David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Social Studies of Science 40 (4):579-598 (2010)
Bruno Latour has had a tremendous impact on the field of science studies. Yet, it is not always easy to say what he stands for. Indeed, Latour has often claimed that his work lacks any overall unity. In this essay, I suggest that at least one concept remains constant throughout Latour’s diverse studies of modern science and technology, namely, mediation. I try to make good this claim by focussing on Latour’s numerous attempts over the years to distance himself from, so as to discredit, the philosopher Martin Heidegger. I argue that Latour’s repeated denunciations of Heidegger amount to a systematic tactic of dissimulation: by suppressing the substance of Heidegger’s critique of modern technoscience, Latour directs attention away from the not insignificant weaknesses in his own theory of mediation. Against the backdrop of an appropriately reconstructed Heidegger, Latour’s self-promotion as a radically progressive non-modern thinker cannot be sustained.
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