I have constantly been considering the aspect of OOO that denies physicalism And I realize now that it is correct when one considers objects as Harman does. There are objects of thought and social objects that are not physical (such as imaginary friends, weddings, the election of 1996). However, I still maintain that there must be a physical substance underlying all such things. Can there be thoughts without brains? Weddings without people (at least currently on earth – for all you savage smart-asses 👍🏻)? An election without a means to record results (whether electronic or on paper)?
But now I am on page 161 and Harman directly addresses the New Realism of Ferraris and Gabriel. And he admits to the very complaint that I have against OOO. It claims no knowledge is possible of real objects. But such an absolute claim is it least knowledge of what real objects are not. And digging down into the relationships between objects and people only shows that knowledge is possible. Now if he would simply change his claim but no absolute knowledge is possible, then I would agree. He does say that direct knowing of real objects and real qualities is impossible and I agree, but this is far from no knowledge.
Perhaps I’m reading him wrong on this point. And perhaps he has read the New Realists wrong too. Absolute knowledge about anything is impossible because the relationship between the one attempting to know and the thing being known constantly shifts with the increase of knowledge by the student. I’m not sure how to word it clearly right now, but perhaps it will come to me later on. I’m just hoping I’m misunderstanding him and that he has more to offer in OOO. I feel like he is close to saying something useful but never breaking the dam’s walls to flood my mind.