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Good Eats, Langauge as Metaphor, and Anthropocentric Ideology

by on March 14, 2013

More than the previous works, Bogost’s seems less interested in the specific philosophical structures and more interested in displaying them, or putting them into play via “carpentry.” And though parts of his insistence upon non-literary expressions or descriptions of philosophy seem to reduce the place of critical thought to games, internet memes and the like, there is clear value if one is capable of reading this “carpentry” as similar to, or leading to Marx’s goal of a philosophical praxis. Action that is philosophy. His insistence upon this possibility in the contemporary digital world (perhaps by his Latour Litany machine and object generator) might be the books greatest contribution Bogost offers to OOO. Though computer programming and motorcycle maintenance might seem to be more likely examples of poiesis or work, Bogost seems to equivocate about Alton Brown’s approach in Good Eats. It is unclear whether Brown’s approach imitates or approaches a proper OOO view on cake-making as some kind of praxis in which each step is given its proper due as an end in itself, or whether each step is taken only for the sake of an end product (120, 124). Bogost’s idea of what truly philosophical carpentry would resemble for an OO ontologist.

A key problem that Bogost never seems to address is the structural relation between metaphor and language. Like other Speculative Realist thinkers, Bogost discounts language as man’s only window onto the world, and yet he relies upon metaphor and metaphoricity as one’s only potential access to the “great outdoors.” He fails to distinguish the two or counter the argument that metaphor and language are in fact one in the same (or at least very closely related) structurally. Furthermore, he fails to address or compare how his notion of ethics, anthropocentrism, and epoché relate to ideology, which could hypothetically contain or account for all three. What is one to make of his equivocation of ever actually accessing the great outdoors?

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