Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
We Have Never Been Modern Paperback – November 14, 1993
All Books, All the Time
Read author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more at the Amazon Book Review. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
If you like the kind of antidualist philosophizing that keeps trying to break down the distinctions between subject and object, mind and body, language and fact, and so on, you'll love Latour… He does the best job so far of breaking down the distinctions between making and finding, between nature and history, and between the 'premodern,' 'the modern' and 'the postmodern.' (Richard Rorty Common Knowledge)
[Latour] stakes out an original and important position in current debates about modernity, antimodernity, postmodernity, and so on. These debates can only be enriched by Latour's attention to the practical coupling of the human and the nonhuman, and they can only be enlivened by the thumbnail critiques offered along the way of thinkers as diverse as Kant, Hegel, Bachelard, Habermas, Baudrillard, Lyotard, and Heidegger. (Andrew Pickering Modernism)
An interesting and deeply thought-out presentation of the large scale problems of our world seen in relation to the idea of 'modernism.' The book focuses on the interrelationships between three large-scale domains: science and technology, politics and government, language and semiotic studies… Latour examines the premodernists, postmodernists, antimodernists, and so-called modernists and concludes that we really never were modern and now need to pursue a form of modernism (which he describes) purged of its counterproductive features. (Choice)
The present book is essentially a work of metaphysics, a kind of political ontology. Latour's goal is to break down traditional philosophical categories of nature, power and language… Latour's insights are abundant, from his advocacy of multinaturalism (versus multiculturalism) to his call for social theorists to recognize the historicity of objects… This is a wonderful book to disagree with―a refreshing break from the straight-jacketed sycophancy that defines so much of the history and philosophy of science. It is not an easy book, but the reward for the philosophically minded is well worth the wrestle. (Robert N. Proctor American Scientist)
Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Discover books for all types of engineers, auto enthusiasts, and much more. Learn more
Top customer reviews
Mr. Latour traces our modern confusion to a series of debates between Thomas Hobbes and Robert Boyle in the seventeenth century which led to divergences in the study of nature or ideologies on the one hand and science or facts on the other; modernity became defined by the knowing of what was previously unknown. Mr. Latour contends that the 'purification' or incontestability of scientific facts and ideologies has failed to account for the 'hybrid' ways in which society and nature actually respond to change. Indeed, the interjection of science into the real world has created a multiplicity of what Mr. Latour calls 'quasi-objects', or phenomena that are located in the midpoint between science and nature; examples of quasi-objects include global warming, genetic engineering, the AIDS epidemic, and so on. Mr. Latour believes that we are ill-equipped to address these problems inasmuch as the institutions built around Enlightenment ideals have failed to account for the nonseparation of social practices from nature.
In this light, Mr. Latour rejects the idea that humanity has ever really broken away from its premodern past. To begin with, Mr. Latour suggests that the premoderns' assignment of transcendence to inanimate objects is similar in kind to the transcendent powers assigned by moderns to sciences and ideologies. Mr. Latour goes on to contend that the modern experience is simply larger in scale than the premodern, with ever-more sophisticated but conflicting explanations about the meaning of the extended networks that bind our lived experiences undergoing constant flux. Mr. Latour states that 'morphism' better explains the nonmodern world we inhabit in which humans must continuously adapt themselves to changing sociological and natural conditions.
Mr. Latour argues that once we refute the idea that we have ever been modern, we can reclaim our sense of being ordinary and thereby express our solidarity with all peoples and the planet; at that point, we will be able to focus on the collective challenge of addressing the critical problems that confront us. Crucially, this task requires that our conception of politics enlarges; the discourse must encompass the multitude of human and non-human subjects or 'things' alike if we wish to solve the problems that the quasi-objects present to us. For example, Mr. Latour suggests that in the case of ozone depletion such a debate might be enjoined by representatives speaking on behalf of chemical companies, workers, the ozone hole itself, Antarctica, and so on.
Originally written in 1991, Mr. Latour's pathbreaking thought has proven to be highly influential, with many of his arguments in essence being echoed and enlarged by more and more similarly-minded progressive writers. To cite just a few: Robyn Eckersley's The Green State: Rethinking Democracy and Sovereignty articulates the juridical basis for the representation of non-human life forms in our democracy; Vandana Shiva's Earth Democracy: Justice, Sustainability, and Peace provides a moral argument for human rights and environmentally justice; and Steven Wise' Drawing the Line makes a compelling case for animal rights. Together, works such as these suggest that a new kind of Enlightenment may be forming: a philosophy that recognizes the future of humanity is dependent upon, and not estranged from, the other life forms that coexist with us on planet earth.
This challenging but deeply rewarding book is highly recommended for all philosophically-minded and hopeful readers.