Review By Correspondence, Composing, 26/02/2015

Probably my most frequent type of work at the Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective is book reviewing. I’ve written there on how important I think is to experiment with the format of book reviews, just because I think more can be done with them than just describing evidence for why you should read or not read the book. More than an essay offering an individual’s aesthetic judgement, a book review can be an illuminating artwork in itself.

Maybe I’ve been reading too much Borges and Bolaño over the last few years. I’m perfectly willing to admit that, but I still think the results of my experiments in book reviews are valuable on their artistic merits. 

Most of my reviews are collaborative, working with two, three, or sometimes as many as six people to discuss a larger work. This is creative on its own, with all of our different perspectives playing off each other in unpredictable ways. After all, we’re creative and intelligent people exploring (what we hope is) a complex and fascinating book.

Steve Fuller wrote another book.
Over the next few weeks, Adam Writes Everything will take part in a collaboration with SERRC and its co-founder Steve Fuller to present a review of Fuller’s own latest book, Knowledge: The Philosophical Quest in History. My collaborator will be Steve Fuller. We’ll engage in some modern epistolary dialogue about his latest project, chapter by chapter, as I explore it.

In other words, as I finish a chapter, I’ll email Steve my reactions and some questions, he’ll email me back some responses and answers, I’ll follow up, and he’ll close it.

I’ve thrown objectivity out the window, of course, but being purely or ideally objective doesn’t always do the best job of explaining a book, especially when it’s already pretty good.* Steve has written a dense, complex, multifaceted exploration of the modern philosophical problem of epistemology, and how it arose as a separate domain of philosophy in the first place. Our long-form exchanges will act as a companion to the book, more than a review and a score could achieve.

* I wouldn’t be doing this project if Steve’s book was terrible. If it was, I’d be . . . well . . . let’s just say I’m glad Knowledge is a very good book.

So I hope you’ll follow my latest experiment in the art of philosophy over the next month or so here on the blog. I promise it’ll be pretty enlightening.

No comments:

Post a Comment