So eclipsistic!

Back in 2003, when I began to wade out into philosophy and enjoyed the new philosopher’s humiliation of rediscovering obvious truths I came up with some names for self-other orientations. A position of solipse looks out upon reality from an explicit self-to-other orientation, sort of a principled egoism, which analyzes existence in terms of relationship to subject. Eclipse is just the opposite of solipse. A position of eclipse looks out upon reality from an explicit other-to-self orientation, which attempts to factor out ego in order to get objective knowledge.

The reason I bring this up is I just wrote some irritated notes in the margin of page 119 of Hyperobjects, where Morton starts positioning Object-Oriented Ontology (OOO) against what he calls “sensual objects”, objects as they are for an observer, what Harman calls “as-structure”. Of course, phenomenology is pretty much just rigorous study of as-structure, and Heidegger was a phenomenologist, so using phenomenology as a foil against OOO makes sense. But OOO does a weird move that, to me, seems extremely typical of today’s version of “leftness”: he seems to believe that he can transcend his first person position altogether by extremes of altruism, by equating himself and his own existence to that of all objects. In fact, had I thought of it, I’d have scribbled “object altruism!” In the margin. Instead I wrote “so eclipsistic!”

So, if being solipsistic means behaving as if one’s own subjectivity is the ground of all reality, being eclipsistic means behaving as if one’s own conception of objectivity is the ground of all reality. So a person with a reductive materialist philosophy who imagines that his own experience of consciousness emerges from the workings of material dynamics, and that somehow this raises him out of his first-person perspective into a third-person perspective is being eclipsistic.

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