Read Towards Speculative Realism: Essays and Lectures by Graham Harman Online


These writings chart Harman's rise from Chicago sportswriter to co-founder of one of Europe's most promising philosophical movements: Speculative Realism. In 1997, Graham Harman was an obscure graduate student covering Chicago sporting events for a California website. Unpublished in philosophy at the time, he was already a popular conference speaker on Heidegger and relateThese writings chart Harman's rise from Chicago sportswriter to co-founder of one of Europe's most promising philosophical movements: Speculative Realism. In 1997, Graham Harman was an obscure graduate student covering Chicago sporting events for a California website. Unpublished in philosophy at the time, he was already a popular conference speaker on Heidegger and related themes. Little more than a decade later, as the author of stimulating and highly visible books on continental philosophy, he was Associate Vice Provost for Research at the American University in Cairo, and a key member of the Speculative Realist movement along with Ray Brassier, Iain Hamilton Grant, and Quentin Meillassoux. This fascinating collection of eleven essays and lectures from 1997-2009, anchored by Harman's rebellious transformation of Heideggerian philosophy, show the evolution of his object-oriented metaphysics from its early days into an increasingly developed philosophical position. Each chapter is preceded by Harman's delightful and witty scene-setting commentary....

Title : Towards Speculative Realism: Essays and Lectures
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781846943942
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 212 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Towards Speculative Realism: Essays and Lectures Reviews

  • Szplug
    2019-03-11 19:14

    Harman's an interesting guy, having worked his way from phenomenology and Heidegger through such thinkers as Bruno Latour and Manuel De Landa to arrive at the current terminus of Speculative Realism, an attempt to navigate the choppy waters where the currents of Idealism and Realism meet by proposing an object-oriented philosophy in which being is not predicated upon human existence and reality is perpetually capable of springing endless surprises upon our rational minds. The earliest of these essays date back to the days when he was still working as a Chicago sportswriter to support himself through graduate school—for some reason it cracks me up to imagine a dude deeply immersed in Tool-Being and battling through the turbid mists of phenomenology's illusory victories popping out some showy sugar balloons from a decent wad of Double Bubble and interviewing Sammy Sosa about his latest round of meaningless dingers.

  • Karl Steel
    2019-03-21 18:06

    I'm giving this four stars only because the poor construction of the e-book. Footnotes need to link to notes to be useful.A record of a developing mind, clearly written, with several clear articulations of both object-oriented ontology and the stakes of the philosophy, allowing us to track Harman's differences from and various debts to Heidegger, Whitehead, Husserl, Latour, and DeLanda.My only serious qualifications in my high recommendation concern Harman's unengagement with physics, given his interest in space and time, and his many photonic and chthonic metaphors. To speak of darkness and depths is to speak in metaphors laden with notions of secret truths, mysterious rituals, rats in the walls (Lovecraft), and the like. If the real object always withdraws, if it is always unavailable, excessive, then we can get no closer to it as such. To call its withdrawal a 'lurking deep in inner darkness' suggests a knowledge of where the real object is...which runs counter to the purpose of OOO.Florilegium"If any philosophy does not allow two non-human objects to affect each other even when humans are not looking, there is no honest way to avoid calling that philosophy idealist""Like any other object, oxygen has properties that the human body is completely unequipped to utilize; to breathe is to reduce oxygen to a caricature" "Even fire oversimplifies oxygen while consuming it. This has nothing to do with a possible panpsychism of fire-souls and oxygen-spirits. it merely comes from the realization that human consciousness is not a unique instrument of distortion. In fact, any relation between two objects will be unable to avoid caricature""objects are not exhausted by their relations to other objects" Rules about objects"1. Relative size does not matter: an atom is no more an object than skyscraper.2. Simplicity does not matter: an electron is no more an object than a piano.3. Durability does not matter: a soul is no more an object than cotton candy.4. Naturalness does not matter: helium is no more an object than plutonium.5. Reality does not matter: mountains are no more objects than hallucinated mountains.""To treat an object primarily as part of a network is to assume it can be reduced to that set of qualities and relations that it manifests in this particular network. But I have already argued that any object far exceeds the interactions it has with other things in any given moment.""If an object is always a vast surplus beyond its relations of the moment, it has to be asked how those as-yet unexpressed qualities are stored up for the future. There are numerous controversies that might arise here, but I will confine myself to a negative remark: the concept of “potential” should be avoided wherever possible.""no substance ever comes in contact with another at all.""Presence means relationality, nothing more. To consider an object in its being means to consider it in its withdrawal from all forms of presence, whether as something seen, used, or just spatially present among other entities. All objects withdraw from each other, not just from humans.""If we call the real object withdrawn, so that too little of its being is present, we might call the intentional object encrusted, in the sense that too much of its being is present. For the intentional object is always covered with inessential surface effects that must be scraped away through eidetic variation, so as to move closer toward the more austere essence lying beneath.""whereas real objects trap us in an occasionalist deadlock in their cryptic mutual withdrawal, intentional objects already bleed and breathe, one phasing into another without difficulty."" the intentional object is an object for the same reason as any other object: namely, it is a reality whose full depths can never be exhaustively probed.""the asymmetry in question is not that of “lucid conscious agent versus stupid block of inanimate matter.“ Instead, the asymmetry is simply that in this case I am the one doing the intending, and the object may not be encountering me at all: not out of inanimate stupidity, but simply because I may have no effect on it.""Kant's unfortunate solution was to adopt an agnostic attitude toward the nature of things-in-themselves: the rough equivalent of escaping trench warfare by wearing earplugs""Why do we always speak only of space and time as a pair, with no third or fourth term ever added? Is 'space and time' an adequate topic, or should we replace it with 'space, time, and X' or 'space, time, X, and Y'?"The complaints may not sound very original, since thousands of authors not only bemoan a false subject/object divide, but even claim to have overcome it. With hands placed on hearts, they solemnly swear that we cannot have humans without world or world without humans, but only a primordial interdependence of the two. In this way they imagine that they have put an end to the central mistake of modern philosophy. Yet all these thousands of saviors miss the point completely. For even while claiming to surpass the gap between humans and world, they leave this same pair intact at the center of philosophy, even if now as a unified pair. The real problem with subject and object is not the //gap //between them; gaps are bridged easily enough with steal, wood, or humble Elmer's glue. Instead, the real problem is that human and world are taken as the two fundamental ingredients that must be found in any situation. As a result, the relation between humans and apples is assumed to be philosophically more significant that the relations between apples and trees, apples and sunlight, or apples and wind""We do not experience red, shiny, cold, slippery, and sweet, then arbitrarily fuse such genuine qualities into fictitious union, as Hume believes. Rather, we experience the qualities as if they emanated from an underlying object. For Merleau-Ponty, the red of an apple and the red of blood are not the same color even if their wavelengths or reflected light are found to be absolutely identical"SPACE AND TIME"We now come to the central claim of this article: the emanation of accidents from an intentional object //is time//, and the emanation of intentional objects from real ones //is space//....Any attempt to describe space adequately must concede that space involves the relation of objects that do not //entirely //relate. In other words, the simultaneous withdrawal of real objects from one another and their partial contact through simulacra is space itself //is //the mutual exteriority of objects, and their partial contact with one another, however this might occur. Then space is not relations, but the //tension //between objects and their relations""Space is the mutual externality of partially linked objects, while time is the interior of objects themselves. Time is the emanation of accidents from intentional objects, while space is the emanation of images from real ones....Since we have said that two objects can relate only on the interior of a third, it follows that there are infinitely many times, each unfolding on the interior of some vacuum-like space.""Time has been described as the tension between an intentional object and its accidents, while space has been defined as the tension between real objects and the distorted way in which they manifest in some other object that encounters them....Each object creates its own internal space, and //ipso facto// its own interior time, laced with duels between images and their accidents." "Space itself quantitized, since it is nothing but the relational/nonrelational system of objects, partly linked even as they withdraw into intimate vacuums. And time itself is a continuum, since any time will be filled with enduring pillars (the intentional objects) encrusted with countless permutations of accidents modified within limits to any possible degree of intensity, without change to the images they adorn"

  • Malte
    2019-03-03 20:09

    The title may confuse some to think that we are dealing with a kind of introduction to what has been called 'speculative realism'. I at least got the impression. But it is not, far from it. The collection of essays and lectures follow Graham Harman's development of his object-oriented ontology, specifically his reading and interpretation of Heidegger and the phenomenological tradition. As this was the first book I read after having become curious what this 'speculative realism' thing was all about, it was quite a difficult read because you just dive directly into the laboratory of one philosopher. All the other related thinkers, such as Brassier and Meillassoux, are not treated in this book obvisouly – and having come to know their positions better now, I can see why that would be quite difficult too, since they have different philosophies. For a short overview of speculative realism, I would recommend reading the transcript of that first conference that sparked it all off, because each of them explicitly deals with each other's philosophies there. For an introduction to Graham Harman's philosophy, I would recommend The Quadruple Object instead (published after this book). The collection of essays here probably makes more sense to read after you've familiarized yourself with object-oriented philosophy and want to know how it came into being.

  • Christopher
    2019-02-21 13:01

    Harman's journey from traditional continental philosophy to a much better place. Written relatively accessibly for the subject matter and containing many choice bits especially towards the end.

  • Sara
    2019-03-21 16:02

    While not all the essays or lectures are related to what I'm working on, the ones that are, are dead on. Some of the concepts used as stepping stones in his arguments are complex for non-philosophers, but he still takes the time to explain these things clearly -- and often beautifully. I've directly quoted from 4 different chapters of this book in the manuscript I'm (re)writing, and speculative realism / object-oriented philosophy is helping to reshape the way I approach the material I'm working with. In the end, I hope that taking the approach of speculative realism to analyze this material will offer new perspectives applicable to the fields of archaeology and ancient history. Additionally, arguments presented in the chapter "Time, Space, and Essence" have affected, not just the framework for my book manuscript, but also the way I see and interpret these fundamental aspects of existence.

  • Jonathan Norton
    2019-03-06 14:02

    Some papers and lectures GH has produced in his 15-year progress toward speculative realism. Starting as a Heidegger scholar, he broke away from interpretive orthodoxy by finding a realist theme to develop from the notion of "tool-being". This has now evolved in to his own quite different metaphysics, drawing from Husserl and Whitehead as well. There are enthusiastic discussions of Bruno Latour and other influential figures, and there's also an interesting comparison of the analytic and continental worlds.

  • Ben Lainhart
    2019-03-09 14:03

    I lack a bit of the metaphysical background knowledge and deep reading of Heidegger and Husserl that some of the essays required. However, this collection is still interesting and challenging. I enjoy a lot of what Harman writes even if I don't always agree or even understand some of the conclusions. This is an important new movement in philosophy and I look forward to following and understanding it more deeply. The lecture in the book on Latour was particularly good.

  • Raul Ruiz
    2019-03-18 19:08

    Libro muy interesante, parece ser que el fin de la postmodernidad esta cerca y se va a poder hablar otra vez de realidad, de realismo, que la filosofía sacara la cabeza del culo y abandonara el sinsentido solipsista de las últimas décadas. Me choca mucho su defensa acérrima de Heiddegger, eso si...

  • Daniel
    2019-02-22 15:17

    I am not convinced.

  • Egor Sofronov
    2019-02-18 13:25

    Shallow, self-repetitive and absolutely unconvincing

  • Michel Ortega
    2019-02-22 15:11

    A really good philosophical perspective about reality in hand of one of the most important and prominent OOO philosophers.