Bruno Latour, thinker of the “new climate regime”, has died

The sociologist, anthropologist and philosopher Bruno Latour died on the night of Saturday 8 to Sunday 9 October at the age of 75, it was learned The world from familiar sources and editions of La Découverte. He is one of the most important French intellectuals of his generation who dies after a long fight against illness. “The most famous and misunderstood of French philosophers”, had written the New York TimesOctober 25, 2018.

Famous and celebrated abroad, winner of the Holberg Prize (2013) and the Kyoto Prize (2021) for all his work, Bruno Latour was, in fact, for a time misunderstood in France, as his research objects seemed disparate, which that could hide a great coherence. It must be said that he touched almost all areas of knowledge: ecology, law, modernity, religion and, of course, science and technology, with his inaugural and explosive studies on laboratory life. Especially since, with the notable exception of Michel Serres, with whom Bruno Latour designed an interview book, clarifications (Francois Bourin, 1992), philosophy in France has often kept itself aloof from the thought and practice of science.

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“He was the first to perceive that the challenge of political thought resided entirely in the ecological question”recalls the sociologist Bruno Karsenti, as evidenced, as early as 1999, by the publication of nature policies (La Découverte), written in consonance with the natural contract by Michel Serrés (1990). But these are undoubtedly two books dedicated to ecology, delivered in the form of questions, Where to land? (The Discovery, 2017) and Where I am ? (La Découverte, 2021), which made this iconoclastic sociologist better known among the general public.

Born on June 22, 1947 in Beaune (Côte-d’Or), into a large bourgeois family of wine merchants, he became one of the most influential philosophers of our time, inspiring a new generation of intellectuals , artists and activists concerned with remedying the ecological disaster.

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Since “Gaia’s Intrusion”as the philosopher Isabelle Stengers writes, with whom she had a long intellectual friendship (reported by Philippe Pignarre in Latour-Stengers, a tangled double flightThose who prevent thinking in circles, 2021), Bruno Latour never stopped thinking about “new climate regime” in which we live (Facing Gaia, Discovery, 2015). Because “We have changed the world”explained, since we entered the Anthropocene era, in which man becomes a geological force. “We no longer live on the same Earth”, assured. The moderns believed, since the seventeenth centuryme century, that the separation between nature and culture, between objects and subjects, was effective. They argued that “non-humans” were things that were alien to us, but they continued to accept them. It is in this sense that “we have never been modern”as proclaimed in a book of the same name (La Découverte, 1991).

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