I read Graham Harman’s study of Latour, Prince of Networks, while traveling last month & have been meaning to say a couple quick things about it. It’s a lively survey of Latour’s work, plus an engaged defense of object-oriented metaphysics that at times gets pretty deep into philosophical weeds. I very much like Harman’s attempt to break down the old human/nonhuman barrier, & his sense that Latour’s ANT-work has been blazing this path for a little while.
But what I like most about Harman’s book is it’s style & energy, & its defense of good writing as “the best tool we have for exposing the unstated assumptions that lie behind any surface proposition” (169). Or, more elegantly,
Against the program for philosophy written in “good plain English,” I hold that it should be written in good vivid English. Plain speech contains clear statements that are forgotten as soon as their spokesman closes his mouth, since they have already said all that they are capable of saying. But vivid speech forges new concepts that take on a life of their own, like good fictional characters.
I do wonder if that gesture toward fictional characters could be unpacked a bit, but I like the overall move.
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