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1 Proving the Principle of Logic: Quentin Meillassoux, Jean-Luc Nancy, and the Anhypothetical

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Chapter Summary

Since the birth of philosophy itself, thinkers have been searching for the principle of all logic: not a logical proof but the proof of the validity of logic itself. Both Plato and Aristotle call this principle of logic the "anhypothetical principle": the principle that does not need to be hypothesized. The anhypothetical for both Plato and Aristotle is not simply an object of dialectic, but at the origin of dialectic. In one contemporary re-working of this theme of the anhypothetical, Quentin Meillassoux seeks to strengthen the Aristotelian form of the anhypothetical and offers an anhypothetical demonstration the principle of non-contradiction which, he claims, is of unprecedented rigour. This chapter shows that Meillassoux's proof of the principle of factiality is itself vulnerable to disproof by the same indirect means through which he seeks to establish it. This argument takes one on a detour through the thought of Jean-Luc Nancy.

Keywords: anhypothetical principle; Aristotle; Jean-Luc Nancy; Quentin Meillassoux



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