Bruno Latour in PiecesAn Intellectual Biography

Bruno Latour in PiecesAn Intellectual Biography

Henning Schmidgen

Print publication date: 2015

ISBN: 9780823263691

Publisher: Fordham University Press

Abstract

The French philosopher and sociologist Bruno Latour (*1947) is a major figure of contemporary thought. This book provides a comprehensive overview of the Latourian oeuvre, from his early anthropological studies in Abidjan (Ivory Coast) to his influential books like Laboratory Life and Science in Action and his most recent reflections on an empirical metaphysics of “modes of existence.” The book argues that the basic problem to which Latour’s work responds is that of social tradition, i.e. the complex relationship of culture, knowledge, and time. It shows that Latour’s understanding of this problem is deeply informed by his early involvement with Biblical exegesis, in particular the work of the German theologian Rudolf Bultmann. Against this background, the book questions the innovative potential of actor-network theory (ANT) and the fruitfulness of Latour’s philosophical attempts to understand the plurality of “modes of existence.”