We finish the year and the Inquiry with chapter 16: “Intensifying the experience of scruples”. In the previous two chapters, Latour has been unravelling the Economy, and showing its reliance upon three different kinds of beings: those of organization, attachment and morality. Chapter 14, which we read last week, presented “scripts” as crucial quasi-subjects in organizational life [ORG]. Chapter 15 drew out the importance of attachment (and detachment) [ATT] to economic life. This chapter attempts to understand morality [MOR] as a specific mode of being, even though all Modes contain a form of judgement (452).
…just as no one, once the instrument has been calibrated, would think of asking the geologist if radioactivity is ‘all in his head,’ ‘in his heart,’ or ‘in the rocks,’ no one will doubt any longer that the world emits morality toward anyone who possesses an instrument sensitive enough to register it. (456)
Also included is the conclusion chapter, “Can we praise the civilization to come?”, which provides a summary of the book’s goals and some suggestions for how we might measure its success.
We meet as usual in the Pierre Gorman Room, 1888 Building, at 5pm this Tuesday 17th December. All are welcome.
[PDF] Latour, B. (2013) “Intensifying the experience of scruples” and “Can we praise the civilization to come?” An Inquiry into the Modes of Existence: An Anthropology of the Moderns (C. Porter, Trans.). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, ch. 16, 17.