There was an interesting series of events this week, in the form of blog posts, comments, replies, and then more blog posts, more comments and more replies. Having followed it to the end, I came across this rather extensive and in-depth review [PDF] of Lee Braver’s A Thing of This World: A History of Continental Anti-Realism (2007) and Graham Harman’s Prince of Networks: Bruno Latour and Metaphysics (2009), by Ryan Vu, published in POLYGRAPH 22 (2010) special issue on Ecology & Ideology. Even our little Harman Review gets mentioned a couple of times.
Does Bruno Latour have a metaphysics? In an event at the London School of Economics recorded shortly before Prince of Networks was published, Latour responded to Harman’s analysis of his alleged ontology with a parable: as a sociologist, he said, his work has always been about following the prey, not catching it—not seeking to establish the “furniture of the universe”—and fleeing whenever the prey falls to the wolves, his charming term for professional philosophers.
Indeed, the transcript of the symposium is expected to come out in July 2011 under the title, The Prince and the Wolf: Latour and Harman at the LSE.
However, the above-mentioned series of blog posts is also worth following up. It kicked off with Levi Bryant on The Domestication of Humans, followed by some initial ridiculing then back-pedalling by Brian Leiter, then followed by Bryant’s reply, and rounded off by an exchange between Bryant and Gerry Canavan, on whose blog I found the aforementioned book review by Vu.