10. non-human turn & Speculative Realism

Richard Grusin Non-Human Turn

The nonhuman turn can be traced to a variety of different  developments from the last decades of the twentieth century: 

• Actor-network theory, particularly Bruno Latour’s careerllong project to articulate technical mediation, nonhuman agency, and the politics of things 
Affect theory, both in its philosophical and psychological manifestations and as it has been mobilized by queer theory
Animal studies, as developed in the work of Donna Haraway and others, projects for animal rights, and a more general critique of speciesism
e assemblage theory of Gilles Deleuze, Manuel De Landa, Latour, and others
New brain sciences like neuroscience, cognitive science, and arti cial intelligence
e new materialism in feminism, philosophy, and Marxism
New media theory, especially as it has paid close attention to technical networks, material interfaces, and computational analysis
• Varieties of speculative realism including object-oriented philosophy, neovitalism, and panpsychism
Systems theory, in its social, technical, and ecological manifestations 

Posthuman entails a historical development from human to something after the human, even as it invokes the imbrication of human and nonhuman in making up the posthuman turn. The nonhuman turn, on the other hand, insists (to paraphrase Latour) that “we have never been human” but that the human has always coevolved, coexisted, or collaborated with the nonhuman—and that the human is characterized precisely by this indistinction from the nonhuman. 

1) describe it,
2) compare it,
3) associate it with something else you know,
4) analyse it (meaning break it into parts),
5) apply it to a situation you are familiar with,
6) argue for or against it.

Latour: Society a complex assemblage of human and non-human actors.
Discussions talk about the weight of non-human activities (Facebook etc) and how they affect discourse and challenge scholars on opinion and also in the “time” to form a authoritative opinion. The non-human exchange of opinion has a speed that outweighs traditional conversations and can be both trite and weighty at the same time.

“speculative realism” philosophies is the question of whether reality exists outside the human mind.

Speculative realist philosophers like Quentin Meillassoux have argued that this is wrong, that reality does exist outside the human mind, but various speculative realists disagree for different reasons. For example, Meillassoux argues in After Finitude that correlationism is wrong and that the only fact that humans can be certain of is that reality can change radically without warning and for any reason. Graham Harman has offered a different kind of speculative realist philosophy called “object-oriented ontology.” Arguing in favor of Kant’s correlationism, he proposes that everything, humans included, can be considered as objects, and that an object has an inner essence as well as what he calls “sensual” traits with which objects can interact with each other. But these are just two examples.