If you’ve not been following the Gifford Lecture series by Bruno Latour this year, the third of six lectures will be today at 12:30EST. It can be live streamed here.
“In spite of its reputation, Gaia is not half science and half religion. It offers a much more enigmatic set of features that redistribute agencies in all possible ways (as does this most enigmatic term “anthropocene”). Thus, it is far from clear what it means to “face Gaia”. It might require us to envisage it very differently from the various divinities of the past (including those derived from nature).”
If you are familiar with Latour’s work then you will be able to set right into this lecture as the last two worked towards thinking about Gaia without the concept of nature and without the standard account of religion where there is some entity that acts as the ultimate referee. For Latour, as you might expect, the whole idea of what ‘acts’ is broadly dispersed.
The last lecture Latour took umbrage with Hume. But I think this was a bit of a strawman, since the later common sense philosophers (i.e. Reid) are the ones who offer something actually different than the sort of epistemology that Latour critiques as modern. This is because these philosophers get caught up with the body itself, not as a whole, but as a system of interlinked and self-organizing organs: the nose, the eyes, touch, and so on.
Anyhow, despite that quibble I’m looking forward to today’s lecture.