Latour suggests that the construction of facts and machines is a collective process. He argues that there is nothing inherent in a statement that makes it a fact; rather it is the future processes of others who accept it, support it, ignore it, challenge it, etc wherein the destiny of a statement lies (i.e. whether it becomes a fact or an artefact). He demonstrates there are two simultaneously existing faces of science: one that knows and one that doesn't know yet. Thus, debating whether there is an objective reality beyond human thought and scientific text or whether constructions become objective as more people subscribe to them can be obsolete. It is easy employ the prior stance once the project is completed, however while the project is in progress, it is easier to employ the second stance. Latour calls completed projects a black box. While they maybe closed in a specific time and space, these boxes are theoretically (and often in practice) never permanently closed because new discoveries can lend themselves to disprove old ones. Because we are entering science in action, that is, science based on black boxes, Latour shifts our attention from what scientists say to what they practice, i.e. the methods they develop and operate to generate facts".
[...] In this light, representation, symbols, approximations, and convention are equally characteristics of science as of social science. Latour argues that the great divide between ‘savage' mind and ‘scientific' mind is merely the scale at which enrolling and controlling of people occurs. Western science is able to bring more “information” back to the through means such as techno-traveling to “periphery”, documenting, and returning with “information” (whether translated representations or physical objects). Once such information is collected, it can be used in many ways. [...]
[...] In the latter half of Science in Action, Bruno Latour demonstrates the significance of networks in ‘fact-building'. He delineates the contours between inside and outside networks and argues that neither can be followed in action independent of one another. That is, the “packaging” of facts results from the alignment of many different inside and outside forces (scientists at the fossil lab, government's interest in alternative energy, amateur fossil collectors, etc). Latour demonstrates that less than of the population are scientists in the traditional sense of the word. [...]
[...] In chapter Latour questions who is actually doing science and shows that from actants, inventors, producers, consumers, to the government, everyone is involved. In this light, society and nature aren't simply the cause of science as science itself also creates “society” and nature. He demonstrates that certain people get ideas accepted through various forms of translation (e.g. convincing people they want what you want or vice versa). Another example is translating an idea into a physical machine, defined as various forces (nonhuman and human as machines still need spokespeople) under one automatic medium. [...]
[...] After presenting the social nature of science in the first half, Latour concludes chapter 5 by stating the important question is not whether science is objective or social, but instead, which links will hold and which links will fall apart. Thus far, Latour has demonstrated that the more elements that are tied to a claim (papers, people, labs, professions, interest groups, etc), the more black-boxed it becomes in defining reality. However the effort, costs, and links associated with furthering a claim create a situation where some networks are more advantaged in fact-making than others. [...]
[...] But because many authors predict in advance questions readers, at best readers can extend a literary critique to technical literature. Technical text appears equipped to battle any dissenters. However, in the second chapter, Latour offers an alternative; we follow the scientists into the laboratory and observe their methods. While textual challenges were easily dismissible through referencing or creating graphs of “visual proof”, the authoritative dynamic shifts at the lab. Latour begins by establishing that scientists use instruments to measure, identify, extract, etc that are often, in fact, made up of hundreds of smaller components. [...]
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