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Speculative Realism (Harman, Meillassoux , Brassier, Grant)

Organizing Committee:


Speculative realism is a newly-emerging philosophical mode of inquiry that attempts to think outside of the deadlocks of continental and analytic philosophy, primarily with a non-anthropocentric metaphysics and the ontological equalization of human and non-human experiences of reality.

Their main target consists of all those philosophies (from positivism to deconstruction, phenomenology to naive scientific objectivity) "according to which we only ever have access to the correlation between thinking and being, and never to either term considered apart from the other" (Meillassoux). 

Some questions for Speculative Realists might be: what is an object? Why do we think we cannot know objects?  How do objects know each other? Howcan we think of the human and the inorganic in the same or similar terms?  What does our inevitable non-existence tell us about the world? How are worlds without human thought knowable by us?

While some claim that there are at least four major trends within Speculative Realism, represented by Harman, Meillassoux , Brassier, and Grant, these authors tend to be sympathetic to, in varying degrees: Bruno LaTour, Whitehead, Hume, HP Lovecraft, Deleuze, Badiou, Lacan, cognitive science, Schelling and Husserl.  

This class would be a two-meeting reading and discussion group focusing on parts of the following texts (all available on 

  • Graham Harman's "Guerilla Metaphysics"  
  • Ray Brassier's "Nihil Unbound: Enlightenment and Extinction"
  • After Finitude: An Essay on the Necessity of Contingency

As well as several of the blogs that have cropped up around Speculative Realism: 


I can facilitate, but not "teach" these texts.   

Check out the Wikipedia Page for more info:



As are Michael and I. If this starts up again in the fal, we'll definitely be interested.

I am for sure. Hope class was a good one saturday, sad to have missed it.

If anyone is interested in picking this group up after summer, we should talk. I would still love to read Brassier & the blogs.


To those interested in Speculative Realism & The Public School:

Just show up to the Public School at noon (or a little before) this Saturday! Bring $5 for the suggested donation.

And most importantly bring your ideas!

p.s. be sure to check out all the other great classes. You can also propose a class YOU want to take, teach, or participate in, and if there's enough interest it can happen!

Great summary. There is a note in chapter 6 about the interacting thing, that they do so "on the inside of other objects" along with promises to go in-depth on it which are never really followed through on.

I'd like to propose a variant of #2 that i've been thinking which really boils down my issues.

Granting that the project of talking about objects without reference to humans is a good one, the question remains: do we need a metaphysics to do so? Or can we just start talking?

Good class -- and good debate. For those who couldn't make it, we are meeting next Saturday @ noon at the Public School.

Would someone else like to facilitate this one?

The readings are: finish Meillasoux (Chs. 3-end) & read Ch 6 of Harmann, Prince of Networks.

I think we hit on some core issues/problems with the readings and I will try to summarize them here:

1. How do two objects relate? Harmann says they need a sensual mediator? Does this mean, for instance Rain - Rock mediated by gravity, or the sensual surface of the rain and rock mediate between the real rock & rain. Here is a possible response to read:

2. The next question was, what does it matter? How does getting us thinking about real but inaccessible objects change anything? Pragmatically, does OOP change how humans might encounter the world? Does the existence of real objects really change the day-to-day fact that we live in a more or less correlationist existence?

3. What would it mean to talk about human consciousness encountering the world as being ontologically equal to inanimate objects encountering each other? What would it really tell us about inanimate things? About non-human living beings? Are there thought experiments we could propose to take advantage of Harmann's non-anthropocentric panpsychism?

The tribe that only counts to 5(ish) is the Munduruku, as mentioned in Alex Bellos' book "Alex's Adventures in Numberland." There was a page with an excerpt on the guardian site but it is down now (copywrong strikes again)

Sorry for colonizing the later half of the class!

Just a reminder-the first installment of Speculative Realism is tomorrow. As aaaarg shut down the readings can now be found here:

Meillasoux, After Finitude

Harmann, Prince of Networks

Excited to speculate alongside you all!

TPS's picture

Meillasoux, After Finitude
Harmann, Prince of Networks



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