Some thoughts on Graham Harman, "Lavalampy materialism", and Deleuzian "undermining"

Gary Williams has given the decisive reply to the lavalampy legend that OOOxians have been trying to stick to Deleuze’s name. To my knowledge he has never received any serious reply. This is typical of the OOO system of argument. Just go on repeating the same old falsehoods, and bet that one’s contradictors will lose interest and move on to something else.

Gary also calls attention to the biggest thing that is present in Deleuze’s philosophy but missing in OOO: explanatory power. For all its talk against reductionism in the form of under-mining and over-mining OOO is guilty of the worst reduction of all: meso-mining, or the reduction to objects. Harman’s “third table” is the meso-object, “deeper” than the scientific and the common sense table because shorn of all sensible and knowable predicates. For details see my review of THE THIRD TABLE here:, and its sequel explicating some positions with more explanatory power (Latour, Laruelle, Feyerabend) here:

Minds and Brains

Recently, Graham Harman and friends have been unfairly criticizing Deleuze for holding positions that he never held. In his recent article in The Speculative Turn, Harman cites Deleuze is as the arch-example of an “underminer” i.e. someone who eradicates or “undermines” objects in favor of some kind of primordial process or undifferentiated goo. The metaphor Harman is working with is that Deleuze goes “underneath” objects and says that they are “nothing more than the derivative actualization of a deeper reality—one that is more diverse than a lump, but also more continuous than specific horses, rocks, armies, and trees.” Accordingly, Harman says that

Undermining occurs if we say that ‘at bottom, all is one’ and that individual objects are derivative of this deeper primal whole. It happens if we say that the process of individuation matters more than the autonomy of fully formed individuals. It also happens when we say…

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