Harman’s “master argument” against relational ontologies is that they cannot explain change, that if everything were related nothing would change. This is patently false, as relations include temporal relations. Deleuze for example talks about both kinetic (relative speeds and accelerations) and dynamic (relative forces, and relative capacities to affect and to be affected) relations. It is ludicrous to claim that Deleuze’s system entails that change is impossible.
This shows not only Harman’s incomprehension of relations (that he systematically confuses with specific subsets of relations such as interactions, and also with specific types of relation such as contact and access), but also his inability to understand the positions he is arguing against, and that he is supposed to have gone beyond. He critiques only straw man positions that have never existed. He has no understanding of, for example, Deleuze, and just deprecates his philosophy without getting into any detail. He gives pseudo-conceptual affective refutations with no citations and no analysis. Further, he has given no substantial account of what is wrong with so-called “relational” ontologies in general, except for his master-argument that if everything were related change would be impossible. Harman tries to insinuate that in his ontology change can be accounted for.
However, Harman denies the reality of time and so his ontology is synchronic in a very strong sense. His understanding of other philosophers is based on a synchronic reduction of their style. Even his reading ((in THE THIRD TABLE) of Eddington’s two tables argument falsifies it by extracting it from the whole movement of Eddington’s « Introduction » to his book THE NATURE OF THE PHYSICAL WORLD, and from his vision of the movement of research in general. Harman just doesn’t “get” temporal relations. Hence his repeated, and absurd, claim that if everything was composed of relations nothing would change. As if moving faster or slower than, accelerating faster or slower than, being attracted or repelled or pushed or whirled around were not relations.