Environmental Philosophy

Volume 20, Issue 2, Fall 2023

Robert Booth
Pages 289-318

On the Dubious Merit of Ontologizing Bohr
Reading Barad (Diffractively) with Merleau-Ponty

Despite thinking that an appropriately nonanthropocentric approach to the more-than-human world requires understanding phenomena to be ontologically basic, Karen Barad engages with phenomenology only fleetingly. Here, I suggest that Barad ought to take Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology more seriously for two reasons. First, Barad’s objections to his prospects for a suitably nonanthropocentric phenomenology rely upon a misdirected charge of representationalism. Second, Merleau-Ponty offers theoretical and methodological tools corrective to our tendencies toward metaphysical and behavioral colonialism which align with Barad’s project, yet, insofar as her agential realism remains committed to a very strong metaphysical naturalism, appear unavailable to her.