Obviously, a complete analysis of Harman's system cannot occupy this piece. I offer it, though, as a productive system that seeks to unveil the truth of reality. The very uncontainability of the essences of real objects, and their indolent withdrawal from experience, suggests a sympathy to the saturation of phenomena and givenness as Marion describes it, and even Steinbock's verticality, though verticality describes 'vertical' experiences. Steinbock's rigorous descriptions of the tensions between the moral emotions, and even mystical experience, and their qualities also seems at home in the speculative realism of the quadruple/fourfold object as the center of Harman's project. Because Catholic Realism commands the most comprehensive account of truth that all these post-Husserlian, post-Heideggerian philosophies of reality offer, it should not surprise that Catholicism has gravitated in this general direction.
Marion's description of the disappearing object (181-88) as it follows from his own 'tool analysis'(197-200) in Negative Certainties reflects the phenomenality of two real objects approaching one another as described by Harman. The mutual withdrawal of each polarity is 'known' as withdrawal even if its 'content' remains unarticulated. Such 'knowledge' has a negative certainty as it plays out in counter-experience. Similarly, the moral emotions that play out against the question of pride in Steinbeck's work also play out as the interface of 'real objects' in their withdrawal. Indeed, the generativity of both Steinbeck's verticality and Marion's saturation and phenomenology of givenness stand (favorably) against the generativity of Harman's fourfold, even as they stand against his indictment of the false, inadequate, less than 'full blown' realism of phenomenology in general. Harman has not yet accounted for phenomenologies that describe phenomena that side-step noema and noesis---generative phenomenologies of givenness and verticality. For in these phenomenologies the objects on either side of the phenomenological moment are real, and give themselves to themselves prior to any other kind of givenness; and they give to themselves their own selves, each their own Myself in a way that is anterior to any givenness of or to an 'other.' In short, Marion's 'third reduction' has postulated a truly autonomous phenomenal object, whose self-sufficient givenness prefigures the inexhaustibility of phenomenality that Harman jealously guards.
Self-givenness supplies real objects with the autonomy of their very nature, their very essence. No other self is required for this self-givenness. No reception validates such a robust givenness; instead, the givenness of things is simply and purely given into reality, regardless of any real or sensual qualities that might inhere in such a moment. That there might be a special kind of object in the vicinity that might experience the reality of another object as a counter-experience of its withdrawal, is an interesting phenomenon in and of itself, but does not distort any reality of any qualities or essences (e.g., withdrawal).
While Catholic Realism, at least in the hands of the discourse of this blog, places a premium on relationality as anterior to the being of a self, it can withstand the reification of such relation as the birth of another object within which objects, real and sensual, interact in a knowledge verified by negative certainty. Such a realism does not restrict saturation to real, withdrawing objects. Sensual objects, as they enter consciousness, have a saturation all their own. Yet the generativity, the productivity of all object oriented philosophies, whether phenomenologies of verticality, or of givenness and saturation and negative certainty, or the counter-experience of the speculation of the tensions, radiations and junctions of a fourfold structure of reality, find great favor in the special kind of realism I have called Catholic Realism. Whether the objects are real or sensual, whether they withdraw or find presence, whether they take the form of the sacraments, liturgies, morality, social justice, solidarity, subsidiarity, whether we can know them with positive or negative certainty, they either come before us as they present or as they withdraw in a vibrant reality. An example might suffice to illustrate the problems confronted by Catholic Realism.
The Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist no longer finds adequate representation in a metaphysics of transubstantiation. Instead, the reality of the Eucharistic presence finds its better accounting in the saturated phenomenon, givenness, vertical experience, and in the tension between real and sensual objects and their qualities. Only among such approaches can the claims made for the Real Presence by Catholic Realism find full expression; for Christ in the Eucharist is no mere impanation or consubstantiation, but in the event of a real and sensual object in tension with its real and sensual accidents, and in the space, time, essence and eidos at play in this reality. Speculatively, the Eucharistic experience involves the withdrawal of the real object into the saturated phenomenon recollected in a counter-experience, which is none other that the stark confrontation with sacramentality itself, further enfolded in the verticality of love and hope.
Only the onslaught of an idolatrous materialism, the materialism of empiricism, scientism and naturalism, threatens to reduce all of reality to its own narrow gaze. Catholic Realism asks then this question: since such a materialism is inimical to all object-oriented philosophies, whether generative phenomenology or generative speculative realism, is the enemy of my enemy my friend? Catholic Realism seeks no synthesis of the object-oriented philosophies. If it asks Harman for real objects, he will respond in spades and a robust metaphysics; if it asks Marion for an account of the icon, or the idol or the flesh, he will respond with the saturated phenomenon and his philosophy of givenness; if it asks Steinbock for an account of hope, he will respond with the verticality of the self, the Myself and the tensions between these and pride, and their qualities. It might turn out that any one of these approaches to the Truth is ill-suited to the task; but in its self-understanding and self-givenness, the realism that inheres in Catholicism knows that it plays on the field of facticity and finitude, and play this hand at no-trump.