What is object-oriented ontology?

Not a specialist, but I will define OOO as an attempt to bring back objects (things) into the philosophical discussion. In the classical western epistemology and ontology so far, most attention has been given to human as a being, life as living beings, rather than beings within their milieu which include non-living beings.

As other answers show, it seems to be quite disruptive and unpleasant for many people, as “things “ have always been considered ontologically anecdotal and with little or no interest for social and human sciences.

Main problem for OOO to be accepted is  : objects are not part of the classic field of philosophy which deals about life and death. Objects doesn ‘t actually live and die, which make them sort of an ontological junk, a second-hand subject with no proper life.

Though, ambient materialism and the arrival of “almost living “ objects like cells, computers and all coming generation of robots make this object-oriented approach quite legitimate in a sense. It is time to do this difficult part of the job, i.e. define our relationships with other non-living being. Imagine for instance the contribution of an ontological research about oil and its objects. Sounds interesting to me at least.

Now there are serious guys like Simondon, Stiegler and even Badiou (read Le Siècle) who gives some real perspective to a practice like OOO in the development  of recent philosophy. Plus one century of contribution from engineering fields to any social sciences.

Finally, this ontological missing link between objects and people is not about life/death but about production, more exactly transformation. My guess is there is not much to find on this topic in Western philosophy.

Good news is : changes and mutations are exactly the core topic of centuries of Asian and specifically Chinese philosophy. Funny thing, the Chinese are also the one producing all this made-in-china junk that everybody in the West despise as “ontologically harmful “ for the world, when everybody use it everyday.

Maybe “philosophers “ should now try to learn German or French and Chinese, so we can bring into context some missing elements and learn from our failures.

This will need to take first a major step : recognize the (partial) failure of this Western philosophical model (read Sloterdijk on this) and be humble by accepting that all those great writers from the “Continent “ are just one side of an ongoing discussion.

I am not a philosopher at all but I think it is about time to put all our junk and stuff on the table and see the role it plays in our “human “ world - and why the earth is all fucked up now.

The idea of a philosophy of “spoon, chairs, etc “ may sound imperfect and absurd to people who think that philosophy is a book thing.

Personally, I think OOO still a timid answer to an urgent issue that is actually the real challenge of philosophy : to survive.

This text was originally published in quora.

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