ON SELF-DEBLOGGING: Tom Sparrow on the absence of structural integrity of SR

Sparrow has decided to go beyond the formal nominalism of his previous self-refuting post and explain why SR is even deader than phenomenology, being born dead. His first post was merely an exercise in cynical neo-liberalism: business as usual would continue. His “clarification” progresses from

objective nominalism: SR does not need to exist for business to continue


subjective nominalism: SR never existed because its practitioners were conscious from the start (strong thesis), or are now aware (weak thesis), that it is an empty shell.

In Sparrow’s words

most people associated with SR aren’t insisting on its existence or insisting that what they’re practicing is something called SR. They do not claim that there is an SR method that legitimizes their claims, commitments, or conclusions.

Harman, of course, insists that it is alive and well. Sparrow’s book THE END OF PHENOMENOLOGY is published in the Speculative Realism series, by Edinburgh University Press. Series editor: Graham Harman.

UPDATE: Sparrow seems to think I am misrepresenting his “point”. His point is of no interest to me, as it is mere special pleading, as the structural analogy holds quite well and he knows it. Phenomenology very quickly took a nominalist take on itself, once it was no longer one person’s possession.

Sparrow’s original blog post was not only ludicrous, but had no point of argumentative application, no philosophical stake at all, except vaguely seeming to argue in support of Graham Harman’s continued influence. I have dealt in many places on my blog with the illusion behind that influence: Harman is known for a philosophy that is the exact opposite of his real philosophy. His real objects are abstractions, and have nothing to do with a return to concrete objects, which are declared unreal, “pure sham” by his philosophy. I do not think he dupes only non-philosophers but philosophers too. He may even dupe himself, for all I know. His philosophy’s whole success is dupery and mis-representation.

The claim that SR or OOO is dead has nothing to do with how many books are sold in its name or how many talks are given. The claim is that it is intellectually dead, and posts such as Sparrow’s and Harman’s recent attempts at misdirection confirm that amply. Harman supposedly has no time to reply to criticism, but gives us the spectacle of helpless verbose squirming, of doing anything to avoid real philosophical argument.

Sparrow’s post is an admission of the lack of structural integrity of SR (and I was polite enough to keep the “structural”). The thesis in his book that there is no other unity except for a “family resemblance” is a vast understatement, yet it concedes the essential. So there is no “disagreement” between us at all. Sparrow just goes on blindly admitting everything that the critics of OOO claim, but he has a false sense of security that comes from living too long in a context that has been artificially voided of debate.

Phenomenology did not “die” under the assault of SR/OOO nor under the attack of the structuralists long before them. Phenomenology radicalised itself, digging deeper, and the work of Deleuze, Lyotard, Latour, Stiegler, and even Badiou, can be seen as its inheritors along with many others who do not feel the need to contest the label.

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One Response to ON SELF-DEBLOGGING: Tom Sparrow on the absence of structural integrity of SR

  1. Pingback: Clarification of Last Post | plastic bodies

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