Saturday, October 6, 2012

Response to Harman on Whitehead

Responding the Graham Harman here, who is responding to Matt Segall here.

False Dilemma.

His argument assumes that something is either related or it is not, and this is a false dilemma.


Whitehead, like Peirce and Dewey, has a notion of continuity that eschews the binaries of substance-thinking that misinterpreters like Harman and Bryant apply to it. What motivates the view is the realization that if we accept the false dilemma that Harman and substance thought proposes, then change cannot be explained except in question-begging ways, e.g., Harman's "series of instants." Harman also brutalizes Heidegger on time, so it's no surprise that he's committing the same mistake in process philosophy.  He's consistently wrong, which makes me think that he flat-out rejects the possibility of continuity, and begs the question.

For those interested, I have posted many times on processional views of substance and time. I have also posted links to primary texts on Peirce that make his arguments for continuity clear.


  1. p.s. "relationality" exists. It is not a formal third over two. Maybe that's part of what Harman and others are missing.

  2. Harman "brutalizes" Heidegger and Bergson and Whitehead and Deleuze etc etc on time. His philosophy assigns time and temporal relations to the sensual realm ie they are not real. He cannot even comprehend the very idea of a temporal relation and so "refutes" spatialised caricatures of process philosophers (and I include Feyerabend in the august company of the process philosophers I mention above).

  3. It is difficult to communicate these ideas to analytic philosophers as well. When I discuss it with them, I have called "spatialized" time "dimensional" time, because almost all accounts treat time as linear and unidimensional. E.g., F has characteristic Fx at time t1, and at t2, etc. Even the theories of time that purport to move away from substantialist models maintain this assumption. What commonly differs is the mode of predication (tense), what is predicated, or what is the subject of predication. I'm not yet convinced that "time worm" or perdurance theories are notably different.