What OOO refuses is the thesis that we have to either hold that “physical beings” are constructed by discourses (discursivism) or that we must hold that discourses are mere figments of the mind that are unreal. Both, for OOO, belong to the domain of being or existence. This is probably why OOO tends to come under so much criticism from both sides of the debate. The scientific realists are aghast that we would claim that things like myths or the discourse of creationism are real entities in the world that have real effects, and thereby take us to be undermining science and treating it as equal with creationism (we’re not). The social constructivists are aghast that we would say that rabbits, aardvarks, black holes, etc., are real material entities in the world irreducible to discursive constructionism, and take us to denying the discursive construction of things like race, gender, nationality, etc., thereby allowing a dangerous essentialism in the door (we’re not). What we’ve instead tried to do is adopt a more inclusive ontology that allows us to think the complex imbrication and interaction of a variety of entities, discursive and material, in the world.
Well the OOO / Deleuzian blog-facebook-o-sphere (Alexander Galloway et al) have been having this somewhat silly back and forth about politics for the last few days. Levi offers a pretty good discussion here. I would also suggest looking into Bogost’s post that sparked this response. Graham Harman has also been writing a bit. Generally it’s been a rather frustrating go-round of the same questions, but this is worth looking into. There’s a lot to disagree with in OOO, but most of the time its opponents are making straw men attacks without doing their homework. “I saw somebody on a blog say this is what you mean and so obviously that’s what you mean” depth of substance.
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