Karen Barad, Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning. Article (PDF Available) · April with Meeting the Universe Halfway has ratings and 35 reviews. In this volume, Karen Barad, theoretical physicist and feminist theorist, elaborates her theory of. Meeting the Universe Halfway is an ambitious book with far-reaching In this volume, Karen Barad, theoretical physicist and feminist theorist.
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Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Keeting. Meeting the Universe Halfway: Meeting the Universe Halfway is an ambitious book with far-reaching implications for numerous fields in the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. In this volume, Karen Barad, theoretical physicist and feminist theorist, elaborates her theory of agential realism. Offering an account of the world as a whole rather than as composed of separate natural and social Meeting the Universe Halfway is an ambitious book with far-reaching implications for numerous fields in the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities.
Offering an account of the world as a whole rather bafad as composed of separate natural and social realms, agential realism is at once a new epistemology, ontology, and ethics.
In the process, she significantly reworks understandings of space, time, matter, causality, agency, subjectivity, and objectivity. Intra-activity is an inexhaustible dynamism that configures and reconfigures relations of space-time-matter. In explaining intra-activity, Barad reveals questions about how nature and culture interact and change over time to be fundamentally misguided. Finally, Barad uses agential realism to produce a new interpretation of quantum physics, demonstrating that agential realism is more than a means of reflecting on science; it can be used to actually do science.
Paperback2nd printingpages. Published June 20th by Duke University Press first published Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning.
To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Meeting the Universe Halfwayplease sign up. Be the first to ask a question about Meeting the Universe Halfway. Lists with This Book. Oct 01, Christy rated it it was amazing Shelves: This was definitely one of the best books on my feminist theory reading list.
Barad’s attention to detail is convincing and her conclusions are compelling and fascinating. Plus, despite being about quantum physics, this is one of the clearest works of feminist theory I’ve read lately.
Apr 16, John rated it it was amazing. This is one of the greatest philosophical books I have ever read. Karen Barad draws on figures such as Judith Bulter, Donna Haraway, and Michel Foucault to investigate the ontological implications of the insights in quantum physics of Niels Bohr.
She argues for a completely new way of looking at the world, which she calls “agential realism,” where the relationship preexists and constitutes the relata. Subject and object or rather, the “agencies of observation” and the “object of observation” a This is one of the greatest philosophical books I have ever read. Subject and object or rather, the “agencies of observation” and the “object of observation” are not independently existing individuals, but exists on in their “intra-action.
The most fascinating aspect of the book is its emphasis on ethics. Although “ethics” is mentioned only a few times in the whole book, a major goal of the book is to rework responsibility and obligation which can no longer involve a relation to a radically exteriorized “other”.
Her ontology makes ethics a pervasive aspect of life. Indeed, she characterizes her work as a form of ethico-onto-epistem-ology, claiming that the three cannot be disentangled. This book deals extensively with difficult issues in quantum physics, especially on the difference and incompatibility between and the ontological implications of Bohr’s complementarity and Heisenberg’s uncertainty. The most interesting part for me, someone with little physics background, was the discussion of the quantum eraser experiment, which is truly mind-blowing.
Probably the most gruelling book I have ever read on the topics. You’ll need a tremendously tough mind and exceedingly tender heart to read it–and finish it.
May 26, Haris rated it really liked it. I really wanted to love this book, as someone with a background and aspiration in physics, philosophy, and moral cosmologies. But it did not quite live up to my expectations. Barad gets points enough to bump her up. We need more scholarship like this, or at least in this vein, which does not shy away from breaking disciplinary boundaries.
Her arguments about entanglement “we are all connected,” though a bit more complex than that is not wholly original, but her attempts to demonstrate its truth through thorough, step-by-step analyses of classic physics experiments does feel new and laudable.
Similarly, I found her extension from Bohr’s notion of “phenomena,” of intra-actions being the ontological reality, rather than there existing some pre-existing reality, thought-provoking and nuanced.
Her methodological approach to “diffraction” rather than reflection was also appreciated as was her intellectually entertaining and lengthy Acknowledgements section. There’s also a fascinating, 2 or 3-page section toward the end of the book about the wholeness of the universe that was a highlight of the book.
That said, while at first I dove into this as a fascinating and dense work that would reveal its intricate parts as the pages flew by — I was really enjoying it for the first pages — it eventually began to feel more and more diffuse. Barad explicitly states that diffraction is the nature of her methodological approach, but, while some scholars do a wonderful job of writing similarly with many nuances, puzzles, and intellectual meanderings along the way I think of Talal Asad or Gil Anidjarit is very hard for me to appreciate Barad on that level.
She repeats herself frequently to the point where her agential realist vocabulary, which once felt new and promising and exciting, begins to feel tiresome and empty, words only, jargon.
She keeps pushing important questions to later chapters – especially chapter 7, whose detail and lack of repetition I regard as one of the most worthwhile pieces of the book – and while there is payoff sometimesit is increasingly frustrating as a reader as the pages drag on.
If it is diffractive methodology, it’s across the infinite and headache-inspiring space between parallel mirrors, the stuff of Borges, perhaps, but not this. More deeply, I took great uiverse with her attempt to 1 “prove” an ontology, universee, as well, to then, 2 based on this ontology, narad an ethics. The argument is interesting and her use of quantum physics to try to prove it more so, but the question lingers: How does one prove an ontology? Her argument assumes prima facie that ontology, epistemology, and semantics are entangled, constituting one another Which leaves this lingering question uncomfortably evaded.
Thus is the unresolvable dilemma of ontology at least for a logician Al-Ghazali would refer to “dhawq,” fruitional experience, as a realm of knowledge above rationality. Barad’s description of agential realism is interesting but, like those meetung argues against, it remains an idea. True, she contends that ideas are ultimately “marks on bodies,” — but I would say that that description in itself is also an idea; how would we even know what these marks were if we are all entangled?
I understand her desire to complicate hafway picture, but here I feel that haltway reach the problem of being left “without definition,” so to speak, and while I don’t appreciate critiques that dismiss arguments as “not useful” or “not provable,” I think in this case the character and force of Barad’s argument itself becomes weak and unnecessarily ambiguous. She might view this as too humancentric a perspective Even if we recognize nonhuman entities as shaping our “humaness”, that recognition meetong, perhaps, a human one.
If there is a way out of this problem, I’m not sure an appeal to science and evidence, as Barad does in chapter 7 especially, halfwwy effective again, see Al-Ghazali ; in fact, this use of evidence seems to contradict her other challenges to empiricism in the first place. We can outline it thus: My issue is the significant logical jump between B and C. Just because we are all connected, and therefore contribute to effects and causes creating, say, an economic disaster on the other side of the world, does not mean we have a moral or ethical responsibility to that phenomenon.
Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning
Perhaps we can say, “Screw them! I happen to agree with her conclusion. But her methods are not particularly convincing nor deeply interrogated, and I felt shortchanged. To me this is a central part of her work — its implications for ethics — but its most important logical leap comes far too late and far too briefly. It’s a missing link tied with loose string. Overall, it is easy to dismiss Barad as spewing academic gibberish, especially for a physicist. And it is easy for someone in softer sciences to get lost in her detailed physics.
But I think such dismissals would do an injustice to the creativity and passion of her efforts, and to such audiences’ own specialized fields. It is worth taking Barad seriously. Despite my frustrations and disagreements, I think the length of this review indicates how much it stimulated me intellectually, which should count for something.
Jan 12, Natalie Kilber rated it did not like it. The quantum physics are not the reason making this a difficult read, it is solely due to the absence of coherent arguments with no development of her “exclusive” hypothesis revoling around Agential Realism.
She was able to get this literary entity past editorial staff – which deserves kudos However, this book merely comprises of fashionable concoctions of feminist jargon that miraculously crop up with her main buzzword Agential Realism so often and so iteratively as a deux ex machina – getting The quantum physics are not the reason making this a difficult read, it is solely due to the absence of coherent arguments with no development of her “exclusive” hypothesis revoling around Agential Realism.
However, this book merely comprises of fashionable concoctions of feminist jargon that miraculously crop up with her main buzzword Agential Realism so often and so iteratively as a deux ex machina – getting past a paragraph is painful, let alone the scientific relevance is questionable or maybe just non-existent.
I sincerely apologise to her fans, but as a scientist I couldn’t let this early career trauma sit with me silently any longer. Jul 06, Vinayak Suley rated it liked it. I’m not a scholarly reader and this book’s language is making for a very tough and slow read.
Those are two facts about my experience, I think they may be related – but can’t say for sure. I really do want to read this book since I’ve heard so much praise for it, but it’s turning into a major chore.
Meeting the Universe Halfway | Duke University Press
I have no doubts that the author has a brilliant mind, but I don’t find her style very inviting; in fact I’d go far as to say that this has replaced “Principles of Color Technology” as the hardest-to I’m not a scholarly reader and this book’s language is univfrse for a very tough and slow read. I have no doubts that the author has a brilliant mind, but I don’t find her style very inviting; in fact I’d go far as to say that this has replaced “Principles of Color Technology” as the hardest-to-read-but-probably-worth-reading book on my virtual shelf.
What I dislike about the writing style are the incredibly long and complex sentences with an overabundance of compound words. I find myself spending an inordinate amount of time trying to keep track of her sentence fragments and trying to guess or look up what the next niche adjective truly means.
Also, given the fundamental nature of the author’s arguments, she shies unierse from using analogies which, though understandable, removes a useful tool from an author’s utility belt. Anyhow, I’ll update the review if I manage to trudge through this text and live to tell of it. Jan 17, Kev rated it it was amazing Shelves: One of the most important books of the 21st century.