miércoles, 28 de noviembre de 2012

Intra-actions and Strange Strangers

by Adam Robbert

By coining the term “intra-action” Karen Barad seeks to overturn the metaphysics of individualism—the general view that individuals pre-exist their contexts and interactions—by placing relations at the center of her metaphysical inquiry. The term intra-action has subsequently been adopted by Donna Haraway to describe the multispecies entanglements “through which entities, subjects, and objects come into being.” In contrast to these views, Tim Morton has proposed the concept of “strange strangers,” a precursor to his more recent work in object-oriented ontology. While Barad’s critique of the metaphysics of individualism targets a certain understanding of the ontological status of individuals, this paper argues that Tim Morton’s object-oriented approach—which emphasizes the withdrawn and irreducible nature of individual substances—offers an important complement to the intra-active approach to ecology and ethology. This paper proceeds by way of comparative analysis: First, by outlining Barad’s intra-active philosophy, and second by contrasting this view with Morton’s object-oriented ontology. The paper takes a pluralist approach that applies the best of both views in service of deeper ecological thinking.

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