Terence Blake cleverly puts words into my mouth HERE.
The problem with this is that he fails to acknowledge that the stakes for phenomenology and SR are not the same. My point is that most people associated with SR aren’t insisting on its determinate existence, or at least aren’t insisting that what they’re practicing is something called SR. They do not claim that there is an SR method that legitimizes their claims, commitments, or conclusions. The case is different with phenomenology, as I argue in the book Blake cites. So, his argument by analogy breaks down due to its lack of structural integrity.
[UPDATE: Blake responds to my clarification by misrepresenting me, as is usual with his posts. See HERE. My point was that his analogy lacks structural integrity, but he construes my point as an admission that SR lacks such integrity. I won’t waste my time clarifying again, since Blake will likely continue his pattern of misrepresentation, so I’ll let the reader (if there are any) adjudicate our “disagreement”. Buyer beware.]
I’m not going to write a lengthy post right now about the current “discussion” about the so-called death of speculative realism and the current dust up about the preface to Pete Wolfendale’s book on OOO. I’m typing this on my iPhone and waiting to catch a train to DFW to catch a flight back to Pittsburgh. I can only bear to write so much in these conditions.
Were I to write a longer post I’d begin by asking, What if we all agreed that SR is dead? What would change about the current speculative landscape? One thing that would not change is the fact that Harman has published the books and articles he has. He would continue to write, still get invited to speak around the world, and would continue to find his work adopted by disciplines other than philosophy. He would continue to edit book series. Generally, things would carry on as usual.
Whether anyone acknowledges the existence of SR and OOO has little bearing on the kind of thinking that goes on in those, er, spheres. Which is itself a point about what constitutes SR: its impact outlasts the discourse of its demise and the beliefs of those who affirm or deny this demise. Harman’s efficacy does not depend on the life or death of something called “speculative realism”.
Have the non-philosophers been duped by Harman, drawn into his orbit by his sophistry and rhetorical attraction? In a way, that’s not at all and shouldn’t be the question. First off, to ask it already implies, as Harman pointed out today, that the non-philosophers are somehow more gullible and vulnerable than “we philosophers”. Second, the asking of this question positions the anti-SR/OOO contingent in the position of protector or guardian, and casts their criticism of Harman in a light that illuminates their hubristic paternalism toward the non-philosophers. Third, it neglects the ways in which those outside of philosophy have adopted, adapted, and mobilized the forces of SR/OOO in ways unimaginable by philosophical purists. One thing I’ve learned from the SLSA conference here in Dallas is that the non-philosophers are doing quite well with their appropriations of SR/OOO, thank you very much.
Leon of After Nature has a useful post up about how what he calls “speculative naturalism” and “bleak theology” relate to contemporary discussions of realism, materialism, etc.–the “new metaphysics,” as it’s generally called.
Peter Gratton announced today that his new book, Speculative Realism: Problems and Prospects, is now available in the US.
In related news, later this week Gratton and I, along with Steven Shaviro, will participate at the Society for Literature, Science and the Arts on a book panel devoted to our three new books on Speculative Realism. Shaviro’s book The Universe of Things and my The End of Phenomenology are available at Amazon.
Today I got word from Lexington Books that my co-edited book A History of Habit: From Aristotle to Bourdieu will appear in paperback. They estimate that it will be available in January 2015. The book’s webpage at Lexington is HERE.
Graham Harman conducted an interview with me about my new book, The End of Phenomenology. You can read it here: EUP Interview.
Next Friday, with plenaries by Claire Colebrook (Penn State), Erik Garrett (Duquesne), and myself.
It’s been in the works for a while now, but I’m very pleased to say that Itinerant Philosophy: On Alphonso Lingis is now available for purchase and download at punctum books. Much thanks to my director, Eileen Joy, and my co-conspirator, Bobby George!