I'm a philosophy student that tends to post about really serious things unseriously and about really unserious things seriously.

I was once described as a "beautiful, intelligent iguana".

18th March 2013

Post with 6 notes

A little quip on OOO:

Given the last post, I just wanted to clarify this just in case anyone was getting the wrong idea, since this is seeming to become a common response/critique of OOO type theories: Object-Oriented Philosophy/Ontology, and any of the ‘Speculative Realism’ associated theorists I’ve seen, would never claim that Tumblr or any corporation, is a human subject, because this already presumes that ‘human subjects’ exist in a different ontological category than everything else.

It’s like that slogan from Ian Bogost: all things equally exist, but they don’t exist equally. This means that, insofar as something exists, it’s subject to the same ontological constraints as any other existing thing. There aren’t two hemispheres of being: one the one hand a ‘subject’ (which has almost always been human in the history of philosophy) and the other ‘object’ (which is somehow seen as inert, acted on, passive, etc.). The term ‘subject’ falls under the category of ‘object’ for those working in the OOO framework. There’s no distinction between the two, ontologically.

This doesn’t mean that every entity ‘exists equally’ though. Given that OOO theorists are often concerned with tracing the important roles that ‘objects’ can play in social networks, they’re also aware that certain objects in a network act as ‘hubs’, or privileged centers around which action happens. This means taking into account the Power relations that objects exert within a social body, taking into account the particular ways an object exerts its  power within a network of other objects.

So, it’s not about how objects are ‘human subjects’ - that categorization doesn’t even make sense - but about how objects need to be incorporated into our philosophical systems as active things, instead of seeing the only ‘active’ force in an ontology as coming from humans (possibly animals).

Or, to put this otherwise, every OOO/OOP theorist I’ve read has been adamantly against the decision reached in Citizens United and against corporate personhood, precisely because corporations (as objects) have a different amount of power/influence/etc. than does a person (especially when placed within a network called ‘Capitalism’). They both exist, they’re real, but the way that they exist is different.

[Note: I’m not making this post to attack the OP of my last post or something. I just really wanted to do my part to nip that idea in the bud before it blossoms into something that seems ‘obvious’ about OOO. That critique is becoming more common, but it has absolutely no base in the works of OOO theorists - it’s empty projection use to slander their works unjustifiably.]

Tagged: OOOBogostOOPphilosophy

  1. sterwood posted this