Skip to main content

Every object is a transcendental subject?

I'm in Cairo. Had lunch, almond tart and wine with Graham Harman. Recorded him answering questions for my project of a cartography of the current metaphysical renaissance with a camera. We were in a place called Estoril. The interview is going to come up soon, in some format.

Been considering whether we can read some of the Kantian ideas as examples (or as first steps in a speculative operation, as Didier Debaise would prefer). Then talk about things-for-ourselves as opposed to things-in-themselves would be as much about us as about any other "us" (any other "ourselves"). Hence, things-for-bees, things-for-trees, things-for-ticks, things-for-a grain of salt. The distinction itself doesn't have to be human-centered: everything could be seen as a transcendental subject. Analogously, we can understand the old Vaihingen "as if" idea as applying to everything: it is as if blood is manioc beer for the jaguar and there is nothing else to blood but what it is as if for something else (apart, maybe, from the conjunction of everything that beer is for something else).

We can take many features of our own phenomena building as an example (pace Didier) of something more general in the world. Our capacity to construct objects – for instance, taken as black boxes – can be seen as shared by eagles, rivers and bacteria. It could be that we are only examples of transcendental subjects, that being a transcendental subject is our specific way of being something more general – say, an object.

Additionally, as I wrote elsewhere, the very definition of human "us" (as it appears when we talk about human experience, human conceptual capacities or human subjects) is itself not obvious. Surely, there is a gap between things-for-me and things-for-us and that is bridged by an appeal to what is common to us - but what us? The problem is that the metaphysics of things-for-us becomes hostage to the assumed commonalities between humans. It also stands on the supposition that these commonalities are more important than anything else to the constitution of things-for-me; while it could be that my experience (or my phenomena, or my conscious life) is more informed by my contact with non-humans - say cats, or toys, or mice, or beer - than by my common conceptual Bildung.

Maybe we should stop privileging one among many correlations...


  1. que lindo. a gente lendo harman aqui e achando a posição dele ainda muito misteriosa e você conversando com ele ai.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Giving Birth

This is a month of giving birth: 1. On the first day of the month (my birthday) I sent out my book BUG (Being Up for Grabs) to publisher. A birth-giving moment. 2. On the forth, we started the Journal, called Journal of Questions. It is a Jabèsian and Jarryian endeavor that intends to reflect in many languages about the gaps between thought and translation. It will be available soon. 3. On the 10th, day before yesterday, offspring Devrim A. B. was born. Her name means revolution in Turkish and is a roughly common name. She's very attentive and concentrated - especially on her own fingers that she learned to molest in her youth during her womb months. She was gestated together with BUG. Hope the world enjoys.

My responses to (some) talks in the Book Symposium

Indexicalism is out: l   The book symposium took place two weeks ago with talks by Sofya Gevorkyan/Carlos Segovia, Paul Livingston, Gerson Brea, Steven Shaviro, Chris RayAlexander, Janina Moninska, Germán Prosperi, Gabriela Lafetá, Andrea Vidal, Elzahrã Osman, Graham Harman, Charles Johns, Jon Cogburn, Otavio Maciel, Aha Else, JP Caron, Michel Weber and John Bova. My very preliminary response to some of their talks about the book follows. (Texts will appear in a special issue of Cosmos & History soon). RESPONSES : ON SAYING PARADOXICAL THINGS Hilan Bensusan First of all, I want to thank everyone for their contributions. You all created a network of discussions that made the book worth publishing. Thanks. Response to Shaviro: To engage in a general account of how things are is to risk paradox. Totality, with its different figures including the impersonal one that enables a symmetrical view from nowhere

Hunky, Gunky and Junky - all Funky Metaphysics

Been reading Bohn's recent papers on the possibility of junky worlds (and therefore of hunky worlds as hunky worlds are those that are gunky and junky - quite funky, as I said in the other post). He cites Whitehead (process philosophy tends to go hunky) but also Leibniz in his company - he wouldn't take up gunk as he believed in monads but would accept junky worlds (where everything that exists is a part of something). Bohn quotes Leibniz in On Nature Itself «For, although there are atoms of substance, namely monads, which lack parts, there are no atoms of bulk, that is, atoms of the least possible extension, nor are there any ultimate elements, since a continuum cannot be composed out of points. In just the same way, there is nothing greatest in bulk nor infinite in extension, even if there is always something bigger than anything else, though there is a being greatest in the intensity of its perfection, that is, a being infinite in power.» And New Essays: ... for there is ne