Guerrilla Metaphysics: Phenomenology and the Carpentry of Things

Guerrilla Metaphysics: Phenomenology and the Carpentry of Things

Guerrilla Metaphysics: Phenomenology and the Carpentry of Things

Guerrilla Metaphysics: Phenomenology and the Carpentry of Things

Synopsis

The current fashions in both analytic and continental philosophy are staunchly anti-metaphysical. There is supposedly no way to talk about the world itself - the philosopher is confined to antiseptic discussions of language, or of other modes of human access to the world. In this provocative work, Graham Harman expands the discussion from his previous book, Tool-Being, arguing for a theory of "the carpentry of things" - a more accessible way of viewing the world that incorporates ideas from Husserl, Levinas, Lingis, and other philosophers.

Excerpt

This book calls for what might be termed an object-oriented philosophy, and in this way rejects both the analytic and continental traditions. The ongoing dispute between these traditions, including the sort of “bridge building” that starts by conceding the existence of the dispute, misses a prejudice shared by both: their primary interest lies not in objects, but in human access to them. The so-called linguistic turn is still the dominantmodel for the philosophy of access, but there are plenty of others—phenomenology, hermeneutics, deconstruction, philosophy of mind, pragmatism. None of these philosophical schools tells us much of anything about objects themselves; indeed, they pride themselves on avoiding all naive contact with nonhuman entities. By contrast, object-oriented philosophy holds that the relation of humans to pollen, oxygen, eagles, or windmills is no different in kind from the interaction of these objects with each other. For this reason, the philosophy of objects is sometimes lazily viewed as a form of scientific naturalism, since it plunges directly into the world and considers every object imaginable, avoiding any prior technical critique of the workings of human knowledge. Rut quite unlike naturalism, objectoriented philosophy adopts a bluntly metaphysical approach to the relations between objects rather than a familiar physical one. In fact, another term that might be employed for object-oriented philosophy is guerrilla metaphysics—a name meant to signify that the numerous present-day objections to metaphysics are not unknown to me, but also that I do not find them especially compelling.

Guerrilla Metaphysics is the sequel to my previous book, Tool-Being. The central thesis of the earlier work is that objects exist in utter isolation from all others, packed into secluded private vacuums. Obviously, this can be no better than a half-truth about the world: if it were the full story, nothing would ever happen, and every object would repose in its own intimate universe, never affecting or affected by anything else at all. Guerrilla . . .

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