OOF - Behar

Object Oriented Feminism – Objects and Subjects

philosophy

About 10 years ago Object Oriented Ontology and Speculative Realism exploded on to the philosophy scene. At a high level this thought machine is about removing the anthropocentric bias in post kantian philosophy (perhaps all philosophy) and treating all things as objects. Then there are a bunch of questions like how do objects relate to one another, how do objects learn about other objects and so forth.

Behar responded to this with Object Oriented Feminism, a queering of this mode of thought. When I think about subjects and objects and feminism I think of Simone de Beauvoir, and the idea that historically woman is defined in relation to man. Man is normative and everything not man, including woman is not normative. Man is the subject and woman is the object.

Men are, and have always been subjects in the kantian/post-kantian (and prior) thought. Women are objects. Perhaps it is radical for a man to say that he is an object like everyone else, but that is not the same for a woman. To be an object is a degradation in this context let’s all be subjects! A subject oriented ontology, or subject oriented feminism. Perhaps it is not catchy enough.

There is a portion of Behar’s introduction of OOF that responds to the stylistic quality of OOF.   This is the picture at the top of the blog post. And indeed SR and OOO has a style -theory fiction, the blog-o-sphere, and urbanomic.  There is a marketing or designed aspect to OOO and OOF.  Aesthetics matter – they are a consideration of how to connect with a possible audience.

Is Behar making fun of the white maleness behind OOO, she says no, but perhaps the design says yes. Would it be so bad to do? OOF is a reaction to OOO. Like oof- I cant believe you did that. The presentation problem of OOO is from one perspective the homogeneity of its proponents. But from another perspective it is about the rejection of the political dimension. 

OOO is the philosophy of people who have the luxury of metaphysical speculation. Objects do not have that luxury. They first need to become subjects, or as OOF wold say everything should be considered as an object. The F in OOF is a political dimension. It notices that there is a power displacement or reorganization in making all things equal (objects or subjects). We could call it OOP (object oriented politics) or perhaps OOE (object oriented ethics).

But OOF is not just political, it is also gendered and embodied. Perhaps we could call this aesthetic, that objects have bodies and that bodies have genders. Behar references Sarah Ahmed and Queer Phenomenology.  Objects have orientations,  that is the embodied part – we can only call something left or right if we are isomorphic.  Is ontology primary to bodies? Does beings come before bodies?  OOF puts action and physicality at the center of orientation rather than pure beings. Objects just dont exist – they exist as political objects in reaching for power to become other than objects – perhaps subjects. 

Reading and Writing Experiment

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A few weeks ago I was talking about how impressed I was when people would take a book or reading and then quickly summarize it and use it as a jumping off point for their own thoughts and imaginations.  This is beyond interpretation, or what I would call hermeneutics.  It is about a jumping off point for new ideas. 

We all have a more time to read these days with physical distancing and what not.  I have 

Thomas from a creative community I participate  finally can participate again in my art theory reading group – because it is remote! We are tackling Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit – in part to then read Brandom’s critique of PoS. I am going to do an experiment now where I attempt to summarize a text and use it as a jumping off point for my own thoughts. I am going to talk about the Preface, the intro and the first section – on Consciousness!

 

Method Or How to do philosophy

The preface discusses philosophical methodology. What does it mean to successfully prove a philosophical position or a philosophical system?  This is different than say proving the validity of a possible law of physics. Does it have to exist in context or dialogue with other philosophical systems (No)? Hegel talks about the difficulty of talking about a moment when you want to capture the entire process. I imagine a mathematical function and trying to describe the function rather than a point rendered by the function.

The discussion about how to write about this reminded me of theory fiction, and contemporary experiments in writing about ideas. How do you talk about something new? How do you talk about a complex process? How do you ignite interest in the reader so they undergo a transformation? All of this necessitates a change in style. In presentation. There is no binary form/content.  It is not that the medium is the message but the medium is the interface and I can only understand to the extend that the medium structures a story in a particular way. 

Truth 

But what if you want is truth? If you want philosophy to become a science (since in modern times science has become the domain of truth)? For me this is a false aim and a false distinction. There are all sorts of movements these days to reject binary in terms of what people call the spectral, or differential. This is not to sink into relativism, but it is to A) remove t/f as the standard for the highest form of discourse b)acknowledge that the world exists on a multiplicity of levels and perspectives. We should take a note from Aristotelean ethics, where what is right depends acting as the situation (and individual) calls for. the proper action depending on the circumstances and the individual.

I asked in my group – is it important that we even talk about Truth. Yes! Hunter Replied! This the most important thing. But everything is Truth. Truth is where everything converges. Here again we go through the interface of language, or words, where we all have different interpretations of the same word.  I am not sure I share this definition of Truth.  But what ever that () is the convergence of all in the highest possible expression of all things in all dimensions (whatever highest is, or dimensions are) – I support.