Materialism, symmetry and eliminativism in the latest Latour

Social Epistemology 17 (4):381 – 400 (2003)
Abstract
In this paper, part of the ideas developed in Lewowicz (2000) will be reconsidered in the light of Pandora's Hope (1999a) - one of the latest publications of Bruno Latour. We will ponder the significance of these ideas and some of the incidental advances or retreats of the views of this author in the last 20 years. Although we still believe that, from the ontological point of view, Latour's philosophy is materialistic - then eliminativist - and not ontological relativist (contrary to the opinion of his colleague philosophers), some of the symmetries developed in that text show outstanding ontological-epistemological and even methodological deficiencies which we try to show here; especially the symmetry between 'human and nonhuman actors' (Latour 1999a) and his very singular (but not without a fair amount of antecedents) concept of history of the things whose neologism is that of pragmatogony. Andrew Pickering (The mangle of practice, 1999a) proposed and developed the concept of temporary emergency. In view of this concept, he succeeds in criticising Latour's exact symmetries making use primarily of the concept of intentionality to account for the asymmetry (by no means radical, according to the latter) between 'the human and nonhuman collective'. In this paper we will try to reinforce (and inevitably to question) the notion of temporal emergency by giving it a less local aspect than the one given by this author. We will not only hold the asymmetry of certain dichotomies - presumably avoided by and avoidable according to Latour - but we will also claim the historical impossibility of such an avoidance: the concept of historialised emergency and not just temporalised, precludes this. It is concluded, firstly, that only an eliminativist materialism (within the range of materialisms) is able to avoid and even 'overcome' such pairs like nature/society and some of its derivatives like subject/object and individual/collective. Secondly, the decisive character of some dichotomies will be defended and lastly it will be attempted to account for the almost only ontological possibility of constructivism: the eliminativist materialism.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/0269172032000151821
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
Edit this record
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Mark as duplicate
Request removal from index
Revision history
Download options
Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 29,841
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Rescuing the Gorgias From Latour.Jeff Kochan - 2006 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 36 (4):395-422.
The Author Responds: Latour to Oldroyd.Bruno Latour - 1987 - Social Epistemology 1 (4):347 – 350.
The Author Rebounds: Latour to Oldroyd.Bruno Latour - 1988 - Social Epistemology 2 (2):183.
Bloor, Latour, and the Field.E. Seguin - 2000 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 31 (3):503-508.
Latour's Heidegger.Jeff Kochan - 2010 - Social Studies of Science 40 (4):579-598.
Added to PP index
2009-01-28

Total downloads
16 ( #327,258 of 2,210,399 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #387,753 of 2,210,399 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature