The contradictions and dangers of Bruno Latour’s conception of climate science

Philippe Stamenkovic
Aix Marseille University, France | p.stamenkovic@free.fr

Received: 31-May-2019 | Accepted: 31-October-2019 | Published Online: 24-November-2019
Disputatio [Dec. 2019], Vol. 9, No. 13, pp. 00-00 | DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.3567195
Article | [EN] | Full Text | Statistics | Copyright Notice [sp] | Vol. 9 No. 13

How to cite this article:
Stamenkovic, Philippe (2020). «The contradictions and dangers of Bruno Latour’s conception of climate science». Disputatio. Philosophical Research Bulletin 9, no. 13: pp. 00–00.


Abstract | This article debunks Bruno Latour’s seemingly pro-scientific and well-intentioned (in particular, environment-friendly) posture. I briefly summarize Latour’s constructivist, relativist, hybridist, and mystic philosophy, insisting on his radicalization in his last two books (Face à Gaïa and Où atterrir?). I show that Latour’s conception is akin to “pseudo-profound bullshit” (Frankfurt, Pennycook et al.), inasmuch as he tries to hide his mysticism behind the invocation of scientific facts. I then concentrate on Latour’s politicization of climate science, showing that it is: self-contradictory from an epistemological point of view, since it presupposes scientifically established facts (such as anthropogenic climate change) while at the same time undermining their objectivity; counterproductive, and even dangerous, from the political point of view, since it recommends a full politicization of climate science and ignores its harmful effects. I conclude by advocating a distinction between science and politics, and by showing that Latour’s philosophy fosters our current post-truth predicament.
Keywords |
Bruno Latour · Climate Science · Politicization of Science · Pseudo-Profound Bullshit · Climategate.

Las contradicciones y peligros de la concepción de la climatología de Bruno Latour

Resumen | Este artículo desacredita la postura aparentemente procientífica y bienintencionada (en particular, respetuosa con el medio ambiente) de Bruno Latour. Resumo brevemente la filosofía constructivista, relativista y mística de Latour, insistiendo en su radicalización en sus últimos dos libros. Muestro que la concepción de Latour es similar a la “charlatanería pseudo-profunda” (Frankfurt, Pennycook et al.), en la medida en que trata de ocultar su misticismo por medio de la invocación de hechos científicos. Tras ello, el texto se enfoca en su politización de la climatología, demostrando que es contradictoria desde un punto de vista epistemológico, ya que presupone hechos científicamente establecidos (como el cambio climático antropogénico) y al mismo tiempo socava su objetividad; contraproducente, e incluso peligrosa, desde el punto de vista político, dado que recomienda una politización completa e ignora sus efectos nocivos. Concluyo abogando por una distinción entre ciencia y política, mostrando que la filosofía de Latour fomenta nuestra situación actual de posverdad.
Palabras Clave | Bruno Latour · Climatología · Politización de la Ciencia · Charlatanería Pseudoprofunda · Climategate.


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