dOCUMENTA, Karen Barad, Object Oriented Ontology, Performativity, Quantum theory, Quentin Meillassoux, Speculative Realism

099: Karen Barad (dOCUMENTA)

While visting dOCUMENTA in Kassel, Germany this weekend I came across this beautifully published essay by Karen Barad – author of Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning. The essay is entitled ‘What is the measure of nothingness? Infinity, Virtuality, Justice’ and consists of an attempt to emphasize and conceptualize the importance of (the Copenhagen interpretation of) quantum theory – related to notions such as measurements as ‘intra-actions’, indeterminacy, vacuum fluctuations, Bohr’s principle of complementarity – for a speculative philosophy that, interestingly, positions itself somewhere between OOO and SR. Being concerned with ‘the very nature of nature’ (p. 6) Barad defines objects or phenomena as ‘contingent configurations of mattering’ (p. 7) – which indicates that she is concerned with developing an ontology of becoming, or one that makes the insight that ‘there are no pre-existing individual objects with determinate boundaries that precede some interaction’ (p. 6) into its primordial commitment.
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Quentin Meillassoux, The Number and the Siren

The Number and the Siren [update]

Missed this one…Quentin Meillassoux’s second book – a ‘philosophical detective story’ in the form of an analysis of Mallarmé’s famous poem Un Coup de Dés – is forthcoming in May (Urbanomic). As Deleuze once remarked ‘a book of philosophy should be in part a very particular species of detective fiction, in part a kind of science fiction’. Hopefully, that is exactly what Meillassoux offers in his further interrogation of chance, contingency and a true philosophy of the future.

For details click here.

UPDATE: Anthony Paul Smith (an und für sich) has written a terrific review of Meillassoux’s book. 

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Didier Debaise, Levy Bryant, Philosopher's Rally, Speculative Realism

Levi Bryant & Didier Debaise in Rotterdam, the Netherlands

It’s not my intention to make this blog into a sort of conference alert website, but this announcement is really worth mentioning. On the 18th and 19th of April Levi Bryant and Didier Debaise will deliver their key-note lectures at the annual Philosopher’s Rally in Rotterdam. This surely is a wonderful opportunity to see the both of them ‘in real life’.The theme of this year’s conference is ‘Beyond Dualism’.

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Bruno Latour, Graham Harman, Levy Bryant, Materialism, Object Oriented Ontology, Peter van Ingwagen

materialism without materials (or; clouds are elementary particles arranged cloudwise)

The most common misunderstanding about object-oriented ontology is probably that it entails a rigid materialism. Since it talks of ‘materials’ and often does this with reference to ‘beings’ it seems not unfair to label it as a contemporary ‘materialist ontology’ (reminiscent of both Lucretius’ atoms and different Marxist positions). And a title like Material Beings would probably count as a good candidate for any object-oriented publication.
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(the) Political, Adorno, Agency and Politics, Alain Badiou, Dialectic of Enlightenment, Object Oriented Ontology, Ontological Politics, Speculative Realism

Adorno having a few speculative realist and object-oriented moments

While reading Adorno & Horkheimer’s Dialectic of Enlightenment I was struck not merely by the complexity of their argument, but by the fact that their analysis of the achievements of Enlightenment shows so many (indirect) affiliations with recent developments in Speculative Realist or Object-Oriented ontologies. Continue reading

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