COSMOPOLITICS STENGERS PDF

For Stengers, science is a constructive enterprise, a diverse, interdependent, and highly contingent system that does not simply discover preexisting truths but, through specific practices and processes, helps shape them. In this remarkable book, Isabelle Stengers extracts from the traditional word cosmopolitism its two constituents, the cosmos and its politics; she argues that a politics that will not be attached to a cosmos is moot, and that a cosmos detached from politics is irrelevant. Cosmopolitics I will be of immense interest for practicing scientists as well as for activists and concerned citizens. In a sweeping work of philosophical inquiry, originally published in French in seven volumes, Isabelle Stengers builds on her previous intellectual accomplishments to explore the role and authority of science in modern societies and to challenge its pretensions to objectivity, rationality, and truth.

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It is said that the first step in the histoiy of science was the break with myth, but equally important was the break with soph- ism. Rational discourse would, therefore, from its inception, designate its "others" polemically: the fictions that evade veri- fication and defy argument, on the one hand, and the arguments that exploit the freedom—for those who have escaped myth—to prove a thesis or its opposite , on the other.

What of the his- torical sophists, apart from their role as outcasts, as the other of the philosopher, the friend of truth? How do myths function within the cultures in which they are an integral part? There is no need to raise such questions here, for terms like "myth" or "sophist," insofar as the sciences are concerned, serve as code words, always addressed to others, reminding them of the always renewable rupture.

From this perspective it could be said that the sciences follow a narrow path, ever on the defen- sive against the powers of the imagination, which are satisfied with explanations and significations forged without constraint, and against the powers of rhetoric, which are satisfied with the ambiguity of language and the pretenses of proof. In fact, the past and present of so-called scientific prac- tices, as inventive as they may be, force those who study them to acknowledge that those qualities are always susceptible of turn- ing into their opposite—narrow-mindedness and arrogance— as soon as those who are responsible for cultivating them are forced to position themselves against one another.

If the land- scape of practice currently provides the impression of coher- ence, it is one of generalized polemic. Cold or hot, depending on circumstances, it is expressed as contemptuous disinterest, attempts at annexation for example, that long-awaited moment when a "rational pharmacology" will finally enable us to design "scientific" drugs , even dramatic proclamations, where a con- tested practice links its fate to that of humanity as a whole the criticisms of psychoanalysts who warn of the threat presented by the rise of pharmacological psychiatry.

This polemic is embodied statically in our universities, where every discipline has its own territory, its experts, its criteria, and where the reassuring fiction of collegiality prevails, one whose only point of agreement is the disqualification of the "nonscientific.

Thirty years ago, the person who wrote those lines, then a novice philosopher, still believed in the exemplary role physics could play once it affirmed the possibility of transforming the scope and significance of its function as a model for other forms of knowledge—a function it has served ever since the origin of the modern sciences.

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Isabelle Stengers, Cosmopolitics I

Yogrel Stengers points to cosmopopitics developments in studies stngers emergence and complexity as possibly pointing to a renovation of scientific thought, but she warns against the new-agey or high-theoretical tendency many of us outside the sciences have to proclaim a new world-view by trumpeting these scientific results as evidence: But it means that we can be part of the resistance against creationisme only if we are interested in the question of evolution not in the name of rationality, objectivity, and all those mobilizing stuff. This perspective, which demands that competing practices and interests be taken seriously rather than merely and often condescendingly tolerated, cosmololitics a profound political and ethical challenge. Material semiotics postulates factuality as an always emergent enactment of heterogeneous assemblages; only a posteriori might they be purified as pertaining either to facts or to representations Haraway ; Latour ; Law The sengers of a thing from a matter of concern to a matter of fact involves a process of singularization of the multiplicity and contentiousness of the assembly. I went to the inaugural showing on campus — got a dodo pin to prove it — and initially I was very enthusiastic about the film, since I think evolution ought to be taught in schools.

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Cosmopolitics II

It is said that the first step in the histoiy of science was the break with myth, but equally important was the break with soph- ism. Rational discourse would, therefore, from its inception, designate its "others" polemically: the fictions that evade veri- fication and defy argument, on the one hand, and the arguments that exploit the freedom—for those who have escaped myth—to prove a thesis or its opposite , on the other. What of the his- torical sophists, apart from their role as outcasts, as the other of the philosopher, the friend of truth? How do myths function within the cultures in which they are an integral part? There is no need to raise such questions here, for terms like "myth" or "sophist," insofar as the sciences are concerned, serve as code words, always addressed to others, reminding them of the always renewable rupture. From this perspective it could be said that the sciences follow a narrow path, ever on the defen- sive against the powers of the imagination, which are satisfied with explanations and significations forged without constraint, and against the powers of rhetoric, which are satisfied with the ambiguity of language and the pretenses of proof. In fact, the past and present of so-called scientific prac- tices, as inventive as they may be, force those who study them to acknowledge that those qualities are always susceptible of turn- ing into their opposite—narrow-mindedness and arrogance— as soon as those who are responsible for cultivating them are forced to position themselves against one another.

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Isabelle Stengers

Biography[ edit ] Stengers is the daughter of the historian Jean Stengers. Her research interests include the philosophy of science and the history of science. Stengers has also collaborated with psychiatrist Leon Chertok , [5] and the sociologist of science Bruno Latour. That writing operates, that words act, that stories, and the way they are told, matter, is always the case for Haraway — including when textual rhetoric aims at situating the reader in the position of having to follow an argumentation with no way around, to share a point of view presented as fundamentally anonymous. Hence including when the text steps aside in favour of the idea with which the point is to agree and of which it has been the mere vehicle. Cosmopolitics won the Ludwik Fleck Prize in

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