I’ve developed quite a reputation as being “against” Speculative Realism/Object-Oriented Ontology, but that’s not entirely true. I think Meillassoux’s thought is brilliant and fascinating — I’ve enjoyed and been challenged by everything of his that I’ve read. Given how much I’ve been influenced by German Idealism, phenomenology, and psychoanalysis, I’m probably doomed to be a dyed-in-the-wool “correlationist,” but I do sympathize with the use of OOO by artists, video game scholars, etc., insofar as I see the appeal of bracketing the intention of the creator and viewing the artifact as an independent object with its own internal logic and necessity. Brassier and Latour seem very interesting to me, though they’re pretty far afield from anything I’m likely to work on in the near term. I will likely check out Harman’s work on Heidegger before teaching Being and Time, but I’m most likely not going to be delving into his or Levi’s “systems” any time soon (again, because they don’t link up with anything I’m working on).
So on the conceptual level, I’d say if anything I’m basically sympathetic, though I’m not signing up for a school or movement anytime soon. Why the negativity, then? It’s basically a reflection of my “method” for blogging: I try to keep everything precisely at the level of blogging.
I very intentionally avoid talking about any serious work-in-progress on the blog — most notably, I kept the fact that I was even writing Zizek and Theology rigorously secret from the blog until I had already submitted the proofs! — because I have found that the blogging format just does not work to deliver the kind of feedback I need. What it does work great for is to keep me thinking and writing at least a little bit every day. It’s great for asking questions, for sharing surprising quotes or half-developed thoughts, for discussing things that are tangential to my primary work, and of course for building an audience so that I can promote my more serious work as it comes out.
So when I respond to SR/OOO, I am responding to it precisely and exclusively as a blog phenomenon. And indeed, I’m planning an article on exactly that phenomenon, using SR/OOO as a case study of the inherent dangers of blogging for academic work. Basically, I think that blogging produces a field of forces that push even the best-intentioned among us toward becoming a worse and worse person (within the blog situation) and that attempting to use blogging as a forum for developing serious philosophical work exacerbates those tendencies to the point of outright pathology. The end result is that they’ve definitely generated much more attention than they otherwise would have, but they’ve just as surely generated far more negative attention and ill-will than they ever would have done if they hadn’t attempted to do their thing directly in the blog format (viz. the fact that every SR/OOO thread here eventually becomes a forum for people who feel they’ve been mistreated by members of the movement).
But hey, what do I know? Just throwing it out there!