Saturday, April 11, 2020
In Open Philosophy, Graham Harman on exiting modern philosophy.
Tell me your “philosopher of the future” and I will tell you who you are. More likely than not, your future philosopher is a phantasmatic image of the place where you already stand—as when hopeful fathers imagine their infant sons following in their professional footsteps someday, but with more success. Heidegger had some sense of this problem, as we find in one of his passages on ambiguity in Being and Time:
Everyone is acquainted with what is up for discussion and what occurs, and everyone discusses it; but everyone also knows already how to talk about what has to happen first–about what is not yet up for discussion but “really” must be done. Already everyone has surmised and scented out in advance what Others have also surmised and scented out. This Being-on-the scent is of course based upon hearsay, for if anyone is genuinely “on the scent” of anything, he does not speak about it… [B&T 217-218]
Any philosophical future that merely involves some new permutation on the onto-taxonomy of thought and world–however radically it claims to have ended “Cartesian dualism”– is not much of a future, but merely an extension of the present. We need to stop looking toward the horizon, and reflect instead on the major prejudice in our midst.
I think, because he is not very influential, Graham Harman has exercised a positive influence on the aww p English reception of Heidegger. His uncareful claim that Heidegger anthropocentrized his project early on is good for readers of Heidegger, as is his misunderstanding of zuhandenheit as something that could apply to the function of gastrointestinal processes. Thank the god for Harman.
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