We exist only because we inhabit a world in common, embedded within networks of associations between humans and nonhumans. This is endlessly disclosed by our experience of the world. And yet, despite its palpability, it is clear that we have failed to mobilize a notion of the common world into something capable of guiding our modes of thought and collective forms of activity—our attitudes, our affective lives, our politics. How have we arrived here? Bruno Latour's work suggests that an answer can be found in the common world's status as information—its self-evidence works to exclude it from a world of values. What, then, should be done? In his recent work on the modes of existence Latour develops a pragmatic metaphysics inspired by the speculative method of Alfred North Whitehead. Metaphysical speculation becomes a tool for moving beyond the “bifurcation of nature” through the construction of abstractions with which to interpret the pluralism of experience. Rather than thinking of the common world as either a given fact or as a totalizing universal, Latour develops a notion of a common world out of the messiness of experience and, as such, hopes to transform us into beings who would be moved to actively pursue and care for such a notion.

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