The Pasteurization of France

By Bruno Latour.

Who da think that probably one of the best philosophical ideas would come from an anthropologist, and not a philosopher?

But I think he does a better job as his description of the idea than he does at laying it out like a philosopher. 🦦. As we also see in An Inquiry into Modes of Existence, as soon as he tries to sound like a philosopher, he starts sounding like he’s psychologically disorganized. Lol. Almost.

Art as Fiction

Art as Fiction.

The difficulty Philosophers and Artists might have with the notions of “art” and “fiction” may wish to consult the psychotherapist James Hillman. Particularly his book Healing Fiction.

In this book he outlines a distinction between history and fiction which is relevant to what Latour says of art.

Science and Philosophy; or, Toward a Philosophical Science, or, a Science of Philosophy.

Its happening.

Do scientists argue over facts? If they agree on a subject, such as water, an instrument and its calibration, such as a thermometer, do they then argue that water does not freeze at zero degrees Fahrenheit ? No they do not. They agree on a particular factual method, factual in what they treat, and factual in the results. The scientists do not argue over the results; they test the results by redoing the experiment. This is the scientific method. Through repeating the same experiment under the same conditions, routine outcomes become established as facts, also. Hence, we have the fact of the water, there, that is not disputed; we have the instruments, which also are developed and constructed by rigorous method (based upon given factual items), that are not disputed (in principle; one may argue with the construction or calibration of the instrument), and we have the method, which again, has been developed through trial and error, itself become a ‘factual’ basis of method which is applied to facts, which then yields more facts. None of this is ontologically questioned; the Being of the facts are questioned through the tests of method, but the initial fact, say, of dirt, is not questioned. It is not too obtuse to say that the science is, at root, based upon facts that are not questioned, to there by have a manner to locate other facts that is questioned upon the initial assumption of factuality. It is ontologically cyclical, complete in its bearings.

But this does not mean that we do not question all aspects of it; it only means that the criterion by which we are able to question science is, itself, based upon facts that are not questioned, but to unquestioned facts that are transcendent to the objectival situation in question.

Philosophy is the exception that proves the rule of science; it is, itself, the counterweight of the clockwork of science. Philosophy (at this moment, we will take ‘philosophy’ as the common sort, what everyone agrees upon as philosophy before they begin to philosophize about it) takes the opposite tack; philosophy assumes as a pedagogical platform, takes as given the ability of the human being to grasp transcendental truths and bring them into play; it does not admit transcendental truths. Its circularity is not recognized or used. It posits itself in its position and attitude of participation, as exceptional in an essential sense; it argues this position as it then uses it to bring in all sort of reasons why its situation and approach trumps all others. Its approach is a necessary counterweight to science, and its offerings (common, or conventional philosophy) always stay close to the science of the day (including politics and ideology). This kind of philosophy is necessary because it cannot see itself outside of its transcendental domain granted by the natural sciences. Where the natural sciences take what is given within a circular mode of fact, philosophy takes what is given as a linear mode of uncertainty; the two correspond with each other in the manner that we distinguish as modern: Conventional philosophy is the religious part of the reality whose counterpart is science of nature.

Bruno Latour instinctually (but not objectivally) has noticed this, so that his investigations show that within this circle of science-philosophy, Latour being more philosophically oriented than scientific, we still need an ‘out’ this phenomenon he calls a pass(a philosophical ‘transcendental’ pass: a pass that avoids having to notice its transcendental basis), by which to perpetuate the modern paradigm of factual progress.