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We no longer have to oscillate, then, between the irrefragable right of humans – extended or not by their future generations – and the indisputable rights of “things themselves" to enjoy existence. The question becomes whether or not we have caught the totality of these beings in our nets – sheep, farmers, wolves, trout, farm supports and wandering streams. If we have, we now have to conduct experiments on the compatibility of all these propositions, these cosmograms, by discovering, through another trial, how the assemblage is going to resist if one rejects – excludes – a single one of its members.

What, for example, is a fish without water? What is a producer of corn without a protected market? Morality has thereby changed direction: it obliges us not to define foundations, but to recommence the process of composition while moving as quickly as possible to the next iteration. The foundations are not to be found behind us, but ahead of us. We are therefore required to register as quickly as possible the appeal of excluded entities that no morality ever again authorizes us to exclude indefinitely.


The art of governing, for Latour then, is not the necessary arbitration of reason or the necessary arbitrariness of sovereignty; it is that to which one is obliged to have recourse when one can no longer benefit from any shortcut. When we have to compose the common world little by little, going from one trial to another along the invisible path of a painful learning curve, we need this power to govern.

In modernism, there was never any real feedback, according to Latour, because the past was excluded and characterized as archaic, as outdated irrationality, as subjectivity that had to be expelled to leave room for indisputable objects of the modern world. As such the moderns failed to benefit from experimentation, and bounced back and forth between absolute knowledge and unforeseen catastrophes, since they never managed to read in events the meticulous exploration of their own collectives of humans and nonhumans.

We need, for Latour, not political science but science policy, that is a function that makes it possible to characterize the relative fruitfulness of collective experiments, without its being monopolized right away by either scientists or politicians. Indeed, from the standpoint of a new Constitution, politics becomes as unrecognizable as the sciences: moreover, neither politics nor the sciences are powers any longer, but rather skills put to work, in a new way, to stir up the collective as a whole and get it moving. The only recognized powers are those of taking into account and putting in order, in which all trade and professions share, according to their calling. In relation to such, administrators play a critical role.


For Latour, in conclusion, we restore order to our assemblies if we distinguish the power to take into account, and the power to put in order:

• the first power is going to retain from facts the requirement of perplexity, and from values the requirement of consultation;

• the second power is going to recuperate from values the requirement of hierarchy, and from facts the requirement of institution.

The contribution of the sciences, moreover, is going to be much more important than that of Science, since it will bear on all the functions at once: perplexity (grounding), consultation (emergence), hierarchy (navigation) and institution (effect), to which Latour adds the separation of powers and the scenarization of the whole. The big difference is that the politicians' contribution is going to bear on all six tasks, thus permitting a synergy that was impossible otherwise, when Science was concerned with nature and politics with interests.

These functions are going to become all the more realizable in that the contribution of the economists and then that of the moralists will be added, defining a common construction site that takes the place of the impossible political body of the past. We now turn, finally and effectively, in this "Western" context, to Curitiba in Brazil.

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