New Storm A-brewing?


Nina Power posts a short (and somewhat cryptic) note on what appears to be the same annoying tendencies in “contemporary philosophy” I’ve been complaining about – I’m expecting a series of irritating (and very very long) posts from objectologists on the topic of how no one really understands them and how what they’re doing is not what they are doing etc etc…

What happens, or what does not happen, should be what concerns us: philosophers sometimes pride themselves on their ignorance of world affairs, again like watered-down Heideggarians, no matter how hostile they think they are to him, pretending that all that history and politics stuff is so, like, ontic, we’re working on something much more important here.

I am waiting for Objectologist the Son to shoot out one of those “I feel betrayed and misunderstood” posts any second now.

Some reactions and comment on the post are here.

18 thoughts on “New Storm A-brewing?

  1. It was funny how quickly the ten or so worldwide members of SR banded together in self-defence of doctrine. Probably Nina’s post was only tangentially directed at them anyway, but it clearly touched some chords. A while back I posted a comment on The Son’s site, to the effect that SR had had a honeymoon period up till now, and that those academics who hadn’t ignored the latest attempt to revive the dead dog of realism only seemed silent on it because their critiques were going through the peer review process (a longer and more rigorous process than self-publishing). Needless to say it was deleted.

    • “the latest attempt to revive the dead dog of realism”

      Not sure why the dog is dead, but in any event haven’t you heard? Realism is out now:

      “And as Graham suggested a while back– I can’t find the original post now –perhaps the term “realism” has outworn its usefulness. Given the historical resonances this term has, the question arises as to whether this term doesn’t obscure more than it illuminates. The problem is that I’m not really sure what to replace it with.”

      One of the commenters suggested replacing it with surrealism.

  2. If it’s cryptic then it’s about them! Plus that whole “ontic” business is clearly the attacking reference to the Son, he’s the only one using this term (I believe he actually came up with it, he likes it so much)…

  3. Looks like the Son commented on her post here:

    http://larvalsubjects.wordpress.com/2009/10/27/three-distinctions-that-need-to-be-rethought-and-abandoned/

    Of course, one of my favorite new tropes over at Larval Subjects is how the Son has recently taken up the mantle of “historical materialism,” what with his recent R-R-R-Radical turn towards Marxism. Just take a look at his argument with deontologistics, where he accuses deontologistics of espousing neo-liberal ideology:

    http://larvalsubjects.wordpress.com/2009/10/26/deontology/#comments

    (Signal double-take) A-bwah?! Who was that certain someone who was so incensed, so infuriated, about the very IDEA of politics carrying argumentative weight against a theory, since politics does not precede ontology! politics does not prece…. politics does no…….

    Oh, who am I kidding? That was all in the past. I mean, now that posts like “For Reid” have been deleted from his blog and that minor, embarrassing moment has been forgotten, I suppose it isn’t IN ANY WAY hypocritical to ban users for arguing a certain point from your site, then to turn around and use those very self-same argumentative methods against your critics.

  4. Yep, he’s not going to take offense here, because apparently Nina’s argument is coming from “the right place” – and he smothers his post with his usual flatteries about how it’s a “marvelous post” and all…

    I didn’t realize he erased “For Reid” – following in the steps of the Objectologist the Father (who at least gave everyone an explanation of sorts, you know?) – I posted a couple of comments on his blog, despite the ban, just to see how easy it is to bypass his strict PE-block: a hint for the uninitiated – be very congratulatory and very affected when you talk about SR/OOP, and your comment will make it for sure.

    • ME: “and he smothers his post with his usual flatteries about how it’s a “marvelous post” and all… ”

      Kvond: As a side note this makes me smile. I don’t know if you noticed, but in the posts that followed L’affaire de Reid, all began with the same exact phrase, citing other bloggists…

      “terrific post”

      All three bloggists had made “terrific posts” (not even a change of adjective was needed). Perhaps more than anything else this servility of a certain kind of hill seems to hide in its heart a certain kind of mushroom, the mushroom of betrayal.

      • Alas, you have been assigned the role of the “Rush Limbaugh of the internet”, and he the role of the “Hegel of the internet”. I don’t know what is more humorous. When Hegel calls someone a Rush Limbaugh, what on earth can this mean? More mushrooms please, sir.

  5. That “Deontology” post is surreal, I mean I know the Son is a basket case and all (philosophically speaking, of course), but to have such an amusing lack of any self-awareness is just bizarre! He does all the same things to Pete that he exposed in others and condemned on many occasions – how does he not see it?

    Maybe, just maybe, he’s playing us all and is in fact a really normal guy pretending to be a crazed blogger? Anyone going to SPEP this year (next week?), maybe you can give us a first hand account of Objectologist the Son, he’s doing some panel there, isn’t he?

  6. Thanks, Nick – not having an access to Nina’s Facebook, I can’t tell, the post was sort of cryptic as it didn’t mention specific philosophical tendencies by name. In any case, I like some of the responses on your blog there, hopefully a conversation will take place, not just another brouhaha over who hurt whose feelings and in what way.

  7. The cryptic nature of my post is mainly explained by the fact that I want to be sure I’ve gotten the argument right before I start slamming random people on the internet, and I haven’t reached that point yet – for reasons of time, mostly, and the fact that a lot of the SR stuff seems to be characterised by a kind of speedy verbosity and endless compilings of lists and positions which makes it hard to read it all…hard to read full stop, frankly.

    I didn’t mention any names on Facebook, this is what I said:

    ‘I should have been a bit more specific though: I’m open to accusations of over-generalising here. I’ll come back to this point soon hopefully. I’m just getting tired of Latour-esque lists of objects: they make for nice poems but just smack of a strange kind of perky apolitical nihilism.’

    So it was a self-critical comment, really. I am impressed (and erm perhaps a little bit scared) by the speed and length at which so many people managed to respond to a rather hermetic paragraph that I wrote in my pyjamas. But such is life on the internet!

  8. Fair enough, plus “slamming random people on the internet” is really our business here (per previous arrangement) – you just tell us which random people to slam and slam we shall.

    On a more serious note, my point is simply that such a concise and cryptic note has solicited immediate reactions not only because it’s the nature of internet, but because SR crowd is generally thin-skinned and easily offended/provoked, especially Levi who immediately assumes that everyone hates him personally and therefore intentionally misreads his position and so on.

    I really don’t think there’s any coherent position such as “speculative realism” – there’s a bunch of like-minded guys who like the same sorts of philosophical games, including constantly pointing out that “there is no such thing as ‘speculative realism'” with all the necessary wink-winks and nudge-nudges, but no real philosophical position (no, wikipedia article does not count). And this fascination with objects (“stones are nicer than people”) is not just philosophically weird (admittedly, this weirdness is embraced openly), but just silly: of course stones are nicer than people, if your definition of nice is “sitting there and letting me do the talking” – I say it’s time someone proposed “object rights” and volunteered to speak on behalf of the objects, maybe this is their political angle?

  9. Just to reemphasize my point about overly sensitive objectologists out there – this non-post (no content here really, just a link) received a disproportionate amount of hits today – surely someone out there is just too eager to check what is being said and about whom – c’mmon guys, there are objects to be listed, get to it!

  10. Why should every philosophy be expected to address politics just because all philosophers are affected by politics? “Ontology is play-science for philosophers,” says the I.T. post in question, and I can’t help but agree. But I don’t see why “real” scientific work should be regarded with suspicion just because scientists don’t explicitly discuss in their scientific articles the political and economic factors that influence the trajectory of their work. To the contrary: I would be particularly suspicious of chemists or physicists who claimed that their scientific work and findings were influenced by their political position.

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