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Posts Tagged ‘relationalism’

(I try not to edit things once they’re published, but I couldn’t resist adding a Chevy Impala to this blog.) It may not quite be Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus, as Graham Harman’s blog post title suggests, but Chris Vitale has clearly had a change of heart, a dropping of resistance that’s resulted […]

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I’ve been meaning to catch up on the discussions over Buddhism and objects/relations, Slavoj Zizek’s critique of “Western Buddhism,” and related topics, which have been continuing on Tim Morton’s Ecology Without Nature, Jeffrey Bell’s Aberrant Monism, Skholiast’s Speculum Criticum Traditionis, and elsewhere. I haven’t quite caught up, but here are a few quick notes on […]

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If there’s a musical demonstration of relationalism, and by extension (as Skholiast points out) of ecology, it’s the kind of improvised music that the Dead are supposed to have excelled at (and occasionally did). The universe gives rise to many wondrous entities in its long history of spontaneity, relational responsiveness, habit-formation, and form-building. The habits start as rhythms, melodic chirps that turn into territorial refrains and calls, and that gradually maneuvre their way into verse patterns, melodies, harmonies, polyrhythms. Distinct songs develop for particular purposes and gradually get freed from those purposes, taken up into improvisational routines and performances, some of which crystallize into larger-scale architectonics, but only ever temporarily.

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I’m on the road, and haven’t been able to keep up with the continuing exchange that’s now drawn in Steven Shaviro and Chris Vitale in addition to Levi and Graham, with side comments from Peter Gratton and others. That despite Graham’s call for a “cease fire,” which elicited some spirited responses from Levi, Steven, and […]

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I should probably resist from critiquing blog posts, since these rarely capture one’s considered thoughts the way print articles and books do. So rather than replying in detail to Graham’s rejoinder to my previous post, I’ll agree to the cease-fire he proposes (though I hope we weren’t really sniping at each other!). At least after […]

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I’m looking forward to Graham Harman’s forthcoming review of Jane Bennett’s Vibrant Matter, and I’m glad to see that this discussion between object-oriented philosophy and Bennett’s vibrant materialism (and, by extension, the other theoretical impulses she draws on, which this blog, for the most part, enthusiastically shares) is getting underway. That discussion will no doubt […]

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For an indication of why I’m interested in the “more” that object-oriented philosophers grapple with, the “remainder” beyond what can be accounted for of an object or phenomenon through relational accounts, I thought it would be appropriate to share a few paragraphs from my 2001 book Claiming Sacred Ground.

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Graham Harman replies here and here to my last contribution, and Paul Reid-Bowen joins in with an interesting and original take on the debate at Pagan Metaphysics. I’ll try to keep my reply to both of them fairly brief in what follows. Graham writes that “You can’t find the cane toad by summing up all […]

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Replying to me here, Graham Harman explains his objections to relational ontologies, arguing that they fail to make a distinction between the “two sorts of relations” in which an entity is involved. These are not “the famous ‘internal’ and ‘external’ relations,” but are what he “somewhat whimsically” calles the “domestic” and “foreign” relations of an object. (I like this distinction, though I’m not sure how it’s different from internal and external relations.)

GH: “Surely Adrian doesn’t want to claim that the cane toad is a set of all its relations? If Mars were five inches further along in its course than it currently is, would the cane toad be a different cane toad than it is now?” [. . .]

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Levi Bryant’s detailed and generous replies to my critical queries, both in the comments section of this post and at Larval Subjects, and Graham Harman’s replies here (and in an e-mail exchange) have helped me get a much clearer sense of where the main differences lie between their respective “object-oriented” positions and my relational view. […]

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