Bruno Latour: Scientific Objects and Legal Objectivity

It might be said that this simply revives the old distinction between judgements of fact and judgements of value. For my part, I would be more inclined to see this distinction itself as the echo of something invented by the great seventeenth century philosophers, who, for reasons which were largely political, inappropriately crossed law with the emerging laboratory sciences.Indeed, it is strange to note that the scenography of empiricism borrows the definition of a fact from judges as to apply it to science, whereas it in no way defines the articulation between researchers and their objects. In the empiricists’ imagination, raw facts, the essential data or ‘sense data’, have the peculiar virtue of being both insignificant and controversial. They constitute the raw material of judgement. But isn’t this precisely the relation that lawyers have to the facts, which have to be defined as quickly as possible so as to move on to what really matters, namely process of qualification or scholarly explanation? But in what laboratory would one find a researcher dealing with simple “sense data” ?


This entry was posted on Sunday, September 19th, 2010 at 3:08 pm
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