Iain Cameron's Diary
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2010-04-08 - 4:34 p.m.
Yesterday I discovered a new ism – speculative realism – a school of philosophy that was only christened about three or four years ago. I discovered it when I tried to find out more about Graham Harman having stumbled across his book, Prince of Networks, online where it is freely available to download. The Prince in question is a French academic called Bruno Latour who has developed a theory about how the world works. It might be called philosophy except Latour is not a philosopher. However he is something of a realist in that he takes science and technology very seriously and he is also quite speculative in the sense that he populates the world with more entities than theorists usually postulate. Harman is a fan of Latour which is why he is probably the first person to devote a whole book to his philosophical ideas. I have joined Harman’s blog at Object Oriented Philosophy which sends out updates automatically by e-mail. The first two were easy enough to understand.
Speculative has been a boo-word for at least a century as far as Anglo-saxon philosophy is concerned – but now it is being worn as a badge with pride by at least a few young philosophes. The opposite of speculative is analytical which is what most British philosophy has been pleased to call itself. I think there was more speculation in the 19th century. Maybe that will also be true in the 21st century.
I have mailed my Brazilian opus into the works and the initial feedback was reassuringly positive. I think I am probably going to stay in Brill for a couple of days. Brill is a village on the top of a 600 foot hill in North East Buckinghamshire. I can get to that part of the world in two steps by bus and by coach to the outskirts of Oxford where I will meet up with my hosts. I have done this a few times before and one even gets an age-concession on the coach fare from Heathrow to Oxford. I should be able to use the same method to go and see Laurence who lives about eight miles west of Oxford.
The Miss M book has arrived and I have read Ch 1. It suggests there are four periods – the first goes from Songs for a Seagull to For the Roses. The second from Court&Spark to Mingus – the jazz age. The third covers the more synthpoppy music with political indignation as a lyrical driver and in the final period the acoustic approach returns. One challenge for the author will be to see what sense he makes of the latter half. I can read some of this on the coach tomorrow.