An Inquiry Into Modes of Existence
In a new approach to philosophical anthropology, Bruno Latour offers answers to questions raised in We Have Never Been Modern: If not modern, what have we been, and what values should we inherit? An Inquiry into Modes of Existence offers a new basis for diplomatic encounters with other societies at a time of ecological crisis.
The first extended study of Bruno Latour’s legal theory, this book presents a critical reconstruction of the whole of Latour’s oeuvre to date, from Laboratory Life to An Inquiry into the Modes of Existence. Based on the powerful insights into normative effects that actor-network theory makes possible, the book advances a new theory of legal normativity and the force of law, rethinking Latour’s work on technology, the image, and referential scientific inscriptions, among others, and placing them within the ambit of legality. The book also captures and deepens the contrast between the modern legal institution and the value of law as a mode of existence, and provides a fulsome theoretical account of legal veridiction. Throughout, Latour’s thought is put into dialogue with important progenitors and adversaries as well as historical and contemporary strands of legal and political philosophy. But the thread of legality is not confined to Latour's reflections on the making of law; rather, it cuts through the whole of his highly diverse body of work. The empire of mononaturalism augured by modern philosophies of science is thoroughly juridical; as such, the actor-network theory that promises to undo that empire by freeing the value of the sciences from its epistemological clutches is unthinkable without the device of the trial and the descriptive semiotics of normativity that sustain ANT. The democratization of the sciences and the vibrancy of ecologized politics that become possible once the bifurcation of nature into essential primary and disposable secondary qualities is disabled, and once the ‘modern Constitution’ is called into doubt, also have important legal dimensions that have gone largely unexamined. Bruno Latour: The Normativity of Networks remedies this and other omissions, evaluating Latour’s thought about law while carrying it in striking new directions. This book introduces legal scholars and students to the thought of the philosopher and sociologist Bruno Latour, whilst also presenting a critical analysis of his work in and around law. This interdisciplinary study will be of interest to those researching in Law, Philosophy, and Sociology.
Modernity has had so many meanings and tries to combine so many contradictory sets of attitudes and values that it has become impossible to use it to define the future. It has ended up crashing like an overloaded computer. Hence the idea is that modernity might need a sort of reset. Not a clean break, not a "tabula rasa," not another iconoclastic gesture, but rather a restart of the complicated programs that have been accumulated, over the course of history, in what is often called the "modernist project." This operation has become all the more urgent now that the ecological mutation is forcing us to reorient ourselves toward an experience of the material world for which we don't seem to have good recording devices. Reset Modernity! is organized around six procedures that might induce the readers to reset some of those instruments. Once this reset has been completed, readers might be better prepared for a series of new encounters with other cultures. After having been thrown into the modernist maelstrom, those cultures have difficulties that are just as grave as ours in orienting themselves within the notion of modernity. It is not impossible that the course of those encounters might be altered after modernizers have reset their own way of recording their experience of the world. At the intersection of art, philosophy, and anthropology, Reset Modernity! has assembled close to sixty authors, most of whom have participated, in one way or another, in the Inquiry into Modes of Existence initiated by Bruno Latour. Together they try to see whether such a reset and such encounters have any practicality. Much like the two exhibitions Iconoclash and Making Things Public, this book documents and completes what could be called a "thought exhibition:" Reset Modernity! held at ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe from April to August 2016. Like the two others, this book, generously illustrated, includes contributions, excerpts, and works from many authors and artists. ContributorsJamie Allen, Terence Blake, Johannes Bruder, Dipesh Chakrabarty, Philip Conway, Michael Cuntz, Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, Didier Debaise, Gerard de Vries, Philippe Descola, Vinciane Despret, Jean-Michel Frodon, Martin Giraudeau, Sylvain Gouraud, Lesley Green, Martin Guinard-Terrin, Clive Hamilton, Graham Harman, Antoine Hennion, Andrés Jaque, Pablo Jensen, Bruno Karsenti, Sara Keel, Oleg Kharkhordin, Joseph Leo Koerner, Eduardo Kohn, Bruno Latour, Christophe Leclercq, Vincent-Antonin Lépinay, James Lovelock, Patrice Maniglier, Claudia Mareis, Claude Marzotto, Kyle McGee, Lorenza Mondada, Pierre Montebello, Stephen Muecke, Cyril Neyrat, Cormac O'Keeffe, Hans Ulrich Obrist, P3G, John Palmesino, Nicolas Prignot, Donato Ricci, Ann-Sofi Rönnskog, Maia Sambonet, Henning Schmidgen, Isabelle Stengers, Hanna Svensson, Thomas Thwaites, Nynke van Schepen, Consuelo Vásquez, Peter Weibel, Richard White, Aline Wiame, Jan Zalasiewicz Exhibition April 10, 2016--August 21, 2016ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe Copublished with ZKM | Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe
Bruno Latour, the French sociologist, anthropologist and long-established superstar in the social sciences is revisited in this pioneering account of his ever-evolving political philosophy. Breaking from the traditional focus on his metaphysics, most recently seen in Harman's book Prince of Networks (2009), the author instead begins with the Hobbesian and even Machiavellian underpinnings of Latour's early period and encountering his shift towards Carl Schmitt and finishing with his final development into the Lippmann / Dewey debate. Harman brings these twists and turns into sharp focus in terms of Latour's personal political thinking. Along with Latour's most important articles on political themes, the book chooses three works as exemplary of the distinct periods in Latour's thinking: The Pasteurization of France, Politics of Nature, and the recently published An Inquiry Into Modes of Existence, as his conception of politics evolves from a global power struggle between individuals, to the fabrication of fragile parliamentary networks, to just one mode of existence among many others.
Latour and the Passage of Law
13 essays explore Bruno Latour's legal theory from a variety of disciplinary perspectives This exciting new vision for legal theory combines analytical tools drawn from Latour's actor-network theory developed in Science in Action, Reassembling the Social and The Making of Law with the philosophical anthropology of the Moderns in An Inquiry into Modes of Existence to blaze a new trail in legal epistemology. Bruno Latour's writings in science and technology studies, anthropology, sociology and philosophy are well-known, but only rarely has his work in law been appreciated as a core element, and still less as a passage point for students and scholars of law. This collection demonstrates the urgency with which both of those omissions must be reconsidered.
We Have Never Been Modern
With the rise of science, we moderns believe, the world changed irrevocably, separating us forever from our primitive, premodern ancestors. But if we were to let go of this fond conviction, Bruno Latour asks, what would the world look like? His book, an anthropology of science, shows us how much of modernity is actually a matter of faith. What does it mean to be modern? What difference does the scientific method make? The difference, Latour explains, is in our careful distinctions between nature and society, between human and thing, distinctions that our benighted ancestors, in their world of alchemy, astrology, and phrenology, never made. But alongside this purifying practice that defines modernity, there exists another seemingly contrary one: the construction of systems that mix politics, science, technology, and nature. The ozone debate is such a hybrid, in Latour’s analysis, as are global warming, deforestation, even the idea of black holes. As these hybrids proliferate, the prospect of keeping nature and culture in their separate mental chambers becomes overwhelming—and rather than try, Latour suggests, we should rethink our distinctions, rethink the definition and constitution of modernity itself. His book offers a new explanation of science that finally recognizes the connections between nature and culture—and so, between our culture and others, past and present. Nothing short of a reworking of our mental landscape. We Have Never Been Modern blurs the boundaries among science, the humanities, and the social sciences to enhance understanding on all sides. A summation of the work of one of the most influential and provocative interpreters of science, it aims at saving what is good and valuable in modernity and replacing the rest with a broader, fairer, and finer sense of possibility.
Bruno Latour is among the most important figures in contemporary philosophy and social science. His ethnographic studies have revolutionized our understanding of areas as diverse as science, law, politics and religion. To facilitate a more realistic understanding of the world, Latour has introduced a radically fresh philosophical terminology and a new approach to social science, ‘Actor-Network Theory’. In seminal works such as Laboratory Life, We Have Never Been Modern and An Inquiry into Modes of Existence, Latour has outlined an alternative to the foundational categories of ‘modern’ western thought Ð particularly its distinction between society and nature Ð that has major consequences for our understanding of the ecological crisis and of the role of science in democratic societies. Latour’s ‘empirical philosophy’ has evolved considerably over the past four decades. In this lucid and compelling book, Gerard de Vries provides one of the first overviews of Latour’s work. He guides readers through Latour’s main publications, from his early ethnographies to his more recent philosophical works, showing with considerable skill how Latour’s ideas have developed. This book will be of great value to students and scholars attempting to come to terms with the immense challenge posed by Latour’s thought. It will be of interest to those studying philosophy, anthropology, sociology, science and technology studies, and almost all other branches of the social sciences and humanities.
The Different Modes of Existence
What relation is there between the existence of a work of art and that of a living being? Between the existence of an atom and that of a value like solidarity? These questions become our own each time a reality--whether it is a piece of music, someone we love, or a fictional character--is established and begins to take on an importance in our lives. Like William James or Gilles Deleuze, Souriau methodically defends the thesis of an existential pluralism. There are indeed different manners of existing and even different degrees or intensities of existence: from pure phenomena to objectivized things, by way of the virtual and the "super-existent," to which works of art and the intellect, and even the very fact of morality, bear witness. Existence is polyphonic, and, as a result, the world is considerably enriched and enlarged. Beyond all that exists in the ordinary sense of the term, it is necessary to allow for all sorts of virtual and ephemeral states, transitional realms, and barely begun realities, still in the making, all of which constitute so many "inter-worlds."
Bruno Latour’s long term project is to compare the felicity and infelicity conditions of the different values dearest to the heart of those who have ‘never been modern’. According to him, this is the only way to develop an anthropology of the Moderns. After his work on science, on technology and, more recently, on law, this book explores the truth conditions of religious speech acts. Even though there is no question that religion is one of the values that has been intensely cherished in the course of history, it’s also clear that it has become immensely difficult to tune in to its highly specific mode of enunciation. Every effort to speak in the right key sounds awkward, reactionary, pious or simply empty. Hence the necessity of devising a way of writing that brings to the fore this elusive form of speech to render it audible again. In this highly original book, the author offers a completely different tack on the endless ‘science and religion’ conflict by protecting them both from the confusion with the notion of information. Like The Making of Law, this book is one more attempt at developing this ‘inquiry on modes of existence’ that provides an alternative definition of society.
Politics of Nature
A major work by one of the more innovative thinkers of our time, Politics of Nature does nothing less than establish the conceptual context for political ecology--transplanting the terms of ecology into more fertile philosophical soil than its proponents have thus far envisioned. Bruno Latour announces his project dramatically: "Political ecology has nothing whatsoever to do with nature, this jumble of Greek philosophy, French Cartesianism and American parks." Nature, he asserts, far from being an obvious domain of reality, is a way of assembling political order without due process. Thus, his book proposes an end to the old dichotomy between nature and society--and the constitution, in its place, of a collective, a community incorporating humans and nonhumans and building on the experiences of the sciences as they are actually practiced. In a critique of the distinction between fact and value, Latour suggests a redescription of the type of political philosophy implicated in such a "commonsense" division--which here reveals itself as distinctly uncommonsensical and in fact fatal to democracy and to a healthy development of the sciences. Moving beyond the modernist institutions of "mononaturalism" and "multiculturalism," Latour develops the idea of "multinaturalism," a complex collectivity determined not by outside experts claiming absolute reason but by "diplomats" who are flexible and open to experimentation. Table of Contents: Introduction: What Is to Be Done with Political Ecology? 1. Why Political Ecology Has to Let Go of Nature First, Get Out of the Cave Ecological Crisis or Crisis of Objectivity? The End of Nature The Pitfall of "Social Representations" of Nature The Fragile Aid of Comparative Anthropology What Successor for the Bicameral Collective? 2. How to Bring the Collective Together Difficulties in Convoking the Collective First Division: Learning to Be Circumspect with Spokespersons Second Division: Associations of Humans and Nonhumans Third Division between Humans and Nonhumans: Reality and Recalcitrance A More or Less Articulated Collective The Return to Civil Peace 3. A New Separation of Powers Some Disadvantages of the Concepts of Fact and Value The Power to Take into Account and the Power to Put in Order The Collective's Two Powers of Representation Verifying That the Essential Guarantees Have Been Maintained A New Exteriority 4. Skills for the Collective The Third Nature and the Quarrel between the Two "Eco" Sciences Contribution of the Professions to the Procedures of the Houses The Work of the Houses The Common Dwelling, the Oikos 5. Exploring Common Worlds Time's Two Arrows The Learning Curve The Third Power and the Question of the State The Exercise of Diplomacy War and Peace for the Sciences Conclusion: What Is to Be Done? Political Ecology! Summary of the Argument (for Readers in a Hurry...) Glossary Notes Bibliography Index From the book: What is to be done with political ecology? Nothing. What is to be done? Political ecology! All those who have hoped that the politics of nature would bring about a renewal of public life have asked the first question, while noting the stagnation of the so-called "green" movements. They would like very much to know why so promising an endeavor has so often come to naught. Appearances notwithstanding, everyone is bound to answer the second question the same way. We have no choice: politics does not fall neatly on one side of a divide and nature on the other. From the time the term "politics" was invented, every type of politics has been defined by its relation to nature, whose every feature, property, and function depends on the polemical will to limit, reform, establish, short-circuit, or enlighten public life. As a result, we cannot choose whether to engage in it surreptitiously, by distinguishing between questions of nature and questions of politics, or explicitly, by treating those two sets of questions as a single issue that arises for all collectives. While the ecology movements tell us that nature is rapidly invading politics, we shall have to imagine - most often aligning ourselves with these movements but sometimes against them - what a politics finally freed from the sword of Damocles we call nature might be like.