We Have Never Been Modern

We Have Never Been Modern

by Bruno Latour
     
 

ISBN-10: 0674948394

ISBN-13: 9780674948396

Pub. Date: 07/04/2008

Publisher: Harvard

With the rise of science, we moderns believe, the world changed irrevocably, separating us forever from our primitive, premodern ancestors. But if we were to let go of this fond conviction, Bruno Latour asks, what would the world look like? His book, an anthropology of science, shows us how much of modernity is actually a matter of faith.
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Overview

With the rise of science, we moderns believe, the world changed irrevocably, separating us forever from our primitive, premodern ancestors. But if we were to let go of this fond conviction, Bruno Latour asks, what would the world look like? His book, an anthropology of science, shows us how much of modernity is actually a matter of faith.
What does it mean to be modern? What difference does the scientific method make? The difference, Latour explains, is in our careful distinctions between nature and society, between human and thing, distinctions that our benighted ancestors, in their world of alchemy, astrology, and phrenology, never made. But alongside this purifying practice that defines modernity, there exists another seemingly contrary one: the construction of systems that mix politics, science, technology, and nature. The ozone debate is such a hybrid, in Latour’s analysis, as are global warming, deforestation, even the idea of black holes. As these hybrids proliferate, the prospect of keeping nature and culture in their separate mental chambers becomes overwhelming—and rather than try, Latour suggests, we should rethink our distinctions, rethink the definition and constitution of modernity itself. His book offers a new explanation of science that finally recognizes the connections between nature and culture—and so, between our culture and others, past and present.
Nothing short of a reworking of our mental landscape. We Have Never Been Modern blurs the boundaries among science, the humanities, and the social sciences to enhance understanding on all sides. A summation of the work of one of the most influential and provocative interpreters of science, it aims at saving what is good and valuable in modernity and replacing the rest with a broader, fairer, and finer sense of possibility.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674948396
Publisher:
Harvard
Publication date:
07/04/2008
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
168
Sales rank:
391,381
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
1Crisis1
1.1The Proliferation of Hybrids1
1.2Retying the Gordian Knot3
1.3The Crisis of the Critical Stance5
1.41989: The Year of Miracles8
1.5What Does It Mean To Be A Modern?10
2Constitution13
2.1The Modern Constitution13
2.2Boyle and His Objects15
2.3Hobbes and His Subjects18
2.4The Mediation of the Laboratory20
2.5The Testimony of Nonhumans22
2.6The Double Artifact of the Laboratory and the Leviathan24
2.7Scientific Representation and Political Representation27
2.8The Constitutional Guarantees of the Modern29
2.9The Fourth Guarantee: The Crossed-out God32
2.10The Power of the Modern Critique35
2.11The Invincibility of the Moderns37
2.12What the Constitution Clarifies and What It Obscures39
2.13The End of Denunciation43
2.14We Have Never Been Modern46
3Revolution49
3.1The Moderns, Victims of Their Own Success49
3.2What Is a Quasi-Object?51
3.3Philosophies Stretched Over the Yawning Gap55
3.4The End of Ends59
3.5Semiotic Turns62
3.6Who Has Forgotten Being?65
3.7The Beginning of the Past67
3.8The Revolutionary Miracle70
3.9The End of the Passing Past72
3.10Triage and Multiple Times74
3.11A Copernican Counter-revolution76
3.12From Intermediaries to Mediators79
3.13Accusation, Causation82
3.14Variable Ontologies85
3.15Connecting the Four Modern Repertoires88
4Relativism91
4.1How to End the Asymmetry91
4.2The Principle of Symmetry Generalized94
4.3The Import-Export System of the Two Great Divides97
4.4Anthropology Comes Home from the Tropics100
4.5There Are No Cultures103
4.6Sizeable Differences106
4.7Archimedes' coup d'etat109
4.8Absolute Relativisim and Relativist Relativism111
4.9Small Mistakes Concerning the Disenchantment of the World114
4.10Even a Longer Network Remains Local at All Points117
4.11The Leviathan is a Skein of Networks120
4.12A Perverse Taste for the Margins122
4.13Avoid Adding New Crimes to Old125
4.14Transcendences Abound127
5Redistribution130
5.1The Impossible Modernization130
5.2Final Examinations132
5.3Humanism Redistributed136
5.4The Nonmodern Constitution138
5.5The Parliament of Things142
Bibliography146
Index154

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