Latour was a versatile man who contributed to exhibitions, plays, and performances about his work. Despite his fame, he detested the lackluster display of erudition at times characteristic of French intellectuals. He was a cynical and laconic man who at the end of his life proclaimed an ominous message: We must change our way of life, because the earth can no longer bear our burden.
Latour was born in Bonn in 1947 into a family of Burgundian wine merchants. His introduction to philosophy in high school shocked him as a transformation. “I didn’t know right away,” he said, “that I would become a philosopher.” “Because other knowledge seemed to me, paradoxically, less certain.”
Among his most famous works laboratory life From 1979, based on an anthropological study in an American laboratory. Latour and co-author Steve Walgar have argued that pure scientific truth does not exist. Science is also human work. The search is not only about facts, but also about who can best sell their truth, and who will find the strongest allies and the most wealthy moneylenders.
Critics saw Latour as a dangerous relativist and postmodern. During the science wars of the 1990s, American physicist Alan Sokal Latour and his companions called out a window on the 21st floor to prove that gravity is just a social construct.
Latour has always denied that he was a relativist. Of course, he did not want to question the laws of nature. But he wanted to understand science better and show that our view of truth is determined in part by conflict between researchers, especially at the forefront of science where knowledge has not yet been established.
As Latour focused more and more on the climate problem, he saw with alarm how climate deniers portray science as “just an opinion.” He said in an interview with this was never his intention de Volkskrant.
in his book Face to face with Gaia From the same year, he used the controversial Gaia theory, formulated in the 1960s by the eccentric British scientist James Lovelock. He considered the Earth as a living being, fickle Gaia. Since the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century, man has considered the Earth as something that can be occupied and exploited. The climate crisis and the extinction of animal species show how absurd and arrogant this idea is. Man is not the master of nature, but a part of it. And if he provokes the earth too much, she responds like a vengeful goddess.
In his recent work, Latour considered climate as the central political problem of our time, in a world that will increasingly revolve around the distribution of scarce natural resources.
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