An important question in Object-Oriented Ontology (OOO) and its associated literature is how OOO relates to its competitor theories. This article is a meta-philosophical investigation into OOO and its grounding, which hopes to fully theorise this relation, deriving ultimately a “negative dialectic” that emphasises the irreducible differences between OOO and non-OOO. Beginning by analysing the use of OOO as a “starting point”, I consider Althusser’s various contributions to meta-philosophical debates. This leads me to focus on Harman’s notion of “hyperbolic reading”, and on how attempts to hyperbolically ground OOO force it to immanently include its competitors. Finally, I apply these insights to systematise both the negative dialectical relation between OOO and non-OOO and the becoming-OOO of thinking, by applying Laruelle’s Non-Philosophy.
In his Prince of Networks, Graham Harman reconstructs Latourian critique of concepts of potentiality and virtuality with which he claims to agree. This seems striking because Latour’s arguments seem to be exactly those Harman rejects in his other writings as overmining. Furthermore, this critique of potentiality and virtuality creates a dividing line between Harman and Bryant’s Democracy of Objects, where the concept of virtual plays a central role. In this article, I will explore this debate, focusing on how the concept of virtuality works in the context of the ontological realism that Object-Oriented Ontology is. To do this, I will first present Bryant’s notion of virtuality focusing on the problem of the individuality of the object. Then I will explore Latourian–Harmanian arguments against virtuality and show that the main issue Harman has with virtuality has to do with the agency of objects. Therefore, I claim that the main dividing line between Bryant’s and Harman’s versions of Object-Oriented Ontology is the difference between the two notions of agency.
The article presents the conceptual groundwork for an understanding of the essentially improvisational dimension of human rationality. It aims to clarify how we should think about important concepts pertinent to central aspects of human practices, namely, the concepts of improvisation, normativity, habit, and freedom. In order to understand the sense in which human practices are essentially improvisational, it is first necessary to criticize misconceptions about improvisation as lack of preparation and creatio ex nihilo. Second, it is necessary to solve the theoretical problems that derive from misunderstandings concerning the notions of normativity, habit, and freedom – misunderstandings that revolve around the idea that rationality is a form that is developed out of itself and thus works in a way similar to algorithms. One can only make sense of normativity, habit, and freedom if one understands that they all involve conflictual relationships with the world and with others, which in turn enables one to adequately take into account their constitutive connection to improvisation, properly understood. In outlining these conceptual connections, we want to prepare the foundations for an explanation of rational practices as improvisational practices. The article concludes by stating that human rational life is improvisatory because the conditions of human practice arise out of practice itself.
Graham Harman’s Object-Oriented Ontology has employed a variant of
occasionalist causation since 2002, with sensual objects acting as the mediators of
causation between real objects. While the mechanism for living beings creating
sensual objects is clear, how nonliving objects generate sensual objects is not. This
essay sets out an interpretation of occasionalism where the mediating agency of
nonliving contact is the virtual particles of nominally empty space. Since living,
conscious, real objects need to hold sensual objects as sub-components, but nonliving
objects do not, this leads to an explanation of why consciousness, in Object-Oriented
Ontology, might be described as doubly withdrawn: a sensual sub-component of a
withdrawn real object.
This article contends that the central principle of modern philosophy is obscured by a side-debate between two opposed camps that are united in accepting a deeper flawed premise. Consider the powerful critiques of Kantian philosophy offered by Quentin Meillassoux and Bruno Latour, respectively. These two thinkers criticize Kant for opposite reasons: Meillassoux because Kant collapses thought and world into a permanent “correlate” without isolated terms, and Latour because Kant tries to purify thought and world from each other rather than realizing that they are always combined in “hybrid” form. What both critiques tacitly accept is the notion that “thought” and “world” are the two major poles of the universe. I claim that this stems from the post-Cartesian assumption that thought and world are the two basic kinds of things that exist. The name “onto-taxonomy” is introduced for this view.
Axiomatic systems can be understood as subsets of syntactic systems. By a process of increasing abstraction, the notion of a syntactic system can become useful for understanding Meillassoux’s concept of hyper-Chaos.
Quentin Meillassoux’s speculative materialism aims to define access to reality of the natural world apart from its giveness to sentient subjects. This world apart is designated by Meillassoux as the “Great Outdoors” which was marginalized as a topic of philosophy after Kant’s critiques. The question of the incommensurability of human subjects and physical objects is taken up by Meillassoux and addressed by allowing mathematizable properties of physical objects to be referred to objectively in mathematical statements. In this paper we follow the discussion with speculative materialism conducted by Deborah Danowski and Eduardo Viveiros de Castro in The Ends of the World (2017). These authors show that Meillassoux’s conception of the “Great Outdoors” includes, yet insufficiently explores, the notion of ancestral humanity in Amerindian myth – and intimately related to the practice of hallucinogenic trance – as the means to address the problem of said incommensurability.