Graham Harman’s OOO was born refuted. Incoherent in its fundamental premises, responding to a non-existent problem, positioning itself in a totally fictitious intellectual history, contrasting itself with alternative ideas and potential rivals by travestying what it did not even take the time to understand, OOO was more the rumour of philosophy than a plausible ontological system.
This first response from impartial observers was elaborated in detail in a number of blogs a decade ago, that analysed Harman’s philosophy and his (lack of) arguments and established their conceptual confusion, empirical inadequation, their aesthetic nullity (does anyone recall Harman’s method of « counterfactual criticism »?) and their political perniciousness a decade ago.
A little later some academic articles on the subject were published. An important early article (2013) was published by Alexander Galloway:
In 2014 Peter Wolfendale published a book devoted to the critique of Harman’s OOO:
I do not see eye to eye with these thinkers on many subjects, but their theoretical work on OOO has the merit of existing and of requiring an answer, that Harman never gave, except in the most cursory terms. His principle response was caricature and ridicule, or silence.
I myself participated in the collective analysis of OOO that took place in that portion of of the blogosphere where people took an interest in such things: https://terenceblake.wordpress.com/2019/11/29/bibliography-of-my-writings-5-graham-harmans-object-oriented-philosophy/ Harman’s response was disdain and silence.
I welcome the newcomers, Zizek and the Zizekians, who have decided that now the conjuncture is right for a renewal of the critique of OOO. The recent book « Subject Lessons: Hegel, Lacan, and the Future of Materialism » is a decent contribution to this type of analysis.
I fear however that these newcomers to the debate have been hoodwinked by Harman’s strategy of silence, and that they may not even be aware that many of their arguments and insights were common knowledge a decade ago. For example, nowhere in this book do the names of Galloway or Wolfendale appear (nor mine, but I am by now quite used to the academic snobbism and lobbying that excludes « mere » bloggers, with rare exceptions..
I do not think it is good intellectual strategy (without raising the question of ethics) to accept Harman’s own rewriting of history and his truncation of the debate. Nor should his methods be imitated. I look forward to a rich and open dialogue and will do all that I can to enrich and to open it further.