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.

 

Excerpts:

 

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 An object is profoundly “withdrawn”--we can never see the whole of it, and nothing else can either....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... things....how 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.

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Hi, yes, I'm familiar with Berkeley's criticism of Locke's representationalism,and with Hume's criticism of Berkeley's idealism, and with Kant's attempted integration of Hume and Newton...

I agree that Berkeley does have a point (Hume thought so, too) -- and postmetaphysics, of course, is to some extent an extension of that criticism, in that it also poses a challenge to representationalism.

I hear you regarding your doubts as to the utility of 'substance.'  I am taking the time to listen to arguments for a substance view, since it seems some thoughtful folks well aware of the modern and postmodern arguments against it are again putting it forward, on different grounds.  So, I'm trying to understand what those grounds are.  So far, I'm not convinced that embracing a (neo) substance metaphysics is the way to go (that would be a new direction for me), but I'm taking the time to consider these views (of Bryant, Morton, et al), since they do seem well-considered and engagement with them could potentially help highlight or open up some blind spots in my own view.

(Have you read from Bryant's The Democracy of Objects yet?  There's a link to it earlier in the thread.  That would be a good place to start to get a sense for the OOO case for substance -- which I can't pretend to have fully grasped yet, nor yet to endorse).

Chapter 2.2 goes into Locke's criticism and Hume and Kant's response. And how none of the above capture what he means by substance. He doesn't accept the primary/secondary qualities distinction in that qualities are qualities and not substance. However substance does have a 'structure,' with endo-relations inherent to that structure. He goes into this in chapter 4.

 

So he's not metaphysical in the sense of being beyond structure, even though it is beyond qualities. He is metaphysical in terms of addressing ontology, but his substance, by virtue of being withdrawn, does not fall prey to the metaphysicas of presence. I tried to explain this partially in this post on p. 12. Hence his use of Varela and Luhmann in chapter 4, noting the ways systems are open and closed. Hence an individual substance's structural endo-relations, while withdrawn, are not in any sense 'meta'physical. as structure is a limited 'body' in one way or another. (A sign is not a physical body but a body nonetheless.)

 

Thanks for the pointers, Theurj.  I'm reading chapter 2 now.  When Bryant says that a substance can exist without any of its qualities and without producing any events, do you understand what he means by this (practically)?  If he identifies ncane toads and baseball teams as substances, is he saying that an ncane toad can exist without any qualities and without producing any events whatsoever?  Admittedly, this sounds nonsensical to me -- or like an appeal to Platonic ideals.

 Yet another point of purchase might be how are to understand what objects as we know them are. What is to be our unit of measure? Harman - and Bryant after him - take the point of departure for measurement to be the object rather than relations. For, if the object is to be defined purely by its relations, how is change possible? Harman's view is that to see the world from the vantage of relations is incoherent as objects cannot change. However; if, on the other hand, the object is going to be the unit of measurement there needs to be some aspect of the object that is held in reserve, and which can be drawn upon according to circumstance - exo-relations - to produce change. 

 

Objects purely defined by relation = no change possible. Objects without withdrawn depths = no change possible. Objects with withdrawn 'powers' - as Bryant terms them = change.  

 

There is, of course, much more to be said than this, but it is also worthwhile noting that Bryant talks about 'stepping over current debates'. The implicit suggestion is not to measure up every aspect of OOO, or to say that other approaches do not provide resources to deal with the issues to hand, but that the debates within these other approaches - phenomenology above all, have become stale and mired in - choose your negative word -. 

 

Sorry, I realize that's no more than the hint of an answer but you'll find more in the article attached up-thread from Bryant on Derrida and Luhmann, as well as this interview with Bryant here. I'll chase up some Harman for you, also, when time allows. 

 

http://fracturedpolitics.com/2011/06/29/interview-levi-bryant.aspx

 

And Balder - more of interest from Bryant - including links to debate with Adrian Ivakhiv - who, more generally and to Graham Harman's great frustration, firmly holds up the relational end against OOO. You might like him. I do, myself.

 

http://larvalsubjects.wordpress.com/2010/01/30/meriologies-and-obje...


Is he saying that an ncane toad can exist without any qualities and without producing any events whatsoever?  Admittedly, this sounds nonsensical to me -- or like an appeal to Platonic ideals.

I don't think he's saying this about ncane toads. Recall he goes into the different types of objects. I don't recall them offhand but only some rare few produce no events at all, like the neutrino (dark?). Most objects are 'bright,' I think he calls them, in that they are so stable as to (almost) always be in relation, like toads. Still, despite their expressed qualities in such stable relations there is a withdrawn reserve that does not enter into relations. And again, this is demonstrated by the transcendental argument of differance.

I agree with you that this does sound sort of Platonic, and put that way Bryant would agree with you. See for example chapter 3.1. In the following paragraph you see some of Tom's arguments for his version of substance:

“The virtual proper being of an object can only ever be inferred from its local manifestations in the world. By contrast, the local manifestation of an object is the manner in which a substance or virtual proper being is actualized in the world under determinate conditions.”

In this paragraph he agrees with your concern:

“It is my contention that traditional ontology was correct to distinguish between the substance and qualities of objects, but mistaken in how it thought about the nature of substance. It is correct to hold that objects cannot be reduced to their qualities because qualities change and shift while the object remains this substance. Traditional philosophy goes astray, however, in concluding that because substances cannot be reduced to their qualities, then substance must be the object stripped of all qualities or, as Locke puts it, a bare substratum. Where substance is conceived in this way, its concept becomes entirely incoherent.”

And here substance is referred to as organizatonal capacities:

“My thesis is that the substantiality of objects is not a bare substratum, but rather an absolutely individual system or organization of powers. Powers are the capacities of an object or what it can do.”

Still, there is the question of this sounding like a Platonic 'potential' not yet manifest. He answers this in chapter 3.3, comparing these powers to DeLanda's 'attractors,' akin to Bhaksar's 'generative mechanisms.' They create the conditions for manifestations (actualizations) and can only be inferred from those manifestations through a transcendental (ana)logic. But again, grounded in structural, not ideal, forms.

 

From Dial's link above to Bryant's blog post on Ivakhiv and mereology, a few things stand out for me so far.

Quoting Harman: "Every object is both a substance and a complex of relations." Granted that seems on the surface to disagree with Bryant's allowing for some objects to have no relations, the point is that at least most objects are both their substance and relations. But the next one is especially interesting, again quoting Harman:

"If every object can also be considered as a set of relations between its parts or qualities, it is equally true that any relation must count as a substance."

This is precisely how Edwards sees mediating 'holons' in his kennilingual terms. Recall this prior IPS thread.

Also recall the Kennilingam saying something like there is no dominant monad in a social structure. And that individual people (holons) of such a social structure were not dominated parts but members in relation.* While Edwards disagree with him on this the following from the above blog post is interesting, since he too is concerned with totalitarian social structures:

"Althusser is essentially correct when he claims that a society is not its members, nor groups, but relations."

See for example footnote 2 to excerpt A wherein he accuses Varela of fascism, and interestingly uses Luhmann as a corrective.

Hi Balder,

 

I hear you regarding your doubts as to the utility of 'substance.'  I am taking the time to listen to arguments for a substance view, since it seems some thoughtful folks well aware of the modern and postmodern arguments against it are again putting it forward, on different grounds.  So, I'm trying to understand what those grounds are.

 

Oh, I hope I didn't come across as too negative.  It's true I have my doubts about even this moderate view of substance.  Actually, that's putting it mildly -- I think it's hopeless.  But I get things wrong.  Frequently.  So if Dial, Theurji, et al. think there is something to this, then I'm willing to listen too.  That doesn't mean I won't continue to voice my concerns though.  (And no, I havn't read the book yet -- not all of it, anyway.  I'll get there eventually.)

Dial, thank you for your helpful response.


Dial: Objects purely defined by relation = no change possible. Objects without withdrawn depths = no change possible. Objects with withdrawn 'powers' - as Bryant terms them = change.


I believe there is something important to this point, but I have to think it through. The Buddhist position, as I understand it, is opposite Harman's: objects defined as wholly independent and self-existing have no reason to change; only interdependent objects have the capacity to change. If an object is conceived as partly related, partly independent (self-existing), then the self-existent part would never change.


My current thought is that the principles of systems theory and related disciplines are sufficient to explain both constancy (homeostasis) and change in living and non-living systems, without the need to posit "substance" on top of that (or to describe systemic dynamics 'within' objects as substance).


I do appreciate the appeal to objects being both 'actual' and withdrawn. But I wonder about the appeal to powers which are totally withdrawn and non-relational. If a particular power were wholly withdrawn and without relations, could it ever act in the world? Bryant talks about certain exo-relations activating previously dormant powers. A wholly withdrawn power would never be so activated by exo-relations, it seems to me.


I like and am sympathetic to the conception of objects as slippery, elusive, withdrawing (escaping totalizing embrace), but stop short at what seems, to me, to be the reification of particular (individual) powers as wholly independent self-existing things-in-themselves.


But, as I've said throughout this conversation, I make these comments tentatively, since I'm just getting to know this language and this view and may still be missing important elements.

Just thinking aloud, I am wondering if Bryant's reserve powers could possibly be related with the Wilber-5 definition of "structure," which is drawn from a quantum understanding:  structure as probability space.


It is common in postmodern forms of "new paradigms" to say that "structure" has been replaced by "process." Actually, of course, structure was always defined as dynamic processes that reproduce themselves. But there are indeed two aspects of structures that researchers keep emphasizing: their capacity for fluid change (e.g., accommodation and adaptation--or adjusting to their communions); and their capacity, if conditions are right, for remaining incredibly stable over long periods of time (e.g., autopoiesis and assimilation--or stable agency).


Keep in mind, for example, that there are living bacteria on earth that have remained unchanged for over one billion years. There are insects species that have remained unchanged for over ten million years; reptilian forms, over 5 million years--not to mention the forms of many atoms and molecules that are close to 15 billion years old: that is an awesome capacity for stable agency! In humans, the beige meme has remained essentially unchanged for 500,000 years; the purple meme, for 30,000 years; red, for 10,000 years; blue, for 3,000; orange, for 300; green, for 30 (and we are now on the frothy, creative edge of human evolution where new and higher potentials, although explored, co-created, and enacted in idiosyncratic forms by relatively rare pioneers, are just starting to emerge and crystallize on a widespread or cultural basis--much more about that later).


What is required, then, is a way to account for "structure" without falling, shall we say, into structuralism, or a reification of structures as some sort of ontologically existing molds (which is what both the perennial philosophers and the structuralists did, in their own ways, both of which need to be jettisoned in that regard).


We saw that deep features are inherited, not surface features. That is, even though the general patterns (or morphogenetic grooves) of these holons are handed to us by Kosmic karma, all of the actual contents, surface features, and expressions of these habitual patterns are determined by relative, culturally, and personally contingent factors in all four quadrants.


But this is where we start to move beyond any of the typical definitions of "deep structures," "deep features," or "deep patterns": for Integral Post-Metaphysics, a "deep pattern" is not an actually existing form or structure but simply a term that represents the probability of finding a particular type of holon in a particular mode of spacetime.


A deep pattern, then, is simply a probability wave. The deep features that are characteristic of that probability wave are discovered by doing a reconstructive investigation after the fact of its existence, and not something that we can deduce in a Platonic or Hegelian or Aurobindian fashion before the fact. In other words, to say that consciousness is "at the red wave" simply means that it is vibrating at a particular probability wave: from the outside, we say that it is flowing along a particular morphogenetic field that represents the probability of finding certain types of behaviors at that point in spacetime; from the inside, we say that the feeling-awareness of that holon arises within a horizon of individual and collective prehensions, such that the probability of feeling a certain type of feeling is very high at that particular wave.


Some probability waves are so tightly laid down as Kosmic habits that the probability of finding a particular type of holon in that space approaches 100%. This often happens in physical systems (where, as Whitehead pointed out, it was mistaken as pure determinism); but it happens often enough even at higher waves (e.g., the probability of finding certain types of holons at the red probability wave is very high indeed). But that should not obscure the fact that the stages/waves of development, in all quadrants up to the present, originally emerged in part as creative novelty and were then laid down as habits that accordingly represent, not rigid grids of determinism, but organic habits indicating the likelihood or probability of finding a particular event in a particular spacetime.


(Even an electron, as viewed by quantum mechanics, is not a pre-existing thing but a "tendency to exist" whose probability of being found in a particular spacetime is given by the square of the Schroedinger wave function.)


Thus, to quickly summarize, the deep features of any holon (quark, atom, molecule, meme, etc.) are simply the types of events that are probable within the Kosmic habits already laid down by past creative emergence. These probability waves are not some sort of clunky concrete structures lying around out there, but are simply the general morphogenetic grooves that represent the probability of finding a particular event at a particular spacetime locale in the creatively unfolding AQAL matrix.


As for the actual features or concrete structures of those events, they are co-determined, not just by past Kosmic habits that set broad probability patterns, but by actually-existing factors in all four quadrants (experiential prehensions, behavioral patterns, social systems, and cultural contexts). That, again, is why we say that although some probability waves (morphogenetic grooves or deep patterns) are inherited from the past in a collective fashion, most of the surface features are not.

 

To allow objects their democracy is to be liberated from correlationism. good point. Besides, there is something attractive about the reach of objects, how mystery preys on drama.  Extra prey, no paranoia of loss …..

 What I get from DOO - accessible qualities of objects - sensory , experiential  qualities like taste, texture, colour etc  are not expressions of withdrawn powers. Which is a recurrent theme, he draws on Bhaskar’s a realist theory of science as a way out of the correlationist circle. The withdrawn aspects are not available like sensory qualities and a scientific experiment is required to untangle them. So it is basically a philosophy of science? The transcendental aspect being the presupposition necessary for science to be possible.

a key feature of Bhaskar's argument is that objects or generative mechanisms cannot be equated with or reduced to their qualities. I shall have much more to say about this later when I deal with exo-relations or relations between generative mechanisms or objects,

it makes sense that objects or generative mechanisms cannot be reduced to their qualities. A link please? where can I find his views on relations between objects? which gets to the core of the issue, that objects are generative mechanisms. the generator and the generated are getting closer, but I don’t think he is indicating any integration of that sort

Ontology does not tell us what objects exist, but that objects exist, that they are generative mechanisms, that they cannot be identified with events, actualities, or qualities, and that they behave differently in open and closed systems. These are ontological premises necessary to render our experimental activity intelligible. It is the job of actual inquiry to discover what objects exist.

And of course the de cons – by his own admission he doesn’t get it :)

While I do not follow Meillassoux in his inference from the contingency of our being to the contingency of being as such (I await a clearer formulation of this argument)

That paradox/polarity is built into the fabric of existence is still a non starter? Considering that this is a philosophy of science, Bohr says, and Varela says, and quantum says and so on . now the transpersonal psychologists are saying so , and meillasoux.

Then there is the obervervational prerogative . you cannot take for granted that objects are not subject to observation or that observation can be simultaneous to subjects, objects and mind

His own approach, tends to show that there is no escape from aperspectivalism. That generative mechanisms are objects and they cannot be reduced to their qualities, is closer to something like a morphogenesis in mechanisms, as in Wilber 5. That difference in qualities (sensory) is not remarkable, which means that they are not qualitative but quantitative(accessible) and that generative mechanisms cannot be confined to an accessible frame –  that they are not is his approach too. Location has a take on difference, and accessibility defines location.

 

 

 

I'm asking more questions of readers of TDOO than I am reading it myself, and if I read more, I expect I may clarify them for myself.  But, for now, here are some general questions that are in mind as I'm making my way (by bits and pieces) through the text.  I am picking up on what seems to be an emphasis on locality, partiality, non-relationality, in a way that reduces non-locality, wholeness, and relationality to secondary status.  Is this an accurate representation of the OOO focus?  With my own work on integral-pluralistic interfaith understanding, I definitely appreciate a focus on plurality, 'locality,' difference/differance, etc.  But I prefer an approach which holds these terms and their opposites nondually together, rather than (over-)privileging one pole. 


So, for instance, with the emphasis in OOO on objects, locality, and the lack of a 'single' coordinating environment or context, I wonder how -- or whether -- this takes account, say, of the implications of Big Bang cosmology, which suggests the universe (unfolding from a singularity) is a whole multiform development; or of the implications of the quantum fact of nonlocality, etc.  Any thoughts on that?


Regarding objects being split -- the transcendental deduction of differance -- I see and appreciate the import and power of this insight.  However, following Joel's formula, one could also point out that infinite splitting implies unsplittability: if any object-manifestation is split 'from the beginning,' and if object-manifestation is potentially unbounded or unlimited, then there is always a further 'split' that can be 'made,' and thus reality is never ultimately or finally sundered or split.


My leaning in this direction, in this thread, is not out of a desire (at this point) to reject OOO, but to point out what appears, to me, to be a partiality.  I think the part/local/non-relational view is valid, but such a view implies and requires its opposite, and I think both views are both possible and valid, depending on approach, focus, etc.  Is the world particulate or whole?  Both/and, neither/nor.  I am valuing OOO for its challenge to possible blindspots (say, latent traces of the epistemic fallacy in my thinking), and as providing impetus to reconsider my own Buddhist-influenced a-realist orientation and to consider the possible incompatability of such an orientation with my simultaneous emphasis on ontological pluralism.  But I also am resisting some of its emphases, as I've indicated above.

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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?

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