I decided to take part in the upcoming Finnish-Estonian Archaeological Post-Graduate Seminar that will be held in Turku in November. Here’s the abstract for my presentation. I suppose this will be the last seminar this year. After all this teaching and talking at seminars I really have to get back to my dissertation.
How to think like a thing
The recent turn to things in archaeological theory has been influenced by the so-called speculative turn (a counterpoint for the linguistic turn) that took place in continental philosophy during the beginning of the 21st century. One of the philosophical topics speculative realists have revived is ontology, the study of the most fundamental nature of reality. Ontology, however, is no longer treated as the rationalist paper-doubt study of the transcendental ‘real’ reality that lurks behind the phenomenal reality, denying all access to our consciousness of it. Speculative realism basically means that the correlation (pace Meillassoux) between mind and reality is not what ultimately constitutes reality for humans. This simple notion leads to the simple idea that the inner life of non-human things could be more or less knowable to us humans. Since things are thought to be the most reliable witnesses to their past, it is worth our effort to speculate about what it is like to be a thing.