Here Comes Everything Audio
by Adam Robbert
Here is the audio from Friday’s event (below). Technical issues abound, if we can sort it out these will be replaced by video shortly. If you didn’t catch it earlier, I also wrote a short synopsis of the event which you can find HERE. Thanks again to everyone who attended and a special thank you to all the other presenters for making the difficult task of tackling something so new such a pleasure. Cheers to you all!
Participatory Realism: Two Cheers for Meillassoux - Keynote speaker Professor Jacob Sherman
SR in 3 minutes - Sam Mickey
The History of Access: An Introduction to the Speculative Turn - Sam Mickey and Adam Robbert
Since Kant initiated a Copernican turn in philosophy, the trajectory of philosophy has steered away from a serious study of ontology and metaphysics, entrenching itself ever deeper into epistemology, critique, and language analysis. Rather than studying the reality of things in themselves, philosophers have devoted the majority of their efforts to studying access, or the ways humans come to interpret things and the world. This move to access (i.e., correlationism) has had many benefits, from compelling critiques of philosophies and social systems to profound explorations of the relationships intertwining humans with the world. However, a new movement is bringing forth with renewed intensity a passion for speculating about the weird and wild reality of things in themselves. Dubbed Speculative Realism, this movement questions philosophies of access and seeks to return to philosophical engagements with the real world. This short introduction to the history of access since Kant provides a background for the following presentations that, in their own ways, contemplate the meaning and value of the speculative turn.
Ganga – River, Goddess, Thing - Elizabeth McAnally
This presentation explores the philosophy of Bruno Latour through an account of Ganga, the Ganges River of Northern India. By considering various perspectives of Ganga (including those from sciences, religions, and politics), it is possible to see how this river-goddess can be understood as a “thing” in terms of object-oriented philosophy, such that it is an actor in a complex network of relations. Latour’s sense of water democracy can help us take into account multiple perspectives regarding Ganga, from local to international levels, bringing these perspectives into dialogue with each other so that comprehensive, long-term solutions to water issues can be reached.
The Astonishing Depths of Things - Sam Mickey
Sam will give an overview of Graham Harman’s object-oriented philosophy—a form of speculative realism—by highlighting Harman’s postsecular integration of three philosophical movements: 1) phenomenology, including Martin Heidegger (whose phenomenology indicates that all objects are withdrawn and not exhausted by theoretical or practical relations) as well as Emmanuel Levinas, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and Alphonso Lingis (“carnal phenomenologists” who articulate the elemental medium through which things interact), 2) process-relational philosophy, particularly Bruno Latour and Alfred North Whitehead, for whom human-world relations are not primary but are merely a special case of any relation, different only by degree, and 3) occasionalist philosophy, which asserts that objects do not touch each other directly but only through occasional causation (Harman’s “vicarious causation”). A call echoes throughout object-oriented philosophy and, hopefully, throughout most of 21stcentury philosophy: to rejuvenate our sense of astonishment and renew our contact with things themselves.
Adam will examine the role played by Graham Harman’s “Object-Oriented Ontology” (or “OOO” for short) in rethinking issues relevant to practices of integral ecology. The insights of an object-oriented ontology, which though most closely associated with Graham Harman, can be seen as a further development of the philosophical and anthropological project initiated by Bruno Latour. I will first provide an overview of Latour’s work, with specific attention paid to his notion of the “actor.” Such a description will serve as both a background and introduction to Harman’s work wherein he further develops Latour’s project by renaming the “actor” with the more general term “object.” Harman’s emphasis on objects will be brought into conversation with current problems facing the sciences of ecology and their mutually implicated political and social dimensions. In this way an object-oriented approach to ecology, Adam suggests, gives way to a new philosophical option, that of an ecological realism. The OOO perspective offers not only a robust ontology of the real, but also a fourfold epistemological model capable of aiding in the development of an integral ecology that is more adequate in dealing with perspectives currently unavailable in mainstream discourses.
What can we learn from the dialogue between Graham Harman’s “Object-Oriented Ontology” and Buddhism? In his presentation, Aaron will articulate some of the work that lies ahead for those wishing to explore this uncharted territory. Incorporating themes of mindfulness, myth, and liberation into a discussion of interobjective relations, Aaron’s presentation will ask participants to think about these subjects in new ways, suggesting novel patterns of thought beyond both dualism and monism.
In his study of Schelling’s naturephilosophy (Philosophies of Nature After Schelling, 2006), Iain Hamilton Grant offers a novel characterization that supplants the vitalist and idealist labels usually attached to him. The speculative realist movement is full of delightfully strange ideas, but Schelling’s naturephilosophy presents an especially surprising case study. Schelling breaks the correlationist circle imposed by Kantian transcendentalism by thinking the becoming of the universe with Plato, of all people, whose philosophy is generally considered to be the paradigm case of idealism. Grant’s reading of Plato’s physics challenges those who would call him a two-world metaphysician. Instead, Plato is interpreted as a participatory realist, struggling to account for the way Ideas are realized in the becoming of the universe. My presentation will review Schelling’s speculative response to Kant’s transcendentalism by focusing on three texts: Schelling’s “Ideas for a Philosophy of Nature,” Kant’s “Critique of Judgment,” and Plato’s “Timaeus.” I will argue for the plausibility of Schelling’s geocentric response to Kant’s Copernican Revolution, wherein the earth itself becomes the transcendental ground of human consciousness.