The contradictions and dangers of bruno latour's conception of climate science

Philippe Stamenkovic

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article debunks Bruno Latour's seemingly pro-scientific and well-intentioned (in particular, environment-friendly) posture. I briefly summarize Latour's constructivist, relativist, hybridist, and mystic philosophy, insisting on his radicalization in his last two books (Face à Gaïa and Où atterrir?). I show that Latour's conception is akin to “pseudo-profound bullshit” (Frankfurt, Pennycook et al.), inasmuch as he tries to hide his mysticism behind the invocation of scientific facts. I then concentrate on Latour's politicization of climate science, showing that it is: self-contradictory from an epistemological point of view, since it presupposes scientifically established facts (such as anthropogenic climate change) while at the same time undermining their objectivity; counterproductive, and even dangerous, from the political point of view, since it recommends a full politicization of climate science and ignores its harmful effects. I conclude by advocating a distinction between science and politics, and by showing that Latour's philosophy fosters our current post-truth predicament.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDisputatio (Spain)
Volume9
Issue number13
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Bruno Latour
  • Bullshit
  • Climate science
  • Politicization of science
  • Pseudo-profound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy

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