Thursday, June 3, 2010

Ben on Bennett

Ben from Naught Thought has a post up on Bennett's Vibrant Matter. I'll quote it at length, but I highly recommend clicking on this link to read the whole post.

Bennett begins in the usual post-human way of expanding materialism and/or phenomenological thought to grasp non-human actants, objects, entities, etc. Bennett engages Latour, Deleuze, DeLanda and the like to outline the life of the inorganic via an untraditional vitalism. In doing this Bennett makes conceptual alliances which are questionable. Deleuze’s virtuality, Latour’s actant, and Althusser’s atoms are put into play without dissecting the ontological and epistemlogical claims surrounding them. The noetic substance of Althusser’s swerve or the plane of immanence holds onto an anthrocentric ghost.

In a related sense, the first chapter is preoccupied with a kind of phenomenological fascination without ontological justification. The fixation on the heterogeneity of the trash in the gutter while an interesting anecdote to gain traction on the inorganic, begs the question of the philosophical path of this fascination.

This worry leads directly to the second chapter which focuses on distributive agency. Again it seems that phenomenological vestiges. As is the case with Timothy Morton’s work, terms such as interconnectivity, heterogeneity and so on beg the question as the attempt at destroying hierarchy creates a less than helpful unidirectionalism. Stratification is necessary. Bhaskar”s work would be helpful here.