Ferro em Latour (1999)

But, against the other camp, we tell the humanists that the more nonhumans share existence with humans, the more humane a collective is – and this too runs against what they have been trained for years to believe. When we try to focus their attention on solid facts and hard mechanisms, when we say that objects are good for the subjects’ health because objects have none of the inhuman characteristics they fear so much, they scream that the iron hand of objectivity is turning frail and pliable souls into reified machines. But we keep defecting and counter-defecting from both sides, and we insist and insist again that there is a social history of things and a “thingy” history of humans, but that neither “the social” nor “the objective world” plays the role assigned to it by Socrates and Callicles in their grotesque melodrama. (Latour 1999:18)

Only with inattention and the careless use of different analytical scalpels can one get the model of content vs. context from the heterogeneous and multiple labor of scientists. The whole of this labor then becomes obscure, because one no longer sees the essential connecting point, which is all the diverse elements that the theories and concepts theorize and bring together. Instead of the continuous and curved path of translations, one runs into an iron curtain separating the sciences from “extrascientific” factors, just as a long gray wall of concrete used to cut off the circulation through Berlin’s delicate system of lanes, tramlines, and neighborhoods. Epistemologists, discouraged when faced with these objects so hard and so durable that they seemed to come from another world, could only send them to a Platonic Heaven and connect them to one another in an entirely phantasmagorical history, which is sometimes called the “conceptual history of science” despite the fact that there is no longer anything historical about it and thus nothing scientific about it either (see Chapter 5). The damage has been done: long trajectories of solid ideas and principles now appear to hover above a contingent history like so many foreign bodies. (Latour 1999:110)

Should I go on with the sad story of how to transform a once healthy Body into an even more unviable and dangerous monster? No, [264] no one wants to hear more horrific stories, all in the name of Reason. Suffice it to say that when a “scientific politics” is finally invented, then even worse monstrosities come hard and fast. Socrates had only threatened to leave the agora alone, and only his blood was shed at the end of his strange attempt at rationalizing politics. How innocent it looks to children of our century! Socrates could not have imagined that scientific programs could later be invented to send the whole of the demos into the afterworld and to replace political life with the iron laws of one science – and economics at that! The social sciences in most of their instantiations represent the ultimate reconciliation of Socrates with Callicles, since the brute force advocated by the latter has become a matter of demonstration – not through geometrical equality, of course, but through new tools such as statistics. Every single feature of our definition of the “social” now comes from Socrates and Callicles, fused into one. (Latour 1999:263-4)

LATOUR, Bruno. 1999. Pandora’s Hope: essays on the reality of science studies. London: Harvard University Press.