BARAD AND HARMAN: avoiding a-temporal dichotomous dualism

Barad’s philosophy is superior to OOO in that the latter is not just epistemologically but also ontologically dualist. There can be no explanation of the emergence of sensual objects from real objects: withdrawal is the opposite of emergence. Any “emergence’ in OOO is inevitably contained within a single regional ontology.

The distinction between real and sensual objects is a dualism as Harman says very clearly and emphatically that sensual objects are mere simulacra, “utter shams” (THE THIRD TABLE, 6). It is also a dichotomous dualism due to its strong ontological concept of withdrawal. For all practical purposes, and for any examples whether common-sensical or scientific, Harman plunges us irremediably (cf. “withdrawal”) into the merely perceptual.

On the question of relations, Harman’s arguments collapse due to his ignoring temporal relations, more particularly dynamic and kinetic relations such as “x is moving faster than y”, or “x, y, and z are accelerating at different rates”. Harman’s idea that “if everything is relational nothing would change” is easily refuted by such simple examples. Further, Harman constantly conflates relation, interaction, and contact, sliding glibly from one to the other without apparently noticing it. It must also be recalled in this context that for Harman time is unreal, belonging to the sensual domain.

This a-temporal dichotomous thinking is the opposite of what is needed to think deeply about the world. Harman claims that his real objects are “deeper” than sensual objects. Sensual objects are not jlimited to perceptual objects, but include also the objects of the sciences, of the humanities, and of common sense. Concepts for Harman are also sensual objects (cf. THE QUADRUPLE OBJECT, 142).

Harman makes an exception for art, but this is incoherent with the basic principles of his system of withdrawal, and is just arbitrarily stipulated rather than explained.

Note: this is a comment on the discussion of the relative merits of Harman’s OOO and Barad’s agential realism here.

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One Response to BARAD AND HARMAN: avoiding a-temporal dichotomous dualism

  1. landzek says:

    It appears You never read the book i sent.


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