The Omnipresence of Breakdown: Object-Oriented Philosophy of Technology

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingMeeting abstract (Book)


Graham Harman’s object-oriented philosophy (OOP) has up until now received little to no attention from philosophy of technology (PhilTech). Yet two crucial aspects of OOP make it worthwhile, even necessary, to dig into it: 1) Harman is well-known for his innovative reading of Heidegger, that puts the tool analysis “upside down.” For dominant approaches in PhilTech such as postphenomenology the tool analysis has been of great importance. What could Harman’s “reversal” mean for those approaches? 2) Harman also offers an idiosyncratic reading of Latour, supplying a kind of “mirror image” to him: he supplements the Latourian relationalist-network perspective with a notion of “substance.” But PhilTech is still sticking to the standard relationalist reading. It serves to inquire into possible reasons for this neglect, and see if and how OOP can be put to use for the study of technology. Technology is not a particular focus in Harman’s work, but if we look at OOP through the “lens” of technology, interesting results may ensue. The notions of “breakdown,” “relation” and “network” play a fundamental role here, and it may turn out that these actually acquire an enhanced meaning – especially looked at against the backdrop of contemporary/emerging “algorithmic technologies,” that may require an object-oriented analysis.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSPT 2017: The Grammar of Things: Book of Abstracts
PublisherSociety for Philosophy and Technology (SPT)
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventSPT 2017: The Grammar of Things -
Duration: 14 Jun 2017 → …


ConferenceSPT 2017: The Grammar of Things
Period14/06/17 → …


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