I am reading Graham Harman's "Quadruple Object", but having difficulties in following the connection he makes between the Real Object and the Sensual Qualities.
He starts forming his quadruple object by referring to Husserl and first draws the following connections: Sensual Object to Sensual Qualities, and Sensual Object to Real Qualities. The 'profiles' of an object that we perceive it, in other words, each instance of our perception of an object (Sensual Qualities) do not provide us the full idea of it (Sensual Object), but we form it as we create it from these experiences. The seconds connection, Sensual Object to Real Qualities, cannot be made through perceptual experiences, but only through approaches such as the scientific method, because real qualities are not available to our perceptions. So far this makes sense to me.
This is as much as he can go on with Husserl and in order to make connections that include the Real Object, he starts referring to his re-interpretation of Heidegger's Vorhandenheit (presence-at-hand) and Zuhandenheit (readiness-to-hand).
According to him, the reality of an object is withdrawn and we have no access to it, however he claims that certain situations gives a glimpse of it, and the tension resulting from this temporary hint of reality is called allure. He relies on Heidegger's tool-analysis for this conclusion. Regarding the presence-at-hand, he gives the example of Heidegger's broken hammer where we are sudddenly faced with a different reality when the hammer gets broken and when can no longer use it, similar to being aware of our heartbeat only when there is an anomaly with it. He adds that ready-to-hand also plays a role in this, so it not only presence-at-hand that reveals reality to human consciousness, but also readiness-to-hand that reveals reality to human praxis. So both play a role in creating "allure". They certainly play a role in something, but why does this something necessarily have to do with the Real Object?
Following are some questions to clarify what confuses me:
- In Harman's (and Heidegger's) examples, although we are not accessing something at a certain moment, we still have potential access to it. Isn't this similar to having a key to a locked door in our pocket, but currently not being concerned about opening it, because we have other business to take care of at that moment?
- Floor Example: When we are walking on the floor, we do not feel the floor when we are concentrated in only reaching our destination, but how does that mean that the floor is inaccessible or hidden from us? Isn't there a confusion here between "not accessible" vs. "not being accessed at the moment"?
- Hammer example: Whether a hammer is broken or not, we still sense it. We might not sense certain properties of it when we are using it as a tool, in order to use our brain resources more efficiently, or we may not interact with it physically when we are thinking about it from a distance, but how does this make it inaccessible to us?
Maybe I have misunderstood something, maybe I am missing some points. But any clarification on how Heidegger's tool analysis (or Harman's interpretation of it) really gives us a hint of the inaccessible world, and does not merely focus our attention to yet another part of the accessible world, would be appreciated.