From my keynote this afternoon in Cincinnati:


This was an excellent panel featuring, from left to right, Tatjana Gorbachewskaja, Justin L. Harmon, and Alfred Stabler.

Here I’m primarily responding to Justin, whose recent Ph.D. at the University of Kentucky was a critique of OOO’s implications for ethics.

Unfortunately, there will be no live feed available for my keynote today at 3 PM Cincinnati time. Technical complications.



book autograph table

May 28, 2016

Today at the University of Cincinnati, autographing books with fellow keynoters Slavoj Žižek and Frances Restuccia.




In my Speculative Realism series at Edinburgh University Press. The book page is HERE. I’ve received confirmation from Carol MacDonald at EUP that the US distributors received the book yesterday.

I’ve been a DeLanda fan for many years, and am pleased to have this book in the series. This book is his usual good stuff, and very readable as always.

In related news, Polity is apparently going to publish the dialogue on realism that DeLanda and I have been conducting via email over the past year or so, trying to figure out all the points of similarity and dissimilarity between assemblage theory and OOO. There’s no official title for that book yet, but we’re working up the contract right now.

give me one of those!

May 23, 2016


I’m not sure if this article is behind a payment firewall or not, but either way, it’s HERE. For those who don’t know of him, Zahavi is based in Copenhagen and is one of the most widely cited phenomenology scholars working today.

His argument has multiple holes, as I’ll show in my response (in the Tom Sparrow chapter of Skirmishes, in progress). But it’s a more serious critique than we usually receive. For one thing, Zahavi at least read a wide range of sources and authors in preparing for this article.

As concerns my own work, his biggest omission was reading Guerrilla Metaphysics but not Tool-Being. If he had done so, he wouldn’t have been so quick to play the “some people think Heidegger is a realist” card on me, since I argue for that myself. Nor would he have cited Dreyfus as an example left unconsidered, since I deal with Dreyfus’ version of “Heidegger is a realist” in Tool-Being as well.

Another card Zahavi plays on me is the “realist phenomenology” card, as if the realism problem only came about in Husserl’s later transcendental period. But I don’t believe I’ve ever published my thoughts about Ideas; my published reading of Husserl is based entirely on Logical Investigations and some earlier essays, and my case against Husserl’s idealism is based on this earlier phase which some wrongly hold to have been “realist.” Bottom line: I don’t think you can be a realist if you call it “absurd,” as Husserl does, to think that something might exist without being the possible correlate of an intentional act. That’s in Logical Investigations, by the way, not just after the supposed transcendental Kehre.

By getting so drawn into the old conflict over whether or not Husserl was an idealist, Zahavi overlooks what is actually the key to my reading of Husserl: the paradoxical position of intentional objects as both bound to and severed from their sensual and eidetic qualities. I would have been more interested to hear his thoughts about that, and about my corresponding view of Husserl as the great alternative to the Humean “bundle of qualities” theory. But Zahavi is not alone in this omission. Most readers of my work, including friendly ones, tend to overlook that point. (Jon Cogburn is the big exception so far.)

Zahavi’s rhetorically weakest moments come when he quotes out of context from some of my more poetic passages (“sailboats and moons”, etc.) and mocks my use of the term “weirdness.” This seems to be designed to provoke easy chuckles from his colleagues. But I will not apologize for the style of my writings, which are widely enjoyed around the world in a way that traditional academic writing is not. Nor will I cease using the term “weird.” It is a technical term that I developed carefully through my engagement with Lovecraft, and has to do with a clear philosophical claim: the separability of a real object from its sensual qualities.

His defensiveness shows when he criticizes us (me in particular) for not having sufficient knowledge of the phenomenological tradition. Rubbish. There are few people on the planet who have spent more time loyally reading Heidegger than I have, and I’ve done my time with the other key phenomenologists as well– always in a sympathetic spirit, which Zahavi seems to miss.

To end on a positive note, Zahavi is very forthright and admirably honest in citing a number of passages which show that Husserl is in fact a “correlationist.”

Read about it HERE.


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