Reading Group Oct 18 2012: Follow the Verbs
from 12:30 PM to 01:30 PM
We'll be discussing Kasper Schiølin's article. Schiølin posits a connection between Heidegger and Latour in terms of both their methods and, at a metaphysical level, their projects, as attempts to restraint the modern tendency to reification.
Abstract from the article
Recently, various scholars have attempted to combine the philosophies of Martin Heidegger and Bruno Latour, despite seeming contrasts between them. The present study adds a new perspective to the opening up of this theoretical borderland. In this article, I show how Heidegger’s dispute with the philosophical tradition’s essentialistic and substantialistic treatment of being, and Latour’s dispute with sociology’s hypostatisation of the social, share the expression of an epistemological battle against substances, which is most evident in both of their attempts to include technology and things in their thought. Substances are mostly expressed in nouns. Because of this, Heidegger’s and Latour’s disputes have a grammatical dimension, which in different ways aims to emphasise verbs rather than the nouns in their respective terminology. This grammatical dimension of their shared dispute with substantialism will be demonstrated in this article. I conclude by arguing that Latour’s a famous methodological injunction, ‘Follow the actors!’ can be rewritten as ‘Follow the verbs!’.