IS LATOUR A CLOSET LARUELLIAN?: non-modern philosophy as non-philosophy

Is Latour in the closet?

AGENT SWARM

Latour has famously claimed that we have never been modern, and has unsparingly criticised the postmoderns for their practice of critique, showing that he actively embraces both paradox and performative contradiction. His own name for his style of thinking is “non-modern”. Given his desire to get away from all philosophy based on the dualist principles generated by the “bifurcation of nature” and to create a new type of thinking that he calls “empirical philosophy”, one may wonder if Latour is practicing, knowingly or not, a form of “non-philosophy” in the sense that François Laruelle has given that term. His declarations that he is in no way attached to a particular theoretical vocabulary or set of references, but considers his metalanguage “disposable”, go in the same sense.

Latour’s theoretical formulations show a huge degree of liberty when it comes to locating the basic conceptual matrix of his work. Different versions of…

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About Nicholas

Associate Professor of Sociology, Environmental Studies, and Science and Technology Studies at Penn State, Nicholas mainly writes about understanding the scientific study of states and, thus, it is namely about state theory. Given his training in sociology and STS, he takes a decidedly STS-oriented approach to state theory and issues of governance.

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