Published In

Northwest Philosophy Conference

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 10-28-2022


realism, metaphysics, speculative realism, systems theory, systems metaphysics, object-oriented ontology, difference


Recent developments in Continental philosophy have included emergence of a school of “speculative realism” which rejects the human-centered orientation that has long dominated Continental thought, but also opposes naïve realism or positivism. Proponents of speculative realism differ on several issues, but most agree on the need for an object-oriented ontology. Speculative realists who draw upon Marxist thought identify realism with materialism, while others accord equal reality to objects that are non-material, even fictional. Several thinkers retain a focus on difference, a well-established theme in Continental thought. This paper looks at speculative realism from the perspective of the metaphysics of systems theory. Many of the tenets of speculative realism have long been features of systems metaphysics and are expressed clearly in a systems framework.

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