I am somewhat disappointed in this book. I was excited to read about a new theory that seems to be spreading very quickly in academic circles. Whilst I do not agree very much with Graham Harman's OOO, that is not the issue I have with this book.
The problem lies in Graham's style of authorship. He spends much of his time demonstrating the merits of OOO not on its own basis as a "new theory of everything," but by appealing to its popularity with philosophy academics and other intellectuals - he dedicates a whole chapter to it, and another to attacking its critics. Whilst I wouldn't even mind his dedication of a whole chapter of rebuttals to critics of OOO, Graham seems to take things very personally, and is keen to tell the reader what kind of interactions he's had, and with who. It's all very petty. The way he talks about OOO and compares it to other theories can come off as downright dismissive and arrogant at times.
Towards the end of the book, I felt myself getting frustrated with Graham and wishing he would go back to explaining OOO rather than talking about it. It sometimes feels like OOO is something of a pet project of Harman's which is which is specifically designed to be popular with intellectuals, and not many people outside particular academic circles - he expressly goes out of his way to divorce philosophy from ethics and politics, and the reader is sometimes left wondering what the point of it all is.
Regarding the actual content, it is clear which aspects of OOO to which Graham has given more consideration as opposed to others. His theories on the use of metaphor and art to allude to things which are beyond literal explanation I found to be really interesting if not a bit poorly explained at times, whereas his treatment of scientific discovery and knowledge of objects falls flat on its face.
I have gained one or two interesting insights from the book, and Graham thankfully points to other OOO philosophers who seem to have very interesting ideas themselves, and I look forward to reading one or two of them. Overall, however, I feel like the book would have benefited quite substantially if it was written by anyone but Graham Harman.
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Object-Oriented Ontology: A New Theory of Everything Paperback – Illustrated, 1 March 2018
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About the Author
Graham Harman is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at SCI-Arc, Los Angeles. A key figure in the contemporary speculative realism movement in philosophy and known for his development of object-oriented ontology, he was named by Art Review magazine as one of the 100 most influential figures in international art. His previous books include Object-Oriented Ontology: A New Theory of Everything (Penguin, 2018).
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I am somewhat disappointed in this bookReviewed in the United Kingdom on 4 May 2018
41 people found this helpful
Clear expositionReviewed in the United Kingdom on 13 February 2020
A lovely tour round the major issues of western philosophy based on .... dare I say .... common sense. Very good mind fodder. Practical and theoretical implications are legion. Traditional, scientistic, conservative and rationalist perspectives are a bit snooty about it, which only adds to its appeal.
2 people found this helpful
Clear, radical and unpretentious.Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 7 March 2019
Intriguing, easy read.
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Good.Reviewed in India on 7 March 2020
Good. It gives a clear idea about O3.