Duel + Duet: Slavoj Žižek and Graham Harman

W.M. Keck Lecture Hall

March 01, 2017 at 7:00pm

Slavoj Žižek and Graham Harman in Conversation

In the Object-Oriented Ontology (OOO) of Harman and his colleagues, the human subject is redefined according to the pressures of a “flat ontology” that treats all objects equally. Whereas the main current of modern philosophy treats the subject as ontologically different in kind from all other objects, OOO concedes only that the human being is an especially fascinating topic for human beings: a talented and sometimes dignified object, but an object nonetheless.

In opposition to OOO, Žižek upholds the pivotal role of the subject as theorized in the tradition of the German philosophers Immanuel Kant, G.W. Hegel and F.W.J. Schelling and the French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan. Žižek claims that “what OOO describes as subject simply does not meet the criteria of subject— there is no place for subject in OOO,” and proposes a different "incomplete" ontology of his own in which the subject can be thought.

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Slavoj Žižek

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Graham Harmon

Slavoj Žižek, researcher at the Department of Philosophy, University of Ljubljana; researcher at the Birkbeck School of Law, London University; visiting professor at Kyuing-Hee University, Seoul. His work focuses on the philosophical implications of psychoanalytic theory, especially on the way a Lacanian reading of Hegel enables us to overcome the opposition between realism and transcendentalism. Latest publications: DISPARITIES (Bloomsbury Press 2016), ANTIGONE (Bloomsbury Press 2016), AGAINST THE DOUBLE BLACKMAIL (Penguin Books 2015).  

Graham Harman is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at SCI-Arc. He was born in 1968 in Mt. Vernon, Iowa, and earned his B.A. from St. John's College (Maryland), his M.A. from Penn State University, and his Ph.D. from DePaul University. He is the author of fifteen books, most recently Immaterialism: Objects and Social Theory (2016, Polity) and Dante's Broken Hammer: The Ethics, Esthetics, and Metaphysics of Love (2016, Repeater). Graham is the 2009 winner of the AUC Excellence in Research Award. In 2015 he was named by ArtReview in 2015 as the #75 most powerful influence in the international art world, and in 2016 was named by The Best Schools to their alphabetical list of the 50 most influential living philosophers.