BN.com Gift Guide

Pandora's Hope: Essays on the Reality of Science Studies / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $15.69
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 50%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (8) from $15.69   
  • New (5) from $26.22   
  • Used (3) from $15.22   

Overview

A scientist friend asked Bruno Latour point-blank: "Do you believe in reality?" Taken aback by this strange query, Latour offers his meticulous response in Pandora's Hope. It is a remarkable argument for understanding the reality of science in practical terms.

In this book Latour, identified by Richard Rorty as the new "bête noire of the science worshipers," gives us his most philosophically informed book since Science in Action. Through case studies of scientists in the Amazon analyzing soil and in Pasteur's lab studying the fermentation of lactic acid, he shows us the myriad steps by which events in the material world are transformed into items of scientific knowledge. Through many examples in the world of technology, we see how the material and human worlds come together and are reciprocally transformed in this process.

Why, Latour asks, did the idea of an independent reality, free of human interaction, emerge in the first place? His answer to this question, harking back to the debates between Might and Right narrated by Plato, points to the real stakes in the so-called science wars: the perplexed submission of ordinary people before the warring forces of claimants to the ultimate truth.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Boston Book Review

[Pandora's Hope] brims with insight, and is frequently brilliant. It does what one always hopes for, but so rarely finds, in a philosophy book; it shakes assumptions so deeply held that you hardly knew they were there. It takes the world, reshuffles it, and deals it back; the cards are all the same, but the hand is crucially different...Pandora's Hope, and its author, demand serious attention...Latour asks jarring and important questions and proposes jarring and brilliant answers. Kafka once wrote that a good book ought to have the fearsome impact of an ice ax. Pandora's Hope does this. Having finished it, I am bloodied and befuddled. And I can think of no greater compliment for a book, or heartier endorsement.
— Noah J. Efron

New Scientist

Show Latour an intellectual war zone and he'll leap into the middle, to do battle with both sides...You can rely on [Pandora's Hope] to shake your ideas up. And that's almost never a bad thing, in science or elsewhere.
— Mike Holderness

Times Higher Education Supplement
Pandora's Hope is Latour's systematic defense of science studies, starting with impressions of his sojourn with five naturalists in Amazonia...His observations of [them] are overwhelmingly persuasive, and without a hint of supercilious hostility to the cause of science. Latour is proud to have been cited as co-contributor to their research report, and they must be equally pleased to figure in his.
American Scientist

In this book of impassioned and creative explorations into scientific life, Bruno Latour offers himself as a reasonable man who is ready and willing to lead combatants of the "science wars" off the battle plain and onto higher ground...The text is comprised of essays about the genesis of and context for the science wars, case studies of scientific practice and elaboration of his current theoretical stances. His writing can be stimulating, fresh and at times genuinely moving...It is hard not to be caught up in the author's obvious delight in deploying a classic work from antiquity to bring current concerns into sharper focus, following along as he manages to leave the reader with the impression that the protagonists Socrates and Callicles are not only in dialogue with each other but with Latour as well.
— Katherine Pandora

Interdisciplinary Science Reviews

His work sparkles with wit, sharp scholarship, graceful tropes, homely but apt metaphors, personal anecdotes at his own expense, and other jewels of the art of persuasion. It is always a pleasure to read or listen to Bruno, just for the vitality and fun of his mind.
— John Ziman

Choice

Latour is concerned with making a case for the emerging field of "science studies," a discipline that proposes to study science and the scientific process itself on a philosophical and conceptual level. After an introductory chapter in which he lays the groundwork for science studies and its contributions to our knowledge of the nature of reality, Latour then provides a series of case studies showing scientists from various fields in action. In these case studies, which range from an analysis of a field trip by soil scientists in the Amazon to Louis Pasteur's investigations of lactic acid fermentation in yeast, Latour carefully dissects the seen and unseen components of the scientists' activity and thought. Latour's engaging, clear writing style makes a difficult subject much easier to comprehend.
— R. K. Harris

Boston Book Review - Noah J. Efron
[Pandora's Hope] brims with insight, and is frequently brilliant. It does what one always hopes for, but so rarely finds, in a philosophy book; it shakes assumptions so deeply held that you hardly knew they were there. It takes the world, reshuffles it, and deals it back; the cards are all the same, but the hand is crucially different...Pandora's Hope, and its author, demand serious attention...Latour asks jarring and important questions and proposes jarring and brilliant answers. Kafka once wrote that a good book ought to have the fearsome impact of an ice ax. Pandora's Hope does this. Having finished it, I am bloodied and befuddled. And I can think of no greater compliment for a book, or heartier endorsement.
New Scientist - Mike Holderness
Show Latour an intellectual war zone and he'll leap into the middle, to do battle with both sides...You can rely on [Pandora's Hope] to shake your ideas up. And that's almost never a bad thing, in science or elsewhere.
American Scientist - Katherine Pandora
In this book of impassioned and creative explorations into scientific life, Bruno Latour offers himself as a reasonable man who is ready and willing to lead combatants of the "science wars" off the battle plain and onto higher ground...The text is comprised of essays about the genesis of and context for the science wars, case studies of scientific practice and elaboration of his current theoretical stances. His writing can be stimulating, fresh and at times genuinely moving...It is hard not to be caught up in the author's obvious delight in deploying a classic work from antiquity to bring current concerns into sharper focus, following along as he manages to leave the reader with the impression that the protagonists Socrates and Callicles are not only in dialogue with each other but with Latour as well.
Interdisciplinary Science Reviews - John Ziman
His work sparkles with wit, sharp scholarship, graceful tropes, homely but apt metaphors, personal anecdotes at his own expense, and other jewels of the art of persuasion. It is always a pleasure to read or listen to Bruno, just for the vitality and fun of his mind.
Choice - R. K. Harris
Latour is concerned with making a case for the emerging field of "science studies," a discipline that proposes to study science and the scientific process itself on a philosophical and conceptual level. After an introductory chapter in which he lays the groundwork for science studies and its contributions to our knowledge of the nature of reality, Latour then provides a series of case studies showing scientists from various fields in action. In these case studies, which range from an analysis of a field trip by soil scientists in the Amazon to Louis Pasteur's investigations of lactic acid fermentation in yeast, Latour carefully dissects the seen and unseen components of the scientists' activity and thought. Latour's engaging, clear writing style makes a difficult subject much easier to comprehend.
Booknews
Recognizing that "science studies" implies a unified discipline rather than the actual state of science wars, Latour (Center for the Study of Innovation, School of Mines, Paris) in nine recent papers discusses whether he believes in reality. E.g. in pondering whether there were microbes before Pasteur, he hedges his bets with the concept of "relative existence." Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674653368
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/1999
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 748,707
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Bruno Latour is Professor at Sciences Po, Paris and the 2013 winner of the Ludvig Holberg International Memorial Prize.
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

"Do You Believe in Reality?" News from the Trenches of the Science Wars

Circulating Reference: Sampling the Soil in the Amazon Forest

Science's Blood Flow: An Example from Joliot's Scientific Intelligence

From Fabrication to Reality: Pasteur and His Lactic Acid Ferment

The Historicity of Things: Where Were Microbes before Pasteur?

A Collective of Humans and Nonhumans: Following Daedalus's Labyrinth

The Invention of the Science Wars: The Settlement of Socrates and Callicles

A Politics Freed from Science: The Body Cosmopolitic

The Slight Surprise of Action: Facts, Fetishes, Factishes

Conclusion: What Contrivance Will Free Pandora's Hope?

Glossary

Bibliography

Index

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2000

    Maybe This Time?

    Bruno Latour has without a doubt been the most profound and profoundly accessible writer about science in the last twenty five years. This book could at long last put to rest many of the really quite silly misinterpretations of his work, such as the frequent claim that he supports the 'social construction of scientific knowledge', that 'facts are made up, socially', and so on. Latour has as little time for the social as a concept as he does for the main target of this work - a belief that there is a world 'out there' which it is the job of science to 'discover'. For many years he has been delighting readers with a prose style that is engaging and deliberately uncomplicated, a sin which forces many with their snouts well and truly in the troughs of academe to regard him as lightweight. But Latour's philosophical roots run very deep indeed, and ironically it is his analysis of English philosphers such as Whitehead which informs many of the key insights, such as the replacement of representative statements with propositions, and so on. It is clear from this book that Latour not only takes philosophy more seriously than others in this field (replacing a hackneyed 'philosophy of science' with philosophy proper), but also takes science itself more seriously - there's no judgement, no attempt to 'explain' science away, but a determination to stick with the details of scientific practice, and value them in new ways at the same time. Purity is death could be the subtitle here - science is messy, implicated in politics at all levels, and yet this is what gives it strength and truth, not weakness. A book for grown-ups, for people who want to see what happens when you actually take philosophy, sociology and science seriously, and let them interact without pre-judging the conclusion.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)