A Critique of Object-Oriented Philosophy and Speculative Realism

Student thesis: Master-after-master

Abstract

This thesis seeks to explicate and complicate Graham Harman’s object-oriented approach to
realism by tracing back the strengths and weakness of his ontological system to the internal
tensions within the field of play of Speculative Realism, in particular his disagreements with
former colleague Ray Brassier on the meaning of such fundamental concepts and notions as
“realism”, “correlationism”, “anthropocentrism” and “speculation”, and further back still to the
systematic philosophies of analytically-oriented thinkers such as Alfred North Whitehead (his
process metaphysics) and Wilfrid Sellars (his transcendental naturalism) against the background
of diverging interpretations of Kant. More specifically, it conducts an internal critique of objectoriented
philosophy that takes due note of existing objections, particularly those presented by
neo-rationalist philosophers such as Brassier and Peter Wolfendale, but at the same time seeks to
go beyond the negative, destructive or deconstructive moment of critique (abstract negation) into
some form of mediation (determinate negation) which does not culminate in a grand synthesis
but exploits a series of ‘minor’ connections that, in turn, provide the necessary hints for an
immanent, creative and differential reconstruction of object-oriented philosophy in naturalistic
terms.
Date of Award30 Jun 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Vrije Universiteit Brussel
SupervisorYoni Van Den Eede (Promotor)

Keywords

  • Object-Oriented Philosophy

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