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Latour then moves to the fourth calling he has chosen to reinterpret, following from scientists, politicians and economists, that of moralists. Detached from facts in all their details, moralists can be of no use. Once they have been brought back to the right path, as it were, and obliged to participate in common tasks, their qualifications become indispensable again. He defines morality as uncertainty about the proper relation between means and ends, extending Kant's famous definition of the obligation “not to treat human beings simply as means but always also as ends" – provided that we extend such to nonhumans as well, something that Kantianism, in a typically modernist move, specifically wanted to avoid.

This requirement to treat no entity simply as a means, which is also found in expressions such as "renewable resource" and "sustainable development", is going to contribute in a decisive way to the tasks of perplexity (task number 1), institution (task number 4) and totalization of the collective (number 6). As such it is going to make them, paradoxically, much more difficult to accomplish without discussion (task number 2). In the eyes of morality, indeed, the closure of the collective (task number 6) by any global scenarization at all is not only impossible but illegitimate.

For the moralists then, we can never call it quits. With them, the collective is always trembling because it has left outside all that is needed to take into account to define itself as a common world. A spider, a toad, a mite, a whale's sigh, these are perhaps what have made us fall short of full and entire humanity, unless it was some unemployed person, some teenager on a street in Jakarta, or perhaps it was some black hole, forgotten by everyone. To every "we want" of politics, the moralist will add "yes, but what do they want?" Far from opposing the scientists, the moralist will add to the stabilization of the paradigms a constant anxiety over the rejected facts, the eliminated hypotheses, the neglected research projects. The moralists protect the disrupters, the recalcitrant parties, with an inviolable right of asylum. If we cannot come to an understanding – politically, scientifically, economically – without setting the majority of beings aside, thanks to morality, outcasts will be able to make themselves heard once again.

How then does this all function, constructively so to speak?


Latour then recapitulates the four types of investigations that form the new competencies (aligned with our own) he promises to deploy (Table 17.4). The old Constitution, even with the best of intentions, could not succeed in accomplishing any of these four, for us integral, tasks, because it burdened them from the start with impossible mortgages. The desire was naturally to gather in external reality, as faithfully as possible, but the same effort prevented the requirement of perplexity unfolding, because when the distinction between facts and values was imposed prematurely, the candidates for existence never found their places. All Republics then, for Latour, are badly formed, all are built on sand. They hold up only if they are rebuilt at once and if the parties excluded from the lower house come back the next morning, knock at the doors of the upper house, and demand to participate in the common world, the cosmos, the name the Greeks gave to the well- formed collective.

Table 17.4 The New Competencies!!!


To meet the grounding requirement of formative reality:

investigating the best way of detecting propositions, making them visible, and getting them to talk.


To meet the emergent reformative requirement of relevance:

investigating the best means of constituting the jury capable of judging the effects of each proposition on others.


To meet the navigational requirement of newly normative publicity:

investigating the contradictory scenarios that ultimately make up an optimal hierarchy.


To meet the effective requirement of transformative closure:

investigating the means to be used to stabilize the inside and outside of the collective.

To grasp the competencies of the two houses, Latour now looks, for us in conclusion, into the dynamics of their arrangements.

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