In a very interesting talk Graham Harman speaks of a woman doing a PhD thesis on Actor-Network theory and Volcanoes. This is almost syncronistically in line with ideas I have been considering for my present honours thesis. The seamless crossover between philosophy and real-world phenomena in Latour is fascinating, and it would be greatly appreciated if any advice could be given about directions to look for resources on actor-network theory and non-human objects. Specifically, my interest is tryptamine containing Acacia trees: geological formations conducive to their emergence, insect-microbial-plant relations, and N,N-Dimethyltryptamine-human relations.

Any help is appreciated :)

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    I am biased, but D+G's assemblages might be an effective basic framework here. My suggestion would be that Harman is rearticulating a "machined" or "assemblage-oriented" ontology via Heidegger -- effectively in order to expose the abstract machines that drive any object whatsoever -- a situation, a passion, a concept, a cosmos...
    – Joseph Weissman
    Commented Oct 3, 2012 at 23:59
  • In passing it seems to me there may be something oddly and uncannily mystical in OOO -- a vague panpsychism of networks, though perhaps this is unfair; and Harman for his part does seem to adeptly avoid making this error; but might also seem to bypass the issue by focusing on radicalization of instrumentality (Heidegger's "tool-being".)
    – Joseph Weissman
    Commented Oct 4, 2012 at 0:04
  • Note: haven't watched the video yet; may try to formulate some of this in a more helpful way as an answer once I have had time to.
    – Joseph Weissman
    Commented Oct 4, 2012 at 0:06
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    Psychoactive drugs like DMT are better understood in the context of biology or medicine than philosophy. Beware of allowing fancy terminology to delude you into thinking you're understanding something without doing appropriate experiments or understanding the prerequisite material.
    – Rex Kerr
    Commented Oct 4, 2012 at 19:08
  • .. i agree the biology and psycho-pharmacology will be a key element, it's what i've studied for the last 4 years. Rex Kerr are you saying a positivist perspective is the only appropriate one for explaining what happens when tryptamine containing acacias and people come into contact in the world? if so, why? There are many ways to combine scientific knowledge with philosophical method, it's why I'm looking to Latour.
    – Dr Sister
    Commented Oct 5, 2012 at 1:10

1 Answer 1


There are a few bibliographies out there in which you will find examples of applications in a variety of domains:

I've mostly come across it in the field of information systems where it is often used to apply to the mutually shaping relationship between people and computers.

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