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Philosophy against literalism

Graham Harman
p. 122-136


This article takes the stance that knowledge requires a commitment to literalism, defined as the Humean view that an object is nothing more than a bundle of qualities. But insofar as philosophy in its classical sense as philosophia must oppose all forms of literalism, philosophy cannot be a form of knowledge, and therefore cannot be viewed as continuous with science in any straightforward sense. Analogous cases are considered. A metaphor cannot be understood in literal terms, for the simple reason that metaphor enacts a rift between an object and its qualities rather than a bundled union. Thomas Kuhn’s philosophy of science gives us another case where the “that” and the “what” of a discovery such as oxygen are inevitably in conflict, casting doubt on whether science itself even has literal foundations. The article ends with some reflections on the differing attitudes required by the philosopher and the scientist.

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Note della redazione

An earlier version of this article was given as the Lectio Magistralis for the Paolo Bozzi Prize for Ontology at the University of Turin on March 13, 2023, under the title “On Constraints in Philosophy, Science, and the Arts”.

Testo integrale

1. Mining

  • 1 Harman 2013.
  • 2 Harman 2011.

1What is honored most in the modern period is neither technology, nor power, nor sexuality, nor even capital. Instead, it is knowledge, the heart of the Enlightenment’s unending campaign against ignorance and superstition. Some years ago I wrote that there are two and only two kinds of knowledge; to this day I believe no additional kinds will be found.1 When someone asks us what something is, we can either tell them what it is made of, or tell them what it does. For instance, if we were questioned about the meaning of water, one strategy would be to respond by explaining that it is made of two atoms of hydrogen combined with one of oxygen. Or perhaps we could give the causal backstory of this chemical substance in the language of astrophysics, dating perhaps to a billion or so years after the Big Bang. These strategies reflect the kind of knowledge I have called “undermining,” which replaces any given thing with a story about the conditions or ingredients that first gave rise to it.2 But while this may provide useful information, it cannot tell us what water itself really is. Instead, it simply passes the buck by looking backwards and talking about water’s subcomponents or its historical conditions of production. Even if we assume that such conditions were to exhaustively explain the origin and constitution of water, they would not be the same thing as water itself.

  • 3 Meillassoux 2008: 12; Meillassoux 2016.
  • 4 DeLanda 2011.

2Perfect knowledge of water is obviously not the same thing as water, since knowledge cannot quench physical thirst or cause other entities to float on its surface, and thus one must account for the difference between knowledge and its object. Too often this objection is treated as a mere banality. For instance, Quentin Meillassoux tries to avoid the obligation by saying that he is no Pythagorean, and that the mathematized primary qualities of water simply point to it in the manner of a meaningless sign rather than being identical with water itself.3 But his solution is unsatisfying. Unlike our knowledge of water, Meillassoux claims, real water inheres in something called “dead matter”, which not only excludes all vitalism, but even excludes all form. Yet there is little to no evidence that anything called matter even exists, let alone in a “dead” version. Historically speaking, the primary function of matter in philosophy is to create an alibi for how the same form of water can exist in two places at once: first in actual water, and second in the mind of the one who knows it. This makes the problem of knowledge too easy, since it assumes that the form of water is not transformed, but more or less preserved when it moves into a mind or anything else. This strategy of undermining objects by working backward toward their physical or historical components is the basic strategy not only of the natural sciences, but also of the pre-Socratic thinkers at the dawn of Greek philosophy. Reducing the world either to some primary element or to a boundless and formless apeiron, they made little attempt to explain why there seem to be larger and composite entities, except to blame it on opinion or the delusions of the senses. But we do not really capture a thing when we discover its tiniest pieces or learn of its emergence from a limitless blob. Somehow there must be room for an emergence which entails that water is something over and above both its ingredients and the conditions that gave rise to it.4 The form of water is not just that of hydrogen and oxygen combined, nor is it the same as the form of the Big Bang.

  • 5 Harman 2013.
  • 6 Berkeley 1982.
  • 7 Merleau-Ponty 2002: 79.
  • 8 Latour 1999: 122.

3Let’s turn now to the second kind of knowledge, for we can also answer the question about what water is by talking about all the things it can do. Water quenches animal thirst. It is one of those substances that expands both when frozen and when boiled. It “seeks its own level,” as the old saying goes. In such responses we do not focus on the internal or historical composition of water, but on the effects it has on other entities in the environment. This strategy can be named with the coined English term “overmining,” in which objects are reduced upward rather than downward.5 If undermining is the favorite maneuver of science and the pre-Socratics, overmining is more common in the humanities, and utterly dominates modern philosophy. In the extreme case, with Berkeley, nothing exists except as an image in some human or divine mind.6 Merleau-Ponty once claimed that a house is not the house viewed from nowhere, but the house viewed from everywhere, as if an object were nothing more than all the possible views one could have of it.7 In the same spirit, the late Bruno Latour once wrote that an entity is nothing more than “what other actors are modified, transformed, perturbed, or created” by it.8 Instead of telling us what something really is, these approaches turn us elsewhere by telling us what that thing does to something else. If undermining strategies miss emergence, we might say that overmining strategies miss “submergence,” in the sense that nothing is allowed to remain in reserve beneath whatever is already happening.

  • 9 Harman 2013.
  • 10 Cogburn, Young 2023: xiii.
  • 11 Meillassoux 2016: 154.

4Only rarely do these two strategies travel alone. In most situations, whoever answers a question wants to be able to say both what a thing is made of and what it does: hence the combined term “duomining”, which I borrowed from contemporary data science.9 This is a strategy that looks both downward and upward from any given thing without giving any account of the thing itself. In the words of Jon Cogburn and Niki Young, “[t]ypical of such positions would be the scientific materialists of our time who claim both that a base layer of indefinite ‘matter’ exhausts all of reality, and that it is possible to come to know this layer through mathematical modeling.”10 For example, Meillassoux uses the wonderful term “matherialism” to refer to an underlying matter that can also be exhausted through mathematical understanding: the very core of his philosophical position.11

  • 12 Wittgenstein 1974: 90.
  • 13 Harman 2018.

5It might be wondered if anything is really wrong with duomining. If we agree that it combines both forms of knowledge in one, then surely there is nothing more to be said about any object once we have finished duomining it. We can say what water is made of, and then what it does. Otherwise, “[w]hat we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence.”12 Yet it turns out that this overly celebrated remark by Wittgenstein is the polar opposite of philosophia as pursued by Socrates, which entails a love of wisdom that cannot be stated in the form of actual wisdom. To assume that the only alternative to plain prose is silence is to fall into the dogma that I call literalism.13 Undermining and overmining are both forms of literalism, and a fortiori the same holds for their combined form, duomining. But we have already seen that something escapes all these forms of mining: something that emerges beyond what a thing is made of, and submerges beneath what it does. That is what I mean by a real object, and pace Wittgenstein it is not true that nothing can be said about it.

2. Literalism

  • 14 Hume 1993.
  • 15 Plato, Meno.
  • 16 Aristotle, Metaph.
  • 17 Leibniz 1989: 214.
  • 18 Husserl 1970: 680.

6By literalism I mean the intellectual prejudice that any given thing is no more than its sum total of properties or qualities. Consider Hume’s principle that what we call “objects” are really just bundles of qualities.14 “Apple” would be a mere nickname for a set of properties that occur together frequently. It follows that any effort to deliteralize philosophy – and this is the central aspiration of object-oriented ontology – requires the enactment of rifts between objects and their qualities. This strategy is not without precedent in the history of philosophy. Late in Plato’s Meno, when Socrates is asked by the title character whether virtue can be taught, he responds that he cannot answer the question without first knowing what virtue is.15 For some reason this passage is often interpreted as having an epistemological sense: as if Socrates first needed to know the conditions of accessibility of virtue to human knowledge before he could say anything about virtue itself. But that is clearly not what is going on in the dialogue. The distinction Socrates makes is not between knowledge and the thing, but between the thing and its own qualities: in this case, the question of whether or not it can be taught. Other examples come easily to mind. Consider Aristotle’s account of the difference between substance and qualities, in which Socrates happy and Socrates sad are both still Socrates.16 There is also paragraph 8 of the Monadology, where Leibniz notes that while substances are always one, they must also have multiple qualities, since otherwise all substances would be interchangeable.17 And then there is Husserl’s phenomenological version of the same insight, in which a specific blackbird seen via different adumbrations remains the same bird nonetheless.18

  • 19 Badiou 2009.

7Other philosophers, including some rather important ones, tend to ignore this distinction. Hume is far from the only such case. There has been frequent discussion in modern philosophy about the relation between thought and things, but relatively little about the gap between things and their qualities, a strangely ambivalent relation in which things both have and do not have those qualities. For instance, Kant’s “transcendental object=x” is said to represent the empty form of thought rather than a separate moment in the things as distinct from their properties, which leaves him stranded in roughly the same position as Hume on this issue. The same holds for Badiou’s theory of objects in Logics of Worlds, which is modeled openly on Kant’s theory.19 Even in Heidegger we find little explicit awareness of any rift between objects and qualities, though it was central for his teacher Husserl in his various discussions of intentional objects.

  • 20 Austin 1975.
  • 21 Harman 2020a; Fried 1988; Fried 1998.

8As mentioned, to deliteralize a thing means to make the rift between the object and its own qualities unavoidable by bringing this gap forcibly into play. This happens not just in certain philosophical works, but even more frequently in the case of metaphor. In a case such as Homer’s “wine-dark sea,” the sea withdraws into mystery even as its purported wine-qualities become all the more pressing. But those qualities cannot exist without some underlying object to unite them, and given that the wine-like sea itself is beyond all hope of access, it is we ourselves as readers who must step in to perform the needed unification. This takes personal effort to a degree far exceeding that of literal statement, and puts us in the position of a method actor pretending to be a criminal, a dog, a forest, or a stone. It is a performance not only in the sense of the performing arts, but also in that of speech-act theory, where performative statements differ absolutely from “constative” ones that merely transmit literal information.20 In Art and Objects, I made the same case for artworks, which (despite Michael Fried’s brilliant arguments to the contrary) cannot function as artworks without the theatrical involvement of the beholder.21 Literalism is opposed not only to metaphor, then, but to performance more broadly. Whereas literalism remains at the level of comparing the qualities of things, metaphor and performance bring real objects themselves into play by proxy, as the beholder steps in for the real object that withdraws.

3. Incommensurability

  • 22 Heidegger 1976: 8.

9It is likely that no scientific rationalist would have any patience at all for the foregoing reflections. Perhaps such a person would grant that the distinction between object and qualities has some relevance to poetry, and maybe even to outdated Scholastic pettifogging over topics concerning existence and essence. Even so, it will be claimed that science is concerned solely with an appropriate match between thoughts in the mind and the world outside the mind. Any discussion of a topic such as metaphor sounds like the strategy of someone who wants to subordinate the hard sciences to the soft humanities; it will sound like I am taking the ultra-Heideggerian line that science does not think but Hölderlin does.22 Yet what I am actually saying is that science – like any sort of knowledge – also has some connection with the difference between objects and qualities.

  • 23 Kuhn 2012.

10To show this, we turn briefly to Thomas Kuhn and his famous distinction between puzzle-solving “normal science” and those rare revolutionary moments called “paradigm shifts.”23 The most typical critique made of Kuhn is that his paradigm shifts are effectively no better than religious conversions, or cases of sociological mob rule, with scientists supposedly changing opinion suddenly for “irrational” reasons. Kuhn hated this criticism, of course, and rightly so. The unstated assumption lying behind it is that science necessarily amounts to the discovery of the qualities truly possessed by any given thing, even if only as an attainable regulative goal, and that as soon as we abandon this aim we are left with nothing but empty human power-plays. Yet we can clarify the difference between paradigm shifts and normal science without any recourse to human society, since this difference pertains to a fracture in reality itself: namely, the same distinction between objects and qualities that we have already been discussing. For in a simple intuitive sense, we know that at moments of sudden scientific change the very object of inquiry seems to have changed. We find ourselves in the world of plate tectonics rather than static, immobile continents; in a landscape of natural selection rather than eternal natural species; on a plane of bona fide atoms rather than infinitely divisible matter; in a universe of space and time as curved by mass rather than as fixed backgrounds against which everything else occurs. Normal science would then be the sort in which the researcher merely puzzles over the properties of already accepted entities, while a revolution in paradigm would amount to changing the very object under consideration by a science.

  • 24 Kuhn 2012: 53.
  • 25 Kuhn 2012: 54-55.
  • 26 Kuhn 2012: 55.
  • 27 Kuhn 2012: 66-67.

11But the situation is even more intricate than this, since Kuhn already appeals to something like an object/quality distinction at the level of the paradigm itself. He does this by splitting the process of research into two distinct steps: the determination first “that” something is, and second of “what” it is. This tension between these two procedures turns out to have philosophical consequences. Kuhn’s first example concerns the difficulty of knowing who discovered oxygen. The first person to prepare a pure sample of the gas was C.W. Scheele in Sweden, though his achievement can be ignored, “since it was not published until oxygen’s discovery had been repeatedly announced and thus had no effect upon the historical pattern that most concerns us here.”24 That leaves two major contenders for the prize: Joseph Priestley in Britain and Antoine Lavoisier in France. Priestley had collected oxygen, but not in pure form, and he also managed to misidentify it twice: thinking in 1774 that it was the already known nitrous oxide, and in 1775 that it was “dephlogisticated” air, where “phlogiston” was the element – no longer accepted – believed at the time to cause combustion. For Lavoisier’s part, he announced in 1775 that the gas was “the air itself entire”, which was also not true, given that oxygen is just one component of the earth’s atmosphere. By 1777 he concluded that it was something new altogether. But for the remainder of his life, Lavoisier wrongly assumed that oxygen existed only when combined with “caloric”, a substance – also no longer accepted – wrongly believed to be the source of heat. Since caloric remained an active research topic in science until the 1860s, more than seventy years after Lavoisier’s beheading during the French Revolution, he never fully grasped that oxygen exists even in cases where no combustion occurs.25 From all this Kuhn draws the tentative conclusion that oxygen was not discovered before 1774, though it surely was discovered by 1777 “or shortly thereafter”.26 Between these two dates we have a grey area in which it is impossible to pinpoint the discovery of oxygen with precision, given the ambiguity between the fact “that” oxygen was discovered and the further determination of “what” it was. A bit later in the same passage, Kuhn toys with the colloquial formulation that Priestley “discovered” oxygen but Lavoisier “invented” it, linking these familiar opposites with the distinction between “that” and “what,” whose connection with the classical difference between existence and essence shows its deep roots in the history of philosophical speculation.27

4. Cosmological scope

  • 28 Harman 2016a: 237; Harman 2020b; Young 2021.
  • 29 Russell 2022.

12There is another point to be made about this anti-literalist conception of objects as both having and not having their own qualities. The most characteristic feature of modern philosophy is that it puts a single relation at the center of philosophy: the one between thought and world. There seem to be just two kinds of things in the universe, where the first is human thought and the second is everything else. The term I have used for this central assumption is “onto-taxonomy,” and Young has presented it clearly in a memorable article of his own.28 Admittedly, onto-taxonomy is not as crazy as it sounds. The claim is not just the narcissistic one that we are humans, and that therefore humans must count as half of the universe. Instead, onto-taxonomy is based on the epistemological twist, familiar since Descartes, that we have immediate access to our thoughts but only mediated access to the world. And true enough, I do have some idea of what it is like to be human, but little idea as to what it is like to be a bat, a thermostat, or a stone. This has led to an ongoing division of labor in which the sciences are permitted a monopoly of discussion on object-object relations, while philosophers have crammed themselves into a ghetto of reflections on the thought-world dyad. We are no longer permitted to discuss medieval Islamic philosophy’s favorite scenario of fire burning cotton, but only how human categories and intuitions of space and time shape our experience of fire burning cotton. Bertrand Russell is surely closer to the truth when he says that science gives us the relational rather than the intrinsic properties of things, and this leaves room for philosophy to return to the realm of things, speculating on their intrinsic as well as their relational character.29

  • 30 Uexküll 2010; Harman 2016b.

13Now, I have argued that one key aspect of the intrinsic character of things is our inability to gain access to them in any direct way, a situation more commonly known as “finitude”. Yet it is often wrongly assumed that we only know of human finitude, which we identify with the various background conditions of human thought and perception identified by Kant. However, I would also note that we do not have direct experience of human finitude, but deduce it by grasping the distinction between the limited way in which entities are given to us and their deeper plentitude beyond any access we might have to them. Yet we are able to make the same deduction as to the finitude of other humans, which we also do not experience directly. And if we simply read a few pages by Uexküll on the life of a tick or a fighting fish, we also gain some sense of the finite Umwelten of various animals.30 Ultimately, we can even speak in the same breath of how when fire burns cotton, neither fire nor cotton access the full depth of each other’s qualities. We could restate it by saying that finitude is not some special heavy cross that humans must bear, but results simply from the fact that relations do not exhaust their relata. Thus we can speak of the finitude of things, rather than passing it over in silence as Wittgenstein would have demanded.

  • 31 Shaviro 2015: 63.
  • 32 Whitehead, Russell 2011; Deleuze 1993: 76.
  • 33 Moore 2014.

14Just as Husserl was wrong to assume that theory goes deeper than perception, Heidegger was wrong to hold that praxis goes deeper than theory. Whether we look at a chair or sit in it, in either case we have not exhausted the reality of the chair. The chair itself is something deeper than any possible human comportment toward it. And then there is the additional fact that the chair is deeper than any causal interaction with it, even when all humans are far from the scene. Admittedly, this claim runs the risk of making the one who utters it look like some sort of crackpot.31 Philosophical prudence seems to demand that we speak only of human interactions with the chair, while inanimate relations between objects are best left to the sciences as their exclusive domain. This is probably why Whitehead, the primary recent dissenter from onto-taxonomy, is mostly unreadable by both the analytic and continental traditions. Analytic philosophers may respect the Principia Mathematicia, and Deleuzeans may mimic their hero’s praise for the English philosopher even while misreading him in Deleuzean terms.32 What few in either tradition are able to process is the way that Whitehead puts the thought-world relation on the same level as relations more generally, with human thought no longer taken as something ontologically special. Consider A.W. Moore’s 2014 book The Evolution of Modern Metaphysics, which could hardly be more open-minded in its inclusion of both analytic and continental thinkers.33 There are the expected chapters on Frege, Carnap, and Lewis, but also more surprising ones on Bergson, Derrida, and Deleuze. At last, no one seems to be excluded from the party! Yet there is no chapter on Whitehead, though most philosophically educated readers are at least vaguely aware that he is one of the most significant metaphysicians of recent centuries. This exclusion of Whitehead from both major traditions of present-day philosophy is an alarming symptom of onto-taxonomy and its ongoing silent dominance.

5. Escaping the circle

15We have thus returned to the topic of onto-taxonomy, the assumption that thought and world are the two basic kinds of things in the universe. As mentioned, this dogma is not narcissistic folly, but arises instead from an admirable attempt at rigor: we seem to have direct access to human thought but not to the world, and should therefore begin all thinking with reflections on the relation of thought to world alone. The grain of truth in this approach is that the way things relate to each other is different from the way they exist in their own right. It is simply unfortunate that these two structures have been identified with two specific kinds of entities, as if nature had all the reality and humans all the illusion.

  • 34 Priest 2003.
  • 35 Gandellini 2018.
  • 36 Miller 1981; Nietzsche 2013; Harman 2022.
  • 37 Cogburn 2017.

16There are several possible ways to respond to this situation. One is the classic German Idealist method of saying that we cannot think something outside thought without turning it into a thought, thereby imploding everything into a dialectic of givenness. Another would be Meillassoux’s assertion that correlationism is true but realism somehow also true, so that a clever escape route must be dug from within a prior acceptance of the correlationist circle of thought and world. There is also the dialetheist way of arguing that certain important foundational principles are both true and untrue at once, with the upshot being that true contradictions exist.34 For instance: thought remains within its own correlational circle, but also goes beyond itself to touch reality. Or as in Francesco Gandellini’s 2018 article on Heidegger: being is not a being, yet also is a being, yielding another true contradiction at the foundation of thought.35 There is also the deconstructionist variant on dialetheism, in which rather than a direct affirmation that true contradictions exist, we focus instead on apparently true statements that turn out to be riddled with aporetic paradox. Consider J. Hillis Miller’s reading of Nietzsche’s truth and lie essay: Nietzsche seems to say that every statement is false, yet this statement itself nonetheless claims to be true, as if in a new rendition of the ancient Cretan liar’s paradox.36 Cogburn has given us a far-ranging treatment of the role such “enclosure paradoxes” play in the foundation of contemporary analytic and continental ontologies.37

  • 38 Heidegger 1962. See also Harman 2002.

17But what is most disturbing about such approaches is their reliance on an assumption that looks a lot like Meno’s Paradox: we can’t search for something if we already have it, and also can’t search for it if we don’t have it, since then we won’t be able to recognize it when we find it. Recall that in the Meno this standpoint is opposed by Socrates’s claim that we simultaneously both have and do not have that which we seek. A simpler name for the latter approach is philosophia. If we abandon it in favor of a quest for literal knowledge, for philosophy conceived in some way as a “rigorous science,” then we demand a double impossibility. For the insistence that philosophy be a form of knowledge entails not only the demand for direct presence of reality that Heidegger and Derrida rightly oppose, but also the Humean demand for a list of bundled qualities that Husserl rightly opposes. The true contradictions asserted by dialetheism, and the false contradictions exposed by J. Hillis Miller in his interpretation of Nietzsche, are genuine contradictions only if we assume that the access to the outside must be direct, which is not the case. For it is no contradiction that the qualities of Heidegger’s broken hammer come into view although the hammer itself never does.38 The relational qualities of the hammer become visible only because its intrinsic ones do not.

  • 39 Gettier 1963.
  • 40 Popper 2022; Lakatos 1980.

18Let’s turn in closing to the question of how philosophy and science relate differently to “justified true belief,” one of the most common definitions of knowledge. The reason for including the word “justified,” of course, is because no one wants to reward those who make lucky guesses and stumble into the truth by accident. The unprolific but insightful Edmund Gettier added the fresh twist that there is still a problem with justified true belief, which can also be merely lucky. My initial (and ultimately false) belief that Smith will get the job is justified by the fact of ten coins in his pocket, the same factor that ends up justifying the contrary (and ultimately true) belief that I will be hired instead, through the lucky coincidence that I also happen to have exactly ten coins.39 Yet moving beyond Gettier’s concern, there is the more troubling factor that justification and truth are incompatible from the start. I take this to result from the tradition in philosophy of science launched by Popper and extended by Lakatos, and to some degree even by Kuhn.40 In Popperian terms, the science of any given moment is justified, but extremely unlikely to be true. Every science is provisional precisely because it limits itself to current justifying evidence. And often enough, evidence may lead us for a time away from reality; in this sense, justification is something essentially different from verisimilitude. On this basis we might say that science, indeed knowledge more generally, can be described as justified untrue belief.

  • 41 Kierkegaard 1987a; Kierkegaard 1987b.
  • 42 Badiou 2005.

19It is both conceivable and quite normal to have insincere scientists, limiting themselves to statements about existing evidence while not really believing in the ultimate truth of their current theories, and perhaps not even believing that their theories are somehow getting “closer” to the truth. The reason for this is that the primary constraint on science is justification rather than truth. By contrast, I would say that this does not hold for philosophy; here, sincerity is of the essence. We cannot limit our beliefs to what is justified, for reasons explored most famously by Kierkegaard: there will never be enough evidence gathered on any issue in any amount of time, yet the need for a decision still presses upon us.41 Hence there will always be something of the wager in philosophical cognition, a notion that again becomes central in the philosophy of Badiou, with his insight that there is no truth without the fidelity of a subject.42 In that sense we could speak of philosophy as constrained by the search for unjustified true belief. While there is a bit of Kierkegaard in every philosopher, a Kierkegaardian scientist could only be a charlatan, despite Niel Bohr’s admiration for that religious thinker. I would add only that we ought to replace the word “truth” with the word “reality.” For it has been my experience that those who often invoke the word “truth” tend to be those who think they have already found it, and who usually think they have found it in literalist form. “Reality” works better than “truth” as the name for a constraint to which we must respond, but without any claim to have done so adequately. Although for the past century or more half of the philosophical universe has insisted on “arguments” as the only valid currency in our field, there is a sense in which philosophical affirmation must be both immediate and unjustified. To hold that a philosophy is essentially a bundle of arguments is to give in to the worst sort of literalism. Unlike the sciences, philosophy rests ultimately on a wager that no set of arguments can justify.

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1 Harman 2013.

2 Harman 2011.

3 Meillassoux 2008: 12; Meillassoux 2016.

4 DeLanda 2011.

5 Harman 2013.

6 Berkeley 1982.

7 Merleau-Ponty 2002: 79.

8 Latour 1999: 122.

9 Harman 2013.

10 Cogburn, Young 2023: xiii.

11 Meillassoux 2016: 154.

12 Wittgenstein 1974: 90.

13 Harman 2018.

14 Hume 1993.

15 Plato, Meno.

16 Aristotle, Metaph.

17 Leibniz 1989: 214.

18 Husserl 1970: 680.

19 Badiou 2009.

20 Austin 1975.

21 Harman 2020a; Fried 1988; Fried 1998.

22 Heidegger 1976: 8.

23 Kuhn 2012.

24 Kuhn 2012: 53.

25 Kuhn 2012: 54-55.

26 Kuhn 2012: 55.

27 Kuhn 2012: 66-67.

28 Harman 2016a: 237; Harman 2020b; Young 2021.

29 Russell 2022.

30 Uexküll 2010; Harman 2016b.

31 Shaviro 2015: 63.

32 Whitehead, Russell 2011; Deleuze 1993: 76.

33 Moore 2014.

34 Priest 2003.

35 Gandellini 2018.

36 Miller 1981; Nietzsche 2013; Harman 2022.

37 Cogburn 2017.

38 Heidegger 1962. See also Harman 2002.

39 Gettier 1963.

40 Popper 2022; Lakatos 1980.

41 Kierkegaard 1987a; Kierkegaard 1987b.

42 Badiou 2005.

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Per citare questo articolo

Notizia bibliografica

Graham Harman, «Philosophy against literalism»Rivista di estetica, 84 | 2023, 122-136.

Notizia bibliografica digitale

Graham Harman, «Philosophy against literalism»Rivista di estetica [Online], 84 | 2023, online dal 01 février 2024, consultato il 12 juin 2024. URL:; DOI:

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