Pandora's hope : essays on the reality of science studies / Bruno Latour.

by Latour, BrunoLooking glass.

Publisher: Cambridge, Mass. ; Harvard University Press, 1999.Description: x, 324 pages : illustrations. ; 24 cm.ISBN: 0674653351; 067465336X; 9780674653351; 9780674653368.Subject(s): RealismLooking glass | Science -- PhilosophyLooking glassNote: Includes bibliographical references (pages 312-316) and index.
Item type Home library Collection Class number Status Date due Barcode Item reservations
Long loan Chelsea College of Arts
Main collection
Printed books 501 LAT (Browse shelf (Opens below)) Available 54161219
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

Bruno Latour was once asked him: Do you believe in reality? This text is an attempt to answer this question. Through case studies of scientists in the Amazon analyzing soil and in Pasteur's lab studying lactic acid, he shows the steps by which physical events become scientific knowlege.

Includes bibliographical references (pages 312-316) and index.

Table of contents provided by Syndetics

  • 1. "Do You Believe in Reality?": News from the Trenches of the Science Wars (p. 1)
  • 2. Circulating Reference: Sampling the Soil in the Amazon Forest (p. 24)
  • 3. Science's Blood Flow: An Example from Joliot's Scientific Intelligence (p. 80)
  • 4. From Fabrication to Reality: Pasteur and His Lactic Acid Ferment (p. 113)
  • 5. The Historicity of Things: Where Were Microbes before Pasteur? (p. 145)
  • 6. A Collective of Humans and Nonhumans: Following Daedalus's Labyrinth (p. 174)
  • 7. The Invention of the Science Wars: The Settlement of Socrates and Callicles (p. 216)
  • 8. A Politics Freed from Science: The Body Cosmopolitic (p. 236)
  • 9. The Slight Surprise of Action: Facts, Fetishes, Factishes (p. 266)
  • Conclusion: What Contrivance Will Free Pandora's Hope? (p. 293)
  • Glossary (p. 303)
  • Bibliography (p. 312)
  • Index (p. 317)

Reviews provided by Syndetics


"Do you believe in reality?" is the question that both begins and undergirds this book. Latour (Center for the Study of Innovation, School of Mines, Paris) is concerned with making a case for the emerging field of "science studies," a discipline that proposes to study science and the scientific process itself on a philosophical and conceptual level. After an introductory chapter in which he lays the groundwork for science studies and its contributions to our knowledge of the nature of reality, Latour then provides a series of case studies showing scientists from various fields in action. In these case studies, which range from an analysis of a field trip by soil scientists in the Amazon to Louis Pasteur's investigations of lactic acid fermentation in yeast, Latour carefully dissects the seen and unseen components of the scientists' activity and thought. Latour's engaging, clear writing style makes a difficult subject much easier to comprehend; still, because of the level of complexity inherent in the book's arguments, this book is not recommended for those readers unfamiliar with the field. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. R. K. Harris; William Carey College

Author notes provided by Syndetics

Bruno LaTour was born in the French province of Burgundy, where his family has been making wine for many generations. He was educated in Dijon, where he studied philosophy and Biblical exegesis. He then went to Africa, to complete his military service, working for a French organization similar to the American Peace Corps. While in Africa he became interested in the social sciences, particularly anthropology.

LaTour believes that through his interests in philosophy, theology, and anthropology, he is actually pursuing a single goal, to understand the different ways that truth is built. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, LaTour has written about the philosophy and sociology of science in an original, insightful, and sometimes quirky way. Works that have been translated to English include The Pasteurization of France; Laboratory Life; Science in Action: How to Follow Scientists and Engineers through Society; We Have Never Been Modern; and Aramis, or the Love of Technology.

LaTour is a professor at the Center for the Sociology of Innovation, a division of the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Mines, in Paris.

(Bowker Author Biography)