Babette Babich, “Hermeneutics and Its Discontents in Philosophy of Science: On Bruno Latour, the “Science Wars”, Mockery, and Immortal Models.” In: Babich, ed., Hermeneutic Philosophies of Social Science (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2017), pp. 163-188.


Environmental Studies | Philosophy | Philosophy of Science | Political Theory | Social and Cultural Anthropology


Themes discussed include a hermeneutic of hermeneutic philosophy of science, along with the hegemony of analytic style in university philosophy in the US and Europe as well as the rhetoric of power, highlighting the politics of mockery using the example of Alan Sokal’s hoax as this sought to exclude other voices in the academy, especially philosophy of science. In addition to reviewing Sokal’s attack on Bruno Latour, Latour’s own “biography” of an investigation is read as articulating a doubled hermeneutic reflection on modernity including both field ethnography and lab-ethnography. The further question of the viability of a hermeneutics of science in general, both natural and social is raised, thematising Patrick Heelan’s “readable technologies” as metaphor for scientific research practice. Including a discussion of peer review and the editorial vicissitudes of journal publication, this chapter also addresses the politics of scientific models using the metaphor of immortality, zombie-style.



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