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Form and Object

A Treatise on Things

Tristan Garcia
Translated by Mark Allan Ohm, Jon Cogburn

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A shockingly novel view of substance that will significantly change contemporary debates about substance and ontological emergence

What is a thing? What is an object? Tristan Garcia decisively overturns 100 years of Heideggerian orthodoxy about the supposedly derivative nature of objects to put forward a new theory of ontology that gives us deep insights into the world and our place in it.

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Translators’ Introduction
List of Figures
Book I: Formally
Part I: Thing
I. No-matter-what
To matter
That no-matter-what became something
II. Less than a thing, more than a Thing
The vacuity of distinguishing material things from non-material things
III. Something
IV. Nothing is in itself
V. Compactness
VI. Something-other-than-a-thing
Going outside the world is a way of entering inside it
Part II: Thing and World
I. Something-other-than-a-thing: the world
II. Where is a thing? In the world
Without me
III. Where is the world?
What a big thing is
Many worlds
IV. Something-other-than-a-thing: all
V. The accumulation of objects
One, several, whole, equal
Part III: Being and Comprehending
I. Being is being comprehended
Being is secondary
II. That which is a thing, that which a thing is
On meaning
III. The two senses
On interests
IV. In things: matter
On the composition of a thing
Hand prints
V. Outside things: form
Book II: Objectively
Chapter I: Universe
Chapter II: Objects and Events
Chapter III: Time
Chapter IV: Living Things
Chapter V: Animals
Chapter VI: Humans
Chapter VII: Representations
Chapter VIII: Arts and Rules
Chapter IX: Culture
Chapter X: History
Chapter XI: Economy of Objects
Chapter XII: Values
Chapter XIII: Classes
Chapter XIV: Genders
Chapter XV: Ages of Life
Chapter XVI: Death
Coda: Formally, objectively
The Chance and the Price
Works Cited

About the Author

Tristan Garcia is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Lyon III and an award-winning novelist. He is the author of La vie intense: Une obsession moderne, translated into English as The Life Intense: A Modern Obsession (Edinburgh University Press, 2018) and Forme et objet. Un traité des choses (PUF, 2011), translated into English as Form and Object: A Treatise on Things (Edinburgh University Press, 2014). His other philosophical works include L’Image and Nous. His fictional works include Les cordelettes de Browser, En l’absence de classement final and Mémoires de la jungle. In 2008, he received the Prix de Flore for La meilleure part des hommes, translated into English as Hate: A Romance.


One has to appreciate [Tristan Garcia's] novelty and courage.
- Yuk Hui, Leuphana University Lüneburg, Journal of Visual Culture

Marvelously translated by Mark Allan Ohm and Jon Cogburn, Tristan Garcia’s Form and Object introduces a speculative metaphysical system that addresses some of the perennial problems of object-oriented ontology (“OOO”), an approach to ontological thinking most famously developed by Graham Harman … This is a text of enormous breadth and substantial depth, and whether Garcia’s project ultimately succeeds is, unfortunately, not a matter with which a review of this scope can robustly concern itself. There is much to admire here, however. Garcia has addressed some of the major concerns of OOO with a complexity and ambition that has few contemporary rivals, and has done so in a way that illustrates the relevance of object-oriented philosophy to many other fields. Readers will discover a robust challenge to both Hegelian and Nietzschean metaphysical critiques, but not without some dedication to making sense of Garcia’s many neologistic constellations … Still, this difficulty and seeming-impenetrability may be part of the text’s allure: what major Continental text was not something of a mystery upon its initial publication? There is much more to unpack and discover in Form and Object and this, for now, may be enough to warrant its recommendation.

Reading Form and Object gives one the rare impression of discovering an utterly singular intelligence, reconfiguring all things, in a completely new tone. Tristan Garcia reinvents what seemed impossible after Hegel: speculative encyclopedism. A torrent of novel ideas. A tour de force.

- Quentin Meillassoux, Maître de conférences à l'Université de Paris-1 (Panthéon-Sorbonne)

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