What is Object-Oriented Ontology?

I have been trying to get into Speculative Realism lately. Not an easy philosophy but then again philosophy is dealing with anything but easy subjects. Nothing less then the what exists and how we know.

During this little adventure I came across a term – object-oriented ontology – that, at first, seemed illogical but made sense after careful inspection. Here is an excellent jargon-free definition of it by Ian Bogost:

Ontology is the philosophical study of existence. Object-oriented ontology (“OOO” for short) puts things at the center of this study. Its proponents contend that nothing has special status, but that everything exists equally–plumbers, cotton, bonobos, DVD players, and sandstone, for example. In contemporary thought, things are usually taken either as the aggregation of ever smaller bits (scientific naturalism) or as constructions of human behavior and society (social relativism). OOO steers a path between the two, drawing attention to things at all scales (from atoms to alpacas, bits to blinis), and pondering their nature and relations with one another as much with ourselves.

Essentially, it is a kind of trying to be objective about something by stepping into every objects’s shoes. The language is nuanced to be human center-free.

It feels like something David Suzuki would agree to (this would make sense since he is a geneticist-turned-activist). In sustainability, it seems to have something in common with the animal rights movement opting to be less anthropocentric.


(Monologue: There seems to be a move away from human-centred views and looking at the world from what I call The Other. But whether we can learn to avoid projection of The Self in performing this act. Perhaps I can call this project Willful Philosophical Out-Of-Body Re-embodiment.)

10 thoughts on “What is Object-Oriented Ontology?

      1. landzek

        Lol. How bout: An infinite amount. One to withdraw from all relation, and the rest to establish the relation that is being withdrawn by the screwing.

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