Now, it’s time to turn to that quotation from the previous post by Larval Subjects:
Ontological realism is the thesis that objects are independent of human culture, language, cognition, and perception, that they would be what they are regardless of whether we regard them through any of these agencies, and that they exist in their own right rather than simply being constructions of humans. For OOO the question and problem is not that of how we know entities or the in-itself, and this because all objects already withdraw from any relation they enter into such that they are in excess of these relations.
There is much else from his post that I would love to quote, but I’ll leave it aside. What I’ll note (partly for the class I’m running) is that Larval is not suggesting, as Heidegger does, that “independence” is itself human quality exported to the “in itself,” and that he is saying that this ontological realism is one that answers to the classic twin tests for realism: (1) independence of human constructs, and (b) existence. Obviously, this notion of “independence” is the trickiest and Larval spends a bit of time on his blog working out just what this means (in sum, this is the disagreement between him and Harman over the relative substantiality of things). In fact, what I’ll suggest is that when I read Levi in the course, I’ll suggest as our guiding thread thinking through, after having read Latour and Harman, seeing how he offers a heterodox formulation of this independence.