Wolfendale Strikes Back In Print


Gone are the days when philosophical blogosphere was discussing the “object-oriented ontology” (OOO) as some sort of a new philosophical phenomenon that required actual philosophical engagement and consideration. But Wolfendale persisted in treating it as such, dedicating large chunks of his blog (and time, I suppose) to the careful but largely thankless task of its critical assessment. It is fairly clear these days that it is mostly a matter of faith and conversion rather than any sort of rational debate, but it is still nice to see Wolfendale’s critique appear in print (hopefully serialized in 5-10 parts for future generations to enjoy repeatedly):

Let’s see if Graham Harman takes a large enough break from his missionary activity and writes a promised response to Wolfendale. My money is on “Not going to happen”…

“Who among them has not begun to shrug off the oppressive, anthropocentric legacy of Post-Kantian philosophy, bravely railing against the tyrannical correlationists of the continental academy, the dreary technicians of the analytic mainstream, and even the scientistic fury of its Neo-Kantian heirs?”

11 thoughts on “Wolfendale Strikes Back In Print

    • “Having looked into the “what” of OOP, it’s time to concern ourselves with the “why.” This means locating the various arguments that Harman presents for each of the different aspects of his metaphysical system that we’ve distinguished. As I hinted in the introduction, this is by no means an easy task. Although Harman’s work is peppered with phrases such as “I will show…,” “I have already argued…,” or “As argued repeatedly…,” these do not often refer to specific arguments as much as to the overarching dramatisation of a given idea that takes place throughout the work.” (Emphasis added)

      So true!

      • Overarching dramatisation is good for the narrative, Harman is a good storyteller, but the problem isn’t even that there are no specific arguments (an exposition of idea without arguments for ‘why?’ would be enough for a metaphysics based on regulative judgements or contemplation) the problem is that there can be no such arguments. And Wolfendale did a good job at showing that.

  1. I like that the first paragraph of Wolfendale’s paper mirrors the first paragraph of the Communist Manifesto.

    “Our next task must be to peal back this mask and bring these assumptions into the open, in order to better understand why one might be tempted to endorse OOP despite the convoluted and deeply flawed arguments presented for it.”

    I wonder if it’s worth it…

  2. This is not the essay that Harman thinks it is, as far as I can tell from his blog. He seems to be thinking it will be a discussion about the differences between the four speakers from 2007.

  3. Harman has an amusing tendency to respond before knowing what it is he is responding to – partly because he already has an answer to any possible objection, it’s just a matter of choosing the correct response.

    • He might be confusing it with another essay in Spec III on Speculative Realism by Louis Morelle, which actually is on the four different speakers stances against their various ‘correlationisms’.

  4. Wolfendale’s return paying off nicely in traffic! People love a good OOO beating apparently.

    Harman promises to respond in a book form – lame! Respond in Speculations, I’m sure the fellows will make a nice spot for him.

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