Posts Tagged ‘object-oriented ontology’


29 September 2010

I thought the following summary by Graham Harman was the most concise so far on how he distinguishes his object-oriented philosophy (or object-oriented ontology (OOO), as it’s been renamed recently) from Latour’s version of actor-network theory. This difference is probably worth exploring further.

(I corrected some of the typos and iPad misspellings in the original, hopefully I got them right).

Graham Harman:

“…in my Latour book I said that his philosophy contains the four key concepts of actors, irreductions, translation, and alliance. All are crucial, but in a sense OOO departs from Latour on all four, at least in my version of OOO. Namely,

  1. Actors are not all equal. There is a difference between real and sensual objects, and it is absolute, they are radically different in kind.
  2. Latour holds that nothing is either reducible nor irreducible to anything else. My position, contrary to false assertions that I think spaghetti monsters are as real as atoms, is that real objects are never reducible and sensual objects always are. There is, however, some difficulty in knowing which objects are real. We can never be sure of this, in fact. No intellectual intuition allows us to make this determination; the belief in a given real object is always falsifiable.
  3. As for translation, Latour holds that all relations are mediated. I counter that this leads to a Zeno-like paradox, and that there is in fact a kind of direct contact: a real-sensual link is always direct, whereas real-real is always linked by the sensual and sensual- sensual is always linked by real.
  4. As for alliances, whereas for Latour a thing is determined by its alliances, I hold that it is determined only in isolation from its alliances.”

OOO Symposium recordings

19 May 2010

Now available from the Object-Oriented Ontology Symposium website:

Download and listen to recordings of the symposium presentations in MP3 format. Each file includes the talk and the discussion/Q&A that followed it.

  • Jay Telotte and Ian Bogost: Welcome
  • Graham Harman: American Objects vs. Austrian Objects
  • Steven Shaviro: The Universe of Things
  • Levi Bryant: Being is Flat: The Strange Mereology of Object-Oriented Ontology
  • Ian Bogost: Cakes, Chips, and Calculus
  • Barbara Stafford: Concluding Remarks

Object-Oriented Octopus

17 December 2009

I hereby nominate this very clever octopus to the post of official mascot of object-oriented ontology. If there was any doubt that humans (and primates and ants and birds and so on) were not the only creatures that can use tools, then this should settle it. Even an invertebrate knows how to use tools. More than that, this octopus uses tools to build a dwelling, for the very practical and sensible reason of protecting and furthering its existence. As Heidegger put it, “Dwelling, however, is the basic character of Being in keeping with which mortals exist. (…) Building and thinking are, each in its own way, inescapable for dwelling.” (p. 158). If that’s the case, then it’s time perhaps to freshen up Heidegger a bit. Enough talk of man, how about octopus?

“What if octopus’s homelessness consisted in this, that octopus still does not even think of the real plight of dwelling as the plight? Yet, as soon as octopus gives thought to his [or her] homelessness, it is a misery no longer. Rightly considered and kept well in mind, it is the sole summons that calls mortals into their dwelling. ” [After Heidegger, p. 159]


Heidegger, M. (1975). Poetry, Language, Thought. New York, Harper & Row.