WE ARE ALL HARMANIANS (me included)

Graham Harman’s object-oriented philosophy does not just articulate a personal point of view, but rather expresses something essential in the contemporary philosophical context. For those who are wary of this thought, or those who just reject it outright, I do not think it is enough to say that its recent success, the fact that it has been adopted with enthusiasm in a diversity of venues, can be explained in terms of lack. There are those that claim that OOO is hailed as a mighty leap forward merely because it holds a flattering mirror up to certain discontented intellectual minorities, those in search of philosophical aura and validation for their practices: a motley crew of disgruntled militants of French Theory, conceptually inexperienced artists, philosophically uncultivated novelists, and ambitious computocrats. It succeeds by reassuring them that they have always been philosophising, even when they didn’t yet know it. This is no doubt true, but the phenomenon goes deeper than that. Harman’s OOO expounds in perhaps its purest form an image of thought that is a transcendental condition for philosophical thinking in the contemporary context, whether we adopt or reject his system of the world. His metaphysical promotion of the existence of a transcendental field of withdrawn indifferent objects captures an intuition that we all may become aware of in moments of fatigue or intellectual disorientation, the often implicit but ever necessary background of ontological stupidity that shadows all our thoughts.

In that sense, we are all Harmanians.

 

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One Response to WE ARE ALL HARMANIANS (me included)

  1. There’s a tempting point to make here that builds on your observation that the success of OOO cannot be explained as a lack. Bernard Crick noted once in passing that a politics that explains everything isn’t politics. My gut tells me that the same obtains for philosophy, and so the lack of a lack is itself a sign that something’s…lacking.

    Liked by 1 person

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