Thursday, July 07, 2022

Chapter 1. An Inquiry into Modes of Existence

 A metaphor of realms, geographies, mapping the territory…of science, politics, religion, the economy…

But Latour points out, the metaphor quickly is entangled; these domains are not discrete…but are shot through with aspects of other domains….

So an investigator goes in to do fieldwork amongst the 'moderns'.... and quickly will be entangled

(i think embroiled might be a better word... as tangled suggests like skeins of wool, discrete  threads, but embroiled also brings connotations of conflict and what is contested; more enmeshed and therefore difficult to differentiate). 

And provides examples of the 'entanglement'   from wifi access or lack of it through to the harmfulness of radio waves....and then a further jump, one i am pleased to see Latour take, with reference to The Godfather movies; just how many crimes have to occur before influence circulates unchallenged? 

Previously the myopia of an ANT has been to join the dots at every move, here we have Latour asking a pivotal question (similar to John Law's telling of Salmon going where you cant follow them and to the 'fact' that fluid movements are involved....where does the water start or finish  .... and for me to the Whanganui river and our te reo whakatuaki  E rere kau mai te Āwanui, Mai i te Kāhui maunga ki Tangaroa / I am the river, and the river is me.

And i become enmeshed... i take a bite of ANT and again,  I am swallowed....

This is what i love about ANT, there is no up down, in out...  the network exists, and reflexively our investigation of it implicates us  inside of it... as Latour had previously described, 

"Don’t you see that we are more and more folded, wrapped, entangled in what we have unfolded? Don’t you see that the more explicitation we have produced, the more implicated we are?" (Latour, 2003)

I do not know at this point whether Latour in AIMES will address this part of the entanglement.

But then we come to further 'entanglements...

An example in my Aotearoa New Zealand morning paper:

"Already, in New Zealand as in other countries, we can see some of these adverse impacts, such as interference with the educational achievement of young people, a rise in the spread of disinformation - especially through social media - and diminished trust in politicians and experts," he said.

who are the experts?  politicians, law, science...

And the values drawn upon? As the values do not easily cross such a diversity of associations.

Even while knowing such domain, separatism does not stand up to scrutiny.

Yet  as per 'law' when working well, there is a fluid circulation that might be traced, a particular type of association or connection that we need to learn how to qualify...providing a sort of bridge something allowing access ...of something providing proof or grounds for belief in the existence of a phenomenon.

What are the list of things through which it is necessary to "pass' such that something endures, can be maintained, extended....of even incomprehensible transformations to those outside of, religion, law...

And in such investigation, to appreciate  how difficult it is to learn to speak well to someone about something that really matters to that person.


Latour, B. (2003). An imaginary dialogue on modernity. Retrieved September 30 from

Introduction; An Inquiry into Modes of Existence

 I’m feeling a tad Alice in Wonderlandish… having opened AIME and traversedthe introduction, what can I say?

First, I am keen. I’ve had the book for seven years and now I have the time for a serious read. Reading a French Philosopher translated and which addresses questions I first encountered on reading ‘We have never been modern’ is not for the faint hearted. That one took me two reads before I was able to make any meaning of it.

Second, the introduction posits the question facing current times. We would appear to be at a time of unsurety…. Not a real word but, it will do. How did we come to this place where we are no longer able to assert/ trust in science. And what of our other institutions? Just as untrustworthy, or more. Law, religion, governments…And if people don’t trust in Science then we are in serious trouble. Climate change (or COVID) come at times when we have no ability to appeal to certainty. How then can we respond? How do we configure valid robust shared action? Science is a fragile institution. Are you ready for a change in epistemology?

Page 10; “as for the future, it has been shattered to bits. We shall no longer be able to emancipate ourselves the way we would before. An entirely new situation: behind us attachments; ahead of us, even more attachments.”

Page 18; “There is more than one dwelling space in the realm of reason.”

Yet Latour reiterate’s he is not making a relativist argument. “Only to invite attention to the institutions that would allow them to mainstream a little longer and it is here that the notion of trust comes to the fore.”

Third, the book is supported by an online accompanying space…oddly very legalistic on entry!

Fourth, as I found with ANT, perhaps if I take a small bite, my world would change.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

An inquiry into modes of existence

 I am making space to read Latour's   An inquiry into modes of existence"

and will be blogging in this space. You are free to join me.   #AIME so we can connect more easily here or fb ANT site or twitter....