Since I began work on Deleuze’s thought a number of years ago I have become increasingly interested in the work of actor-network theory, Latour, and social network analysis. Randall Collins’ use of the latter to lay out a history and sociology of the entire history of western and non-western philosophies was a pivotal moment in my efforts to merge a Foucauldian historical analysis with an ontology of dynamic systems theory as I developed it in Philosophy at the Edge of Chaos (even though I have since come to disagree strongly with some of Collins’ presuppositions). As I continued to follow through on my attempt to merge a social-historical analysis with a dynamic systems ontology I increasingly found Latour’s work, along with Hume’s, as critical in helping me to develop a monistic ontology that sees no difference of kind between human and nonhuman realities and can provide effective tools for analyzing and explicating the changing formations of these realities. Deleuze’s Hume was the product of this rethinking, a rethinking that continues as I turn now to work on developing a Spinozistic ethics and politics that will draw from work related to Latour, actor-network theory, speculative realism, and Donald Davidson among others. My intention for this blog is that it become an online resource for myself (and possibly others) as I develop thoughts related to my more general project. Since I find much of philosophical value in Latour and actor-network theory it was hard to resist the blogosphere and the possibilities for networks and alliances that come with it, even if, as will most likely be the case, this blog never becomes a central node in the network (as the Leiter blog is at the moment for philosophy).
When I am not writing and researching philosophy or fulfilling my duties as Professor of Philosophy at Southeastern Louisiana University, my wife and daughters do an excellent job getting me out of philosophy and into the intricacies of contemporary life and culture. I have also brewed beer for some time, especially Belgian-styled ales. I thus have more than one reason to be interested in Pasteur’s fermentation studies. When the opportunity presents itself, I’ll drink a Belgian beer with good food, music, or while watching a movie.
For those who may be wondering, the image I have used for the header of this blog is a cropped and modified version of an image that I discovered online when I was asked to come up with something for the cover of Deleuze’s Hume. The image captures in many ways the ontology of networks, or the aberrant monism, that is the focus of my current work.