All around object-oriented philosopher Graham Harman exhibits suspiciously human-oriented interpretation of his lost bag tragedy. For those not following this epic human ordeal (start now), the very human philosopher lost his bag in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He is now publicly chiding American Airlines for refusing to send his lost bag to him in Cairo.
However, he is looking at it all wrong: the real tragedy is not that a human person in Cairo is now without its bag, it is that a bag is now in Cedar Rapids without its human person!
What about the bag? Who will think about how the bag must feel now? Perhaps it got tired of its human person and simply used this opportunity to escape?
Bryant finally raises some interesting questions concerning Harman’s theory of causation. Harman responds and I think this is where we are going to see if there’s any genuine engagement or it’s all just for show, because Harman does not really address Bryant’s question – I mean he goes on and on about the usual stuff, but in the end, it seems this is what happens:
Summary: Harman’s thesis, as I understand it, is that two objects can only be brought into a causal relation through the mediation of a third object. Where traditional occasionalist thought has God or mind (Hume’s empiricism, Kant’s transcendental idealism) as the third object that links other objects in causal relations (for example the role God plays in linking body and mind), Harman argues that there is no logical reason to restrict this to God, but instead argues that any object can serve this role of the “third”.
Objection: “Now here’s where I have a lot of difficulty following Harman’s idea. In traditional occasionalism where God serves the role of this third, I presume God has the power to link the completely unrelated because God is a whizbang, superpowerful, grand poobah powerhouse that can surmount any distance or separation. In other words, the appeal to God in this tradition is a sort of appeal to magic. In the secularized versions of occasionalism in Hume and Kant, mind is capable of acting as the third relating to the separate because mind is not relating objects but something strictly immanent to mind, namely sensations.” Continue reading
Is it just me or did Graham’s blog slowly become a bit less philosophical and more “this-is-what-I-did-today” kind of blog? I wonder if he needs to open a Twitter account? The next Speculative Realism conference is coming up:
Speculative Materialism / Speculative Realism Conference
UWE Philosophy are pleased to announce that it will host a conference on Speculative Materialism and Speculative Realism on Friday 24th April 2009. This event follows on from the Speculative Realism conference held at Goldsmiths in April 2007 (the proceedings of which were published in Collapse vol. 3 (2007)). This second event will reunite the original four speakers:
- Ray Brassier (AU Beirut), author of Nihil Unbound.
- Iain Hamilton Grant (UWE Bristol), author of Philosophies of Nature After Schelling.
- Graham Harman (AU Cairo), author of Tool-Being and Guerrilla Metaphysics.
- Quentin Meillassoux (ENS Paris), author of After Finitude.
Click here for directions.
Further details will be posted here in due course.
For further information please contact Iain Grant.
Will someone blog about this? If you don’t have a blog, email me and we can arrange for an exclusive PE appearance.
Following Michael’s suggestion (or my interpretation of his comment as a suggestion), I am titling this post appropriately. I have no idea what is up with Graham Harman’s late cat fight with yours truly, but it’s easy to see why I can’t stop going there again and again – it’s so easy and so effortless, because it’s clearly driven by some sort of strange logic. I’m very close to feeling guilty about it, it’s like taking candy from children. To drive Harman’s traffic (and boost his ego) even more, I’m linking to the petty brawl here (this is bjk’s comment), here, here and here (and also here). Since Harman’s blog doesn’t really make the comments very easy to find, enjoy this excellent selection! I feel so special now, finally I feel like I truly have a life.
P.S. I hope that it’s all good fun at this point and no one’s taking it too seriously….
Graham Harman gives excellent advice to the people (as in “Advice to the People” – I suggest he initiates a series until this title) concerning productivity and I think he hits some great points in the process:
Why do I enter upon this topic, in a genre somewhere between confession and advice column? Because people in the intellectual sphere generally do not help each other enough. This blog has occasionally taken a personal turn, and may as well do so again here. Some of the most brilliant people I’ve met in academic life were unproductive for a time, and many of them remained thus forever without end.
The rest is here.
We bloggers (ack) are always tediously prating upon whatever trivial notion enters our field of vision, but today I’ve decided to jot down some things I’m not doing. Here’s a few interesting, but unread articles collecting dust on my desk (in handy pdf form). What can I do? I’m distracted by the Euro Cup (which generally involves beers) and now, in addition to that there’s the near constant Wimbledon coverage (where I can watch everyone mis-pronounce Shahar Peer’s name, it’s not Shah-har, it’s Shachhhh-arr, Mary Carrillo!). Watching Dick Enberg falling apart on air is always fun, give these people a coffee break! Not to mention, um, you know, teaching. There’s always that. These all look worth paying some attention to, someday:
1. Michel Henry, “Material Phenomenology (or, Pathos and Language)” [pathos_and_language]
2. Here’s Jacques Derrida and Francois Laruelle chit chatting about some stuff: “Controversy over the Possibility of a Science of Philosophy” [laruelle-derrida]
And here’s two by Graham Harman:
3. “On Vicarious Causation” [harman_vicarious_causation]
4. “The Metaphysics of Objects: Latour and his Aftermath” [harmangraham-latour]