Posts Tagged ‘Gilles Deleuze’

Henning Schmidgen on the early Latour

14 November 2012

This is one of the most informative articles I’ve read on the early influences on Latour’s work. The role of biblical exegesis is particularly interesting. And even the question of the Heidegger-Latour connection gets a little mention, which was the original impetus behind the reading group that launched this blog. Apparently the link is Latour’s philosophy teacher,  André Malet, who was into Bultmann, Heidegger’s one-time colleague, debating partner and friend.

Schmidgen, H. (2012). “The Materiality of Things? Bruno Latour, Charles Péguy, and the History of Science.” History of the Human Sciences.

This article sheds new light on Bruno Latour’s sociology of science and technology by looking at his early study of the French writer, philosopher and editor Charles Péguy (1873–1914).

In the early 1970s, Latour engaged in a comparative study of Péguy’s Clio and the four gospels of the New Testament. His 1973 contribution to a Péguy colloquium (published in 1977) offers rich insights into his interest in questions of time, history, tradition and translation. Inspired by Gilles Deleuze’s philosophy of difference, Latour reads Clio as spelling out and illustrating the following argument: ‘Repetition is a machine to produce differences with identity’.

However, in contrast to Deleuze’s work (together with Félix Guattari) on the materiality of machines, or assemblages [agencements], Latour emphasizes the semiotic aspects of the repetition/difference process. As in Péguy, the main model for this process is the Roman Catholic tradition of religious events.

The article argues that it is this reading of Péguy and Latour’s early interest in biblical exegesis that inspired much of Latour’s later work. In Laboratory Life (Latour and Woolgar, 1979) and The Pasteurization of France (1988) in particular, problems of exegesis and tradition provide important stimuli for the analysis of scientific texts.

In this context, Latour gradually transforms the question of tradition into the problem of reference. In a first step, he shifts the event that is transmitted and translated from the temporal dimension (i.e. the past) to the spatial (i.e. from one part of the laboratory to another). It is only in a second step that Latour resituates scientific events in time.

As facts they are ‘constructed’ but nevertheless ‘irreducible’. They result, according to Latour, from the tradition of the future. As a consequence, the Latourian approach to science distances itself from the materialism of Deleuze and other innovative theoreticians.

Towards Speculative Realism

10 November 2010

Graham Harman’s new book of old essays and lectures has just been published under the title Towards Speculative Realism: Essays and Lectures, by Zero Books. Its publication is a proper ANTHEM event, in the sense that this book deals with both actor-network theory and Heidegger, as well as Harman’s own attempt to build on both, through his object-oriented philosophy. Here are the contents:

    1. Phenomenology and the Theory of Equipment (1997)
    2. Alphonso Lingis on the Imperatives in Things (1997)
    3. The Theory of Objects in Heidegger and Whitehead (1997)
    4. A Fresh Look at Zuhandenheit (1999)
    5. Bruno Latour, King of Networks (1999)
    6. Object-Oriented Philosophy (1999)
    7. The Revival of Metaphysics in Continental Philosophy (2002)
    8. Physical Nature and the Paradox of Qualities (2006)
    9. Space, Time, and Essence: An Object-Oriented Approach (2008)
    10. The Assemblage Theory of Society (2008)
    11. Objects, Matter, Sleep, and Death (2009)

      Deleuze2008: Call for Papers

      7 July 2008

      The Deleuze2008 Conference in Stavanger, Norway is one of the city’s 2008 European Capital of Culture projects. It will take place on 7 and 8 November 2008 and it will also mark the 40th anniversary of the publication of Gilles Deleuze’s (1968) Difference and Repetition. Keynote speakers are Simon Duffy, Roland Faber, Graham Harman, Christian Kerslake, Daniel W. Smith and James Williams. The deadline for submitting abstracts is 12 September 2008. Further information on the call for papers is available here and on how to register here.


      Follow

      Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

      Join 269 other followers