Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Don't Get Personal: The OOO Neighborhood Blogosphere

Some days ago I posted a link to a conversation about object-oriented ontology/philosophy at An und für sich. While I have been an on-again-off-again critic of some aspects of OOO--mostly in reaction to poorly founded criticisms of other philosophies--I insist that the pile-on occurring at in the linked article must stop. We gain nothing as individuals, as philosophers, or as professionals when we bicker about the alleged or actual personal behavior of scholars. Moreover, that behavior makes it more likely that direct criticism will be perceived as a personal attack, especially when it so often is, and no one should be surprised it the rebuttal is less than perfectly scholarly. The heated critics of OOO are participating in the poisonous atmosphere as much as an such proponent.

What I recommend, instead, is detailed scholarly criticism. Express your personal displeasure by targetting someone if you must, but at least keep it scholarly and professional. It may not be as satisfying as venting one's affects, but successful critical arguments actually succeed in taking someone down a notch.

I would rather not think in such ways, but I offer it to those who insist on including a personal element, i.e., quiet motivation. What is my motivation for writing this? I would rather my direct criticisms be taken as blunt, perhaps inelegant, rather than as venomously motivated.

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