1) Objectification is OOO’s image of thought. Thinking with objects is not the same as thinking with facts (Wittgenstein), thinking with events (Deleuze), thinking with Truths (Badiou), or thinking with Subject (no article, no -s, Zizek).

1.1 Pan-objectism: the heuristic core of OOO at the level of form is the reification of its method of objectification.

1.2 This is no bold hypothesis (speculative) to account for an outside to thought (realism). It simply posits objects and replaces the real with these posited objects.

1.3 OOO is neither speculative nor realist.

2) Objectification is de-subjectivation, a return to thinking with substance as a given, unproblematically there and self-identical. OOO’s post-modern spin is that this object-substance is « withdrawn ».

2.1 The heuristic core of OOO at the level of content is not « objects » but the withdrawn object. This is its real, which can be thought in a familiar term (object) but remains ever inaccessible (withdrawn).

3) Objects are like Lucretius’s gods – withdrawn, indifferent to us. We cannot know them, we should not even try to know them but rather we should remain indifferent, continue as if they did not exist: « I have no need of that hypothesis ».

4) We do not need objects to give us back our strangeness. This is a game of dupes. First OOO takes our strangeness from us, alienates it, projects it onto objects (Harman), then gives us back our alienated strangeness (Morton).

4.1 OOO proceeds by dis-animation (objectify) and re-animation (re-subjectify).

5) Impressionism: Harman too « gives back », i.e. re-subjectivates, our strangeness, but Morton is the better populariser.

6) Philosophy of « as if« : You will never get an actual ontological analysis from Morton, he just presupposes that OOO makes sense ontologically and proceeds to tell you what it is, or feels, like.

6.1 Morton is the specialist in OOO’s game of « let’s pretend »: let’s pretend it’s objects all the way down and see how spooky and weird that makes us feel.

7) Death of Science: the epistemological dimension is crucial as determining a political epistemology and economy, the decisions concerning which research projects are to be financed and which are to remain un-funded or need to be de-funded.

7.1 Let us not forget that Morton’s wager was that the Higgs Boson would never be found, claiming that it was « correlationist ».

8) Object-Oriented Propaganda: imagine an OOO political agent deciding what research to encourage and to finance or not.

8.1 In the case of the Covid-19 epidemic all he need do is create the impression that the virus is under control, as the real object is unknowable and inaccessible.

9) We do not need re-animation, capitalism does this very well. We do not need this game of dupes: first objectify then re-animate.

9.1 First be a wage-slave then enjoy.

10) The movement of spirit is not towards an intensification of animation but towards an intensification of the concept, of its own animation of « self-referential twists and inward turns » (Zizek).

10.1 OOO wants us to remain at the level of animated images, of perplexing paradox, of figural representation. 

10.2 The whole enterprise of OOO takes place within figural representation, as even the « real » objects are figured rather than conceived.

11) OOO’s movement of de-subjectification is also a movement of de-conceptualisation, or of what Bernard Stiegler calls « de-noetisation ». It does not break with the ideological doxa, it merely reduces it to its simplest expression (« it’s all objects ») and re-complexifies (re-animates) from there.

11.1 Time is running out: we need to think. We need more concepts (Sloterdijk, Badiou, Zizek, Laruelle, Stiegler, Latour), not less.

11.2 The concept is our animation.

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  1. Ping : A Critique of OBJECT-ORIENTED ONTOLOGY – The Philosophical Hack

  2. Ping : FURTHER NOTES ON OOO: withdrawal vs science | AGENT SWARM

  3. ailiosjorge dit :

    Dear Terence Blake, I realize you posted this last year. There is in what you write something that touches me, that makes me connect some ideas… First, « we are running out of time »: maybe thinking is already something that creates time, a temporality that fragments, diverges from, the time-intensities of capitalism’s reanimation cycles (the time-event). Second, what you critique in OOO’s image of objects seems to me to relate also to Marxism’s theme of the commodity fetishism, specially Sohn-Rethel: OOO is only taking for granted, and is indeed built upon, the universal commodification of the real (and hence of thought) (so that the withdrawn object is the commodity itself). So when you exclaim that we need more animation, more noesis, more conceptualization, I see this as contesting capitalism’s own sort of fetishism-reanimation of an alienated object of consciousness.
    Sorry, I realize this lacks precisely a conceptual work (I also need reading Harman or Morton directly), I just wanted to share with you some thoughts.


    • terenceblake dit :

      Yes, I agree with you that OOO « fetishises » objects in that it occults the relations constitutive of their production, circulation and consumption. OOO pretends to consciously posit this lack of relation, and so to bring not fetishism but ontological awareness – for them withdrawal from relation is a positive feature of their system, not an objection. I agree also with your second point: capitalism has increasingly devalued speculative concepts and replaced them with fast-thought fetishised stereotypes wherever possible.

      Aimé par 1 personne

  4. ailiosjorge dit :

    (Also, this makes me think of James Hillman’s own project of re-imagining the world-soul or Anima Mundi).


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