1. This is a very important new interview with Bruno Latour, detailing his understanding of his own writing practices, the relevance of genre & form, and the importance of the idea of non-identical repetition.

2. It reminds us of the importance of the work of early French poet Charles Péguy to his though, (“I don’t put anyone above Péguy”), esp. his retrieval & description of non-modern temporalities & the technique of non-identical repetition. This is consistent through Latour's work.
3. Quote from the interview: “this repetition is precisely a part of what has always interested me, that is, how does a formal repetition allow us to capture beings that are otherwise inaccessible?”
4. Latour reminds us that non-identical repetition is a fundamentally Christian exegetical manoeuvre. For reading of Scripture "does not entail the endless exercise of rereading a text that remains the same over the centuries”. Latour learned this from Malet/ Bultmann.
5. From the time of his Dijon thesis onwards, "exegesis" has been the key word for Latour's method. It is a method of "reading" off the empirical detail of the world, without presupposing its meaning (what Latour calls "premature unification of the world").
6. Now, we see what I have been claiming in my own writing all along: "this is clearly a notion tied to the politics of a deeply Christian exegesis”, writes Latour. “It is what theology in general does”.
7. Another word Latour uses for "exegesis" is "semiotics", and here we see as well the importance of Greimas to his early thought. Semiotics is useful insofar as it "re-attributes to so-called inert characters the power to act". Latour meshed Greimas with Garfinkel to create ANT.
8. So we see why writing - the material practice of producing words - is a tool for Latour. Writing forces you to pay attention to detail - to describe. It is essential training for an ANT theorist or one who seeks to apply the insights of The Inquiry into Modes of Existence.
9. Latour describes his own infancy, “I used to spend days describing a bouquet of flowers, gladioli, whatever. Writing is what people, kids, have to be taught. That’s where they begin to have the capacity to pay attention, to look for the right words ... continued in next tweet.
10. quote continued ... "You realise that you don’t have the words, that the thing you are describing is inert, then you animate it. In short, description is the basic vocation for writing”.
11. Writing is a way of forcing attention to beings in such a way as to provide them with a space in an actor-network. Exegesis and ontology are intimately linked in Latour's work. If you understand the connection between these, you can read any Latour text!
12. Final quote from the interview: "That is why, when I came to read my first thesis again after fifty years, I said to myself (laughs), now isn’t that strange, it is called Exégèse et ontologie! In the end, I have done nothing but that!” [end of thread]

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More from @AimeTim

15 Oct
1. There is a very important challenge, but also opportunity, for theology in the development of systems theory & the concept of “autopoiesis”, as outlined in Bruce Clarke’s fantastic book, "Gaian Systems".
2. The vital contribution of the term "autopoiesis" is to specify that systems are autonomous, but nevertheless interpenetrate in the midst of their operational differentiation. However, & crucially, this should not be taken as positing some higher level or "transcendent" unity.
3. The term is coined by Varela & Maturana, but restricted to the biological. Canghuillem made a distinction between “heteropoietic” and “autopoietic” in La Connaissance de la Vie. The crucial move is the expansion of the term to the extra-biological in Luhmann’s systems theory.
Read 8 tweets
12 Oct
1. Wonderful to be able to read this latest book by @BrunoLatourAIME in English.

The first chapter begins with the image of our surfacing-to-air after a period of enforced confinement, just as we all experienced during the pandemic lockdowns. We search for our bearings …
@BrunoLatourAIME 2. But as our eyes accustom again to the light we find a changed world. This is not renaissance, but new awareness of guilt. We cannot bear to gaze upon nature – trees, rivers, the sky – because we are freshly conscious of the damage human activity has imposed upon it.
@BrunoLatourAIME 3. Instead, the best we can do is gaze at the moon. Why? Because the moon represents the "closest" object in the universe that is nevertheless “outside” our sphere of influence, and for which we do not (as it were) bear responsibility. The sub-lunar world is tainted.
Read 14 tweets
7 Oct
1/ The intellectual context in which @BrunoLatourAIME was operating in the mid to late 1970s is crucial for an understanding of his later work.
@BrunoLatourAIME 2/ Back then, French epistemology of science was dominated by the school known as ‘l’épistémologie historique’, as represented by the work of Koyré, Cavaillès, Bachelard, Canguilhem & others.
@BrunoLatourAIME 3/ Central to its explanation of how science functioned was the concept of “la rupture épistémologique”, the progress of scientific knowledge in terms of sudden leaps & paradigm shifts, each time breaking with the previous order by means of a total negation of that which is past.
Read 13 tweets
5 Oct
1. Carl Schmitt's 1923 essay "Roman Catholicism and Political Form" is essential for understanding the political theological roots of his juridical thought, & how this has been misused in contemporary integralist thought. Image
2. Schmitt argues that concept of the political is encoded in the power of personalist representation.

Both terms matter. "Representation" here refers to the function of representing a value or concept of importance, of staking a claim, of claiming something that is meaningful.
3. Representation must be "personal" or "personalist" for Schmitt because it demands a sort of moral stake on behalf of the human. This contrasts with the sort of apersonal, banal presentation of reality made to us in the economic/ technical thinking of modernity.
Read 7 tweets
22 Sep
I am re-reading the extraordinary book "Rejoicing" as part of my preparation for a monograph on the political theology of @BrunoLatourAIME.
Here are twelve summary statements about Latour’s understanding of religion, later defined as [REL].
One tweet for each.
@BrunoLatourAIME 1. True religion is shown by the example of lovers’ speech, which becomes a sort of “experimental site" or "prefiguring” (118) of what religion is & should be in the world. When it really connects, romantic speech encodes religion's "value" (every mode has its own empirical site)
@BrunoLatourAIME 2. The sweet whisperings of those in love is not referential to a state of affairs in the world.
And neither is religious speech. A religious proposition contains “zero informational content” (32).
Read 13 tweets
27 Aug
1/ Serres’ 1983 ‘Détachment: Apologue' is an important “bridge” work in that very important sequences of books in the 1980s from ‘Genesis’ to ‘The Natural Contract’.
2/ It does have an obscure English translation, I believe, which I have never got hold of. There is also a useful chapter in Maria Assad’s book on Serres & Time.
3/ The opening scenario of 'Détachment' depicts a Chinese agricultural landscape filled & saturated with cultivation: “tout est consommé” .
Read 12 tweets

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