74 THESES ON HARMAN’S OOO

I have been pedagogically rewriting my article review of Graham Harman’s BELLS AND WHISTLES. “20 Theses on Graham Harman’s Abstract Monist Ontology ” is only one chapter in that article. In fact there are 74 theses (Note: I have not yet rewritten the last two parts of the review, so maybe at the end there will be 100 theses, but 74 is not bad). The “theses” are basically paragraph headings or summaries, and the real development is in the text.

Part One: OOO as A DEMI-POST-STRUCTURALISM

1) OOO is a synchronic ontology

2) The choice today is between synchronic ontology and diachronic ontology, nostalgia for the structure and deconstruction all the way down, Harman and Laruelle, Latour, Stiegler

3) OOO is a regressive successor to deconstruction and post-structuralism

4) OOO is a pop formalism

5) OOO is a demi-post-structuralism

6) OOO’s ontological critique is formalism of closure

7) OOO is Badiou remarketed: set theoretic reduction founds OOO’s affective reduction

8) OOO as synchronic ontology lags behind François Laruelle’s non-standard philosophy

9) OOO as synchronic ontology lags behind Bruno Latour’s compositionism

10) OOO as synchronic ontology lags behind Bernard Stiegler’s pharmacology

11) OOO’s ontological critique is technological formalism

12) Harman cannot understand scientific anti-reductionism (e.g. the case of Eddington)

13) Harman cannot understand epistemological anti-reductionism (e.g. the case of Ernst Mach)

14) Harman cannot understand ontological anti-reductionism (e.g. the case of Feyerabend)

15) OOO is ontological activism combined with political passivism

16) OOO’s relation to the present and the recent past of philosophy is a compendium of misunderstandings and of failed encounters

Part 2: GRAHAM HARMAN’S ABSTRACT MONIST IDEALISM

1) OOO is an abstract monism

2) OOO is profoundly reductionist

3) The withdrawn real object is an abstraction

4) Harman’s terminolgy is equivocal

5) OOO is ontological nihilism: there are no “real objects” in Harman’s sense

6) OOO is a school philosophy

7) OOO’s real objects do not withdraw, they transcend

8) WITHDRAWAL IS VERTICAL: OOO’s ontology of real objects is not flat

9) Harman’s real object is epistemically ambiguous

10) OOO claims to know the unknowable

11) OOO is an epistemology masquerading as an ontology

11) OOO is epistemological relativism

12) For OOO real knowledge is impossible

13) OOO is idealism

14) Ontology is not primary for Harman

15) Knowledge and practice are illusory: radical change is impossible

16) OOO is conceptually incoherent and terminologically confused

17) How can a withdrawn object “de-withdraw”?

18) Discontinuities are mis-described by “withdrawal”

19) Withdrawal replaces complex distinctions with a simple pseudo-concept

20) OOO’s realm of real objects is a de-qualified and de-quantified void

Part Three: AGAINST THE SR/OO PROPAGANDA “TUTORIAL”

1) In OOO transcendental philosophy has primacy over empirical research

2) OOO is demarcationist, empirical research is transversal

3) Ernst Mach sketched a pluralist diachronic ontology that is more satisfying than OOO’s synchronic ontology

4) OOO in theory distinguishes between epistemology and ontology, but in practice conflates the two

5) Mach’s ontology is open

6) Harman’s ontology is closed

7) Harman’s OOO is an objectal reductionism

8) Harman’s OOO has an a priori principle of absolute withdrawal

9) Harman’s OOO is a relational reductionism

10) Harman’s ontology is synchronic, dictating and fixing transcendentally the elements of the world

11) One must distinguish between intra-world and trans-world reduction

12) Everyone else but Harman is “reductionist” (in the sense of intra-world reduction)

13) Harman is a speculative reductionist (in the sense of trans-world reduction

14) Harman’s objectal reduction is an apodictic posit, invulnerable to empirical testing

Part Four: HARMAN’S TEMPORAL DENIALISM

1) According to Harman change is forbidden by relational ontologies, but he forgets kinetic and dynamic relations

2) Harman constantly and indiscriminately conflates relations in general with specific subsets of relations such as interactions, and also with specific types of relation such as
contact and access

3) Harman’s does not understand diachronic ontologies

4) Harman’s arguments are affective and not conceptual

5) OOO’s denial of temporality: time is unreal for Harman

Part Five:

1) Harman’s OOO is an abstractive (and a-political) ontology of objects as legitimation, relay and effectuation of  the neoliberal hypothesis

2) Harman’s OOO, like Badiou’s philosophy, is a truncated form of pluralism: a synchronic ontology of objectal multiples where the diachronic dimensionis added on afterwards as a supplement

3) for Harman, time as unreal is dependent on subjectivity

4) OOO is a surface material pluralism  overcoded by a formal monism

5) OOO is an ontological monism: the domain of real objects is unqualified in terms of knowable common sense or scientific properties, even if it is qualified in terms of its own noumenal properties

6) OOO is epistemological monism: common sense and scientific knowledge do not
accede to the reality of objects, the only possible knowledge is indirect and appertains to philosophical intellection or to the arts under the control of object-oriented ontology

7) Abstractive (OOO) and subtractive (Badiou) ontologies are in regression compared to the pluralist philosophies of their predecessors

8) Harman’s OOO is Badiousian: materially pluralist, formally monist

Part Six: OOO’s ambiguous terminology and conceptual conflation

1) HARMAN CONFLATES KNOWLEDGE AND ACCESS

2) HARMAN CONFLATES RELATIONS AND INTERACTIONS

3) HARMAN DOES NOT UNDERSTAND THE PLURALIST CRITIQUES OF MONISM

4) HARMAN’S CONTRADICTIONS ARE DISGUISED BY AMBIGUOUS TERMINOLOGY AND CONCEPTUAL CONFLATION

5) HARMAN’S SYSTEM IS BASED ON HOMOLOGY

6) OOO’S PHILOSOPHICAL INTELLECTION HAS PRIMACY: all else is illusion

Part Seven: HARMAN’S CONTRADICTORY HERMENEUTICS OF SUBJECTIVITY

1) OOO SPLITS EXPERIENCE INTO ABSTRACT INTELLECTION AND CONCRETE ILLUSION

2) WITHDRAWAL CAN BE PARTIALLY OVERCOME: OBJECTAL LOVE AND THE ART OF OBLIQUITY

3) OOO IS A CONTRADICTORY MIX OF NOETIC ASCETICISM AND
SENSUAL HEDONISM

4) OOO PROSCRIBES THE ETHICAL ENCOUNTER

5) OOO CANNOT ACCOUNT FOR KNOWLEDGE

 

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3 Responses to 74 THESES ON HARMAN’S OOO

  1. Bill Benzon says:

    I believe 95 is the magic number when it comes to nailing theses to the wall.

    Like

  2. auditor says:

    Hey there Terence Blake, have you read this?
    2013.11.03
    François Laruelle
    Anti-Badiou: On the Introduction of Maoism into Philosophy

    François Laruelle, Anti-Badiou: On the Introduction of Maoism into Philosophy, Robin Mackay (tr.), Bloomsbury, 2013, xli + 246pp., $27.95, ISBN 978-1441195746.
    I thought it would interest you.
    And who am I then?:One of those people who audited at Vincennes as you did.I’d much rather say ‘I am all the names in history!’ aNYhow cheers.

    Like

  3. terenceblake says:

    Yes, thanks for the reference. I have read the book and it is one of Laruelle’s best. I would like to know when you audited Deleuze’s courses and what influence they have had on you. Cheers!

    Like

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