Metaphysics in Many Directions

An evening with Graham Harman
Monday, January 17, 2011
6:30 pm onwards

At CAMP studio



On our rooftop, with internet cables overhead, firecrackers celebrating unknown events, amidst a flurry of projects, in a break from programming, carpentry, and travel, and interrupting our usual screening schedule, we have the pleasure of announcing an informal encounter with the philosopher Graham Harman, and his recent and upcoming books, including the three that came out in November last year:  the fiction work Circus Philosophicus, "Platonic myth meets American noir in this haunting series of philosophical images from gigantic ferris wheels to offshore drilling rigs.", Towards Speculative Realism, a collection of his essays on Heidegger, phenomenology and objects since 1997, and L'Objet Quadruple (The Quadruple Object, currently only in French), which lays out his theory of a fourfold split within objects.

Graham Harman is one of the most exciting voices in contemporary philosophy. He lives and teaches in Cairo, is a prodiguous blogger, and is the author of several books constituting what he describes as an Object-Oriented philosophy.  See more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graham_Harman

One of his key older works (already from 2009) is a book on Bruno Latour: "The Prince of Networks" is available as open-access here and takes seriously Latour as a philosopher, describing Latour's books Irreductions, Science in Action, We Have Never Been Modern, and Pandora‚Äôs Hope as having major consequences for metaphysics and philosophy. One of these consequences, congruent with Harman's own view,  is that human subjectivity can no longer sustain a central position in philosophy, and we need to attend to the ways in which: "the arena of the world is jam-packed with diverse objects, their forces unleashed and mostly unloved... snowflakes glitter in the light that cruelly annihilates them; damaged submarines rust along the ocean floor. As flour emerges from mills and blocks of limestone are compressed by earthquakes, gigantic mushrooms spread in the Michigan forest. While human philosophers bludgeon each other over the very possibility of "access" to the world, sharks bludgeon tuna fish, and icebergs smash into coastlines."  A provocative aspect of Object-Oriented Ontology is an argument for "aesthetics as first philosophy", as well as "allure as causation"... in other words, suggesting that a kind of aesthetics is the primordial force which causes everything in the world to happen.

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