Graham Harman
Towards Speculative Realism

Essays and Lectures
ZeroBooks 2010

140 Space,Time, and Essence
An Object-Oriented Approach (2008)

Space and time are of intimate concern to everyone. The whole of our lives unfolds in space and time, as do the wildest fantasies we conceive. To reflect on their paradoxes may even be the quickest route to a philosophical mood. The following pages suggest a fresh approach to these memorable themes. My strategy is to consider space and time indirectly, by way of an apparently different topic: the structure of objects. If this indirect method succeeds, an
object-oriented philosophy will allow us to outflank the stale trench warfare that marks so many of the disputes over space and time.

1. Space and Time

Space extends from the provincial town of my birth towards capital cities, mountain ranges, oceans, and the minesand spice routes of foreign nations.Time includes the present, which often enough feels heavy and hopeless. Yet it also includes those uncanny past ages when none of us existed.

143 Among the range of classic problems connected with space and time, there are several prominent disputes:

I. Do space and time arise from relations between things, or are they independent containers for entities? (Leibniz-Newton)
II. Are space and time made of quantized chunks, or are they smoothly flowing continua? (Bergson).
III. Are space and time finite or infinite? (Kant – First Antinomy)
IV. Are space and time separate domains, or do they belong instead to a single space-time, as held by Minkowski and Einstein?

145 Returning to major theme, in a single more fundamental problem from which they can be derived. Those four problems were:
1. Are time and space relational or absolute?
2. Are they smooth or made of chunks?
3. Are they finite or infinite?
4. Are they the same or different?

To this I would add a fifth question that has concerned me since my childhood, though it is rarely if ever discussed in philosophy:

5. Why do we always speak only of space and time as a pair, with no third or fourth term ever added? Is ”space and time” an adequate topic, or should we replace it with “space, time, and X” or “space, time, X, and Y”?
This fifth question may even turn out to be the gateway to the others.

3. Objects vs. Accidents,Relations, and Qualities
146 When the word “object” is mentioned in philosophy, it is the placed in opposition to the human “subject”. This tiresome pair of terms yields an impoverished conception of objects that must be abandoned.

The complaint may not sound very original, since thousands of authors not only bemoan a false subject/object divide, but even claim to have overcome it.
In this way they imagine that they have put an end to the central mistake of modern philosophy.

Yet all these thousands of saviors miss the point completely. For even while claiming to surpass the gap between humans and world, they leave this same pair intact at the centre of philosophy, even if now as a unified pair. The real problem with subject and object is not the gap between them; gaps are bridged easily enough with steel or wood. Instead, the real problem is that human and world are taken as the two fundamental ingredients that must be found in any situation.

147 As a result, the relation between humans and apples is assumed to be philosophically more significant than the relations between apples and trees, apples and sunlight, or apples and wind. These inanimate rapports are generally tossed aside to the natural sciences, while philosophy restricts itself to narrow mediation on a pampered twofold of people and things.

The vast majority of present-day philosophies still inhabit the same parochial rift, mistaking it for the universe as a whole. It hardly matters whether the is preserved (Kant) or purportetly overcome (phenomenology). The point is that no other rifts are taken into account. Yet the heartrendering duel or marriage between object and subject is not fundamental.

Far deeper is the triple interplay between an object and its accidents, relations, and qualities. Since the new approach to space and time hinges on the precise character of these three tensions, I will now summarise them briefly.

The term “object” will be used in the broadest possible sense to designate anything with some sort of unitary reality.”Object” can refer to trees, atoms, and songs, and also to armies, banks, and fictional characters. Some objects may be real in the usual sense of external physical existence, but others may not. This entails that, while object has certain similarities to the classical term “substance”, there are important differences as well.

Many past philosophers define substance as the smallest, the simplest, the most eternal, the most natural, or the most real thing in the world.
Object-oriented philosophy abandons such obsolete criteria from the start:

1. Relative size does not matter: an atom is no more an object than a
2. Simplicity does not matter: an electron is no more an object than a piano.
3. Durability does not matter: a soul is no more an object than cotton candy.
4. Naturalness does not matter: helium is no more an object than plutonium.
5. Reality does not matter: Mountains are no more objects than hallucinated

What makes something an object is not any of the features just discarded, but the simple fact that something is or seems to be “one” thing. This brings us back to the basic tension between object and its accidents, relations, and qualities.

150 It is not hard to find philosophies that deny the very existence of the three oppositions just described. For instance, Alfred North Whitehead and Bruno Latour do not distinguish between an entity and its accidents or relations, since both thinkers view an object as utterly concrete in all respects. Meanwhile, for David Hume and other empiricists, an object is a bundle of qualities and nothing more.

My claim is that common sense is right on these matters while the celebrated philosophers are wrong. An object is no seamless fusion, but is fatally torn between itself and its accidents, relations, and qualities: a set of tensions that makes everything in the universe possible, including space and time. To map these rifts more closely is the mission of
object-oriented philosophy.

4. Two Kinds of Objects

To build on the greatness of others is to build on rock, however modest our own talents. I nominate
phenomenology as the philosophical bedrock of the 20th century.

This is not to suggest that this school is without flaws, or that its current proponents correctly grasp its key insights, but only that Husserl and Heidegger both belong on the shortest list of recent philosophers will have made decisive breakthroughs.

My claim is that both the friends and enemies of phenomenology are too occupied with peripheral features of Husserl and Heidegger and thereby miss the point. Phenomenology is above all an object-oriented school whose major treasures are still overlooked. Husserl builds his philosophy on intentional objects, while Heidegger builds his on the veiled real objects known as tools.

151 Only by crossbreeding the objects of Husserl with those of Heidegger do we obtain the elements of
a new philosophy of objects, and hence of space and time.

Husserl’s phenomenology is best understood as an effort to fortify philosophy against the encroachments of natural science. For Husserl all physical explanations of color or sound are derivative, since these refer to causal mechanisms that are never directly given to us.

What is directly given is my own reflective experience. In everyday life I smell bread and hear the rustling of trains. These experiences lie prior to any interaction of chemicals or sonic waves with my nervous system, since these remain only a theory. In short, philosophy should bracket the outer world, suspending judgement on what happens outside our own experience, and focus on a pure description of what is given.

Now that we have described human experience as a foundation for all other realities, we seem to have reached a form of
idealism. But it is here that both critics and admirers of Husserl have strayed from the path. The critics see Husserl as just another idealist, and not a very original one. I have often described as “a less interesting version of Descartes” or “less interesting version of Kant”. Let's ignore for the moment any possible disputes as to whether Descartes or Kant were really idealists. The more interesting question here is whether phenomenology is just a recycled version of previous idealisms. The answer is no. Too much attention is paid to Husserl's bracketing of the real world, and too little attention to what results from that bracketing.

152 The reason the concrete description is possible in phenomenology is because Husserl is a philosopher of intentional objects…But even though an intentional object is bracketed, it is not only bracketed. There is a good reason why Husserl's idealism has such a strangely realist flavour. This reason lies in the stubborn tenacity of the intentional object, which forever resists the machinations of the ego or absolute knowing.

The most important aspect of intentional object is that they are something different from the profiles through which they become manifest; the "mailbox" (Boe: the thing, the object) is something more, or perhaps something less, than any of its specific incarnations in perception. With this step, Husserl opposes the entire tradition of empiricism, which views objects is nothing over and above a bundle of palpable qualites.

Recall that for Husserl, we can circle the mailbox from various angles and distances, viewing it emits different emotions at different times of day, and can even have it repainted or strung with ornaments. Within certain limits, none of these modifications of the mailbox makes us think that we are seeing a different thing.

153 We experience the qualities as if they emanated from an underlying object. For Merleau-Ponty, the red of an apple and the red of blood are not the same colour even if their wavelengths of reflected light are found to be absolutely identical.

What comes first are not qualities, but intentional or ideal objects. If there is a true "permanent tension" in Husserl's philosophy, it does not lie between a bracketed physical world and an immanent phenomenal one, since the former plays little to no role in his thinking.

The real tension for Husserl lies within the immanent realm, between intentional objects and the qualities that emanate from them. No such tension can be found in previous idealism.

To miss this difference is to betray a certain tone-deafness to phenomenology's new music. Husserl's lasting contribution stems from his exploration of intentional objects. Even those who proclaim him an idealist (as I myself do) cannot deny that his world is populated with objects. Though they are not real physical objects able to break and burn their neighbours, they remain objects of a different sort.

This brings us to a parallel error made by Husserl's admirers, who mostly deny that he is an idealist at all. For these mainstream phenomenologists, the intentionality of consciousness is already enough to overcome the
subject-object divide. After all, consciousness is always conscious of something.

To gaze upon a black pen supposedly takes me beyond myself,facing me in the rich world of relational interplay with things themselves. The problem with this line of argument is clear enough. Once the bracketing of the world occurs, we have lost any reality apart from how it is announced to us. The black pens, mailboxes, and burning churches described by phenomenologists are purely immanent objectswhether or not they are figments of a deluded mind.

154 And even in those cases where the intentional objects still corresponding something in reality, the mailbox described in my consciousness is not a mailbox buffeted by real window and protecting real packages from real snow. There is only one name for what results from themselves packaging method,and that name is idealism.

154 Another name for intentionality is “imanent objectivity”, and there is no such thing as “realism of immanence ”, “internal realism”, or “things-themselves-for-us”, however popular these notions may have become. If any philosophy does not allow two non-human objects to affect each other even when humans are not looking, there is no honest way to avoid calling that philosophy idealist.

All of this can be summarised as follows. Husserl's admirers and opponents both miss the point by failing to put
intentional objects at the centre of consideration. For Husserl's enemies he is a mere idealist, though in fact there is nothing "mere" about this idealism, whose object-oriented structure is as foreign to Hegel and Fichte as it would be for the great mystics of the Ganges.

For his fans, our relation to intentional objects is supposedly enough to escape from idealism, although no such escape has occurred. We could put the matter more charitably by saying that the pro-and anti-Husserl factions are both half right. His critics are right that he has an idealist, and his friends are right that he directs us toward objects.

What both sides fail to see is that an object-oriented idealism is possible: and not just possible, since Husser's philosophy is precisely this. What makes trees, stars, windmills, centaurs, and warlocks equally intentional objects is that all withstand numerous modifications of the profiles by which they are manifest. So much for the theme of intentional objects.

Boe: Heidegger - tool beings: Tool-Being: Through Heidegger to Realism

An altogether different sort of object emerges from the works of Heidegger.
In the famous tool-analysis, Heidegger observes that our usual way of dealing with entities is not theoretically gazing upon them, but simply relying on them. Tool-beings recede into a silent background as our conscious awareness is occupied elsewhere.

155 The most common interpretation of Heidegger's tool-analysis is a pragmatist sort of reading: all conscious theory emerges from a previous unconscious practice.

In this way, Husserl's phenomenology of appearances would merely be subordinated to Heidegger's hermeneutic phenomenology; since everything emerges from a shadowy background, we can only interpret objects rather than accessing them lucidly. This is fair enough, as far as it goes, yet it completely misses the real challenge posed by Heidegger's tools.

We can start by agreeing that any explicit theory of a thing, or any perception of it, will oversimplify that thing. To look at apples or to develop a theory of apples means to reduce them to a caricature of their shadowy depths, which always remains partly veiled or sheltered.

156 But let’s push things a step further, leaving all Heideggerians permanently behind (they will hardly be missed).

We are now forced to the weired but inevitable conclusion that all objects do this to each other as well. After all, even fire oversimplifies oxygen while consuming it.

This has nothing to do with a possible
panpsychism of fire-souls and oxygen-spirits. It merely comes from the realisation that human consciousness is not a unique instrument of distortion. In fact, any relation between two objects will be unable to avoid caricature.

And here we are reminded of why the countless messiahs who “overcome the subject-object divide” are nowhere near radical enough.

The problem is not the divide. The problem is that human subjects and nonhuman objects are wrongly proposed as the two ubiquitous ingredients of the universe.

Boe: correlationalism - Meillassoux

Such “
correlationalism” to us Meillassoux’s brilliant term, can tell us nothing about the relation between paper and flames, unless some human observers on the scene to witness these interactions.

By contrast, assuming that Heidegger's tool analysis is pushed well beyond Heidegger's own reading of it, it yields a far weirder result.

The root duality of the universe is not made up of subject and object, or even Dasein and world, but of objects and relations.

Heidegger's tool is a real object that withdraws from all relations, just as fossils object is an intentional one that exists only insofar as someone is sincerely dealing with it.

If I close my eyes and fall asleep, the intentional apple has vanished. But even as I sleep and dream, the real apple continues to unleash its force on all objects in the vicinity.

5. Emanation and Occasional Cause

157 But if the real apple unleashes force in this way, it remains puzzling how it can do so. The point of real objects is that they withdraw absolutely from all relation, and hence from all contact of any sort. We might speak of a partial unveiling of the apple, a sort of asymtotic approach to the apple-in-itself.

But any partial visibility of the apple will already be quite different from the apple in its own right, which labours silently in invisible depths.

This makes
relationality a major philosophical problem. It no longer seems evident how one thing is able to interact with another, since each thing in the universe seems to withdraw into a private bubble, with no possible link between one and the next.

Boe: Leibniz - monads - occasionalist philosophy: Occasionalism is a philosophical theory about causation which says that created substances cannot be efficient causes of events. Instead, all events are taken to be caused directly by God. (A related theory, which has been called 'occasional causation', also denies a link of efficient causation between mundane events, but may differ as to the identity of the true cause that replaces them. The theory states that the illusion of efficient causation between mundane events arises out of God's causing of one event after another. However, there is no necessary connection between the two: it is not that the first event causes God to cause the second event: rather, God first causes one and then causes the other

The same problem arose for different reasons in the tradition of occasionalist philosophy. For occasionalists to the medieval Iraq onwards, created substances could not be granted the power of interaction under pain of blasphemy, and hence God was needed to mediate between any two things that might interact. It thereby dodges the question of how this occurs, hiding behind the curtain of the True Faith.

Even so, the problem with objects that we now face is the same as this admirable occasionalist problem. Since experience has taught me that it is difficult to free the term "occasional cause" from theological theological overtones,, I have coined the phrase "vicarious causation" to replace it. The point of vicarious causation is that we should not select one super-entity to be given a magical power to touch other things as long as other entities are denied the same power.

158 Instead, we must find some way to build the capacity for vicarious causation into the structure of every entity that exists. That is not the task of the present article. Here I only wish to emphasise that the real entity lies at an absolute distance from its phenomenal appearance to some other entity.

The situation is quite different when it comes to the intentional objects described by Husserl. These do not withdraw in the least, and for two separate reasons. On the one hand, they do not veil themselves from me. While it is true that I can never see all sides or angles of out simultaneously, it is not the case that the intentional house is hidden from view. True, the real house itself always recedes from any contact with me or anything else. But the same is not true for the phenomenal house of consciousness, even though it is never fully incarnate with all possible attributes from all possible viewpoints at once.

For the house is already present before me as soon as I begin to explore it. My explorations are explorations of the house, at least until I decide that I have been misidentifying the object and I'm actually seeing something else.

So, intentional or phenomenal objects are immediately present for me as soon as I merely take them seriously.

Second, there is never just one intentional object in my consciousness, but many. I do not see a tree without also perceiving the surrounding grass, clouds, wolves,and odours. Intentional objects are characterised by a contiguity. In this sense intentional objects also do not fully recede from one another, for they are assembled together simultaneously for a viewer.

158 We have distinguished between real objects and intentional ones.
And intentional objects are normally regarded as mental, and are usually even restricted to the human. Thus, the encounter with intentional objects might be regarded as a sort of first-person psychological experience.
But in fact, intentional objects are far more rudimentary than objects of conscious experience.

159 Although all our examples of intentional objects so far come from the sphere of human consciousness, this is by no means necessary.

We have not yet claimed to know what consciousness is, nor do we need to do so in order to illuminate what intentionality is.

Recall that intentionality has two basic features. First, it is occupied with intentional objects. Second, those objects are surrounded by a cloud of accidents that can be varied infinitely without change to the intentional objects themselves.

Now note, somewhat surprisingly, that both features hold even in the case of contact between inanimate objects.

If we imagine one billiard ball striking another, we need not adapt a panpsychist theory of conscious plastic balls. Yet one ball skills must encounter the other as an object. Otherwise it could not be a barrier of any sort, and would pass straight through it, unaffected.

Yet by definition it cannot encounter the real ball, but only an intentional image of it.

Meanwhile, it must also encounter that ball in some specific configuration of accidents: say, at a particular temperature, even though within certain limits the fluctuation of that temperature makes no difference to the ball as a ball.

The case can be argued at greater length, but the conclusion will be as follows: intentional objects do not belong solely to the precious mental sphere of humans, but to any interaction between any two things whatsoever. Instead of calling them intentional objects, let's call them simply “images” or “

We must now take one additional strange step. Husserl had noted the paradox that
intentionality is both singular and plural. For on the one hand, the relation between the perceiver and a chair is one: it is a single relation that can be analysed retrospectively by later moment of consciousness, or even by another person who observes and describes it. This makes the relation an object in our broad sense of the term; it has a unified reality that no external observation can ever exhaust.

But at the same time intentionality is also multiple, and for obvious reasons. If I fused together fully with all the chairs and candles that I perceive, there would be a single unified phenomenon without two separate terms. I would not be taking something seriously that lies outside me, since I would have fused directly into that thing.

The weird implication is that the candle and I are two separate entities inhabiting the interior of a larger entity that contains us both: namely, the relation that unifies us. An entire philosophy will unfold from this proposition.

The world consists of only two elements: objects and their interiors.
Those interiors are speckled with intentional objects, which we have also called images or simulacra. But we have also seen that objects never touch, since they recede into the monastic solitude of private vacuums. But on the interior of objects, something does happen. This is a place where one object (a human observer, for instance) is sincerely occupied with images, and where various images crowd side-by-side, each of them encrusted with countless accidents.

More deserves to be said abiut these issues, but no more is needed to return to the topic of space and time:

160 We began by saying that
object-oriented philosophy distinguishes between an object and its accidents, qualities, and relations.

The difference between object and accident has been seen to play out in the realm of intentional objects: accidents exist only for a perceiver of intentional objects, whether that perceiver be living or inanimate.

No river, windmill, donkey, or clown that we encounter is confronted in the naked purity of its essence. Each of them reflects transient light and appears to mirror some fleeting mood, which are unimportant since all can be varied without changing what the thing seems to be.

We have spoken of how the specific profiles of a thing at any moment seemed to emanate from that thing.

161 This echo of Neoplatonic terminology is deliberate. But against the Neoplatonic doctrine that emanation yields a product less real and less good than that from which it hails, the surface of colours and smells emanates from an intentional object that is somehow less than its various incarnations, since we can subtract these encrustations while leaving the thing unchanged.

Here we have a first site of emanation, with one kind of reality apparently emitted by another. It is a horizontal emanation within the sensual realm; its tension is the very stuff of human perception, though not just of human perception.

But there is also a second emanation, a vertical one. We have seen that the real object withdraws from all its relations, remaining deeper than they are, unexhausted by them. Yet there is also an attachment between the concealed subterranean tree and its image for some other object, such as a human.

In both cases, there is a tension between an object and that through which it is announced…In a different sense, we could say that a real hammer emanates from the hammer-image through which it is encountered.

The first is an emanation from intentional objects to accidents, and the second in emanation from real objects into the intentional realm.

We now come to the central claim of this article:

the emanation of accidents from an intentional object is time, and the emanation of intentional objects from real ones is space.

Space and time are neither empty containers nor produced by relations between objects (Leibniz), but something diverted slightly from the Leibnizian position.

Let's begin with space. It would be mistaken to follow Leibniz literally and say that basis simply generated by the relations between things. For it is just as true that space is the site of non-relation between things.

If space were really made up of relations, we would have a systematic gridwork with each object utterly defined by its relations with all the others, and the universe would become a single lump interrelated to the point of homogenity.

Such a lump provides no room for anything like space, which by definition would contain only one position: that of the lump as a whole. Any attempt to describe space adequately must concede that space involves the relation of objects that do not entirely relate.

In other words, the simultaneous withdrawal of real objects from one another and their partial contact through simulacra is space itself.

This network of objects is not made possible by space, nor is it the “condition of possibility” of space. Rather, space itself is the mutual exteriority of objects, and their partial contact with images of one another, however this might occur.

Then space is not relations, but the tensions between objects and their relations. If Leibniz had refused to identify the monad with its perceptions, he would have arrived at the position now being defended. Likewise, the emanation that strings intentional objects together with their accidents is nothing other than time.

It should be noted that two distinct aspects of time are often mixed together. On the one hand, there is time imagined as a series of moments stretching out one after the other, and back, and Bergson is right to identify this form of “time” with space, while Minowski and Einstein are apparently just as right (as far as we know) to collapse this form of time into a wider four-dimensional space-time.

The relevant form of time for us is found in the sensation of time passing. It is the sensation of a continuum, not of a series of discrete poses in the manner of claymation films.

If I stare at a tree as the light and odours swirl wildly around it, with the tree nonetheless remaining the same for me, we have a clear example of the experience of time. Since this merely involves the swirling of accidental surface features, we can see that time itself changes nothing. Nor is there any reason to speculate about time travel, since time has no “arrow” at all. Time, in the sense of this article reverses back and forth wildly while changing nothing in the least: by definition,
time is purely accidental...

Stated differently, space is the mutual externality of partially linked objects, while time is the interior of objects themselves.

Time is the emanation of accidents from intentional objects, while space is the emanation of images from real ones.
The difference between objects and accidents gives us time, while the difference between objects and relations gives a space.

Since we have said that two objects can relate only on the interior of a third, it follows that there are infinitely many times, each unfolding on the interior of some vacuum-like space. Here too we find the materials for an entire philosophy.

But the alert reader will have wondered what happened to our third distinction, between objects and their inherent qualities apart from any relational contact with that thing. These inherent qualities can also be described as an essential qualities.

164 At any rate, the tension between the object and its qualities is also a form of emanation. Here too the essential qualities seem to belong to the object, yet are not identical with it, even though it requires them.

Boe: the five questions:
I. Do space and time arrives from relations between things, or are they independent containers for entities? (Leibniz-Newton)
II. Are space and time made of quantized chunks, or although smoothly flowing continua? (Bergson).
III. Are space and time finite or infinite? (Kant – First Antinomy)
IV. Are space and time separate domains, or do they belong instead to a single space-time, as held by Minkowski and Einstein?

V. Why do we always speak only of space and time as a power, with no third or fourth term ever added? Is ”space and time” an adequate topic, or should we replace it with “space, time, and X” or “space, time, X, andY”? This fifth question may even turn out to be the gateway to the others

And this means that our fifth question about space and time has already been answered.

Space and time no longer stand alone. They are usually treated it as the unique king and queen of the cosmos, without rival, even if one is normally considered in three-dimensions and the other is not.

But by approaching space and time from the direction of objects, we have managed to redefine them as emanations from objects.

This pinpoints an empty space on our map where the third emanation should be found: just as good physics foresees the existence of unknown particle fanilies, or as Mendeleev's table predicted chemical elements not yet found.

The third emanation that accompanies time (objects versus accidents) and space (objects versus relations), is the emanative tension between an object and its qualities.

It is not surprising that we have no direct access to this tension as we do to time and space, since by nature essence unfolds only within a shadowy underworld with which no direct contact is possible.

As we have seen, the traditional name for the tension between a thing and its qualities is

Instead of speaking of philosophies of space and time, we must now speak of
space, time, and essence as a trio of interrelated terms.

Earlier I cited five traditional questions about time and space. The object-oriented approach has already enabled us to stumble across an answer to the fifth question, the dearest one to me since childhood. Namely, space and time do not deserve to be treated alone, since the problem of essence belongs on the same footing as these two. Whether there is a fourth emanation, a missing radioactive one between intentional objects and real qualities, is a trickier question (Husserl – eidos).

But once at space and time were redefined as emanations, it became clear that essence belongs on the same footing as these two - just as qualities belong on the same footing as accidents and relations. In each of these cases we are dealing with a reality that is somehow attached to objects though not identical with them. Now, we might wonder if object-oriented philosophy can shed any light on the other four questions of space and time.

6. Conclusions

The first question was whether space and time are absolute containers without needing content, or whether they are generated solely by the relations between entities. We have already brushed up against the new solution to this question. Time has been described as the tension between an intentional object and its accidents, while space has been defined as the tension between real objects and the distorted way in which they manifest to some other object that encounters them.

In fact, the object-oriented model is largely neutral on the famous dispute between Leibniz and Clarke. Space turns out to be generated by the relational (and non-relational) tension between objects, which partly echoes Leibniz.
But time unfolds on the inside of infinitely many objects. In this latter sense Clarke and Newton are also supported, with the key difference that there are infinite spatial containers rather than a single giant container identified with the universe as a whole.

Each object creates its own internal space, and its own interior time, laced with duels between images and then accidents.

The second question was whether space and time are continuous or broken into quantised chunks. The object-oriented model suggests that space is broken up into infinite discrete locations whose interactions poses a critical problem. Yet the internal life of an object is continuous, filled the flux of accidents varied through many possible degrees without the underlining intentional objects changing at all. In a certain sense this supports Bergson’s tendency to quantised space while avoiding this gesture for time, but without any suggestion that the realm of quanta is an illusion generated by human abstraction.

Space itself is quantized, since it is nothing but the relational/non-relational system of objects, partly linked even as they withdraw into intimate vacuums. And time itself is a continuum, since any time will be filled with enduring pillars (the intentional objects) encrusted with countless permutations of accidents modified within limits to any possible degree of intensity, without change to the images they adorn.

The third question was whether space and time are finite or infinite, a question that Kant declared unanswerable. This question splits into a trio of separate issues: the space part , the time part, and the unanswerable part. Let's address these in a slightly different order, proceeding from easiest to most difficult.

1. “Is time finite or infinite”? Under the object-oriented model time unfolds only on the interior of an object. As long as objects exist, time must exist. The question can thus we rephrased as follows: "must objects always exist?" While the answer to this question is not yet clear, the object-oriented model with its units withstanding surface fluctuations seems to lean toward a certain principle of inertia.

2. “Is the question even answerable”? Kant’s agnosticism on these questions is a form of false modesty. For even as he pleads ignorance as to the possible spatiotemporal character of the world itself, he is quite decisive about the phenomenal sphere: all appearance must occur in space and time, as a priori forms of pure intuition. This notion does more injustice to space than to time. For the object-oriented model suggests that space is not “intuited” at all, but merely infered.

More generally, Kant's agnostic method toward the things themselves is anulled by the logic of Heidegger's tool-analysis. The key step is not so much the veiling of things from human access, which can easily be reconciled with a standard Kantian model.

Instead, the key is to realise that no priority can be given to a single rift between human and world, and to realise further that bridging this divide is still no solution. The problem is not the rift, but the fact that the two particular sides of this rift (human and world) are wrongly viewed as fundamental to the fabric of the world. Object-oriented philosophy proclaims that any relation between any two objects automatically produces distortion.

We now turn to the fascinating fourth question, though little can be said of it here. For Einstein, time and three-dimensional space can be considered as a unified four dimensional space-time. The object-oriented approach initially dodges this question by treating time as an experience, and by treating this experience as an emanation between intentional objects and their accidents, a sphere of reality about which relativity makes no claims at all.

Yet the dodge should not be a permanent one. For assuming that time is truly incommensurable with space in the manner described in this article, philosophy might still wonder why physics has made such great strides by considering them as a four dimensional continuum.

Some of the ideas in this article have gained credence with the author after years of reflection, while others remain for more puzzling. Yet even these latter ideas serve a purpose. By approaching space and time from a new direction, we elude the existing trench walls and philosophy. The differing agnosticism of recent philosophy, can be replaced by a highrolling metaphysics of objects. The spirit of the archive can be placed by that of the casino.


The questions:

I. Do space and time arrives from relations between things, or are they independent containers for entities? (Leibniz-Newton)
II. Are space and time made of quantized chunks, or although smoothly flowing continua? (Bergson).
III. Are space and time finite or infinite? (Kant – First Antinomy)
IV. Are space and time separate domains, or a steer to a single space-time, as held by Minkowski and Einstein?

To this I would add a fifth question that has concerned me since my own childhood, or though it is rarely if ever discussed in philosophy:

V. Why do we always speak only of space and time as a power, with no third or fourth term ever added? Is” space and time”and adequate topic, or should we replace it with “space, time, and X” or “space, time, X, andY”? This fifth question may even turn out to be the gateway to the others.