DeLanda and Harman: A Comparison of Realisms

But of course, if we are to compare Harman’s Philosophy and any Deluezian position, we have a new distinction that can be made between ontology and metaphysics. It is not quirk of cosmological irony that Delueze’s name sounds so resonant with the English ‘delusional’.  Lol. 


(I’m a dork,  😄 or rather, hack, the Philosophical Hack.) 


  1. Hey Lance I have a question- when you say that Harman’s OOO is a “realism”, would you call it a new materialism?

    1. Hmm. Harman doesn’t strike me as a materialist. …i just had to look because I was pretty sure I had read or heard something from him rejecting materialism. And here’s one I googled

      He strikes me as a realist. In the sense that I use ‘reality’ to mean ‘that place space area that is common and obvious between us without much thought on it’. Reality to me is just that place that is obvious. It’s not Zizek’s ‘real’ in the strict argumentative sense, but it is the same place because it is obvious and impossible (catastrophic. Lol).

      I think in reference to Zizek; that’s why they put them together that one night maybe.

      New materialism. Hmm

      My basic definition of materialism sees Harman as not dealing with material in my strict sense.. he deals with reality; that is why he likes ‘the speculative’. Because in reality we can have a distinction as a real designation of categories; Aristotle I think, practical and speculative reasoning. Harman knows that we are confined by intension and sees this with reference to what is Practical. So his is speculative, considering things that are strictly speaking outside of our ability to know, but we can imagine possibilities along practical rules.

      I haven’t read that link yet. Just the first paragraph. But it looks like he is going to account for how he could be seen as a materialist. And yet rejects it. I see him more as a type grounded in the common philosophical academic arena, but then his view was through a sort of materialism, but due to certain limits that arose, in order for him to be able to move past it he had to make a ‘double’ move away from it.

      Yeah; I have a book in my head to write about this very thing. I would not consider him a new materialist, strictly speaking.

      1. Huh that’s interesting, but counter-intuitive. You would think a philosopher who wants to orient ontology through objects would be a materialist, or at least seek to redefine or reclaim the term. Cool article though

      2. That could be why he addressed it.
        The question you ask o think can have a different timbre. The way H addresses materialism, to me, shows his Realist leanings, even while the content of his view appears materialist in my sense. The close association works for an ability to draw out an issue for Philosophy I think is missed.

        For one: my ‘materialism’ diverges from usual philosophical definitions. As you may have seen, to me it indicates ‘the stuff we have to work with’. And to reduce such a general definition to a particular ontological platform, I think, pulls what is material out of its proper scope. Harman appears to deal with the claim of materialism through the ‘mistaken’ platform, an ontology that necessarily is speaking through contradictions, indeed, suspended in thought. This is what is call ‘real’. It is given obvious apparent automatically assumed in the regular un-philosophical goings on of life.

        So is see he takes a materialist awareness. And removes it from itself by placing it in an ontologically correlationalist discourse. He can thereby justify his ‘once’ removed through taking the next step that shows his materialist bent was, basically, misunderstood, which is a speculative approach upon what is rightly definitionally outside the correlationalist limit.

        But all this is done in reality, his in particular for the move, showing a interestingly religious activity: of a Ontology of real objects.

        But his type also shows an inherent irony that is downplayed and ignored, yet for the sake of setting his discourse as not religious but definitionally real and theoretically valid for the method.

      3. On second thought, his defense of formalism in this work seems to be pretty straightforward. I might disagree with him at the end, but probably can’t deny that he’s a formalist

      4. Form and relation. Real objects withdraw from view : He derives this from an idea of correlationalism. he’s basically saying that the history of Western philosophy, or at least continental philosophy, brought it self to an end with the correlational list limit. We have said all there is to say about the subject, and his view. Or at least what’s been said is sufficient, evidence is kind of saturation from which we can assume that everything that needs to be said will be said, so we can that’s begin to talk about what objects might be what might be outside of this correlational limit. He has to frame his discourse within conventional method to make any sense and so he draws upon Aristotle practical and speculative and so then we have the conference that he was involved with called the “speculative realism“ conference, though I don’t think he associates himself as a speculative realist. But he would say that his method is speculative.

        Once we dispense with forever drawing back any positive assertions into deconstructing questions of context and cultural semantic value, then we can get on to what might be an object in itself beyond these cultural context.

        Because we have found that there apparently is something that is outside of cultural context. The problem with philosophy of the past hundred years or so is that we fell into a pit of forever taking statements out of their intention. More and more and especially since the postmodern we have been more concerned with what that intention is affecting; when you look at critical race theory, and even psychological counselling for people with trauma and their reactions to living, we find that we are not really concerned anymore with what people‘s intentions were in whatever situation, and this is because the traumatized people cannot see this intention and indeed are not reacting to what was intended but I reacting to something that is beyond that intention. So the impetus of critical studies seems to be really more about what reactions are taking place apart from this philosophical intentional act, because then upon reflection we find that this intentional act is filled with all sorts of culturally appropriate did Trumatic appropriations.

        But despite all these limitations, always cultural worlds interacting with one another, there seems to be something that happens “accidentally“. These accidents have to do with wet Harmon brings out of Heidegger so far is tool use: it doesn’t matter what meaning I have of a hammer or a sword because if I swing it somebody’s neck I’m going to chop their heads off despite what cultural context that activity has. There indeed may be all sorts of political reasons why I chopped off someone’s head, but those reasons will be worked out within the philosophically intentional space that is already been defined. We have already found out the context in which human beings occur as a universal object; we just haven’t described all the ramifications of this human object, but indeed we can see that there is this contained thing called human being.

        The modern (post)mythological approach is usually to continually deconstruct every statement, and this seems to be a definer of being human.

        So from the perspective of the extent of this kind of colonizing approach, because indeed all of humanity has been colonized that is why we’re having discourses about how do we decolonize our consciousness. We wouldn’t have to decolonize our minds if we were not all really colonized and we see it as a problem.

        It is abyss of semantic context.

        This is where we get the idea that Harmon says objects withdraw from view.

        And so all that’s left is really form and relation that is all we have to deal with really in reality.

        My work , on the other hand , even though I really love what Harmon how to say usually, even as I may not like his methodological approach,
        Is more about filling out this human being, but indeed with an awareness that within this being human there is something about the functioning of consciousness that is leaving something integral out of its critical reckonings. This blank area is generally what we call spirituality or religion or even culture. But I think we pull back from really wanting to know how that occurs because if we find out how that actually occurs we will have come upon a way to control human beings in a very intentional way. I think that’s what’s most offensive about getting into this blank area.

        Anyways I was walking my dog and so I was kind of rambling there. Lol.

      5. Yeah I totally get that. Did you read my post on OOO I made last night? I got all my thoughts out on paper as it were.
        There is definitely something outside of cultural context! Unfortunately, conveying what that is happens within a semantic field that is entirely cultural.
        What I’m trying to get at with a critique of this is that OOO offers a view of the world that is essentially empiricist. And as Westerners, its not easy to get out of an empiricist framework. My biggest problem with it is that while Harman has tried to find agency in objects, a counterintuitive move from a classical metaphysical point of view, it still doesn’t get out of an essentially logocentric view of the world.
        As a cultural/environmental anthropologist, I deal with empirically definable realities all day- swamps, rainforests, etc. But how we choose to convey those realities matter. But what I’m getting at isn’t even discourse analysis. Yes it can become a self-referential loop. But what I’m trying to say is that there is the whole field of the spiritual/religious, but even *prior* to that is the emotional- the lived experience, the felt reality. So for me, you could get into a discussion about how a hammer in any cultural context will split someone’s head open, but for me its about thick description- what is happening at any given moment in time that the anthropologist is observing. That hammer only can convey something about something else if it has meaning within a given *field of meaning*. Why am I writing about the hammer? Am I describing construction practices in Tibet? What function does that play? Etc.
        In general, what I’m trying to say is that if you aren’t careful, you will naturalize everything- Harman talks about how Badiou naturalizes heterosexuality. That’s a step.
        What I’m continually concerned with is the *purpose of a discourse*. Even if that discourse doesn’t reflect reality “directly”. For us, its impossible that a person can transform into a jaguar. But if you don’t investigate, you won’t realize what that could actually signify in real life

      6. Who was that “thick description” ? His name is on my tongue but I can’t get it off. Lol.

        I think It could be why Harman teaches at an architectural school. Form and relation are aspects of all objects, he says. It is not that only humans behave through cultural constructs, but all universal objects. The hammer is behaving through a cultural construct the being of which recedes from view, only leaving for other objects relationships and form. This opens up a possibility of communication that does not reduce to one cultural form, but defines an arena where they interact. It sees human outside of the cultural limitation.

        The issue is that most often critique will say that even that falls back into a cultural norm. So the only way to get out of that is to merely depart from it, stop resurrecting the cultural centrism that posits it, even as difference.

        This is because the contradiction that is suspended is that somehow cultural relativity transcends the cultural centrism. It’s never ending. The issue, it seems, is which term we call foundational, which clausal definition allows the correlational cycle to ‘open’ itself to the possibility of another cultural form? None. There is none. Every term evidences the closed intension.

        Yet this is indeed how reality occurs. There is no arguing around it or over it: it is the reality we are in.

        Such forms the basis of my critique of how Harman actually succeeds in stepping outside of it. Even while the cultural norm is firmly in operation.

        Badious naturalization, if I am not mistaken, is based in the fact that two sperm from different humans will not join to produce a baby human, neither two ova. Gender is a different order.

        No matter what I call those gametes, the effect is the same; like the hero with 1000 faces, the details of the cultural forms indeed tell unique stories, but together they identify a universal object that we generally call human. The relations precipitate, not the individual subjects. The subjects stay suspended in their contexts.

      7. Geertz! Clifford Geertz.

        I like that idea about interaction within a field of objects. That’s pretty neat.

        There are definitely universals. Biological ones at that. I’m reading a book right now called War, Peace, and Human Nature that argues that human nature is naturally cooperative rather than egoistic or selfish. So even at the level of human subjectivity I’m willing to say there are certain universals.
        That’s the problem though- you mention Campbell. I love Campbell- I tend to agree with him. But once you start getting into archetypes and stuff, Jungian type stuff, anthropologists generally hate that stuff. Completely ignores context.
        All I’m arguing for is context, rather than abstractions, even though we have to use abstractions to convey context…
        my brain hurts lol

      8. Hey now. Coincidentally, I have been reading Graham Harman’s “Dante’s Broken Hammer”. In it he speaks to formalism and materialism but in terms of Love. Your blog name is “amor in blog”. you might appreciate Harman in a different manner through this book. Maybe; Im only about half way through it right now.

        Just a thought.

      9. Actually my last is Amorino!! Hahaha

        I’ve always loved my last name. It names little cupid in Portuguese. But I’m totally using that as the real purpose of my blog. I’m gonna make that a subtitle or something

      10. …. you know, it does appear Harman an empiricist. All these labels. Lol. I have my own ideas about them; the standard definitions I think people can use them all sorts of ways . But H does have the basic view of there being an object that we sense.

      11. Oh yeah and I’m not even critiquing the fact that he’s an empiricist, I am also an empiricist, I would also consider myself an empiricist I think (?), I just think certain strands of empiricism tend to claim access to “ultimate Truth” about reality- whatever that means!

      12. Yes. There is always a need to negotiate immediate situations. Subjects always need a context, and advocates for those who cannot or will not effect their modern subjectivity. For sure.

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