14th February 2020 by

CTRG – Speculative Philosophy – February 18th

On Tuesday the 18th of February we will be looking at Graham Harman’s ‘The Third Table’. In this essay, Harman aims to clarify the nature of real objects, which is to say what an object is on its own terms. He does this by considering the everyday object of the table. For Harman, there are three ways of understanding a table. The first two are quite simple. Way number one, is as an object being made up of smaller components (matter, energy, and pieces/parts); this is the table according to science–the table broken down into smaller constituent elements. Way number two of understanding a table is as an object when we encounter it in everyday use. This the table we use to put stuff onto, to eat off of, to work on. Against these two tables, Harman argues there is a third: a table of substance that withdraws from our understanding, but which is the real essence of a table.

In this session we will discuss Harman’s speculative proposition of a Third table, and we urge all to attend! We’re also open to a wider discussion of speculative philosophy, so if you don’t get chance to read the article, come along and use this as an opportunity to open up about close encounters of the third kind in your own research!

A Close Encounter with a Table of the Third Kind

For access to the reading, please contact please contact contemptheoryuob@gmail.com to be added to the mailing list. Alternatively, Harman’s essay can be found here.

Snacks and Refreshments will be Provided!


  • When? 18th of Feb, 4-6pm
  • Where? Arts 141
  • Who? All are Welcome

Added note: our next two subsequent sessions will be rearranged to take place off campus as teach-outs in support of the UCU Industrial Action. We hope that you can join us in solidarity! More information about these events will be released in due course. Our on-campus sessions will resume on March 17th in Arts 334, when we will be looking at Genome Time.