OOP is a very weird book. The reason I began writing this book is because I felt that someone needed to. At the time there was a renewal of interest in metaphysics in Anglophone Continental philosophy and the various disciplines and scenes downstream from it, that I felt was being poorly served by the new wave metaphysics popping up to meet the demand, of which the Object-Oriented Ontologies inspired by Graham Harman’s work were emblematic. There needed to be a serious engagement with these lines of thought that articulated their inadequacies in a systematic way. All this emerged out of extended engagements with the OOO crowd and its associates on this very blog.
However, in the process of writing the book grew into something a bit more ambitious: an attempt to explain what metaphysics is by demonstrating how it should not be done, which gives a historical and thematic overview of the history of metaphysics and anti-metaphysics in both Analytic and Continental traditions. I like to think that this was something that I was uniquely placed to do, and though the more innovative work in the latter half of the book has been obscured by the shadow of critiquing Harman’s work, I think it has largely stood the test of time.
If you’re interested in the controversy surrounding the book, there are three things worth looking at:
- The Preface: which explains the reasons I wrote the book and its weird nature in much more detail.
- My Response to Jon Cogburn: who had a quite bombastically negative reaction to the preface.
- Objects and Objections: an interview with Robin Mackay at the book launch.
- Harman’s Skirmishes: which contains a long response to my book, which I’ve yet to read, but hear is good for a laugh.