Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Jon Cogburn observes.
Academic philosophers give in to unearned contempt much more than people in other fields. For some reason, we feel justified saying nasty things about thinkers and movements we don't know very much about.
. . .
I think this bit about presuppositions is why orthodox Heideggerians don't make time for Harman. What is overwhelmingly offensive to them is not Harman's critique of correlationism, nor his neo-Aristotelian views, but rather his claim that most of Heidegger's work is just a repetitious restatement of of the tool/broken tool dichotomy.
I have a few comments. I find the use of collective nouns, like "orthodox Heideggerians", to be useless unless their membership can be ascertained, like "all Fords" or the IEEE. Otherwise, the collective's membership usually dwindles towards zero upon inspection. I've come across Harman's focus on B&T's phenomenology of tools, and I have not read all of Harman's books, but the two I've read recently, Quadruple Object and Heidegger Explained, have a broader perspective on Heidegger's work. And what could be offensive about neo-Aristotelian views to orthodox Heideggerians? In the broad scheme of philosophy, Heidegger can be most easily understood as a series of footnotes to Aristotle.
I think the reason some discount Harman (here not commenting on whether they are correct) is that they perceive Harman getting Heidegger wrong on these points. To them it's one thing to disagree with Heidegger (and many do in fact disagree with Heidegger in various places). It's an other to get him wrong on various points. Once again I'm not saying they are correct. But those "orthodox" Heideggerians I've heard commenting on Harman typically have particular criticisms of Harman from his earlier days as a Heidegger scholar.

For the record I've learned a lot by reading Harman although I much prefer Levi Bryant's form of OOO.
Post a Comment

<< Home
For when Ereignis is not sufficient.

Appropriation appropriates! Send your appropriations to enowning at gmail.com.

View mobile version