I first heard about object-oriented philosophy around five years ago when reading a piece by Graham Harman in Making Things Public: Atmospheres of Democracy, edited by Bruno Latour and Peter Weibel. Writing about Heidegger, Harman makes the point that Heidegger’s philosophy isn’t simply another example of a linguistic turn in philosophy. Heidegger’s turn was a turn to things. I thoroughly enjoyed Harman’s essay, and I recently used it in a class I taught at Pacifica Graduate Institute (fyi, the students liked it). When I first read Harman, I was excited because his Heidegger sounds a lot like my Heidegger, a very thingy Heidegger. Even better than that, his Heideggerian “things” fit well with Latour’s “actors” (although actors may not harbor the non-relational reality hidden in the depths of things).
As much as I liked Harman’s essay, I didn’t quite pick up on the phrase “object-oriented philosophy.” It just didn’t stick. Object-oriented philosophy didn’t enter my vocabulary until last year at a conference in Claremont, California hosted by the Whitehead Research Project. Harman was present with other founding members of object-oriented ontology (OOO), Ian Bogost and Levi Bryant. Donna Haraway and Isabelle Stengers also presented, as did many notable scholars of Whitehead, Deleuze, and speculative metaphysics. Since then, I’ve been involved in a variety of object-oriented projects (teaching, presenting, writing), often with my good friend and colleague Adam Robbert, who is celebrating the first birthday of his excellent blog, Knowledge Ecology. Happy birthday, Knowledge Ecology!
I have been slow to start my own blog, as I’ve been finishing my dissertation (more on that later). It is with much inspiration from Adam and other thing-oriented theorists that I write here today…and more to follow….