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Astakhov S.S. Are the objects capable of action? The version of the Actor-Network Theory

Published in journal "Philosophy and Culture", 2016-8 in rubric "Philosophy of science", pages 1091-1098.

Resume: The Actor-Network Theory (ANT) is one of the most recent directions in the modern philosophy and sociology of science, associated with the names of Bruno Latour, Michel Callon, and John Law. The article analyzes the key aspects of the actor-network approach to the benefit of activeness of various objects. In the first part of the research it is demonstrated how Latour overcomes social constructivism through the metaphor of resistance. In the second part, the argument about the resistance is being clarified through the concepts of anti-essentialism and symmetry. The third part analyzes the criticism of the Edinburgh and Bath schools towards ANT within the sociology of scientific knowledge. The methods of conceptual analysis and reconstruction of intellectual context allow determining the positive and negative sides of the suggested by Latour solution. In the conclusion, the author introduces the difference between the paradox of absence and forms of co-presence. The actor-network approach virtually does not examine the nonhuman interactions in the absence of people; its theoreticians rather develop the new models of co-presence. Using the aforementioned difference, it could be explained why in future Latour refers to the political ecology and concept of the Anthropocene.

Keywords: social constructivism, subject-object dichotomy, Actor-Network Theory, actorness, agent-based model, objects, anti-essentialism, agnosticism, principle of symmetry, semiotics, political ecology.

DOI: 10.7256/1999-2793.2016.8.20069

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