I haven’t been able to yet pick up a copy of John Caputo’s The Insistence of God: A Theology of Perhaps (and it has already received a lot of attention by other blogs) and honestly not sure when I will have time to read it as I have a huge pile of “need to read” books already glaring at me (or am I glaring at myself in the mirrors that their spines have become for me?). However, I have read some of the essays I think make up the text and I have seen him speak on issues and concepts that are in the book, and while I rarely agree completely what has always struck me is Caputo’s willingness to engage with what younger Continentalists are doing. And Caputo has not done so with the logic of a cop or as an older thinker lamenting the decline of real philosophy amongst the youth who are less interested in Heidegger and Derrida than the last. He engages with a genuine sense of excitement. Not that excitement means acceptance; one must have their principles and Caputo knows what he thinks is important. I have also been very impressed with the way Caputo will support and give attention to younger thinkers even when they are critical of his work, as he did with the volume After the Postsecular and the Postmodern that Daniel Whistler and myself edited together. So, I have to admit I was surprised to see Graham Harman pulling a Graham Harman and writing some disparaging, personal remarks about Caputo on the basis of a disagreement over Latour. Most ironic was Harman writing, “Caputo has made a habit of being very testy about younger people in the field– see his irritable reaction to Martin Hägglund.” Now, the response to Hägglund was a response to a strong, often polemical, critique of Caputo’s work, so of course Caputo is going to come back just as hard (you know, sort of how Harman feels he has to come back hard on Caputo’s remarks regarding Latour and himself). But it is ironic that Caputo, who holds considerable sway in a small section of Continental philosophy, has consistently engaged and brought attention to the upstarts, is accused in this way by a man who has used his considerable influence and platform to denounce a number of graduate students or young, out-of-work PhDs. In the light of so many ridiculous egos in our field, I am thankful that kind and generous people like John Caputo also exist.