SAMUEL JOHNSON AND GRAHAM HARMAN: On a supposed refutation of Berkeley’s idealism

The anecdote is well known:

After we came out of the church, we stood talking for some time together of Bishop Berkeley’s ingenious sophistry to prove the nonexistence of matter, and that every thing in the universe is merely ideal. I observed, that though we are satisfied his doctrine is not true, it is impossible to refute it. I never shall forget the alacrity with which Johnson answered, striking his foot with mighty force against a large stone, till he rebounded from it — « I refute it thus. »
Boswell: Life

Harman is unable to espouse this argument, despite a propagandistic play on the ambiguity of the word « object », in the ordinary sense (sensual object)  and in his special transcendental sense (real object). I recall that for Harman a real object cannot be touched (much less kicked) or even known, but only loved:

« The real is something that cannot be known, only loved » (THE THIRD TABLE, p12).

The OOO ethics is not to kick the empirical rock, but to love the transcendental rock.

 

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Un commentaire pour SAMUEL JOHNSON AND GRAHAM HARMAN: On a supposed refutation of Berkeley’s idealism

  1. Neat! Also, a clicking sound as a boot hits a stone is not an argument, nor is it a stone…

    J'aime

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