Prince of Networks is the first treatment of Bruno Latour specifically as a philosopher. Part One covers four key works that display Latour’s underrated contributions to metaphysics: Irreductions, Science in Action, We Have Never Been Modern, and Pandora’s Hope. Harman contends that Latour is one of the central figures of contemporary philosophy, with a highly original ontology centred in four key concepts: actants, irreduction, translation, and alliance. In Part Two, Harman summarizes Latour’s most important philosophical insights, including his status as the first ‘secular occasionalist’. Working from his own ‘object-oriented’ perspective, Harman also criticizes the Latourian focus on the relational character of actors at the expense of their cryptic autonomous reality. This book forms a remarkable interface between Latour’s Actor-Network Theory and the Speculative Realism of Harman and his confederates. Harman does for Bruno Latour what Deleuze did for Foucault. Rather than a recounting of Latour’s impressive sociological analyses, Harman approaches Latour as a philosopher, offering a new realist object-oriented metaphysics capable of sustaining contemporary thought well into the next century. What ensues is a lively and productive debate between rival, yet sympathetic, orientations of object oriented philosophy between two of our most highly original, daring, and creative philosophers, giving us a text destined to have a major impact on contemporary philosophical thought.
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