Unformatted text preview: 1/28/15 Bruno Latour: -‐French Sociologist/Anthropologist of Science & Technology We Have Never Been Modern (1993, 1991 in France) Modernity= • Is consItuted (or believes itself to be consItuted) by two “double separaIon” 1. Human/Nonhuman 2. PuriﬁcaIon/MediaIon (of TranslaIon) AND 1. Humans/Nonhumans 2. Human/Divine (or what happens 'above’/what happens 'below’ Modern ConsItuIons Human/Nonhuman :: PuriﬁcaIon/MediaIon 1 1/28/15 Modern ConsItuIon =rules & agreements that deﬁne humans/nonhumans & human/divine èoutlines their properIes and their relaIons, their abiliIes and their groupings. 17th c. debate between Thomas Hobbes and Robert Boyle (shorthand for telling a centuries long story) **draws from Shapin & Shaﬀer (1986) 17th c. European Context *Century of the “Baroque Cultural Movement,” “ScienIﬁc RevoluIon,” and the “General Crisis” (i.e. European wars) *England= The English Civil Wars-‐-‐ series of armed conﬂicts and poliIcal machinaIons over polity and manner of government *Both Boyle and Hobbes: sought to end the English Civil Wars and contain religious extremism and free interpretaIon of the Bible -‐-‐their controversy was on ways to gain & determine knowledge =Hobbes= plenism— doctrine that the space between the bodies of the universe are full of mafer =Boyle= vacuism— doctrine that the space between the bodies of the universe, or the molecules and atoms of mafer, is a vacuum 2 1/28/15 Latour examines: =how in their debate Boyle and Hobbes invent: 1. a science 2. a context 3. a demarcaIon between the two Two Terms immanent, adj. 1. Indwelling, inherent; actually present or abiding in; remaining within. 2. immanent principle (with Kant), a principle limited to the realm of experience: opposed to transcendental principle. Transcendent, adj. 1. Surpassing or excelling others of its kind; going beyond the ordinary limits; pre-‐eminent; superior or supreme; extraordinary.’ 2. Transcending or altogether outside experience; not an object of possible experience; unrealizable in human experience. 3. According to the KanIan philosophy: That which is altogether beyond the bounds of human cogniIon and thought. 3 1/28/15 Hobbes— “natural philosopher” • Believed that civil war and the brute situaIon of a state of nature ("the war of all against all") could only be avoided by strong undivided government. Leviathan (wrifen during English Civil Wars) – argues for the social contract and rule by an absolute sovereign. – Along with noIon of the “absolute sovereign”, developed core principles of European liberal thought: • right of the individual; • natural equality of men; • arIﬁcial character of the poliIcal order • the view that all legiImate poliIcal power must be "representaIve" and based on the consent of the people • ConstrucIvist soluIon to end civil warè UniﬁcaIon of the Body PoliIc. • Based on Mechanical Reasoning: – The social contract = sum of a calculaIon reached abruptly and simultaneously by all the terrorized ciIzens who are seeking to liberate themselves from the state of nature. – Sovereign is never anything but an Actor designated by the social contract. 4 1/28/15 Hobbes’ Leviathan • Theories based on materialist concepIon of the universe as a plenum, ﬁlled with mafer (no vacuums) • Example of Immanence – no transcendence – no recourse to God, divine law, or to Power by Divine Right, or to mathemaIcal Ideas ConsequenIal to outcome of English Civil Wars • the replacement of English monarchy with the Commonwealth of England. • ConsItuIonally established that an English monarch cannot govern without Parliament's consent Boyle— “natural philosopher”
*A founder of modern chemistry, and pioneer of modern
experimental scientific method • Maintained = proper knowledge determined by credible witnesses – the foundaIons of such knowledge are to be consItuted by experimentally produced mafers of fact. 5 1/28/15 Boyle: experiments • “The pressure of the water in our recited experiment' [on the diver's bell] having manifest eﬀects upon inanimate bodies, which are not capable of prepossessions, or giving us parIal informaIons, will have much more weight with unprejudiced persons, than the suspicious, and someImes disagreeing accounts of ignorant divers, whom prejudicate opinions may much sway, and whose very sensaIons, as those of other vulgar men, may be inﬂuenced by predisposiIons, and so many other circumstances, that they may easily give occasion to mistakes.” (In Shapin and Schaﬀer 1985: 218) Boyle: experiments • intervenIon of a new actor recognized by the new ConsItuIon: – inert bodies, incapable of will and bias and more reliable than ordinary mortals, are capable of showing, signing, wriIng, and scribbling on laboratory instruments before trustworthy witnesses **Boyle invented the laboratory within which arIﬁcial machines create phenomena out of whole cloth. BUT even though they are arIﬁcial, costly and hard to reproduce, èthese facts represent Nature as it is. èWith Boyle, we begin to conceive of what a natural force is, an object that is mute but endowed or entrusted with meaning. 6 1/28/15 Boyle’s Experiment • Example of Trancendence – Experiment reveal facts that have been fabricated by man yet are no one's handiwork, facts that have no causality yet can be explained. Two Guarantees of ConsItuIon =Hobbes 1. human beings, and only human beings, are the ones who construct society and freely determine their own desIny. =Boyle 2. it is not men who make Nature; Nature has always existed and has always already been there; we are only discovering its secrets èthe two guarantees serve as counterweight to one another, as checks and balances. They are nothing but the two branches of a single new government. The Double Ar5fact of the Laboratory and the Leviathan • Hobbes and his disciples created the chief resources that are available to us for speaking about society&power: – ‘representaIon', 'sovereign', 'contract', 'property', 'ciIzens’ • Boyle and his successors developed one of the major repertoires for speaking about nature: • 'experiment', 'fact', 'evidence', 'colleagues’ 7 1/28/15 Hobbes’ and Boyle's descendants: • The poliIcal spokespersons come to represent the quarrelsome and calculaIng mulItude of ciIzens – social force and power;; the subject of law • The scienIﬁc spokespersons come to represent the mute and material mulItude of objects. – natural force and mechanism;; the object of science. • Hobbes & Boyle= pair of Founding Fathers, acIng in concert to promote one and the same innovaIon in poliIcal theory: – the representaIon of nonhumans belongs to science, but science is not allowed to appeal to poliIcs – the representaIon of ciIzens belongs to poliIcs, but poliIcs is not allowed to have any relaIon to the nonhumans produced and mobilized by science and technology. Taken together, the guarantees are reversed: Hobbes • =not simply saying that men make their own society by sheer force, – the Leviathan is durable and solid, massive and powerful & it mobilizes commerce, invenIons, and the arts – Despite its human construcIon, the Leviathan inﬁnitely surpasses the humans who created it, for in its pores, its vessels, its Issues, it mobilizes the countless goods and objects that give it consistency and durability. – Yet despite the solidity procured by the mobilizaIon of things, we alone are the ones who consItute it freely by the sheer force of our reasoning we poor, naked, unarmed ciIzens Boyle • =not simply saying that the Laws of Nature escape our grasp – are also fabricaIng these laws in the laboratory. – Despite their arIﬁcial construcIon inside the vacuum pump, the facts completely escape all human fabricaIon Plays simultaneously on transcendence and immanence 8 1/28/15 • BoyleèconstrucIng Nature arIﬁcially and staIng that they are discovering it • HobbesèconstrucIng the Leviathan by dint of calculaIon and social force, but they recruit more and more objects in order to make it last • èBELIEF IN existence of a complete separaIon between the natural world (constructed, nevertheless, by man) and the social world (sustained, nevertheless, by things) Latour’s Core AsserIon Modernity= • Believes itself to be consItuted by a “double separaIon” 1. between humans and nonhumans 2. between what happens 'above' and what happens 'below’ 9 1/28/15 Modern ConsItuIon FIRST PARADOX -‐-‐Nature is not our construcIon; it is transcendent and surpasses us inﬁnitely. -‐-‐Society is our free construcIon; it is immanent to our acIon. SECOND PARADOX -‐-‐Nature is our arIﬁcial construcIon in the laboratory; it is immanent. -‐-‐Society is not our construcIon; it is transcendent and surpasses us inﬁnitely. CONSTITUTION -‐-‐First guarantee: even though we construct Nature, Nature is as if we did not construct it. -‐-‐Second guarantee: even though we do not construct Society, Society is as if we did construct it. -‐-‐Third guarantee: Nature and Society must remain absolutely disInct: the work of puriﬁcaIon must remain disInct from the work of mediaIon. 10 1/28/15 Fourth cons5tu5onal guarantee: The Crossed-‐out God • =sefle the quesIon of God by removing Him forever from the dual social and natural construcIon, (while leaving Him presentable and usable nevertheless.) èNo one is truly modern who does not agree to keep God from interfering with Natural Law as well as with the laws of the Republic 11 1/28/15 Spirituality was reinvented: • = the all-‐powerful God could descend into men's heart of hearts without intervening in any way in their external aﬀairs. • = the moderns could now be both secular and pious at the same Ime (Weber,  1958) The power of moderns: • ècomes from the conjoined producIon of these three pairings of transcendence and immanence, across a long history è • They have not made Nature; They make Society • They make Nature; They have not made Society • They have not made either; God has made everything • God has made nothing; They have made everything • èthe modern ConsItuIon allows the expanded proliferaIon of the hybrids whose existence, whose very possibility, it denies. 12 1/28/15 • Latour ciIng Philippe Descola: – The Achuar do not share this anInomy between two closed and irremediably opposed worlds: the cultural world of human society and the natural world of animal society. Latour: What do anthropologists tell us of the premoderns?: • By saturaIng the mixes of divine, human and natural elements with concepts, the premoderns limit the pracIcal expansion of these mixes. – It is the impossibility of changing the social order without modifying the natural order -‐ and vice versa -‐ that has obliged the premoderns to exercise the greatest prudence. – Monsters become visible and thinkable and explicitly pose serious problems for the social order, the cosmos, or divine laws 13 1/28/15 The Moderns, VicIms of Their Own Success • The modern ConsItuIon has collapsed under its own weight, submerged by the mixtures that it tolerated as material for experimentaIon because it simultaneously dissimulated their impact upon the fabric of society. …There has never been a modern world • A nonmodern is anyone who takes simultaneously into account the moderns' ConsItuIon and the populaIons of hybrids that that ConsItuIon rejects and allows to proliferate. • CALLS for alternaIve tacIcs & poliIcs & ways of being… èThe scope of the mobilizaIon is directly proporIonal to the impossibility of directly conceptualizing nature’s relaIons with the social order. 14 1/28/15 BUT NOW, the two consItuIonal guarantees of the moderns (the universal laws of things, and the inalienable rights of subjects): • can no longer be recognized either on the side of Nature or on the side of the Social. • The desIny of the starving mulItudes and the fate of our poor planet are connected by the same Gordian knot èthe proliferaIon of hybrids has saturated the consItuIonal framework of the moderns We have Never Been Modern (opening Paragraph) “On page four of my daily newspaper, I learn that the measurements taken above the AntarcIc are not good this year: the hole in the ozone layer is growing ominously larger. Reading on, I turn from upper-‐atmosphere chemists to Chief ExecuIve Oﬃcers of Atochem and Monsanto, companies that are modifying their assembly lines in order to replace the innocent chloroﬂuorocarbons, accused of crimes against the ecosphere. A few paragraphs later, I come across heads of state of major industrialized countries who are gexng involved with chemistry, refrigerators, aerosols and inert gases. But at the end of the arIcle, I discover that the meteorologists don't agree with the chemists ; they're talking about cyclical ﬂuctuaIons unrelated to human acIvity. So now the industrialists don't know what to do. The heads of state are also holding back. Should we wait? Is it already too late? Toward the bofom of the page, Third World countries and ecologists add their grain of salt and talk about internaIonal treaIes, moratoriums, the rights of future generaIons, and the right to development.” • Dualism that puts nature and culture in opposiIon, is unknown to (or at best ﬁts uncomfortably with) indigenous peoples. • AnimisIc cosmologies= believe animals and plants form a part of the community of ‘persons'. – afribute them with characterisIcs like those of human beings (intenIonality, self-‐consciousness, emoIons, etc.) • What ‘Western' science calls nature consItutes part of a complex network of social interacIons in which the human is no more than one actor amongst many 15 1/28/15 • Okanagan (BriIsh Columbia) – Word for themselves: • “the ones dream and land together”—living dreaming pieces of earth – Word for dream: • “the unseen part of our existence as human beings” – Word for body: • “land-‐dreaming capacity” – EmoIonal self: • “heart”—capacity of form bonds with surroundings – Intellectual self: • “the spark that ignites” Kayapo Chief • “We are trying to safe the knowledge that the forests and this planet are alive—to give it back to you who have lost the understanding” 16 ...
View Full Document
- Fall '08
- *Both Boyle