Friday, April 19, 2013

Celebrity Philosophers: Russell, Sartre, and Comments by Harman

Graham Harman has had two recent posts on celebrity philosophers. The first looks at a NYTimes column on the subject and defends Žižek: he may be a celebrity, but he's also serious. He then goes into an anti-analytic philosophy riff, as the Times pieces seems to have been the work of an analytic snarking on Continental philosophy. Harman's second post responds to a post Jon Cogburn had made in response and is yet another discussion of the analytic/Continental divide. In this post Harman mentions Bertrand Russell, who was, of course, an analytic philosopher and a public intellectual.

I don't know what Playboy magaine is up to these days, assuming it still exists, but there was a time when the monthly interview feature had some pretty interesting pieces, including interviews of Jean-Paul Sartre and Bertrand Russell. Does that mean the Playboy was straddling the analytic Continental divide?

That divide, incidentally, seems to be a recurring motif in Harman's thought, at least on his blog, though he also points out that Latour seems to operate outside that divide. If one were to work a deconstructive turn, this little riff strikes me as being an interesting way in. The distinction seems to matter a great deal to him as a philosopher.

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