Bruno Latour (born in 1947 with Beaune, in France) is a Sociologue, Ethnologue and Philosophe of sciences French. After having taught with the School of the mines of Paris, it is since September 2006 professor with the Institut of political studies of Paris (known as Science-Po). In September 2007, Bruno Latour was appointed scientific director and assistant editor of this same institute.
He is known for his work in Sociologie of sciences: starting from investigations of ground, it observes the Scientifique S with work and described the process of Scientific research like a social construction.
Its most known works are the Life of laboratory and Science in action . Member of the committee of orientation of Cosmopolitiques .
Ethnological study of a laboratory
Incorporated Philosophy, Latour was deeply influenced by Michel Serres. It is interested in the Anthropologie and undertakes an investigation of ground in Ivory Coast whose result is a short monograph on the Décolonisation, the concept of Race and the labor relations. The object of study of Latour concentrates then on the scientists in their laboratory. In 1979, it publishes with Steve Woolgar Laboratory Life: the Social Construction off Scientific Facts (translated into French under the title Life of laboratory: production of the scientific facts in 1988 only). In this work, the two authors undertake an ethnological study of a research laboratory specialized in Neuroendocrinologie with the Salk Institute. They show that the naive description of the scientific Méthode, according to which the success or the failure of a Théorie depends on the result of only one Expérience, does not correspond to the real practice of the laboratories. Generally, an experiment produces only not very conclusive data, allotted to a defect of the experimental device or procedure. Thus, most of scientific education consists in learning how to sort the data which must be kept and that which must be thrown, a process which seems, for an not-educated external glance, a manner of being unaware of the data which contradict scientific orthodoxy.
Latour and Woolgar propose a vision hétérodoxe and very discussed Sciences. They defend the idea that the scientific objects of study “are socially built” in the laboratories, that they do not have an existence apart from the measuring instruments and of the spirits which interpret them. They regard the scientific activity as a system of beliefs, oral traditions and cultural practices specific.
Others case studies
After a research project on the Sociology of the primatologists, Latour continues its research undertaken in the Life of laboratory with the Microbes: War and peace (1984). It tells there the life and the career of Louis Pasteur, and his discovery of the Micro-organisme S, with the manner of a political biography. It clarifies the social forces at work in the career of Pasteur and the not very regular way in which its theories are finally accepted. By giving reasons of an ideological nature to explain the more or less favorable reception of the work of Pasteur according to the mediums, Latour seeks to sap the idea according to which the acceptance or the rejection of the scientific theories is primarily, or even usually, about the experiment, the proof or reason.
Another work, Aramis or the Love of the techniques (1992) concentrate on the history of the project missed by Aramis subway.
It also applies its method to the world of the Droit while accounting for work of the Council of State in the factory of the right (2002), which it puts in prospect with its preceding studies on the concrete modes for production for the scientific theories.
Latour turns then worms of more theoretical work and programming sciences. At the end of the Years 1980, it becomes one of the principal defenders of the Théorie of the actor-networks. Its more theoretical works include/understand Science in action , Pandora' S Hope, and We were never modern .
Latour falls under a philosophical tradition which it describes as “not-modern”, in opposition to the modern and with the post-modern . It is interested in the opposition between the objects (ultimate, that one can launch to the head of the lecturer) and the things (which are binding on us -- states for example). He wonders why we do not control that of which we are the authors.
Its designs on the “not-human ones” lead it to work out a true program of ecology policy. Noting the impact of the scientific discoveries on the organization of the company, he wants that the Constitution country takes into account not only the human ones but also the " not humains". He proposes for that the creation of a “Parlement of the things”, in which the things would be represented by scientists or people recognized for their competence in a particular field, as well as the traditional Député S represents today the citizens.
In the “botofil” of Boa Vista -- photo-philosophical assembly (in Petites Lessons of sociology of sciences ), it proposes a characterization of the scientific step, which produces and maintains a reversible chain operators, crossing the distance from reality to its representation. The justification, the referent , is thus interior and transverse , and not as in the traditional models, “with two poles”, external and side .
Latour belonged to the intellectuals blamed in the book of Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont, intellectual Impostures , in company of Lacan, Kristeva, Irigaray, Baudrillard, Deleuze, Guattari and Virilio. The two scientists criticize his use of the Theory of relativity. Latour retorted by showing Sokal of political ulterior motives in its step.
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