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Prince of Networks: Bruno LaTour and Metaphysics

3.81  ·  Rating Details ·  120 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
Prince of Networks is the first treatment of Bruno Latour specifically as a philosopher. It has been eagerly awaited by readers of both Latour and Harman since their public discussion at the London School of Economics in February 2008. Part One covers four key works that display Latour s underrated contributions to metaphysics: Irreductions, Science in Action, We Have ...more
Paperback, 247 pages
Published June 25th 2009 by Re.Press
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Karl Steel
Jan 06, 2014 Karl Steel rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theory
No time to write an elaborate review. But YES this strikes me as a very good introduction to Latour, a great take down of Heidegger's ultra-humanism, and likely the best available introduction to object-oriented philosophy. I do think Harman's 'weird realism' is correct in reserving something to objects, and in making objects, as it were, strangers to themselves, in order to allow something to happen. Without that, how can any network form or shift?

My only annoyance with the book is its repetiti
Sep 20, 2015 Lukáš rated it liked it
One can't say that the two personalities meeting here (Harman & Latour) would be anything, but interesting. As with the book itself, Harman does a splendid job of reading through Bruno Latour's major works, teasing out the arguments and niches and seeking to order them - and succeeds. In particular, when confronting the Prince's ideas with other thinkers, one can't but enjoy the insightful ways how this is done. In particular, it seems hard to chuckle over the Socratic dialogue "Latour" in ...more
Eric Phetteplace
Feb 24, 2014 Eric Phetteplace rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
The first half of the book reviews Latour's major works, quoting too much and sticking quite close to the text, while the second half focuses more on Harman's own philosophical commitments and where they coincide/conflict with Latour's. That's not what I was expecting; the straightforward, chronological summaries and then digression into object-oriented philosophy were a bit disappointing. Still, the book works well for a couple reasons. First, I'm just getting started reading Latour and rather ...more
John Hartmann
This is really two books. The first half of the book is a (lightly critical) summary of Latour's thought, focusing on four of Latour's central concepts: actors/actants, irreducibility, translation, and alliance. Harman notably places Latour's early short work "Irreductions" at the center of Latour's thought.

The second half of the book consists in a working out of an object-oriented philosophy, one which takes Latour (and Whitehead) to be pioneers of OOP, and which hybridizes Latour with Heidegge
Sep 21, 2009 Mike rated it really liked it
Clear, forceful, discerning: Harman secures his status as the single most helpful philosopher out there. He's fundamentally concerned with cutting out the bullshit philosophy departments have erected in order to stifle the thinking of weird and new ideas--which ultimately make us return back to old ones (metaphysics!). That is to say, Harman isn't interested in making just any new old argument: he's concerned with ideas that will work, and work well. So at the same time he's doing new things, ...more
Jan 03, 2015 Kars rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
If it wasn't for the final chapter - which I found significantly less readable than the rest of this book - I would have given this five stars. Harman offers a great introduction to Bruno Latour's key works, reading them from a philosophical perspective. The key point of this book is that philosophy should not reduce reality to human experience of the world. In stead, it should adopt an "object-oriented" stance, in which all of reality is composed of actors that relate, but only indirectly. It ...more
Feb 25, 2014 Attentive rated it really liked it
This book, divided into two parts, could've been great if it had simply deepened then summarised its main points instead of tailing off into another exposition of Harman's "quadruple object" elaboration of Heidegger's tool-analysis.

But the discussion of the philosophical elements of Bruno Latour's contribution to science and the scientific method is clear and fascinating, and Harman's affection for Latour's vigour and irrepressible realist tendencies makes it additionally engaging.

As someone wh
Terence Blake
Jun 14, 2014 Terence Blake rated it really liked it
This book gives a useful account of the early Latour, and then goes on to expound a philosophy that is the exact opposite. Where Latour does a good job of uniting realism and historicity in his description of the knowledge process Harman elaborates a synchronic dualist ontology.
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Graham Harman (born May 9, 1968) is a professor at the American University in Cairo, Egypt. He is a contemporary philosopher of metaphysics, who attempts to reverse the linguistic turn of Western philosophy. He terms his ideas object-oriented ontology. A larger grouping of philosophers, Speculative Realism, includes Harman and the philosophers Iain Hamilton Grant, Quentin Meillassoux and Ray ...more
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