By Henning Schmidgen
Bruno Latour stirs issues up. Latour begun as a lover of technology and know-how, co-founder of actor-network idea, and thinker of a modernity that had "never been modern." meanwhile he's looked not only as essentially the most clever and likewise well known exponents of technology reviews but in addition as an immense innovator of the social sciences, an exemplary wanderer who walks the road among the sciences and the humanities.
This ebook offers the 1st complete assessment of the Latourian oeuvre, from his early anthropological reports in Abidjan (Ivory Coast), to influential books like Laboratory lifestyles and technological know-how in motion, and his most up-to-date reflections on an empirical metaphysics of "modes of existence." during this enquiry it turns into transparent that the elemental challenge to which Latour's paintings responds is that of social culture, the transmission of expertise and information. What this empirical thinker continuously grapples with is the complicated dating of data, time, and culture.
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Extra info for Bruno Latour in Pieces: An Intellectual Biography
This would also become clear in his collaboration with Latour. However, already in the article written with Gilbert, Woolgar tentatively leaves the territory of sociology for the terrain of information science and biology. The mathematician William Goffman’s pioneering use of disease epidemiology concepts to model the spread of scientific knowledge and ideas Woolgar finds especially intriguing. In Goffman’s model of “knowledge epidemics” Claude Shannon seems to meet Louis Pasteur. 7 Laboratory Life The book that was the product of this constellation caused quite a sensation among sociologists and historians of science.
This is the first time but certainly not the last that Latour will hear objections like these, sometimes from scientists, sometimes from sociologists and philosophers. Yet this did not result in an overt breach between the two men, only a distancing. Later, Guillemin only speaks about Latour in a guarded fashion, and Latour speaks of the “disinterest” (LLF Acknowledgements) shown by the famous neuroendocrinologist from the Salk Institute who made possible the field research that was presented two years later in Laboratory Life.
Latour and Fabbri not only count the instances of modalizing in Guillemin’s text; they also make a distinction between the number of active and passive formulations. In addition, they observe that there are criteria for demodalizing. , and are repeatedly cited in the text; on the other side, there is the compliance or noncompliance with specific external standards that serve to establish the credibility of the reported facts and thus also of the scientists involved. These “credibilities” are established by reproducing A Philosopher in the Laboratory 39 numerical values and figures or diagrams that are generated by the laboratory’s instruments.