In my research today I came upon this interesting article, “Here comes everything: the promise of object-oriented ontology” by Timothy Morton. (New link, old one broken.) It is of interest not only to speculative realism but also to some recent discussions on Caputo's ontology, modes of apprehension of such, and quantum theory. The article is 27 pages of text so I've culled some excerpts, lengthy in themselves.




Speculative realism...asserts the deep mystery of a Non-Nature....object-oriented ontology (OOO)...goes further than this, rejecting essentialist Matter.... OOO is a form of realism that asserts that real things exist--these things are objects, not just amorphous “Matter”.... OOO extends Husserl's and Heidegger's arguments that things have an irreducible dark side: no matter how many times we turn over a coin, we never see the other side as the other side--it will have to flip onto “this” side for us to see it, immediately producing another underside. Harman simply extends this irreducible darkness from subject–object relationships to object–object relationships.... Causation is thus vicarious in some sense, never direct. An object is profoundly “withdrawn”--we can never see the whole of it, and nothing else can either.... We've become so used to hearing “object” in relation to “subject” that it takes some time to acclimatize to a view in which there are only objects, one of which is ourselves.


The notion of the “withdrawal” of objects extends my term strange stranger to non-living entities. Strange stranger names an uncanny, radically unpredictable quality of life forms. Life forms recede into strangeness the more we think about them, and whenever they encounter one another--the strangeness is irreducible....the uncanny essence of humans that Heidegger contemplates extends to nonhumans.... The more we know about a strange stranger, the more she (he, it) withdraws. Objects withdraw such that other objects never adequately capture but only (inadequately) “translate” them....This is what “irreducible” means.


Rhetoric is not simply ear candy for humans: indeed, a thorough reading of Plato, Aristotle and Longinus suggests that rhetoric is a technique for contacting the strange stranger....[it] amplifies imagination rather than trying to upstage it, and it revels in dislocation, not location.... Harman's imagery differs from ecophenomenological ecomimesis that confirms the localized position of a subject with privileged access to phenomena.... Harman's rhetoric produces an object-oriented sublime that breaks decisively with the Kantian taboo on noncorrelationist scientific speculation....ekphrasis is not about the reaction of the (human) subject, but about rhetorical modes as affective-contemplative techniques for summoning the alien.


The aesthetic, as we shall see, is the secret door through which OOO discovers a theory of what is called “subject”.... Melancholia is precisely a mode of intimacy with strange objects that can't be digested by the subject.... To lapse into Californian, OOO is so about the subject. There is no good reason to be squeamish about this. The more the ekphrasis zaps us, the more we fall back into the gravity well of melancholy. Sentience is out of phase with objects, at least if you have a nervous system. So melancholia is the default mode of subjectivity: an object-like coexistence with other objects and the otherness of objects--touching them, touching the untouchable, dwelling on the dark side one can never know, living in endless twilight shadows. If the reader has experienced grief she or he will recognize this state as an object-like entity that resides somewhere within the body, with an amortization schedule totally separated from other temporalities (in particular, the strict digital clock time of contemporary life). Through the heart of subjectivity rolls an object-like coexistence, none other than ecological coexistence--the ecological thought fully-fledged as dark ecology . The inward, withdrawn, operationally closed mood called melancholy is something we shake off at our peril in these dark ecological times.


Melancholy starts to tell us the truth about the withdrawn qualities of objects. OOO thus differs from theistic ecophilosophy that asserts, “There is a Nature.” It maintains no absolute distance between subject and object; it limits “subject” to no entity in particular. Žižek's suspicion of SR to do with the “feminine” self-absorption of objects: precisely what he doesn't like about Buddhism. Changing “self-absorption” to “withdrawal” or “operational closure” discloses what's threatening about Buddhism: an object-like entity at the core of what is called subjectivity. Like ecomimesis, Harman's passage affirms a real world beyond mentation. Unlike ecomimesis, this world doesn't surround a subject--it's a world without reference to a subject.


If OOO construes everything as objects, some may believe that it would have a hard time talking about subjects--indeed, Slavoj Žižek has already criticized SR in general along these lines. This subjectivity is profoundly ecological and it departs from normative Western ideas of the subject as transcendence. Thus we see off Nature and its correlate, the (human) subject. I argue that OOO enjoins us to drop Matter just as we must drop Nature, and that this means that it can save the appearance of the most coherent and testable physical theory we have, namely quantum theory.


Let's turn our attention to... far “down things” does OOO really go? Are these things made of some kind of substrate, some kind of unformed matter? Does “withdrawal” mean that objects are impenetrable in some non-figurative, nonhuman sense? Do objects have a spatial “inside”? Surely they might. But the principle of irreducibility must mean that this inside is radically unavailable. It's not simply a case of the right equipment passing through it, like a knife through butter. Even a knife through butter would not access the butter in all its essential butteriness. The proliferation of things that ecology talks about--from trees to nuclear power--do not compromise a holistic Nature. Nor yet are they comprised of some intrinsic, essential stuff. To dispatch Matter, we must explore the most rigorous and testable theory of physical Matter we know: quantum theory.


Unlike some thinkers who discovered OOO in spite of deconstruction, I backed into OOO through deconstruction. SR tends to mistake deconstruction for nominalism, subjectivism and Meillassoux's correlationism.... Contemporary physics concurs with a principle tenet of Lacan and Derrida: there's no “big Other,” no device, for instance, that could measure quantum phenomena without participating in these phenomena. All observations are inside the system, or as Derrida puts it, “There is nothing outside the text” (or, in Gayatri Spivak's alternative, which I prefer, “There is no outside-text”). Arkady Plotnitsky has traced the affinities between deconstruction and quantum physics. People commonly misconstrue “there is no-outside-text” as nominalism: we can only know things by their names. Far more drastically, the axiom means: (1) Any attempt to establish rigid boundaries between reality and information results in unsustainable paradoxes; (2) Language is radically nonhuman--even when humans use it. It would be a mistake to hold that (1) is correlationism. “There is no outsidetext” occurs in a passage in which Derrida is analyzing Rousseau's position on Nature, so it's worth pausing here since this issue is directly relevant to ecocriticism. Derrida tacks close to the text he’s analyzing, which is why he appeals to close readers in the first place. He is not making a sweeping generalization about reality. Derrida is only saying, “Given the kind of closed system textuality that Rousseau prescribes, there is no outside-text.” That is, Rousseau can’t go around making claims about nature, not because there is nothing out there, but because the way he models thinking sets textuality up as a black hole....[but] Derrida abstained from ontology: he considered it tainted by the generalization-disease. Unfortunately this defaults to various forms of antirealism. Derrida's is a sin of omission.... OOO shares one thing at least with deconstruction--refraining from assertions about some general essence or substance at the back of things that guarantees their existence.


OOO is troubling for materialisms that rely on any kind of substrate, whether it consists of discrete atoms or of a continuum.... Certain uncontroversial facts, demonstrable in highly repeatable experiments, shatter essentialist prejudices concerning Matter.... Quantum phenomena are not simply hard to access or only partially “translated” by minds and other objects. They are irreducibly withdrawn.


OOO is form of realism, not materialism. In this it shares affinities with quantum theory. Antirealism pits quantum theory against its opponents, since quantum theory supposedly shows reality is fuzzy or deeply correlated with perception and so forth. In fact, quantum theory is the only existing theory to establish firmly that things really do exist beyond our mind (or any mind). Quantum theory positively guarantees that real objects exist! Not only that--these objects exist beyond one another. Quantum theory does this by viewing phenomena as quanta, as discrete “units” as described in Unit Operations by OOO philosopher Ian Bogost. “Units” strongly resemble OOO “objects.” Thinking in terms of units counteracts problematic features of thinking in terms of systems. A kind of systems thinking posed significant problems for nineteenth-century physicists. Only consider the so-called black body radiation problem. Classical thermodynamics is essentially a systems approach that combines the energy of different waves to figure out the total energy of a system. The black box in question is a kind of oven. As the temperature in the oven increases, results given by summing the wave states according to classical theory become absurd, tending to infinity.


By seeing the energy in the black box as discrete quanta (“units”), the correct result is obtained. Max Planck's discovery of this approach gave birth to quantum theory. Now consider perception, for the sake of which antirealism usually cites quantum theory. What does quantum theory show about our mental interactions with things? Perceptual, sensual phenomena such as hardness and brilliance are at bottom quantum mechanical effects. I can't put my hand through this table because it is statistically beyond unlikely that the quanta at the tip of my finger could bust through the resistance wells in the quanta on the table's surface. That's what solidity is. It's an averagely correct experience of an aggregate of discrete quanta. This statistical quality, far from being a problem, is the first time humans have been able to formalize supposedly experiential phenomena such as solidity. What some people find disturbing about quantum theory (once in a gajillion times I can put my finger through the table) is precisely evidence for the reality of things. (This is a version of an argument in Meillassoux, AF 82–5).


Quantum theory specifies that quanta withdraw from one another, including the quanta with which we measure them. In other words quanta really are discrete, and one mark of this discreteness is the constant (mis)translation of one quantum by another. Thus when you set up quanta to measure the position of a quantum, its momentum withdraws, and vice versa. Heisenberg's uncertainty principle states that when an “observer”--not a subject per se, but a measuring device involving photons or electrons (or whatever)--makes an observation, at least one aspect of the observed is occluded (QT 99–115). Observation is as much part of the Universe of objects as the observable, not some ontologically different state (say of a subject). More generally, what Niels Bohr called complementarity ensures that no quantum has total access to any other quantum. Just as a focusing lens makes one object appear sharper while others appear blurrier, one quantum variable comes into sharp definition at the expense of others (QT 158–61). This isn't about how a human knows an object, but how a photon interacts with a photosensitive molecule. Some phenomena are irreducibly undecidable, both wavelike and particle-like. The way an electron encounters the nucleus of an atom involves a dark side. Objects withdraw from each other at a profound physical level. OOO is deeply congruent with the most profound, accurate and testable theory of physical reality available. Again, it would be better to say it the other way around: quantum theory works because it's object-oriented.


Probing the quantum world, then, is a form of auto-affection. Bohr argued that quantum phenomena don't simply concatenate themselves with their measuring devices. They're identical to it: the equipment and the phenomena form an indivisible whole (QT 139–40, 177). This “quantum coherence” applies close to absolute zero, where particles become the “same” thing.


Implication and explication suggest Matter being enfolded and unfolded from something deeper. Even if it were the case that OOO should defer to physics, in the terms set by physics itself objects aren't made “of” any one thing in particular. Just as there is no top level, there may be no bottom level that is not an (substantial, formed) object.


To this extent, “object” (as a totally positive entity) is a false immediacy. Positive assertions about objects fail because objects have a shadowy dark side, a mysterious interiority like the je ne sais quoi of Kantian beauty. Is this nothing at all? Is there a path from the carnival of things to a bleak nothingness? Nihilism, believing that you have no beliefs, maintains that things emerge from an impenetrable mystery. Nihilism, the cool kids' religion, shuns the inconveniences of intimacy. We have objects--they have us--under our skin. They are our skin. OOO can't be a form of nihilism. It's the opposite view (relationism) that tends towards nihilism. Relationism holds that objects are nothing more than the sum of their relations with other objects. This begs the question of what an object is, since the definition implies a potential infinite regress: what are the “other objects”? Why, nothing more than the sum of their relations with other objects--and so on ad obscurum. At least OOO takes a shot at saying what objects are: they withdraw. This doesn't mean that they don't relate at all. It simply means that how they appear has a shadowy, illusory, magical, “strangely strange” quality. It also means they can't be reduced to one another. OOO holds that strangeness is impossible if objects are reducible to their relations. Since relationism is hamstrung by its reluctance to posit anything, it tends towards obscurantism. Relationism is stuck in a Euthyphronic dilemma: objects consist of relations between other objects—and what are those objects? An object as such is never defined. So while ecological criticism appears to celebrate interconnectedness, it must in the end pay attention to what precisely is interconnected with what.


This radical finitude includes a strange irreducible openness.

Views: 21559

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Theurji, why "sobject" instead of "suobject"?  I'm not particularly wedded to either, but I do admit that I like the "swab" sound.
I like suobject as well so perhaps I'll use them interchangeably. Or maybe suobject for a singular and intersobject for the plural? Feel free to play with the words and use as needed to fit any (but not every) occasion.


Before I say anything. Let me say that Derrida is not currently dismissed outright by Speculative Realists, despite some acerbity from Graham Harman. Granted, in 2010 there was a fairly intense blogosphere exchange regarding whether he was a realist/anti-realist, termed the 'Derrida Wars' with one camp arguing that the realist Derrida  Bryant found in Hagglund was there all along and Bryant strongly arguing for Derrida as confined to texts. You might enjoy a read of this post and it's comments, for example, from August 2010 - 'Realism is de rigueur.


In the end I think a good case is made by Bryant, with help from Ian Bogost,  amongst others,  that the presence of Derrida had become overbearing and stultifying in Continental Philosophy departments for the most recent generation of philosophic talents. It wasn't that Derrida was lacking in value, it was more that he'd become played out in their sentiments due to ever-presence.  You can get a feeling for Bryant's stance in this  very recent post expressing his more general views regarding the Continental canon and American philosophy. I think its hard to argue with the sense in what he's saying. You will also find him finally expressing this view in the comments of the 'Realism is de rigueur' blog post.


And let's not forget, either, that Bryant wrote his thesis on Derrida, while Tim Morton continues to be an avowed Derridean with an OOO conversion experience working with, rather than displacing, Derrida.  Indeed, not so long ago, I read Bryant paying credit to Morton for turning him onto Derrida again. These guys are not anti-Derrida, they're just  anti... ubiquity, never ending exegesis, and hagiography. It clearly just bores them at a certain point. I think you've got to give these them some credit, and imagine very bright and talented thinkers being asked to do yet more plowing and seeding of a Derridean field that was likely suffering from soil exhaustion. The metaphor's a bit hackneyed but you get my point. It can't have been very inspiring. People need new shit/an open sky to play with and gaze at now and then. It's human nature. Think of Anne Jacob's findings that we thrive on variety and unpredictability in our city environment versus Corbusier's grand - and failed - master plans to capture and govern human response via standardization. The latter, despite it's fine intentions, is deadly.


Caputo, of course, is one of the pioneers in his area of Derrida studies, and is out front of the crowd rather than suffering it's weight, and I think I assume correctly when I say that, you, yourself, are able to freely come to Derrida, rather than him being a communal academic bath you must douse and scrub yourself in daily. More to the point, your Derrida is in service of ideas beyond Derrida and made in combination with other approaches. 


Now that I've said all that, I find the excerpt linked to compelling and the cry for OOO very warming in its substance. Doesn't the way Bryant frame OOO excite you just a little? Doesn't it suggest some value for an 'Integral Post Metaphysic project' It does for me.


This discussion between Caputo and Hagglund highlights a lot of the things you ask, like Derrida's ontology and responses to SR on Derrida. Also see “what 'is' the differance?


Great. The small amount of Caputo, I've read I like. Having to read him spurred by this conversation is excellent. Although, I quail just a little at 96 pages. I've just started another great book by Jane Bennet which I'm trying to squeeze in around my work and preoccupied life. Would that we all had the machinic brilliance of Levi Bryant, who pumps out a thousand words or so every day. Nonetheless, I'm keen to read the Caputo article to see how/if, it addresses the concerns of Bryant and others.


This I like from the 'differance' link you give. It accords very well with key aspects of my own experience:

"This happens to fit nicely with the Madhyamaka-Yogachara Buddhist view of consciousness as emptiness or openness. Consciousness is not anything itself, just the degree of openness or emptiness, the clearing in which the phenomena of the various lines appear (but consciousness is not itself a phenomena—it is the space in which phenomena arise)" (66).


When we talk of 'differance', however, don't we fall prey to Bryant's concern -  differance as foundational? In Bryant's own words:


Braver’s worry is that Derrida’s differance, trace, and arche-writing sound suspiciously like the metaphysical grounds or arche he seeks to undermine, thereby situating his thought strictly within the field of metaphysics as ontotheology.


And to reference my own experience, this openness rides upon/within manifestation. Emptiness and form are one. There is no emptiness apart from form as far as I experience it. Beyond that I haven't gone, but the logic and felt pressure of experience tells me there is a beyond. And that beyond likely a break down of the  emptiness/form divide I experience, followed by a grounding/return to the simple everyday. Ox-herding redux, in short.  Harman's story of objects irreducibly withdrawn and relating sensuously/aesthetically is not such a bad take to my mind on emptiness and the play of nothingness/form/mystery. Throw in Proust and we have a closely articulated becoming to 'complete' the picture.


So, to ask the question again - is Bryant fair to Derrida?  Is Derridean 'differance' adequate to the job, or does it smuggle in metaphysics?


My intersobjectivity is a confluence of several streams including deconstruction, pragmatism and cognitive science. From the latter I prefer the description “embodied realism,” which is a sort of correlationism (or at least relativism) ...


Could you say just a little more on this - in particular 'embodied realism'. Is this the sort of thing that Andy Clark would like - see his 'Being There' which argues for a bricolage of approaches to capture how the mind functions, and central to all, the notion of enacted distributed cognition?  ie. the brain doesn't just think about it's environment, it thinks with and through that environment. And the tools it uses to 'calculate' a key aspect of that cognition.


And pragmatism? I seem to remember some very positive and intriguing discussion of pragmatism recently. I don't recall where exactly but it will come to me. By pragmatism you mean?


And as far as Wilber's 3 eyes, yes, it helps to differentiate and distinguish them but to me he goes too far into dissociating them. Whereas how those eyes interact is where the integration is, and to me integration, i.e., integral, is where the spiritual resides, not in specialized states of consciousness, even so-called nondual state


Yes, I couldn't agree more. This is what inspires me and where my instinct places my own particular IPMS.


Bryant on Derrida, OOO, and post-metaphysics..  


It seems to me that OOO is “post-metaphysical” (as the term is used in Derrida and Heidegger’s sense, not OOO’s sense) in precisely the way that Derrida wants. For OOO there is no ultimate arche or ground out of which everything issues like differance, power, God, force, Being, Substance, etc. There are just objects. Nor are these objects all the same. There are semiotic objects, fictional objects, animals, subjects, natural objects, groups, perhaps universals, etc. Hell, maybe there’s even God (theorized in the proper OOO sense, however). There is no one type of object upon which all other objects are based or founded (OOO is not a materialism, though it has no problem with matter). These objects do not originate in some Grand Pooba object out of which everything issues, but rather are destroyed by other objects and emerge out of other objects.

Finally, for OOO objects are not only withdrawn from each other, but are withdrawn fromthemselves as well. Substance does not name an “in-itself presence” that resides in a joyful identity with itself, but refers to beings that are fissured both internally and with respect to other entities. Nothing is completely present, there is no transcendental signified. Isn’t this above all what deconstruction is asking for and isn’t this a move beyond metaphysics as the metaphysics ofpresence? Isn’t this precisely a world without ultimate arche that would ground everything else and from which everything would originate, and without terms that are fully present and self-identical? Evoking an analogy that I’ve evoked in the past from Zizek, wouldn’t this amount to being healed by the Wagnerian spear that smote us? Rather than seeing differance, trace, and arche-writing as the ruin of substance and metaphysics, the claim would be that “no! this is itself metaphysics, but a metaphysics that has yet to comprehend itself as it still has one foot in the old metaphysics of presence as the normative ideal of what metaphysics is supposed to be!” However, this withdrawal would not be an effect of language or text, but would be the very being of objects, regardless of whether or not language exists or humans are involved.



You have given me plenty to read and chew on so it might take some time to respond.

I related to the 11th comment in the "realism" discussion in that I personally don't try to find the "true" Derrida, or to convince myself or another that he was a realist or not. To me that is antithetical to his work, in that my view of him will never be his view of him; there is not one true, correct view of his work, even his own. And as you say, I take pieces of what I interpret of him with pieces of others and weave together (still weaving) my own idiosyncratic "whole," a whole that is open and ever changing. Though ever so slowly in the tiniest of micro differences, partly through influences on this forum.

Could you say just a little more on this - in particular 'embodied realism'. Is this the sort of thing that Andy Clark would like?

Embodied realism is the term Lakoff et al. use but it is part of the broader embodied cognition school. From the link you can see that Andy Clark is so classified so yes, though I'm not familiar with Clark it seems he is of the same general orientation.

I will come back to your comment below - I find it a little troubling to be frank, but in the meantime, here's some definitive Bryant on Derrida from late in the comments to the Realism is de rigueur discussion. I think you'll agree he's not really dismissing the big D. - just the constraints of the context he currently exists in. And sad to say, following embodied cognition, the context of Derrida is in large part the Derrida one is given to think with. And if that context is an exegesis-heavy philosophy department, then.. Anyhow, I'm being repetitive. I take it you recognize Derrida continues to be seen as worthwhile. I will respond to what troubles me about your own comment regarding the true Derrida when I have time. Work beckons..


Levi Bryant: 

Now let’s say I’m wrong on this. Maybe I am and maybe I’ve gotten D. all wrong as you guys are suggesting. I think there is still a strong case to be made for marginalizing Derrida in our current intellectual context as a way of moving on to other things. Here the argument I’ve made in the past is that the Enlightenment thinkers had to marginalize the scholastics to do their project. Now, we all know that the Enlightenment thinkers were unfair to the scholastics, that they continued to draw heavily from the scholastics without referencing them, and that the scholastics had the resources to answer  a number of their arguments. That’s not really the point though. Scholastic thought had become a quicksand that had to be marginalized for things to move on and so new forms of discourse and new sorts of questions could emerge. So long as the scholastic thinkers hegemonized the field, this really wasn’t possible. A case could be made that something similar is needed with thinkers like Derrida.

theurj said:

I related to the 11th comment in the "realism" discussion in that I personally don't try to find the "true" Derrida, or to convince myself or another that he was a realist or not. To me that is antithetical to his work, in that my view of him will never be his view of him; there is not one true, correct view of his work, even his own. And as you say, I take pieces of what I interpret of him with pieces of others and weave together (still weaving) my own idiosyncratic "whole," a whole that is open and ever changing. Though ever so slowly in the tiniest of micro differences, partly through influences on this forum.

I do not deny the "exegesis-heavy philosophy department" type of context in which Derrida has been placed. Or that such a context must be marginalized to move on. That is part of what I too said in my comment that disturbs you, that we need to find the one, true interpretation of Derrida. And at least in that regard it seems Bryant is participating in exactly what he rails against.

And no, one doesn't have to accept the academic, exegesis-heavy context within which to discuss Derrida or postmetaphysics. There are alternatives and it's one reason I am no longer an academic but a guerilla blogger and online forum contributor.

Perhaps what also troubles you is that I'm being relativistic by claiming no one true interpretation? If so it is indeed relativist in that sense but I certainly do accept that there are relatively better and worse interpretations, and that ample evidence must support such interpretations. Hence embodied realism, while being relativistic, is not completely unanchored but participates in empirical, methodological validation rooted in bodies--"objects," if you will (suobjects)--of various sorts.

theurj said:
I related to the 11th comment in the "realism" discussion in that I personally don't try to find the "true" Derrida, or to convince myself or another that he was a realist or not. To me that is antithetical to his work, in that my view of him will never be his view of him; there is not one true, correct view of his work, even his own. And as you say, I take pieces of what I interpret of him with pieces of others and weave together (still weaving) my own idiosyncratic "whole," a whole that is open and ever changing. Though ever so slowly in the tiniest of micro differences, partly through influences on this forum.

I had a brief stab of alarm that you might be making a swerve towards a Thomas style employ of QM, whereby 'indeterminism' becomes world and self-grounding in fused circularity. This reassures me:

theurj said:
....I certainly do accept that there are relatively better and worse interpretations, and that ample evidence must support such interpretations. Hence embodied realism, while being relativistic, is not completely unanchored but participates in empirical, methodological validation rooted in bodies--"objects," if you will (suobjects)--of various sorts.

I'm not suggesting there is 'one true view of Derrida', but asking how fair is Lee Braver's concern - as reported here by Levi Bryant:

Bryant said:
Braver’s worry is that Derrida’s differance, trace, and arche-writing sound suspiciously like the metaphysical grounds or arche he seeks to undermine, thereby situating his thought strictly within the field of metaphysics as ontotheology.

So then, is Derridean 'differance' adequate to the job, or does it smuggle in metaphysics? And then, two further questions occur: do Derridean concepts apply beyond the text, and can they be made to escape the correlationist circle? All amount to the same question at base: Can Derrida be used to talk about all of reality, all of being? I think with the issues made clear, and perhaps framing Derrida more freely - as do you, Hagglund, and various respondees in the Realism is de rigueur thread, then, yes. The point, however, is to make that move beyond the text, make that move beyond the subject, and allow the concepts to move more freely in a world where the subject/object relation is not the locus of all other relations but simply one particular object/object relationship amony many. Or, you could, if you prefer, look to relations rather than objects - there is a whole other school of Speculative Realist fellow travelers whose emphasis is on process and the relational. Shaviro and Ivakhiv are two examples.

But this is all Derrida. You haven't responded to my other question on the value of an OOO conception for an Integral Post Metaphysic. It seems to me that with your use of Lakoff/Johnson and pragmatism you have much in common. If I'm not wrong, Bryant has a strong influence from Peirce as well as embodied cognition. And how does your conception of a 'suobject' look alongside the object world of OOO? Forgive me if I'm not yet fully understanding your suobjects but do they, or could they, move in the direction of not just subject-object, but also object-object, and the sort of flat ontology that Bryant, Latour, Harman et al maintain? Does the OOO world where the subject/object relationship has no special status appeal to you? Problems? Differences?

Of course, I think it has much value for an Integral Post Metaphysics. Which raises the question what does an Integral perspective have to offer that these philosophers don't? My short and clumsy answer would be the insight into developmental paths and 'ends', and the content of these paths and ends that growth in consciousness beyond the personal offers. And by this I'm also referring to the wider Integral story (philosophia perennis) that sees spirit as both always already complete and timeless, as well as coming into ever more full manifestation over time. That is, the qualities of the absolute the 'mystic' percieves are becoming more and more embodied in the everyday world of reality over time. This embodiment involves an expanded view of what constitutes a body in my view, which I think is where 000 reallly has something to say. But I will quickly get ahead of myself if I don't pause here. On which note, apologies for the speed of my replies. I get excited by all of this and rather end up down my own wormhole. An outline for my jumble of thoughts is needed...


I appreciate your interest, articulation and enthusiasm for this topic. I wish I had the time to explore many of the SR references you cite but the fact is my free time for such research is quite limited. To date I have invested a very small amount of time to SR or OOO, this forum being the limited extent of it. I do find it of interest and will spend more time on it but that will take a long time, given the few hours a week I have for such exploration.

As for Bryant's concern that Derrida still participates in metaphysics he is right, but he is wrong that it is of the ontotheological variety. Derrida has affirmed that there is no escape from metaphysics and that it is a matter of kind. We are exploring this distinction in the "what is postmetaphysical" thread. Also Caputo and Desilet make a strong case that this different kind of metaphysics is not of the ontotheology variety, referenced in several places in the forum. And both acknowledge that Derrida is not limited to "text," i.e., written language but his intent is much more broad, into context, being and ontology.

How all of that relates to SR or OOO is certainly an area I'd like to explore and will as time permits. For now though I cannot make valid comparisons since my knowledge of that field is limited. Perhaps I'll have to draw on you as a resource in the meantime, since you seem to have read much more widely on it. So feel free to lead us in discussions on the topic in this thread or create your own. I'm open to learning more.

As one reference I again refer to the “what 'is' the differance” thread, using a lot of Caputo, Desilet and Derrida on this different kind of metaphysics. The following is from the opening post, which seems consistent with Meillassoux's ontological contingency and acknowledging what is “below” correlation:


He does not stake out the ground of a higher principle but concedes a certain an-arche at the bottom of our principles. Derrida is not denying that we have 'principles' or 'truth'.... He is just reinscribing our truth and principles in the an-arche of differance, attaching to them a co-efficient of 'contingency.' For the only 'necessity' he acknowledges is the necessity that precedes all oppositions...inscribing them in a vast and meaning-less receptacle called differance. This is why you cannot ask what differance 'is,' for its 'meaning' or 'truth'....[it] but points a mute, Buddhist finger at the moon” (102).

Reply to Discussion


What paths lie ahead for religion and spirituality in the 21st Century? How might the insights of modernity and post-modernity impact and inform humanity's ancient wisdom traditions? How are we to enact, together, new spiritual visions – independently, or within our respective traditions – that can respond adequately to the challenges of our times?

This group is for anyone interested in exploring these questions and tracing out the horizons of an integral post-metaphysical spirituality.

Notice to Visitors

At the moment, this site is at full membership capacity and we are not admitting new members.  We are still getting new membership applications, however, so I am considering upgrading to the next level, which will allow for more members to join.  In the meantime, all discussions are open for viewing and we hope you will read and enjoy the content here.

© 2022   Created by Balder.   Powered by

Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service