Relational ontologies that postulate the primacy of relations over their relata may seem like a contrary and incompatible approach to object-oriented ontology (OOO). Therefore, this paper aims to clarify the relationship between Barad’s and Escobar’s relational ontologies and Harman’s OOO by comparing and contrasting the relative coherences between them. After outlining the central assumptions of the different accounts, I discuss the problems of relational ontologies with regard to several ethical, political, and posthumanist issues. I argue that OOO is able to avoid their pitfalls without rejecting the major benefits of relational ontologies. After a critique of the pluralization of worlds within relational ontologies, I argue for the rejection of the concept of world(s) in favor of understanding space and time as emerging from polar tensions within the quadruple objects. Consequently, this highlights the potential of OOO to encounter the Anthropocene beyond scientific realism and to account for the plurality of reality without granting any hegemonic access to it. This paper, therefore, argues for a conceptualization of ontological difference without one or many worlds.
Barad, Karen. Meeting the Universe Halfway. Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning. Durham/London: Duke University Press, 2007.
Bertet, Patrice et al. “A complementarity experiment with an interferometer at the quantum-classical boundary.” Nature, 411:10 (2001), 166-170.
Bonneuil, Christophe. “The geological turn: narratives of the Anthropocene.” In The Anthropocene and the Global Environmental Crisis. Rethinking modernity in a new epoch, edited by Clive Hamilton/Christoph Bonneuil/François Gemenne, 17-31. London/New York: Routledge, 2015.
Caro, Mario De. “Zwei Spielarten des Realismus.” In Der Neue Realismus, edited by Markus Gabriel, 19-32. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 2015.
DeLanda, Manuel & Harman, Graham. The Rise of Realism. Malden, MA: Polity, 2017.
Dussel, Enrique. Der Gegendiskurs der Moderne. Trans. Christoph Dittrich. Wien/Berlin: Turia + Kant, 2013.
Escobar, Arturo. Designs for the Pluriverse. Radical Interdependence, Autononmy, and the Making of the Worlds. Durham/London: Duke University Press, 2018.
Escobar, Arturo. “Thinking-feeling with the Earth: Territorial Struggles and the Ontological Dimension of the Epistemologies of the South.” Revista de Antropología Iberoamericana 11:1 (2015), 11-32.
French, Steven & Ladyman, James. “Remodelling structural realism: Quantum physics and the metaphysics of structure.” Synthese 136:1 (2003), 31-56.
Harman, Graham. Bells and Whistles. More Speculative Realism. Winchester/Washington: Zero Books, 2013.
Harman, Graham. Object-Oriented Ontology. A New Theory of Everything. London: Pelican, 2018.
Harman, Graham. “On the Horror of Phenomenology: Lovecraft and Husserl.” In Collapse IV. Philosophical Research and Development, edited by Robin Mackay, 333-364. Oxford: Urbanomic, 2008.
Harman, Graham. “On Vicarious Causation.” In Collapse II. Philosophical Research and Development, edited by Robin Mackay, 171-205. Oxford: Urbanomic, 2007.
Harman, Graham. The Quadruple Object. Winchester/Washington: Zero Books, 2011.
Harman, Graham. The Third Table / Der dritte Tisch. Berlin/Stuttgart: Hatje Cantz, 2012.
Heidegger, Martin. Being and Time. Trans. John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson. Oxford: Blackwell, 1962.
Hollbrand, Martin et al. (Ed.). The Ontological Turn. An Anthropological Exposition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017.
Ladyman, James. “What is structural realism?” Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science 29:3 (1998), 409-424.