Latour Educates a Naive Michel Serres

This essay titled The Englightenment Without the Critique: A Word on Michel Serres' Philosophy showed a while back as a Google Alert. I immediately read it. Having worked through Conversations on Science, Culture and Time on many occasions, the variance between Latour and Serres was not surprising. However, the interview format of Conversations allowed for banter, a play, between the two that this sustained piece leaves less room for.

 Latour argues that you can see someone's theory by the manner in which they undertake their exegesis of a text, a kind of behavioural marker for core commitments:
But also,it is my conviction that every science, including the hard ones, is defined by a certain way of practising a peculiar kind of exegesis. Tell me how you comment on a scripture or an inscription, and I will tell you what sort of epistemology you hold on to. Understanding Serres's conception of the commentary is thus also a way of understanding his conception of the sciences. p85-86
There is much more in this Latour chapter, including a very interesting discourse on Serres's metaphysics, understanding of non-linearity, the interdependence of physics and poetry, and so on. Latour often differs sharply with Serres but his engagement does provide a valuable perspective on ways in which we might read Serres.

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