Levi Bryant responds to my last post (and by extension to Chris Vitale’s) here. I agree with him that he and Graham Harman have made worthy efforts at addressing concerns that are central to process-relational philosophical communities (e.g., in Bryant’s Difference and Givenness and in the books of Harman’s that I’ve lauded on this blog); nowhere did I claim they have “made no arguments.” My point in the comparison was not to “appeal to authority,” as Levi claims. It was simply to point out the fact that one could fill a modestly sized room with the books that have been published by Deleuzians, Whiteheadians, Peircians, Bergsonians, Jamesians, neo-Spinozans, Hartshornians, Batesonians, panpsychists, biosemioticists, affective materialists, etc. etc. (not to mention Buddhist nondualists and other non-Western-based philosophers, at which point we would need a modestly sized building, not just a room). One could not fill a small shelf yet with OOO books.

This says nothing about the quality of any of these books. But it does say that the former (process-relational) traditions have been productive research programs (in philosopher of science Imre Lakatos’s terms), which is almost as good as one could hope for in a field as paradigmatically pluralistic and divided as philosophy. The difference between a productive and a moribund research program is not always easy to tell except in retrospect, but the level of continuing idea-generation and publishing, including efforts that traverse between and across the various sub-traditions I’ve just mentioned, is relatively healthy. Given that state of the field, Kuhnian paradigm shifts are probably not on the philosophical horizon anytime soon. But I admire OOO-ists’ efforts (and enthusiasm) to cut a wide swath through current philosophical discourse, and I actually cheer them on in doing this (since I share at least some of their interests). But let’s keep things in perspective.

On an unrelated note: my blogging will likely be minimal over the coming weeks. I may polish off a few half- or mostly-written posts from my drafts folder, and I will continue to update my Shadow Blog (since that takes no time at all). You may see a few guest bloggers here as well. But otherwise, don’t expect too much activity here, especially on this objects-processes debate.

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Related posts:

  1. daughter objects (& processes)
  2. Democracy of Objects
  3. Vitale throws down the gauntlet…
  4. Progress (toward Ω?)
  5. sinkhole to hell?
  6. Agreements & productive differences