• This is a short “popular” version of Harman’s approach to object-oriented ontology.


  • “object”:


  • “What philosophy shares with the lives of scientists, bankers, and animals is that all are concerned with objects” (5). The object is the basic unit of philosophical inquiry.
  • Begin from “naiveté,” a strategy we’ve seen in Meillassoux and Bennett (7).
  • Harman reject monism as “undermining” objects (9); and the infinite bundle of qualities as “overmining” (11). Materialism apparently does both at once, making it the “hereditary enemy” of OOO (13).
  • “Weirdness” is affectively important to Harman, for reasons that I can never quite touch on—there’s nothing that requires calling speculative philosophies necessarily “weird,” although they increasingly take that form (18). “Yet all of these traditional features of substance must be rejected. Objects need not be natural, simple, or indestructible. Instead, objects will be defined only by their autonomous reality” (19).
  • Harmanian withdrawal has roots in Hussel’s “adumbrations” (24).
  • Why is the object quadruple? Harman contends that objects have four tensions “between objects and their qualities”:
    1. real object/real quality
    2. sensual object/sensual quality
    3. real object/sensual quality
    4. sensual object/real quality (49).
  • Withdrawal also emerges from Heidegger’s concept of tool-being (36).
  • “No, what is truly characteristic of Kant’s position is that the human-world relation takes priority over all others. For even those who read Kant as a realist strongly believing in things-in-themselves must still admit that the role of these things for Kant is little more than to haunt human awareness with a specter of its finitude” (45).
  • So objects “exist in their own right, as autonomous from their relations with other things” (69). So how does interaction happen? We have contact with sensual objects as distinct from real objects (74);
  • This is a fascinating claim: “This is why nothing can be modeled adequately by any form of knowledge, or by any sort of translation at all. In its primary sense an object is not used or known, but simply is what it is” (73).
  • Heidegger’s fourfold and Harman’s fourfold…

Archive and Impact

  • Harman is a Heideggerian first and foremost. Plato and Aristotle are given as the first object-oriented philosophers (16);