HARMAN’S SYNONYMS OF WITHDRAWAL (3): the real/sensual division is universal and eternal

Harman has no method for knowing real objects and no language for refering to or describing them. All he has is intellectual intuition and de-relational evocation, i.e. dogmatic posit and incoherent predication disguised as naive reporting of empirical experience. His philosophy sets up an array of unfounded binary demarcations, conceptually affirmed but lacking any criteria of application. Real objects are unconstructed and unknowable, sensual objects are constructed and knowable. Real objects are timeless and unchanging, sensual objects are temporal and changing. What is knowable is constructed, what is not knowable is not constructed. In effect Harman is proposing a binary synchronic model of what Latour calls modes of existence. The mode of existence of real objects, on this model, is radically incommensurable with the mode of existence of sensual objects. Latour’s model is pluralist and diachronic: it has the advantage that at least in principle the modes are historically and culturally variable. Harman’s two modes are eternal and universal.

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