Continuing my discussion with Jon Cogburn’s post on Continental Philosophy’s recent history as seen through OOO spectacles:
I have gone out of my way on several occasions to say that I have nothing against the man Graham Harman. Further, I censor very little on my blog, but I will have no truck with personal denigration or accusations of Nazism etc., and have said so. I have stated that given all this, I use “Harman” to refer to a conceptual persona in Deleuze’s terms (similar to Cogburn’s notion of pragmatically useful philosopher) based on my contextualization of his texts (what Cogburn optimistically calls “Whig” history of progress and enlightenment, only in my case it is mixed with some Hesiodic history of decline towards a new Dark Age).
(On tone, I may have been “strident” on some other occasions, but I don’t see any stridence in my discussion with Jon Cogburn, and certainly not in my Deleuzian claims, as Cogburn implicitly claims).
I have begun to read Adrian Johnston’s new book PROLEGOMENA TO ANY FUTURE MATERIALISM and I find it more satisfying than Ray Brassier’s writings, which are too scientistic for me. For example, Johnston finds transcendental room for what one could call Cogburn’s “modal soup” (i.e. the alethic and deontic modalities that Cogburn argues are just as real as seemingly more “objective” properties, see here), although Johnston does not make them originary, as Cogburn would seem to prefer. I find it amusing that Johnston is an uncompromising atheist and refuses new religious fusions with Continental Philosophy yet he talks of his key concept of “weak nature” in very similar terms to Caputo’s weak God.
There is lot’s of room for divergent historical narratives, so I don’t need to rule out anyone else’s history, nor submit to it, but I feel free to evaluate it in my own terms. I do not need Graham Priest’s “dialetheism” to explicate this attitude, as Feyerabend’s pluralism is already a good guide. I certainly disagree with most SR/OOO accounts of the philosophical history of the last half century.
This is also my problem with Tristan Garcia’s book, to be published in English this year, FORM AND OBJECT, which Jon Cogburn has translated with Mark Ohm: unlike Adrian Johnston’s book, which is impressive and I feel I can dialogue with, Garcia’s FORM AND OBJECT is impressive but has no place in any of my histories. I see how one can climb to the meta-level and compare his ontology with Harman’s or Bryant’s, but this sort of thing rapidly becomes uninteresting. If dialogue (its richness and complexity, its surprisingness and its transformative power) is an important criterion, which it is for me, then Garcia’s book seems to favourize a fairly poor game of meta-comparison and, at best, to contribute to the long overdue de-absolutization of OOO.