GRAHAM HARMAN’S IDEALIST ELIMINATIVISM

Withdrawal is eliminative, abstractive, élitist; de-withdrawal is emanative, constructive, democratic.

The ascending movement of withdrawal

The ascending movement of withdrawal

The diverse objects that we “know” are emanations of the One real object behind the appearances (Harman’s sensual realm). This sensual realm includes the “folk” realm of common sense, but also the expert realm of the sciences and the humanities. The object behind the veil of unknowing cannot be known, nor even named, as it withdraws from all relations, including the relation of nomination or reference.

The real object does not cause its emanations or sensual counterparts, as causality is unreal, an intra-sensual notion. The diverse objects and relations of the sensual realm are eliminated from the reality posited by Harman’s OOP. The rhetorical gesture of “turning towards” objects cannot hide the idealism of this position.

Harman is not a materialist, as matter is a sensual illusion. In fact, according to OOP we must distinguish between the “folk” matter of common sense and the “expert” matter of the various sciences (the matter of quantum physics is not the same matter as that of geology). Both are unreal in Harman’s system.

The ascending movement is fivefold:

1) ontological: real objects withdraw from relations

2) epistemological: real objects are unobservable and unknown

3) ethical: real objects can be attained only by an ascesis, the renunciation of sensual and cognitive access

4) religious: orientation towards objects is a conversion experience

5) methodological: there is no method of access to the inaccessible real object, but its existence is revealed by intellectual intuition (after conversion)

One conclusion is that no dialogue with unconverted “folk” and “experts” is permissible nor even possible.

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3 Responses to GRAHAM HARMAN’S IDEALIST ELIMINATIVISM

  1. landzek says:

    I am a little confused. Are you giving a reason why he allows for no discussion ? I’m not sure what you are saying. Are you just telling us his model ? Or are you telling us why his model is faulty? Is that his chart or yours?

    I’m apologize if you assume a certain level of involvement . I’m just beginning to understand his idea. I understand his is an assertion of equitable objects, and I agree so far as thought itself is likewise such an object . I’m not sure I agree with his scheme though. It seems he is merely being selective about what objects are ‘not so’ equitable, not included (silently though, don’t tell anyone ), such as his ability to come upon such a system.

    Like

  2. landzek says:

    …I think you are pointing out why his system rejects critique ? I think I agree.

    Like

  3. Pingback: BADIOU AND HARMAN – A DIAGRAMMATIC APPROACH | AGENT SWARM

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