via The Inhumanities:

We are pleased to announce the next event for The Inhumanities, which will be a cross-blog event with the fine folks of Speculative Heresy.

We plan on hosting a discussion centered around the following question:

While speculative realism has critiqued anthropocentrism in ontology, and critical animal studies has critiqued anthropocentrism in ethics, there has yet to be many productive connections made between the two. With each offering the other important insights, the question to be asked is, what is the relation between ethics and ontology? Does a realist ontology require the suspension of any ethical imperatives? Can ethics and norms be grounded in something real? Are nonhuman actors capable of ethical relations?

Besides the participants of the two blogs and anyone we are able to recruit to respond, we are also opening up the field for answers to anyone. All answers must be 1500-2000 words, and submissions for answers must be recieved by Friday, November 13th. Inquiries can be sent to Inhumanitiesblog@gmail.com or speculativeheresy[at]gmail.com, or to the email addresses of Scu, Greg, Craig, Ben, and Nick. I hope you are all looking forward to this event as much as we are!

I’m very much looking forward to this event. I will, however, say that earlier this year those of the various SR orientations had a debate as to whether trees are real. The eliminative materialist-Brassier side of this debate contended that it amounts to “folk ontology” to claim that trees are real. The OOO folk contended that reductivism fails to recognize that objects exist at multiple levels of scale and are irreducible to one another. This was treated as “folk ontology” because it was claimed that we were individuating objects by virtue of how we perceive objects. Long story short, I cannot say that I see much of use for ecology or critical animal studies coming out of the scientistic/reductive materialist side of this discussion. If we can’t even hold that trees are real objects, then I am unsure of what possible use SR can possibly be for the ecologist or the critical animal theorist. Fortunately SR isn’t exhausted by scientism and there are those that are not allowing their ideologies and emotions to get in the way of posing the question of what the being of beings might be. I sincerely hope the discussion has progressed since this last debate, however given that this variant of SR finds the existence of even trees suspect (maybe it endorses eukaryotes), I’m not sure what it might have to offer here. Progress certainly did not appear to be the case in many of the Paul Ennis interviews (which is no fault of Paul’s who’s done nothing but great work). Given the fact that there was an almost complete absence of mention of OOO and serious OOO theorists as one of the central trends or trajectories by a number of others claiming to work in SR, you can count me as skeptical about whether or not the discussion has progressed. I mean, Negarastani was claimed to be one of the three foundational works of SR, but Harman’s work wasn’t mentioned at all. I can get by the fact that I wasn’t mentioned much given that I haven’t yet published much on my ontology, but Harman? Bogost? Latour? Stengers? Whitehead? I admire Negarestani’s work as much as anyone and am not disputing the importance of his work, but I’m unclear as to how SR has anything to offer to media studies, critical animal studies, feminist thought, technology studies, or a whole slew of other things in the absence of a robust object ontology. I attribute this profound deficiency to an ontological approach too deeply wedded to reductive and scientistic materialism and Laruelle. I pretty much think Speculative Heresy is the last venue suitable to host such a discussion given their ontological orientations, but that’s just me.

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