in what qualia it might experience, how it might experience, etc.) — considerations that would get us into Rudolph Steiner, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Owen Barfield, Jean Gebser, and others who explore possibilities that can seem too strange for us to consider. But if instead the universe is an ever-living Nature/Notion (perhaps like a plant, as Matthew Segall discusses with Cadell Last), might all of history be the same? Might the ways the individual changes be a reflection of a life of the whole, as found in each every part (like a Bergsonian hologram)? I don’t know, but a horizon of possibility manifests to consider.

0 in nature never means “utterly nothing,” for even black holes might sound like a B-flat (as Ebert points out). Regardless, the point is that to discuss 0 is not to discuss it as we typically think: it is a point of equilibrium. Thus, for us who are “beings” (a 1, per se), the only way we can “head toward” 0 is with a -1, which is to say for us, every 0 seems like “a movement of -1” (which suggests that, for us, 0 is practically -1 even if not technically -1, and in Hegel the “practical is more real than the technical”). Thus, almost some Quantum Logic, in Lack, it seems we are dealing with “0/-1,” while in Excess we are dealing with “0/+1,” and in the human subject in/with a human body we find “(0/)(-1/+1).” Since though we are never just a body or just a subject, we don’t end up a 0/-1 or 0/+1 so much as we do a -1/+1, a “Monistic Dialectic” which generates a “virtual” 0 that the “(0/)(-1/+1)” is “toward” (and “held together” by), and in that “towardness” the -1/+1 is changed, negated/sublated, orientated, etc. anew, which then changes the “towardness,” which changes the -1/+1 — on and on (“and yet Nature/Notion moves,” per se). The very fact the “0” must be “virtual” is itself a “fundamental limit” that makes possible negation/sublation precisely as Alex Ebert describes, and also it simply isn’t possible for -1/1 to “be” 0 and 0 not be an equilibrium that immediately is a “phase transition.” And thus “radical contingency” cannot be most fundamental, as Meillassoux argues, but rather at best second to “fundamental limits” which are “dialectics.” Contingency cannot change into noncontingency without effacing itself, as 1/-1 cannot becomes an “actual 0” (versus “virtual 0”) without self-effacing; however, limit can limit itself and become unlimited, a state in which the (un)limit can limit itself again — ever-negation/sublating versus ever-effacing.

It’s another topic which will be expanded on in The Absolute Choice, as suggested by Dr. Stephen Houlgate, but it is possible that Nature and Excess follows the same “logical form” as Notion and Lack, which is to say they are foundationally and ontologically isomorphic. How Nature “unfolds” is structurally identical to Notion, and so even if we cannot access Nature with certainty (for some Kantian reason), we can still gain real and reliable knowledge about Nature by paying attention to how Notion “unfolds.” If the logic of Notion is the same as the logic of Nature (which Dimitri notes is “the logic of love,” A/B), then to learn of Notion is to learn of Nature even if Nature is inaccessible (a remarkable move of Hegel’s). This argument is expanded on “Absolute Knowing” by O.G. Rose (as I discussed with Cadell), but what it would mean is that the conditions which make an experience possible (phenomenology) are actually unveiled and found in the logic of the experience itself and how it “unfolds.” In other words, if we ask, “What are the conditions that make it possible for me to experience a cup?” then we can answer this by paying attention to how our thought about the cup emerges and operates (what is “across the noumenon is what we learn about in the phenomena). I don’t have to access “the pure thing” to understand my experience; the character of “the pure thing” is knowable through my thought of it, for Notion and Nature are isomorphic. I just need faith, which I can always question, hence why courage and growth are possible.


Dialectics and limitations are more fundamental for Nature/Notion than contingency, and if Nature “must” entail a +1 (Excess) or -1 (Lack), then Nature can theoretically “move itself” to the place where it “emerges” to Notion. Once this occurs, we are always dealing with a Nature/Notion which overcomes Kantianism through either limits or contingency. But we do not phenomenologically experience a world like what we would expect with Meillassoux’s “radical contingency,” but we do more so phenomenologically experience what Ebert describes. This being the case, simply put, seeing as we can gain the benefits of Meillassoux all the same, it makes more sense to follow Ebert and see limits as most fundamental, seeing as limits automatically fall back into being unlimited, which means all “limits” are actually “dialectics.” Contingency does not fall back into itself and remain possible, and so we can see in limits something far more axiomatic and “presuppositionless.” Thus, “radical sublation” is more so the case than “radical contingency.”

For Hegel, it is because we are finite that we can experience the infinite, which is to say that because we are limited we can imagine the limited being limited from being limited, and thus unlimited, which is a state in which we have the capacity to be limited again (nothing is stopping us, after all) if we so choose, which suggests that “limit” and “freedom” are strongly connected. Here, it is suggested that if we didn’t have freedom, the “unlimited” would perhaps be stuck as “unlimited,” and so limited “from not being unlimited,” but even then we speak of a limitation, hence why limitation seems so fundamental and axiomatic. If Nature without Notion becomes “unlimited” and finds itself “limited from not being unlimited,” there is still a limit, and if Nature arises to Notion (and gives us Nature/Notion), then Notion is limited from being reducible to Nature, and Notion that finds itself “unlimited” somehow can choose to limit itself again (and seemingly must if there is to be intelligibility and functionality — we require Determinations if we are not to be a raw “nothingness,” as discussed in “The Blank Canvas” by O.G. Rose). In Hegel, things must “pass over into otherness” to have being, and hence things are limited from not “passing over”; in perception (as discussed in “On Thinking and Perceiving” by O.G. Rose), we are limited in experience from experiencing “no limit,” for in “thoughtlessness” everything is like a great “oneness” without distinction. Yes, we seem to experience “a great oneness” in thoughtlessness, where distinction is no more, but “limit” and “distinction” are not necessarily similes even if they often overlap. Even in “pure thoughtless perception,” we are limited in having to stay in this state of mind to experience this “oneness,” and furthermore we are limited from being able to think. Thus, there is limitation in not thinking, and if anything is to be “presuppositionless,” it is hence a philosophy which places limitation at its foundation, for limitations is at play even when we don’t think. That then, limitation, is the sturdiest foundation for philosophy (with “contingency” coming in perhaps second).

Approaching a close, we began our investigation considering Dr. Houlgate and the possibility of a “presuppositionless philosophy,” who Max Machen quotes in his paper “Do We Need Hegel’s Presuppositionless Philosophy?” (published at Philosophy Portal, 2024) as writing:

‘Presuppositionless philosophy does, therefore, have a presupposition after all. It presupposes no goal, method, or principle that would orient its development […] Indeed, it presupposes precisely a readiness on the part of the reader to suspend all his or her presuppositions about thought and being.’³¹

Presuppositionless-ness assumes we limit ourselves — hence limits create presuppositionless possibility (in “surprising” encounters). Does Hegel achieve this goal then? If we answer “it’s impossible,” then we have claimed there is a limitation, and that limit requiring presuppositions is itself presuppositionless. Henc, we are “limited” from not needing presuppositions to think. Does this mean “limitation is presuppositionless?” I think so, for limit is there, in experience (as what seems to make experience possible), regardless if we think about it or not. Contingency also seems to be there, but contingency seems limited to stay contingent if it is to be there, for if it becomes “noncontingent,” it does not have what it needs “in itself” to become dynamic again. (Furthermore, contingency seems less “given” in experience than limit.)

Instead of a presupposition, as Max Machen writes on, limit is what Stephen Houlgate and Richard Winfield call an ‘enabling condition,’ which is to say ‘it makes it possible for us to do philosophy but does not predetermine, or set prior limits to, what we can think and understand.’³² We cannot call something “presuppositional” which makes it possible to even have presuppositions, but instead that is better described as an “enabling condition” which it possible to have presuppositions (or not) at all. I find this language very helpful from Houlgate and Winfield, and furthermore thinking of limit as “enabling condition” can help us also understand why contingency quickly follows after limit (contingency is just not most fundamental). Hegel’s history, humanity, and future are “radically open,” after all, to the point where even Hegel’s own dialectic might suddenly cease to be the case. Again, as Houlgate writes (as explored by Max Machen):

‘[…] Hegel may not presuppose that we are to proceed dialectically in the Logic by showing, say, how one category passes over into, or contains, its opposite and then is taken up with that opposite into a third category that synthesizes the first two. The indeterminate concept of being may well prove on further examination to be dialectical and to disappear into the concept of nothing, but we may not assume at the outset that this will be the case or that our method should be to look for such dialectical slippage in other categories. All we may do is consider the concept of indeterminate being and note what, if anything, that concept itself turns out to be or do.’³³

Hegel might be true today and tomorrow “the indeterminate concept of being” might “unfold” differently — limit can limit itself, after all, changing what it has always done (unlimited). In this way, Hegel can entail a “radical contingency” of Meillassoux, but that contingency must follow Ebert’s “limit” versus the other way around. In so doing this, we also gain “a presuppositionless philosophy.” But why does it matter so much if we can establish a “presuppositionless philosophy” based on limitation (such as the limit of never being able to answer “The Meta-Question”)? Max puts it well when he writs that ‘we need to do presuppositionless philosophy […] because we need to prove, with reason, that we are legitimate in our use of certain categories and that we can have a rational foundation of thought that is not dogmatically assumed.’³⁴ Philosophy hardly arises above opinion if we are not “realizing” more than “creating,” and we have argued in this work that the debate for “most foundational principle” (that could operate without presupposition) comes down to between “limit” and “contingency.” Ultimately, Alex Ebert’s “foundational limit” seems best. “In the beginning was the limit…”³⁵

The similarities between Meillassoux, Ebert, and Hegel should not be overlooked though, yet the slight differences make all the difference. As we have discussed, Meillassoux critiques well “correlationism,” that view ‘that there are no objects, no events, no laws, no beings which are not always already correlated with a point of view, with a subjective access.’³⁶ He ‘maintain[s] that an absolute, i.e. a reality absolutely separate from the subject, can be thought by the subject,’ and this can achieved by the subject thinking on contingency itself, where contingency is absolute.³⁷ This leads to Meillassoux ascribing to ‘a mad time’ which ‘is not governed by physical laws,’ which leads to a ‘notion of Hyper-Chaos,’ for in this we can position ‘the idea of a time so completely liberated from metaphysical necessity that nothing constrains it.’³⁸ ³⁹ Hegel also supports a radically open future, but this is because the future doesn’t exist yet (except as “virtual”), whereas for Meillassoux even a “block universe” in which all of time is determined could suddenly change thanks to “radical contingency,” and so even an “is-ness” that is determined is still free, for what “is” could “radically change” at any moment. Both Meillassoux and Hegel provide means for freedom, but in different ways, though both might agree that ‘[speculation’s] main concern is not with being but with the may-be,’ though Hegel might argue that being is organized by what we consider “possible,” versus being be interrupted by some “Event” which “radically changes” everything (not that Hegel is against “The Event” — it’s just isn’t necessary for freedom).⁴⁰

Meillassoux’s philosophy leads him to claim ‘that contradiction is impossible […] because non-contradiction is the condition of radical Chaos, that is, a Hyper-Chaos […] [We] can rationally demonstrate that a real contradiction is impossible because it would be a necessary being,’ and so “contradiction” is impossible because “anything is possible” (and this be “non-contradiction”), and the existence of contradiction would necessitate a “necessity” which would mean not everything was possible.⁴¹ For Hegel, contradiction is the very tension which drives “unfolding,” and in this way Hegel amplifies contingency not by removing the possibility of contradiction in removing the possibility of necessity, but instead Hegel makes contradiction necessity itself, in that being is contradiction (A/B versus A/A). This position of Hegel doesn’t necessarily conflict with Meillassoux, but it suggests a distinction in that though both in a way free contradiction from necessity, Hegel does it by making contradiction the logic of necessity (and so “freedom” becomes “Necessity”), while Meillassoux does it by erasing all possibility of necessity. This leads to transformations for both in what constitutes “reason,” and both agree that “reason” is no longer possible as an effort ‘to explain why things must be what they are’ (A/A), but instead ‘reason has to explain why things and why becoming itself can always become what they are not, and why there is no ultimate reason for this game.’⁴² Is this not Hegel? It is, for in both ‘reason [is] liberated from the principle of reason,’ paradoxically thanks to ‘reason[,] which liberates us from the principle of reason.’⁴³ ⁴⁴ However, as Anna Longo notes, while Meillassoux wants ‘to overcome the correlation from the inside and to rationally access the absolute,’ Hegel believed ‘there [was] nothing beyond the correlation between thought and the real since thought [was] the real.’⁴⁵ ⁴⁶ Fair, but thought because it is limited, not because it is thought. There is a Nature/Notion in Hegel, but the real is only thought to the degree that thought encounters limit; otherwise, it is presuppositional. Hence, though Hegel sees in thought the potential for reality, this is only to the degree it moves from Understanding to Reason (it is not that just any thought will do), which means there is a contingency to thought being real, and that contingency is to the degree thought realizes limitation (not “create,” please note — the creation follow the realization and use the material of the limitation). This ultimately lead us to the “situation” of Leibniz and “surprise of the Real,” alluding to Lacan, only possible in a commitment and “Absolute Choice” — but all of that will be discussed in the Philosophy Portal anthology on Lacan.

For Meillassoux, if reality is totally contingent, and all we can know absolutely is contingency, then we can know contingent reality absolutely. For Hegel, the future is entirely contingent and “open,” and perhaps a day will come when some “Event” occurs of “radical contingency” that changes the universe exactly as Meillassoux says (and even the dialectic might no longer apply). Fair enough, but even in that universe, there will be limitation, for even if we become God, we will be limited then from not being God, unless we choose to become “not God,” and at that point we will be limited from being God in the same way — on and on. There is necessity for Hegel, and that necessity is the limitation which Alex Ebert emphasizes. In all possible universes, limitation will apply, a testament to “Fre(Q) Materialism.” Life ever-re-limits.

If we must be “unlimited,” we are limited; if we are “unlimited,” we are limited from not having the possibility of creating limit again, and/or we are limited from not being unlimited. In all this, I see no way to avoid the presence of limitation, while I can imagine the loss of contingency in noncontingency. We might say that a thing being without contingency is contingent upon it being noncontingent, but I don’t think that works, for the noncontingent thing in itself doesn’t entail the contingency to become contingent, while something “unlimited” does entail in itself limitation. Hence, it seems more likely to me that limit could be axiomatic than contingency, while at the same time limit could entail a dynamic process by and in itself for “infinite unfolding” (in limit being limited from limit into the unlimited, in which limit can arise again — on and on).

If contingency was all there was, then to know something contingently could be to know it as well as could be known; similarly, it limit was presuppositionless, then to know limitation (via “surprise”) would be to arguably know that which is best known (in being our very “enabling condition”). I see how limit “falling back” on limit creates an unlimitedness in which limitation can arise again (which, for Hegel, we could say is the finite “falling back” on the finite infinitely, like a circle), but I don’t see how contingency can make itself contingent into noncontingency, and from this become contingent again in itself. While limitation entails within itself a mechanism for dynamism, contingency doesn’t seem to, and in this we might see how “limitation” could precisely be the mechanism by which Deleuzian Excess could operate and “unfold” (even though “limitation” might be what some Deleuzians wants to ignore and deny in favor of “creative possibility”). Deleuzians have often opposed Lacan, Žižek, and a notion of “lack,” but with Alex Ebert’s work we see a way through “lack as excess” to help us avoid both a naïve Deleuzianism and an overly-nihilistic psychoanalysis. “Lack” is an experience of finitude of Natural excess, of which arises “always already” with (the) (un)limit(ed). Limitation makes itself dynamic. Limit creates. Lack opens. Relations are real, and so if “lack” comes from relations (in encountering “the Other” as Das Ding), then lack is “real” too — to place “lack” outside the subject doesn’t mean “lack” isn’t part of the subject (as odd as that might sound). If relations are real and ontological, then so is “lack.” “Lack” is meaningful as a term because “lack is not nothing,” and hence we require a “presence” for us to experience lack. There must be relation. Relation (is the source of) lack(s), and lack is real because relations are real.

Notion gains intelligibility through limitation, as Nature “creatively unfold” through limitation, and thus Nature/Notion are isomorphic (they are structurally the same, as Dr. Houlgate discusses). Limit that “falls back” on itself is dialectical, and here we have “speculatively reasoned” on the implications of this so that we might realize perhaps that an “Absolute Choice” is necessary for us to align with “reality foundationally.” We are limited from not having points of saturation, which means we must (be)come. When and how this “unfolding” occurs is contingent, but this contingency is possible because of limitation being unlimited, and furthermore (as Ebert noted) we will experience our limits as “surprises” and “realized” versus created (a point which suggests why “limit” and “The Real” seems to go together, alluding to Lacan). We must find our limits; we cannot know them ahead of time, or else they are limits we have already to some degree “passed over’ (as Hegel discusses, though this doesn’t mean “the limits” weren’t real at least at some time). And the more we find them, the more we are presented a choice on how we will respond, the (Leibnizian) “situation” in which we are given a “real” opportunity to improve — but this will be elaborated on “The Love(craft) that Moves the Sun and Other Stars” by O.G. Rose.

There seems to be an “essential lack” in reality, but is that “lack” a product of an excess or an absence? If excess, the lack is apophatic, and through Ebert’s work we can see how “essential lack” could be possible and something like Deleuzianism through a logic of limit, finitude, and saturation. Perhaps an effect of “lack” is a result of “total saturation” as a +1, and/or “lack” is a result of our encounter with “the Other” as Das Ding or that which is beyond us (an object we don’t have). But both of these result in a sense of “lack” in that they exceed us and hence suggest our finitude; they are not “essential nothingness” in the sense that they don’t have substance at all. What is beyond us is in “excess” of us, which creates an effect of “lack,” but this “lack” then could be an “Apophatic River-Hole” (to allude to Systems & Subjects by Cadell Last), which suggests we have the potential for “true infinite relation” to that which exceeds us. At the same time, as discussed with Dante and Beatrice (in “The Love(craft) that Moves the Sun and Other Stars” by O.G. Rose), to speak of “lack as excess” does not mean we don’t experience “lack” as a negativity, for experiencing “greatness,” per se, can be a painful experience. When we see something beautiful, the very experience of it can make us feel inadequate; when we see something good, that can feel like a judgment on our own lives (a point that brings to mind The Fall by Albert Camus). It is not the case that “lack must be nothing” for us to suffer a negativity in its presence; the very “lack of an excess” can be painful and cause a negative response to it (as some Christian traditions argue, Hell can be an experience of God by those who hate God).

Approaching our close, if limitation is “most fundamental,” then the word “limitation” might not mean what we think it does. “Limit” is not a “wall,” but some kind of animating principle that gives itself definition in its unfolding (limits are “placeholders” of “a creative unfolding”). Limit is finitude, and finitude is rhizomatic, creative, and emergent. Limit is “new material.” It is like a force that gives itself definition in its animation, which is intelligible as a limitation or else wouldn’t be, and yet this “limit” is a testament to its excess which is limited from not being an excess and hence undergoing a “threshold crossing” and “phase transition” into being. Excess must sublate into limits as things, but the excess keeps excessing. Limits keep proving unlimited. Thus is “New Materialism” which creates an effect of “lack” due to our inability to grasp the full excess, and thus we experience a “lack” in “Dialectical Materialism” which we then must work through, or else we fall into a dangerous “Cheap Deleuzianism” versus “Costly Deleuzianism” which seems tempting to many. We shouldn’t be Deleuze without paying a price, and the price is high. But we must Absolutely Choose it.

Isn’t Hegel the great philosopher of freedom, though? Isn’t making “limit fundamental” the exact opposite of making “freedom fundamental?” A marvelous question, but this is where we can see why Hegel actually is the ultimate philosopher of freedom, for Hegel makes limitation itself our source of freedom (which means nothing can make us unfree). We have freedom becomes we are limited, becomes limits are dialectics, which means they “automatically free themselves,” per se. Everything finite is “self-freeing,” which is to say everything automatically expresses its unlimitedness, its ability to control and decide its limits. Limits create freedom, and since everything is limited, everything is free, and nowhere are there limits which remove freedom. Thus, though it takes history for us to self-sublate the reality, we are free. Nothing can stop us, which means only we can stop ourselves. Every pause declares. Everything self-sublates.

In closing, if limit is the most fundamental reality, then it would make sense that an “Absolute Choice” is needed (and “best” based on the fact it aligns with fundamental “limitation” that is also contingent, for limit is contingently unlimited as itself). A limit restricts, but in that very restriction creates dynamism (as Ebert described in “Fre(Q) Theory”), and thus creates life and even paradoxically a feeling of limitlessness within that limitation (we in being a writer can reach a state of automastery in which we feel like we can write anything). “The Absolute Choice” is central throughout O.G. Rose, and it is a choice that we make absolute over ourselves even though we could have chosen something else. From a kind of “unlimitedness,” we choose to make a limit (and choose to maintain that limit), and in this we create for ourselves great dynamism which otherwise would not be possible (for there would be “nothingness” or “everything,” which is practically the same). To “Absolute Choose” is to choose a limitation, which we might also associate with “making a clearing” in the Heideggerian sense, and in this “New Being” might unfold.⁴⁷ We are limited from being unfree. Choose this limit, and we are free. Limitation is ethical, for limitation is life.





¹Could we avoid all this by claiming “limits don’t exist?” Perhaps, if we could say this without having to say it, which is to say if the world “gave itself to us” this way. But the world doesn’t, and so we cannot. Thus, limits are fundamental and presuppositionless, and thus we can say Hegel’s philosophy is “presuppositionless.” However, I personally like to say Hegel’s work is an “intersuppositional philosophy,” which is to say a philosophy based on “betweenness” and “relation” (versus say “ground”). “Intersuppositional” can be meant by the term “presuppositionless,” certainly, but I generally prefer more positive terms wherever possible, for to say “x is not y” leaves open millions of possibilities and thus potentials for error.

²If there was only one entity in the universe, that being would still be limited to only be that entity, but the entity would perhaps “practically” not experience the limit; however, the limit would still be present “technically.” In that universe, “the nonexistence of limitation” would be the practical reality but no the technical reality, and since in Hegel “the practical is more real than the technical” (as argued in The Absolute Choice), it would be fair to say that such a universe would be one in which unlimitedness would be more real than limitation. However, that isn’t our world, which is defined by a multiplicity of beings, and thus our world is one in which there are limits everywhere. Thus, “intersuppositional” is still a meaningful term, even if it would be “practically meaningless” in a universe with only one being.

³It’s another topic, but Dialogos, Hip Hop Cyphers, etc. — all of these are experiences, I believe, in which we find out that “limits aren’t limited,” just as Alex Ebert teaches, which is to say we encounter limitation as unlimited, finitude as infinitely full(er). But wait, is the universe “limited” to the unconscious? If not, it’s limited.

⁴Harman, Graham. Quentin Meillassoux: Philosophy in the Making. George Square, Edinburgh. Edinburgh University Press, 2011: vii.

⁵This definition is based on “Correlationism — An Extract from The Meillassoux Dictionary,” which describes a piece by Levi R. Bryant, as can be found here:

⁶To use Christian theology to help make the point, I can directly access one person of the Trinity like Jesus, but I at the same time cannot do so without also encountering the Father and Holy Spirit. And yet there is still a difference in encounter, experience, emphasis, manifestation, and the like: encountering the human person of Jesus is not the same as encountering the Father directly on the throne, and yet at the same time I encounter both. It is possible to experience God in Jesus as different and “practically independent” from the Father, and yet “technically” they are not apart. So it goes with Nature and Notion in Hegel: Nature can be “practically experienced” apart from Notion, but not “technically,” as Notion can be “practically” experienced apart from Nature, though not “technically” (the act of which changes how Nature/Notion unfolds). Quentin Meillassoux would easily not agree with this conception, but I do want to suggest how some overlap might be possible between Meillassoux and Hegel.

⁷Harman, Graham. Quentin Meillassoux: Philosophy in the Making. George Square, Edinburgh. Edinburgh University Press, 2011: 11.

⁸Unless perhaps there have always been aliens somewhere, but even then there were no aliens at the Big Bang. To say Nature always requires Notion would seem to be panpsychism.

⁹Harman, Graham. Quentin Meillassoux: Philosophy in the Making. George Square, Edinburgh. Edinburgh University Press, 2011: 17.

¹⁰Harman, Graham. Quentin Meillassoux: Philosophy in the Making. George Square, Edinburgh. Edinburgh University Press, 2011: 18.

¹¹Harman, Graham. Quentin Meillassoux: Philosophy in the Making. George Square, Edinburgh. Edinburgh University Press, 2011: 10.

¹²Harman, Graham. Quentin Meillassoux: Philosophy in the Making. George Square, Edinburgh. Edinburgh University Press, 2011: 3.

¹³Harman, Graham. Quentin Meillassoux: Philosophy in the Making. George Square, Edinburgh. Edinburgh University Press, 2011: 6.

¹⁴Harman, Graham. Quentin Meillassoux: Philosophy in the Making. George Square, Edinburgh. Edinburgh University Press, 2011: 21.

¹⁵Harman, Graham. Quentin Meillassoux: Philosophy in the Making. George Square, Edinburgh. Edinburgh University Press, 2011: 28.

¹⁶Harman, Graham. Quentin Meillassoux: Philosophy in the Making. George Square, Edinburgh. Edinburgh University Press, 2011: 22.

¹⁷Meillassoux, Quentin. After Finitude. Translated by Ray Brassier. London, UK: Continuum International Publishing Group, 2009: 53.

¹⁸Meillassoux, Quentin. After Finitude. Translated by Ray Brassier. London, UK: Continuum International Publishing Group, 2009: 45.

¹⁹Harman, Graham. Quentin Meillassoux: Philosophy in the Making. George Square, Edinburgh. Edinburgh University Press, 2011: 7.

²⁰Harman, Graham. Quentin Meillassoux: Philosophy in the Making. George Square, Edinburgh. Edinburgh University Press, 2011: 7.

²¹Harman, Graham. Quentin Meillassoux: Philosophy in the Making. George Square, Edinburgh. Edinburgh University Press, 2011: 32.

²²Harman, Graham. Quentin Meillassoux: Philosophy in the Making. George Square, Edinburgh. Edinburgh University Press, 2011: 139.

²³Perhaps instead of “New Materialism” I should discus the “Creative Evolution” of Bergson? Considering CE (or Vitalism) and DM together might be a better framing than NM and DM, but I’m not sure.

²⁴Please note that if we were to reverse things and ask if “the unlimited is most fundamental,” we could say that “the unlimited is limited from not being unlimited,” but right there that would mean the unlimited isn’t actually itself, while “the limited can be limited” and still be itself. And if the unlimited becomes limited, it cannot become limited again, and if the limited becomes unlimited, it can again become limited.

²⁵Contingent that is contingent can become noncontingent but then is stuck.
Contingency that is noncontingent cannot become noncontingent and so is stuck.
Unlimitedness that is unlimited cannot become limited and so is stuck.
Unlimitedness that is limited isn’t unlimited and so is a logical contradiction.
Noncontingency that is contingent isn’t noncontingent and so is a logical contradiction.
Limitation that is unlimited can be unlimitedly a limitation and maintain coherence.
Noncontingency can noncontingently be noncontingent and maintain coherence.

Critically, limitation can be limited into limitation and the unlimited, in which it can regain itself as limited. Hence, it is possible for limitation to be most fundamental, for it can from itself generate dynamism without losing its own possibility

²⁶Finitude also seems to be more so limit than it is contingency, in that I can imagine a world without contingency, but I cannot imagine a world without limit (for such would be unintelligible). Might I “see” a world without limit? If so, I couldn’t tell if it was “nothingness” or a “limitless world” (suggesting a key point of Hegel), and thus there would be ambiguity which would favor the point that “a world without limit” is unimaginable (for I can’t imagine it with much confident). Furthermore, all limits are finite, and thus all limits are limited, and those limits are limited, and those limits are limited…Finitude is (un)limited.

²⁷Furthermore, contingency seems to require presupposition, while limit is intersuppositional.

²⁸Creation Gods as God Creates. Limit is (a)life. Limit is unlimiting.

²⁹If “relations must be real” like Wolfgang Smith describes, then limit is more fundamental than contingency, for distinction is real or else there are no relations between distinctions. Furthermore, if relations “must be real,” contingency isn’t most fundamental. Contingency only works as defeating popular Kantianism where things and objects are separate. If I really relate to objects, then there is no “I may relate to objects as they are.”

³⁰Determination is the possibility of Necessity, which is to say Determinations are what are Necessities for freedom (as discussed in “Hegel’s Justification of Hegel” by O.G. Rose).

³¹Houlgate, Stephen. The Opening of Hegel’s Logic. Purdue University Press, 2006: 60.

³²Houlgate, Stephen. The Opening of Hegel’s Logic. Purdue University Press, 2006: 78.

³³Houlgate, Stephen. The Opening of Hegel’s Logic. Purdue University Press, 2006: 32.

³⁴Machen, Max. “Do We Need Hegel’s Presuppositionless Philosophy?” Logic for the Global Brain. Philosophy Portal Publications, 2024.

³⁵The moment God Creates there is a limitation on what Creation can be, which is to say Creation “cannot be God” (only “part of” or “participating in” God, at best).

³⁶Meillassoux, Quentin. Time Without Becoming. Mimesis International, 2014: 1.

³⁷Meillassoux, Quentin. Time Without Becoming. Mimesis International, 2014: 2.

³⁸Meillassoux, Quentin. Time Without Becoming. Mimesis International, 2014: 26.

³⁹Meillassoux, Quentin. Time Without Becoming. Mimesis International, 2014: 26–27.

⁴⁰Meillassoux, Quentin. Time Without Becoming. Mimesis International, 2014: 27.

⁴¹Meillassoux, Quentin. Time Without Becoming. Mimesis International, 2014: 28.

⁴²Meillassoux, Quentin. Time Without Becoming. Mimesis International, 2014: 29.

⁴³Meillassoux, Quentin. Time Without Becoming. Mimesis International, 2014: 29.

⁴⁴Perhaps the difference is that Meillassoux is writing to defend contingency and freedom from within an Einsteinian paradigm, while Hegel is more Bergsonian? Perhaps, and admittedly I am partial to Bergson and those like Lee Smolin.

⁴⁵Longo, Anna. “The Contingent Emergence of Thoughts: A Comparison Between Meillassoux and Deleuze,” as found in Time Without Becoming by Quentin Meillassoux. Mimesis International, 2014: 33.

⁴⁶Longo, Anna. “The Contingent Emergence of Thoughts: A Comparison Between Meillassoux and Deleuze,” as found in Time Without Becoming by Quentin Meillassoux. Mimesis International, 2014: 36.

⁴⁷As we discussed with “Buridan’s Donkey,” this is the “Absolute Choice” against our limitation to (certainly) experience limit as absolute. This is an act of Childhood, as discussed in Belonging Again (Part II), and in our main concern in that book being about “the spread of Childhood,” we can say that our concern is spreading the conditions needed to increase the probability that average people make “Absolute Choices” for (Leibniz) “situations” in which “Love(craft)” might “surprise” us and emerge, providing opportunity for us to prove able to handle more of “Beatrice’s smile” — but now I have gotten ahead of myself.




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O.G. Rose

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