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AIAS Guest lecture: by professor Graham Harman, Department of Philosophy, American University in Cairo, Egypt

Title: Materialism is Not the Solution.

Info about event


Wednesday 9 October 2013,  at 09:30 - 12:00


The AIAS Auditorium, Building 1632, Høegh-Guldbergs Gade 6B, 8000 Aarhus C


Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies


In current cutting-edge philosophy, the word "materialism" often occurs as a key term, whether in Quentin Meillassoux's "speculative materialism," in the group of new theories often assembled under the heading "New Feminist Materialisms," or even in the resurgent continental scientism that appeals to the reductive or eliminative heritage of materialist natural science.

In this lecture, Graham Harman will make the contrary argument that realism rather than materialism is the key to future progress. Though realism and materialism are often viewed as one and the same in their opposition to "idealism," they are actually quite different. While materialism seems to assert the existence of a fleshly matter that resists the workings of the mind or social structures, in the end it privileges a philosophy of immanence in which the material is that which can be known, or at least that which is directly encountered by humans rather than lying in a supposed transcendent otherworldly site. By contrast, the real is that which is not just inassimilable to human perceptual/cognitive access, but also that which is irrecuperable either by praxis (Stengers) or by outright mathematisation (Meillassoux). Both philosophy and the arts need to rediscover a more robust sense of the real.



Graham Harman is Professor of Philosophy at the American University in Cairo, Egypt. Harman is the author of ten books, most recently Weird Realism: Lovecraft and Philosophy (2012), The Quadruple Object (2011), and Quentin Meillassoux: Philosophy in the Making (2011). He is the editor of the Speculative Realism book series at Edinburgh University Press, and (with Bruno Latour) co-editor of the New Metaphysics book series at Open Humanities Press.



Robert Jackson, Lancaster University, United Kingdom.


The Graham Harmans guest lecture is organised by the research programme “Mediality, Materiality, Aesthetic Meaning” and the PhD programme “Art, Literature and Cultural Studies” at Aarhus University.

The lecture is open to the public, and registration is not needed.

Coffee is served from 9:00.

For further information, please contact

Jacob Lund, associate professor: jacoblund@hum.au.dk

Jacob Wamberg, professor: kunjw@hum.au.dk