Book-Text-Read-Zines · Philosophy · Science · Social/Politics

An Inquiry Into Modes of Existence by Bruno Latour

The result of a twenty five years inquiry, it offers a positive version to the question raised, only negatively, with the publication, in 1991, of ”We have never been modern”: if ”we” have never been modern, then what have ”we” been? From what sort of values should ”we” inherit? In order to answer this question, a research protocol has been developed that is very different from the actor-network theory. The question is no longer only to define ”associations” and to follow networks in order to redefine the notion of ”society” and ”social” (as in ”Reassembling the Social”) but to follow the different types of connectors that provide those networks with their specific tonalities. Those modes of extension, or modes of existence, account for the many differences between law, science, politics, and so on. This systematic effort for building a new philosophical anthropology offers a completely different view of what the ”Moderns” have been and thus a very different basis for opening a comparative anthropology with the other collectives – at the time when they all have to cope with ecological crisis. Thanks to a European research council grant (2011-2014) the printed book will be associated with a very original purpose built digital platform allowing for the inquiry summed up in the book to be pursued and modified by interested readers who will act as co-inquirers and co-authors of the final results. With this major book, readers will finally understand what has led to so many apparently disconnected topics and see how the symmetric anthropology begun forty years ago can come to fruition.

Text and Image via Bruno Latour

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Another turn after Actor-Network Theory: An interview with Bruno Latour

Bruno Latour’s forthcoming book, An Inquiry into Modes of Existence. We discuss his intellectual trajectory leading up to actor–network theory and the pluralistic philosophy underlying his new, ‘positive’ anthropology of modernity.

Bruno Latour’s work on actor–network theory (ANT) put him at the forefront of a wave of ethnographic research on scientists ‘in action’ in their laboratories and in the wider world. Starting with 1979’s Laboratory Life, his many books, written independently and in collaboration, have traced the chains of reference that connect instrumental inscriptions in labs to factual statements in journals and, eventually, to the laws of nature found in textbooks. Along the way, he has shown, facts take on increasing ontological weight, growing increasingly ‘universal’ through extensions of the scale and reach of networks and alliances between humans and nonhumans. His work has also contributed to rethinkings of modernity, leading scholars to study how scientists, engineers, and their heterogeneous allies have redefined and transformed both nature and society. Compelling, controversial, and constantly on the move, Latour’s arguments and collective projects have helped orient many research perspectives in Science and Technology Studies (STS) over the past three decades, creating bridges between science studies and anthropology, history, literary studies, art history, and environmental studies; philosophers have also increasingly engaged with his ideas (e.g. Bennett, 2010; Harman, 2009; Rouse, 1987; as well as Latour, 2010).

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Book-Text-Read-Zines · Human-ities · Philosophy · Social/Politics

Why Has Critique Run out of Steam? From Matters of Fact to Matters of Concern | Bruno Latour

The critical spirit might have turned empty as long as there is no alternative to the first empiricism -that of matter of fact: doubting of matters of fact can only mean getting away from the possibility of providing a proof. Things are different if a second empiricism is argued for, one that deals not with matters of fact but with matters of concern. Then, it might be possible to provide public proofs even though facts are no longer indisputable.

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Art/Aesthetics · Human-ities · Philosophy · Science · Theory

Bruno Latour: ‘Reenacting Science’ / ‘From Critique to Composition’ / ‘Ecological Crises, Digital Humanities and New Political Assemblies’

Bruno Latour gives a lecture titled ‘Reenacting Science’ at Science Gallery, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

Prof Bruno Latour visited Dublin City University on Friday, February 17th for a special seminar on interdisciplinarity, the arts and the sciences, entitled ‘From Critique to Composition’. Prof Latour is a leading figure in contemporary anthropology and science studies, but the reach of his influence is truly interdisciplinary.

Talk by Prof. Bruno Latour
Azim Premji University Public Lecture Series
March 23, 2012

About the Talk
Ecological crises in contemporary times have created problems for political representation. Existing political assemblies cannot handle these crises due to their scale, the esoteric character of the scientific knowledge necessary to apprehend them, and the intensity of conflicts of values that they generate. Digital resources suggest new possibilities for mapping the heterogeneous networks which link scientists, decision makers, media, citizens and other participants in public debates over ecological issues. They can create political assemblies where contending world views and modes of reasoning engage each other.

Education · Philosophy · Videos

Bruno Latour: May Nature Be Recomposed? A Few Questions of Cosmopolitics

The Neale Wheeler Watson Lecture 2010, given by Professor Bruno Latour: “May Nature Be Recomposed? A Few Questions of Cosmopolitics”.
Location: Nobel Museum, Svenska Akademiens Börssal, May 11 2010. The Neale Wheeler Watson Lecture is given every spring at the Nobel Museum by an international scholar of excellence.