Notes from “Meeting the Universe Halfway”

Phenomena: the primary ontological unit as in the differential patters of mattering; the ontological inseparability, or entanglement of intra-acting agencies; they are not produced in a lab and engineered by humans but through complex agential intra-actions of multiple material-discursive practices or apparatuses of bodily production.

Reality: it is composed not of things-in-themselves or things-behind-phenomena but of things-in-phenomena.

Intra-actions instead of interactions: relata do not preexist but emerge through specific intra-actions. Agential intra-actions are specific causal material enactments that may or may not involve “humans.”

Posthumanism: it marks the practice of accounting for the boundary-making practices by which the “human” and its others are differentially delineated and defined; it refuses the idea of a natural division between nature and culture.

Matter: it is neither fixed and given nor the mere end result of different processes. Matter is produced and productive, generated and generative. Matter is agentive, not a fixed essence or property of things. Mattering is differentiating, and which differences come to matter, matter in the iterative production of different differences. The world is an open process of mattering through which mattering itself acquires meaning and form through the realization of different agential possibilities. The universe is agential intra-activity in its becoming; Matter is always already an ongoing historicity; it is substance in its intra-active becoming-not a thing but a doing, a congealing of agency. Matter is a stabilizing and destabilizing process of iterative intra-activity; matter comes to matter through the iterative intra-activity of the world in its becoming.

Apparatuses: they are specific material reconfigurings of the world that do not merely emerge in time but iteratively reconfigure space-time-matter as part of the ongoing dynamism of becoming; they are not passive observing instruments; on the contrary, they are productive of (and part of) phenomena; they are discursive practices.

Discursive practices: Discourse is not what is said ; it is that which constrains and enables what can be said; they define what counts as meaningful statements; they are specific material reconfigurings through which “objects” and “subjects” are produced; they are specific material (re)configurings of the world through which the determination of boundaries, properties, and meanings is differentially enacted.

Agential Realist Ontology: it refuses representationalism in favor of a relationality between specific material (re)configurations of the world through which boundaries, properties and meanings are differentially enacted and (form?) specific material phenomena.

Knowing: is a matter of intra-acting; it entails specific practices through which the world is differentially articulated and accounted for; it entails differential responsiveness and accountability as part of a network of performances; it is not a bounded or closed practice but an ongoing performance of the world.

Εthics: it is not simply about responsible actions in relation to human experiences of the world; rather, it is a question of material entanglements and how each intra-action matters in the reconfiguring of these entanglements, that is, it is a matter of the ethical call that is embodied in the very worlding of the world.

Humans: to the extent that concepts, laboratory manipulations, observational interventions, and other human practices have a role to play, it is as part of the larger material configuration of the world. That is, the phenomena produced are not the consequences of human will or intentionality or the effects of the operations of Culture, Language, or Power. Humans do not merely assemble different apparatuses for satisfying particular knowledge projects; they themselves are part of the ongoing reconfiguring of the world (…) That is, human bodies, like all other bodies, are not entities with inherent boundaries and properties but phenomena that acquire specific boundaries and properties through the open-ended dynamics of intra-activity. Humans are part of the world-body space in its dynamic structuration.

Objectivity: (In Bohr’s account), objectivity is a matter of the unambiguous communication of the results of reproducible experiments, hereby replaced by agential separability-an agentially enacted ontological separability within the phenomenon.


Barad, K. (2007). Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning. Durham; London: Duke University Press.

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