Bruno Latour meets Paul Churchland?

A curious parallel between two thinkers often taken to be intrinsically opposed…

“[Gabriel Tarde] assimilates the quantitative apparatus of so many social sciences to the biological senses. He imagines a progressive fusion between the technologies of statistical instruments and the very physiology of perception. A day will come, he argues, when the standardization and development of statistics will be so complete that we will begin to follow the trajectory of some data about the social world in the same way as we follow the flight of a swallow with our eyes.” (Bruno Latour, ‘Tarde’s Idea of Quantification’, 14)

“If our perceptual judgments must be laden with theory in any case, then why not have them be laden with the best theory available? Why not exchange the Neolithic legacy now in use for the conception of reality embodied in modern-era science? Intriguingly, it appears that this novel conceptual economy could be run directly on the largely unappreciated resources of our own sensory system as constituted here and now. And if my crude attempts at illustrative examples here are representative of what we can expect, the resulting expansion of our perceptual consciousness would be profound.” (Paul Churchland, Scientific Realism and the Plasticity of Mind, 35)


1 thought on “Bruno Latour meets Paul Churchland?

  1. I believe it was Dennett who said that computer modeling was the greatest epistemological discovery of the last century. Indeed “data” and bodies are converging.

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