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Open Philosophy

Editor-in-Chief: Harman, Graham


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The Coldness of Forgetting: OOO in Philosophy, Archaeology, and History

Graham Harman
Published Online: 2019-09-13 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opphil-2019-0023

Abstract

This article begins by addressing a critique of my book Immaterialism by the archaeologists Þóra Pétursdóttirr and Bjørnar Olsen in their 2018 article “Theory Adrift.” As they see it, I restrict myself in Immaterialism to available historical documentation on the Dutch East India Company (VOC), and they wonder how my account might have changed if I had discussed more typical archaeological examples instead: wrecked and sunken ships, released ballast, deserted harbors, distributed goods, and derelict fortresses. In response, I argue that my account was not therefore non-archaeological, since ruins are the topic of archaeology only by accident: the real subject of the discipline is what Marshall McLuhan describes as “cold media,” in the sense that they are low in information. McLuhan’s distinction between hot and cold media is shown to be surprisingly analogous to Aristotle’s difference between continua and discrete substances, and some consequences are drawn from this analogy.

Keywords: Object-Oriented Ontology; archaeology; Graham Harman; Dutch East India Company; Þóra Pétursdóttirr; Bjørnar Olsen; Marshall McLuhan; hot and cold media; Bruno Latour; Actor-Network Theory

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About the article

Received: 2019-06-17

Accepted: 2019-08-19

Published Online: 2019-09-13

Published in Print: 2019-01-01


Citation Information: Open Philosophy, Volume 2, Issue 1, Pages 270–279, ISSN (Online) 2543-8875, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opphil-2019-0023.

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© 2019 Graham Harman, published by De Gruyter Open. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Public License. BY 4.0

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