Intentional inexistence


Another quote from Graham Harman’s “Dwelling With the Fourfold” paper (p.  299):

The hammer in its tool-being, then, is not just simple. It is also a vast relational compound arising from numerous subservient or contributing entities. But by the same token, the hammer in its breakdown is also not just a relational phenomenon lying on the outermost surface of reality. After all, the hammer in this case exists in relation to me. And such a relation is a genuine entity in its own right, an interior space possessing some features and lacking others. In fact, the relation between me and the hammer is nothing less than a new object in its own right. My perception of the hammer, whatever its features, is therefore something that takes place on the interior of an object. Any space is a space on the inside of an object. There is no transcendence that strips free of all location—no starry, windy space of freedom or Angst to which humans arise and survey the world from a mountaintop. Instead, we are like moles or mining-machines, burrowing from one zone of reality to another, sometimes finding ourselves in better places than others, but never in a place from which we can survey all the rest. It is well known that Franz Brentano’s full name for intentionality is “intentional inexistence.” This is usually taken to refer to objects existing inside human consciousness, when in fact it really means that human consciousness is always on the inside of an object.


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