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Alien Phenomenology, or What It's Like to Be a Thing

Alien Phenomenology, or What It's Like to Be a Thing

Metadata

  • Author: Ian Bogost
  • Full Title: Alien Phenomenology, or What It's Like to Be a Thing
  • Category: #books

Highlights

  • a field called astrobiology, one unique in the research community for possessing not a single confirmed object of study. (Location 89)
  • We’ve been living in a tiny prison of our own devising, one in which all that concerns us are the fleshy beings that are our kindred and the stuffs with which we stuff ourselves. (Location 108)
  • George Berkeley’s subjective idealism, objects are just bundles of sense data in the minds of those who perceive them. (Location 116)
  • G. W. F. Hegel’s absolute idealism, the world is best characterized by the way it appears to the self-conscious mind. (Location 117)
  • Quentin Meillassoux has coined the term correlationism to describe this view, one that holds that being exists only as a correlate between mind and world.[6] If things exist, they do so only for us. (Location 122)
  • To be a speculative realist, one must abandon the belief that human access sits at the center of being, organizing and regulating it like an ontological watchmaker. In both a figurative and a literal sense, speculative realism is an event rather than a philosophical position: it names a moment when the epistemological tide ebbed, revealing the iridescent shells of realism they had so long occluded. (Location 146)
  • With Heidegger’s tool analysis as his raw material, Harman constructs what he calls an object-oriented philosophy.[11] Very quickly: Heidegger suggests that things are impossible to understand as such. Instead, they are related to purposes, a circumstance that makes speaking of harmonicas or tacos as things problematic; stuff becomes ready-to-hand (or zuhanden) when contextualized, and present-at-hand (or vorhanden) when it breaks from those contexts. (Location 154)
  • we can no longer claim that our existence is special as existence. This is true even if humans also possess a seemingly unique ability to agitate the world, or at least our corner of it (although this too is a particularly grandiose assumption, given that humans interact with only a tiny sliver of the universe). If we take seriously the idea that all objects recede interminably into themselves, then human perception becomes just one among many ways that objects might relate. (Location 222)
  • Unlike redwoods and lichen and salamanders, computers don’t carry the baggage of vivacity. They are plastic and metal corpses with voodoo powers. (Location 232)
  • Timothy Morton rightly calls vitalism a compromise, one that imprecisely projects a living nature onto all things.[27] With this in mind, Morton suggests mesh instead of nature to describe “the interconnectedness of all living and non-living things.”[28] (Location 260)
  • In a world of panexperiential meshes, how do things have experiences? Harman’s answer is “vicarious causation.”[29] Things never really interact with one another, but fuse or connect in a conceptual fashion unrelated to consciousness. (Location 266)
  • Levi Bryant calls it flat ontology. He borrows the term from Manuel DeLanda, who uses it to claim that existence is composed entirely of individuals (rather than species and genera, for example).[31] Bryant uses the phrase somewhat differently: his flat ontology grants all objects the same ontological status. For Bryant (as for Latour), the term object enjoys a wide berth: corporeal and incorporeal entities count, whether they be material objects, abstractions, objects of intention, or anything else (Location 290)
  • In my previous work I’ve given the name system operations to the top-down organizing principles symbolized by ideas like “the world” in Bryant’s sense. System operations are “totalizing structures that seek to explicate a phenomenon, behavior or state in its entirety.”[34] They tend to assume that some final, holistic, definitive explanation accounts for and explains being. (Location 308)

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title: Alien Phenomenology, or What It's Like to Be a Thing longtitle: Alien Phenomenology, or What It's Like to Be a Thing author: Ian Bogost url: , source: kindle last_highlight: 2022-02-19 type: books tags:

Alien Phenomenology, or What It's Like to Be a Thing

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Metadata

  • Author: Ian Bogost
  • Full Title: Alien Phenomenology, or What It's Like to Be a Thing
  • Category: #books

Highlights

  • a field called astrobiology, one unique in the research community for possessing not a single confirmed object of study. (Location 89)
  • We’ve been living in a tiny prison of our own devising, one in which all that concerns us are the fleshy beings that are our kindred and the stuffs with which we stuff ourselves. (Location 108)
  • George Berkeley’s subjective idealism, objects are just bundles of sense data in the minds of those who perceive them. (Location 116)
  • G. W. F. Hegel’s absolute idealism, the world is best characterized by the way it appears to the self-conscious mind. (Location 117)
  • Quentin Meillassoux has coined the term correlationism to describe this view, one that holds that being exists only as a correlate between mind and world.[6] If things exist, they do so only for us. (Location 122)
  • To be a speculative realist, one must abandon the belief that human access sits at the center of being, organizing and regulating it like an ontological watchmaker. In both a figurative and a literal sense, speculative realism is an event rather than a philosophical position: it names a moment when the epistemological tide ebbed, revealing the iridescent shells of realism they had so long occluded. (Location 146)
  • With Heidegger’s tool analysis as his raw material, Harman constructs what he calls an object-oriented philosophy.[11] Very quickly: Heidegger suggests that things are impossible to understand as such. Instead, they are related to purposes, a circumstance that makes speaking of harmonicas or tacos as things problematic; stuff becomes ready-to-hand (or zuhanden) when contextualized, and present-at-hand (or vorhanden) when it breaks from those contexts. (Location 154)
  • we can no longer claim that our existence is special as existence. This is true even if humans also possess a seemingly unique ability to agitate the world, or at least our corner of it (although this too is a particularly grandiose assumption, given that humans interact with only a tiny sliver of the universe). If we take seriously the idea that all objects recede interminably into themselves, then human perception becomes just one among many ways that objects might relate. (Location 222)
  • Unlike redwoods and lichen and salamanders, computers don’t carry the baggage of vivacity. They are plastic and metal corpses with voodoo powers. (Location 232)
  • Timothy Morton rightly calls vitalism a compromise, one that imprecisely projects a living nature onto all things.[27] With this in mind, Morton suggests mesh instead of nature to describe “the interconnectedness of all living and non-living things.”[28] (Location 260)
  • In a world of panexperiential meshes, how do things have experiences? Harman’s answer is “vicarious causation.”[29] Things never really interact with one another, but fuse or connect in a conceptual fashion unrelated to consciousness. (Location 266)
  • Levi Bryant calls it flat ontology. He borrows the term from Manuel DeLanda, who uses it to claim that existence is composed entirely of individuals (rather than species and genera, for example).[31] Bryant uses the phrase somewhat differently: his flat ontology grants all objects the same ontological status. For Bryant (as for Latour), the term object enjoys a wide berth: corporeal and incorporeal entities count, whether they be material objects, abstractions, objects of intention, or anything else (Location 290)
  • In my previous work I’ve given the name system operations to the top-down organizing principles symbolized by ideas like “the world” in Bryant’s sense. System operations are “totalizing structures that seek to explicate a phenomenon, behavior or state in its entirety.”[34] They tend to assume that some final, holistic, definitive explanation accounts for and explains being. (Location 308)