The Segregation of the World

Posted by | Chris | 4.8.10 | No Comments

In my last post I am certain that I have not done justice to Latour's realism. By choosing a conflict between human actants the idea may be perpetuated that humans are the important side of any encounter. But everything for Latour is an actant and he undermines the correlation of human/world by making every encounter an actant/actant encounter.

Chapter three of Prince of Networks looks at Latour's book "We Have Never Been Modern". Latour's arguments puts him forward as an exciting metaphysician and a philosophical ally to any speculative realism. The central theme of Never Been Modern is to identify the division of nature and society and to resist this division.
Modernity tries to purify the world by dissecting it into two utterly opposed realm. On one side we have the human sphere, composed of transparent freedom and ruled by arbitrary and incommensurable perspectives. On the other side we have nature or the external world, made up of hard matters of fact and acting with objective, mechanical precision (Prince of Networks: 57).
This modernity, bequeathed to us by the enlightenment, for instance in the work of Kant and the physics of Newton, has a terrible legacy. Responses to the human/world divide often work within the split rather than attempting to work before it.
[Latour is not] anti-modern, since this sect oddly accepts modernism's claim to have transformed everything that came before, and merely adds the minus sign of pessimism [...]. And he is also no postmodern since this group severs itself from the reality of actants to float pretentiously amidst collage and simulacrum (PoN: 58).
To refuse the modernist segregation of the world we begin a project in philosophy that takes us to be a part of and product of the world.

All of which reminded me of this cartoon and its translation into a fun Youtube project:


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