Zizek: Anti-realism and Retroactivity

Southern Nights

The key philosophical implication of Hegelian retroactivity is that it undermines the reign of the Principle of Sufficient Reason: this principle only holds in the condition of linear causality where the sum of past causes determines a future event— retroactivity means that the set of (past, given) reasons is never complete and “sufficient,” since the past reasons are retroactively activated by what is, within the linear order, their effect.

– Slavoj  Zizek – Less Than Nothing: Hegel and the Shadow of Dialectical Materialism

Graham Harman’s first book Tool Being takes note of Zizek’s concept of retroactive causation saying:

The present book roughly accepts Zizek’s concept of retroactive causation, though without accepting the attitude of “deflationary realism” with which Zizek frames this concept. In the end, his problem will turn out to be that he restricts retroactive causation to a narrowly human realm, and orbits around the same unique gap between human…

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