Object Oriented Ontology

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A subset of Speculative Realism is Object-oriented ontology (OOO). This is a metaphysical movement that rejects the privileging of human existence over the existence of nonhuman objects. Object-oriented ontology opposes the anthropocentrism of Immanuel Kant’s Copernican Revolution, whereby objects are said to conform to the mind of the subject and, in turn, become products of human cognition.

Puts Things at the Centre of Study

Ontology is the philosophical study of existence. Object-oriented ontology (“OOO” for short) puts things at the centre of this study. Its proponents contend that nothing has special status, but that everything exists equally—plumbers, cotton, bonobos, DVD players, and sandstone, for example.

In contemporary thought, things are usually taken either as the aggregation of ever smaller bits (scientific naturalism) or as constructions of human behavior and society (social relativism).

OOO steers a path between the two, drawing attention to things at all scales (from atoms to alpacas, bits to blinis), and pondering their nature and relations with one another as much with ourselves.

Speculative Realism

Speculative Realism is a recent philosophical movement that rejects ‘Correlationism’; a privileging of a subject-object way of understanding the world. The benefit is to change the way that we think about objects. Some of the qualities of objects are not accessible to humans.

Products designed for Human use often go on designing after they have exhausted their intended human use lifespan. The name actually comes from a conference held in 2007, at Goldsmiths College at the University of London. Experts including Ray Brassier, Iain Hamilton and Graham Harman came together at this conference to discuss this fairly recently philosophical movement. And so, the name speculative realism was born.

Tool Being

The term “object-oriented philosophy” was officially coined by Graham Harman, the movement’s founder, in his 1999 doctoral dissertation “Tool-Being: Elements in a Theory of Objects.” Since then, a number of theorists working in a variety of disciplines have adapted Harman’s ideas, including philosophy professor Levi Bryant, literature and ecology scholar Timothy Morton, video game designer Ian Bogost, and medievalists Jeffrey Jerome Cohen and Eileen Joy. In 2009, Bryant rephrased Harman’s original designation as “object-oriented ontology,” giving the movement its current name.

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