Philosophy Today

Volume 68, Issue 2, Spring 2024

Martin Zwick
Pages 263-288

A Systems Theoretic View of Speculative Realism

Recent developments in Continental philosophy have included the emergence of a school of “speculative realism,” which rejects the human-centered orientation that has long dominated Continental thought. Proponents of speculative realism differ on several issues, but many agree on the need for an object-oriented ontology. Some speculative realists 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 systems theory. Many of the tenets of speculative realism have long been features of systems metaphysics and are expressed clearly in a systems framework. However, some views of some speculative realists differ substantially from systems theoretic ideas.